Advice: "I don't feel like I'm reaching my full potential in my sales job. How can I change my ways?"

Want to submit a question and be featured in our advice column? Click here. (Don't worry, you'll remain completely anonymous).

Dear Quota Team,

Sales has changed my life, and I’m not even exaggerating. I battled a lot of addiction issues when I was younger, but working in sales has provided me with a career I’d never have thought possible, and a lifestyle that is a far cry from the way I grew up.

But I still feel like I’m very far away from where I want to be. There are people who are making way more money than me even within my own company, and obviously at other companies and in other industries. Basically, I don’t feel like I’m reaching my full potential, and I think I know why.

I am inconsistent. Sometimes I am extremely motivated, but other times, I don’t feel like doing anything so I’ll just do the bare minimum and mess around online until it’s the end of the day and I hate myself for wasting time. I don’t think I’ve ever gone an entire week working my butt off from Monday morning until Friday evening.

Is there anything I can do to change my ways? I truly do want to excel, especially since the idea of staying at the same level for the rest of my career makes me depressed to think about. What are your tips for somebody who can’t seem to get out of their own way? Thanks in advance!   

Underachieving in California  


Dear Underachieving,

Sales is hard. Staying consistent is hard. And admitting you’re not working to your full potential is hard too. But at least it’s a start. 

Two ideas for you: 

1. Figure out when you have the most energy in your day. Is it first thing in the morning? Or is it in the afternoon after you’ve had a chance to wake up and get acclimated to the day? No matter what time your energy peaks, use this time to complete all the tasks you dread most. For most people, energy is finite, so it’s important to tailor your workday so that you’re making the most of your own flow. Don’t spend your best hours messing around online. It’s literally a waste of your precious resources.

2. Try doing something revolutionary: do what you say you’re going to do. And if you’re not going to do it, then don’t say you will. Stick to your rule 100%. So if you tell yourself that you’ll make twenty calls on Tuesday, then make 20 calls or don’t say you will. If you only think you’ll be able to make 10 calls, then only say you’ll make 10. But no matter what number you choose, you have to honor it. Take this same approach with your promises to your customers, to your boss, and to your friends and family. Become the type of person who always does what they say they’re going to do. It will take time, but it will change your life. 

If you do these two things – actually do them – you’ll see the progress that seems so out of reach. And as you get better and accomplish your goals, you’ll set higher ones. And before you know it, you won’t even remember a time when you were so unsure of your own ability to get stuff done. Good luck! 

You might also like

Everything sales, straight to your inbox.

Sign up for The Quota, a fun, free weekly newsletter for salespeople and sales leaders -- from the people who brought you Sales Humor.

Thanks for subscribing! Just one more step!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.