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Posted by: Tony Leone
Category: Growth, Personal Development, Sales
The Sales Game: Competing Against Yourself

The Sales Game: Competing Against Yourself

In the fast-paced world of sales, competition SHOULD be a key driver for us. Of course, money and freedom are top of the class, but since there is no second place in sales, competition is ever present in our quest for success. Whether it’s vying against industry rivals or even your own colleagues within the company, the battle to win is constant.

However, amidst this external competition lies a more profound and enduring challenge: The competition against oneself. In this article, we delve into the dynamics of this internal struggle, exploring how salespeople are ultimately their own greatest adversaries, and how embracing this mindset can lead to unparalleled growth and success in the sales arena.

The Inner Game of Sales:

The BIGGEST mistake I see in sales is unintentional negative self-talk, and even as I look back on my own sales career this was true. Are you saying to yourself: “I just hope this deal doesn’t blow up like the last 3?”. Or are you saying: “The last 3 were amazing lessons, I’m ready for whatever comes next”. It can be that simple. Sales is as much a mental game as it is about technique and strategy. Beyond the external factors like market trends and customer demands, a salesperson’s greatest battlefield is often within their own mind. Doubt, fear of rejection, and self-limiting beliefs can hinder performance more than any external obstacle.

Self-Improvement and Growth:

The hallmark of a successful salesperson is continuous improvement. In the quest to outperform competitors and exceed targets, sales professionals must 1 step ahead in skill and knowledge. This includes being better than the person you were last year.

This journey of self-improvement is not a competition against others but a personal quest to become the best version of oneself. Whether it’s honing negotiation skills, knowing the market better than anyone else, or refining communication techniques, the focus remains on self-development and growth to stay ahead of the constant changes in sales. If you do this you quickly become the smartest person in your market, bit just your company.

Setting Personal Benchmarks:

While external benchmarks such as sales quotas and performance metrics provide a framework for success, truly exceptional salespeople go beyond these standards by setting their own personal benchmarks. In my experience salespeople are terrible at tracking personal metrics, such as lead to appointment, appointment to close, and sales velocity. Simply put, if you want to make more money you need an accurate benchmark of where you currently are. These goals are not dictated by competition with others but by a desire to surpass previous achievements and push the boundaries of what is possible.

Resilience in the Face of Setbacks:

In sales, rejection is inevitable. Deals fall through, prospects say no, and setbacks are a part of the game. I have worked with thousands of sales people in my career, and what sets top-performing salespeople apart is not their ability to avoid failure but their resilience and borderline ANGER in the face of it. It’s as if failure is fuel. Each one mounting into this blaze that will eventually be undeniable. Fire doesn’t start from a place of momentum, it usually starts from a place of hating your current situation and coming to grips with the only person responsible for getting back to abundance is you.

The Power of Self-Motivation:

While I am self-employed, at the end of the day I’m a salesman. If I don’t sell I don’t eat. As I write this I have doubled my income in 1 year. How? Well, it’s a combination of many things. But as I look back on it, the most impactful source happened 4 years ago. I started to get close to my goals. I rented a luxury car every now and then for work trips. I would drive by mansions and pick out the house I’d buy. I hung around people in another financial class. I put into our family budget tuition for private school. I surrounded myself with the next level of my journey. What I was surrounding myself with was in a word…potential.

External motivation, such as bonuses or recognition, can be fleeting. True motivation comes from within – from a deep-seated desire to achieve personal goals and fulfill one’s potential. Salespeople who compete against themselves understand this intrinsic motivation and harness it to drive their performance. Whether it’s visualizing success, setting ambitious goals, or maintaining a positive mindset, self-motivation fuels their journey towards excellence.

Cultivating a Growth Mindset:

At the heart of competing against oneself lies a growth mindset – the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work. Sales professionals with a growth mindset embrace challenges, learn from feedback, and persist in the face of adversity. They view setbacks not as failures but as opportunities for growth and improvement. By cultivating this mindset, salespeople unlock their full potential and achieve unparalleled success in their careers. Act like the CEO, Chief Revenue Officer or Chief Growth Officer of your own business and you will cultivate this mindset.


In the world of sales, competition is omnipresent – from industry rivals to colleagues within one’s own company. However, amidst this external competition lies a deeper and more enduring challenge: the competition against oneself. Salespeople who embrace this mindset understand that the true measure of success lies not in outperforming others but in continuously striving to surpass their own limitations and achieve personal excellence. By setting personal benchmarks, cultivating resilience, and embracing a growth mindset, sales professionals can unlock their full potential and redefine what is possible in the world of sales. Ultimately, the greatest competition in sales is not against others but against oneself.

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