Embrace the Suck: How Self-Awareness Can Help You Up Your Sales Game

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Situational awareness means knowing what’s going on around you, but let’s kick it up a notch. When it comes to strengthening your sales game, it also means knowing who you are, understanding your strengths and weaknesses, and embracing them. What’s your sales mindset?

Now that you’re hip to situational awareness, here’s the big question: How do you make yourself situationally aware while prospecting to see how your mental wellbeing affects your sales game?

Dale Dupree knows — he’s the rockstar leader of The Sales Rebellion and a 13-year B2B veteran. On an episode of INSIDE Inside Sales, Dale gets real about the role your mindset and attitude play in your success in the sales cycle. Self-awareness and embracing failure (yup!) are way more valuable than you think. 

Self-awareness + sales mindset + attitude = the golden combo

It all comes down to being aware of You — the rest will fall in line. If you can sit back and say, “Maybe I’m not doing this right,” you’ve crushed the eye-opening portion of self-awareness and the first step to pulling yourself out of a rough patch. 

Here are three more steps to help you get on the other side of a rough patch:

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1. Embrace the suck — and become a better sales rep

When you give yourself permission to suck, you also let yourself be a work in progress. And maybe that’s a foreign language to you because you see your career as a competitive checklist — you’re all gas and no brakes as you chase the next step of your career (and the next commission check). 

If you can embrace the things you suck at instead of trying to beat or ignore them, Dale says you’ll naturally get better at them — and even if you never get better, you’ll be so aware of your weaknesses they can’t trip you up in front of a prospect

Besides, it pays off to embrace those sucky bits: “People on the other end of the conversation will not only respect that, but they’ll be more drawn to the conversation that you’re having with them in the first place.”

And, look, if you think embracing the suck = settling for mediocrity, you might think this is all a crock of shit. But newsflash, champ: World-renowned surgeons were once entry-level med students who knew bupkis about needles and scalpels. 

This is all part of a process — you need to let yourself embrace the suck to get through it, so stop taking every loss personally. 

2. Intentionality is key, capiche

Mindset is one of those things you have to study all the time. How can you work at your peak capabilities if your head isn’t in the game?

Here’s why adopting an intentional mindset is key: Sales is less about the commission and more about “the connection we make with the human on the other end and the vast amount of opportunity that comes with [it, which] we typically gloss over because we’re so focused on our result,” explains Dale. 

To land in the sweet spot between mindset and attitude, you have to be intentional about:

  • Your awareness of others, yourself, and who you aim to be
  • Having the confidence to acknowledge your weaknesses and improve them
  • Parking your humility to learn from others
  • Giving yourself permission to embrace the suck

One more thing to keep in mind is your end goal: Are you in sales for six months or the next 15 years?

When you intentionally commit to the long game, it’ll be a piece of cake to handle failure because you know it leads to being a dynamite sales pro.

3. Jump into the deep end

Maybe it’s not your clients or your prospects funking up your sales game — something deeper could have you stuck in a rut. 

What it comes down to is communication and using it as a tool to understand what’s bothering you at a deeper level. “Once you start to gain that awareness of yourself, you start to gain awareness of others in the process,” says Dale. 

You’ll be able to acknowledge the things you suck at while simultaneously using those self-revelations to slowly work on who you are. 

It’s not you, it’s your manager 

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Ever wonder if your sales game is off because your higher-ups dropped the ball? You wouldn’t be out of bounds for wondering — managers screw up, too. When they don’t know your strengths, they inevitably feed your weaknesses and hold you back from much-needed growth. 

Managers, bring it in for a minute. These reminders are for you: 

  • Humble yourself, hotshot. Sure, you’ve logged some serious time in your sales career, but you’re not perfect. If you don’t actively sharpen your skillset, how can you expect to grow, or better yet, lead someone else’s growth? 
  • You need accountability, too. Plus, somebody supporting you from a growth perspective to help you be a better coach. Too many managers manage — “They don’t build, they don’t relate, and they don’t coach,” says Dale. Because they’re so focused on metrics, “it causes their people to feel like a number.” 

Accountability works both ways and no one is exempt. If managers and reps can be partners there, even better. 

The other side of enlightenment  

Simple enough, right? Just practice the behaviors you want to exhibit and you’ll be out of that rough patch in no time. 

It’s powerful when you can be intentional in your communications and have awareness for yourself and others in any situation. If you practice your sales walk that way, the sales cycle will be much more human and successful. (And don’t forget, you have to embrace the suck, too!)

 
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