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Are you in the zone?


Not feeling too motivated? Bryan McCrae says all that can change - you just need to understand resilience.

With huge sporting successes in the last couple of years, Britain winning 65 medals in the 2012 Olympics then Andy Murray winning Wimbledon, it shows that with the right motivation you can achieve the unthinkable. So, what do all of these winning sportsmen and women have which helps them achieve over their peers? Yes, they have put in many years of hard work to help them reach the top of their chosen sports, but their competitors have also shown the same dedication and commitment. So, we ask, what is it that gives them that extra ability and push to succeed?

Common factors

All of these top sportsmen and sportswomen are already highly motivated, but the difference between the gold medal winners and the rest is resilience and the ability to deal effectively with pressure. Whilst top sports people such as Murray use sports psychologists who work with them to develop the ‘inner game’, very often sales people receive little or no help in these critical areas. Yet without the ability to keep bouncing back and keep going under intense pressure, better than the competition, consistent sales success is very unlikely.

Proven techniques

Using the proven cognitive behavioural approach you can fine tune your thoughts, feelings and behaviour to bring about the results that you want to achieve. In a carefully constructed trial, we measured everybody’s levels of motivation, resilience and ability to cope with pressure at the start of the trial then split the group in half, one half using the cognitive behavioural approach and the other half carrying on as normal without it. We then measured everybody’s levels of motivation, resilience and ability to cope with pressure again and compared the ‘participants’ verses the ‘controls’. We also had a group of sales managers who undertook the program, but didn’t have a control group against which to compare them.


We used an online resilience questionnaire, which consists of forty questions, to measure the results. It asks eight questions for each of these factors, plus ‘self-reported sales performance’ (i.e. how well do you think you are doing), then calculates a total score for each factor as a percentage from 0% (very low) to 100% (very high).

These results (see below) show that the participants made significant gains over the control group in all factors, the managers made significant gains in Resilience and Coping with pressure and the Control group showed small gains in Motivation and Coping with pressure, a slight gain in Self-Reported sales and a slight reduction in Resilience.

As well the relative changes in scores in these factors, we also looked at the absolute sores at the end of the evaluation period between the Control and Participant groups, as shown below;

In absolute terms the Participants average scores after the program exceeded the Control group scores in all dimensions and we also know from the feedback survey conducted that every single participant who has taken the program believes that their sales will be higher in future.

Looking forward

It is well known that attitude and self-belief are crucial in sales success. This is especially true at the moment where there is so much competition in the market and budgets are under very tight control.

In essence there is empirical evidence that it is possible to systematically grow motivation, resilience and ability to cope with pressure by using a cognitive behavioural development system specifically designed for sales people. So if you want to be one step ahead of your competition, perhaps it is time to start to work on becoming a winner, by working on changing your ‘inner game’.

Bryan McCrae is a sales psychologist, sales coach and the founder of Sales-Motivations. He is a fellow of the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management, a founding fellow of the Sales Leadership Alliance, a member of the British Psychological Society. For more information and to request a free trial visit 


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