Last updateWed, 19 Feb 2020 12am

Modern Day Selling: The Seven Simple Truths - Truth #5: How to find success while facing adversity

Have you ever had the weight of the world on your shoulders and found yourself wondering how you will make it through the day at work? At that very moment life is throwing you unexpected challenges and they all seem to be coming at you at the same time. It is in these moments that many sales associates break under the pressure and find themselves sliding down a slippery slope in their performance. Whatever it may be that is impacting that sales associate has found its way onto the sales floor and has consumed that individual to the core.

Anyone in retail sales can relate to such a moment. It has happened to each and every one of us and it will happen again. However, for the sales professional there often is a much different outcome. It is in these moments that a true sales professional somehow seems to perform at a high level and still find success. Make no mistake, they are still suffering within just like anyone else. When the day is done their problems are still waiting for them and needing to be dealt with. Today I will share with you how even in your weak moments you can still be strong on the sales floor.

Lets face it, we all have days where we just need to go home for the day and get away from the sales floor to deal with our adversity. There may even be a string of days where it affects your performance - we are all human. The key is not allowing your adversity to affect your performance over a long period of time. In these moments of trials and tribulations there are three main things that a sales professional will do that separates them from the standard sales associate. They have the ability to manage themselves, put their customer first and fake it til you make it.

When lengthy adversity strikes you, it is very important that you learn the skill of managing yourself through adversity. The first thing I often do is take 15-30 minutes before work and set my mind for success. It is a given that whatever adversity you are facing will be waiting for you when get off work later that day. Once you are able to separate your adversity from your work environment it will have much less of an impact on your performance. In those moments of setting your mind for success make sure and focus intently on the day at hand. This will help fill up your passion and energy tank which has been drained by your adversity. As long as you are still facing your adversity your passion and energy tank will continue to be depleted. It is important to get a daily fill-up during times of adversity or you will soon be on empty and not functioning at all.

If during the day at work your adversity finds you, do not be afraid to step away from the sales floor for 10 or 15 minutes to manage yourself. Take care of the situation at hand and then set your mind for success again. Make sure that when you hit the sales floor again you are ready to take care of business and find success. This is where the second skill comes into play that separates a sales associate from a sales professional. The sales professional will always put their customers’ needs above their own while at work.

It is often very hard for sales associates to serve their customers and entertain them while they are facing adversity. They often get the woe is me attitude written all over their face, which is a major turn-off to the customer. At times they may even go as far as to share their adversity with their customer. The show just became all about them and not about their customer.

Let’s face it, many of your customers couldn’t care less about the adversity you are facing. The customer may be polite and sympathize with you, but trust me it affects the sale negatively. The customer is often facing their own adversity in life and has come to your store for a pleasant experience. They desired to be served and have their needs put first. In fact, when you do your job well as a sales professional you are actually filling up their passion and energy tank which may also be on low. That, my friend, is impacting your customer’s life in a meaningful way and putting their needs before your own.

Finally there are times in life when your adversity gets the best of you and there is nothing you can do about it. Trying to manage yourself, your passion and energy, and putting your customers’ needs first is just not going to be at the same level as before. However, you still must make a living and have obligations to meet, therefore you must go to work. It is at these moments where a sales professional will simply fake it til you make it. Yes, the smile may not be as bright, and the energy level may not be the same, but somehow they still perform at a high level by using the skills that they have learned over the years. They are simply faking it until they make it through their adversity. The important thing to remember is that your adversity most likely will not be around forever. What you are going through is only a season which will eventually change and you will be back to your old self at some point in time. While in these moments, persevere through them to the best of your abilities. 

Through my many years in sales I have faced many times of adversity. It is often during those times that I somehow managed to actually have amazing sales months while not performing at my highest level. July of 2012 was one of the toughest months that I have gone through in my life. I was going through a divorce that was finalized Aug 1st. I had to spend a lot of my spare time finding a new place to live, buying new furniture, and start everything from the beginning again. During this same time my first book was being released in the U.S. July 16th and world-wide July 27th. I also had my very first seminar coming up in early August that I needed to prepare for. As you can see I was being pulled in many different directions.

In order to be a sales professional I had to practice what I preached. My sales for that July were $96,000 and the next closest sales associate was $50,000 less. Did we have a special event that month? No. Was it one big sale that made my month? No. I simply showed up to work, managed myself, gave my customers an amazing experience and faked it until I made it through the adversity. I share this not to brag, but as a testimony that there is a way to find success while facing adversity and today you have been given the keys to unlock this special skill as a sales professional.

In closing I encourage you to remember these words when adversity comes your way. If you are someone who is currently facing adversity, I hope that you find hope within this message. I will be willing to try and help you in any way possible. If you have a question or would like some extra insight please e-mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I will be happy to share what knowledge and insight I have to help you in your situation.

For more insight you can view all my articles at www.southernjewelrynews.com under columnist Brian Barfield or visit my website www.moderndayselling.com. As always if you know anyone who could benefit from this insight, please pay-it-forward.

Brian Barfield is a two-time published author, worldwide, who specializes in offering fresh new insight in retail sales training. Modern Day Selling offers a unique perspective in teaching sales associates how to reconnect with their customers and how to achieve greater success in their sales career. For more information please visit his website www.moderndayselling.com. Brian also offers in-store sales training and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..