Sales Mindset: Focus on What’s in Your Control

What’s your sales mindset during these are uncertain times? Prices are up, markets are haywire, and things we used to take for granted—such as hassle-free business travel—now often feel out of reach.

The more we believe things are entirely out of our control, the more prone we are to frustration and anger. I’ve felt it, too. But in business—whether we’re sellers or leaders of sellers—we’ve a job to do in rising above whatever the circumstances are at a given time.

Giving some thought on what to do about price hikes or supply chain shortages is fine. But ruminating endlessly that these problems exist in the first place is an inexcusable waste of your limited time.

Focus only on what’s within your control in the present as a seller or sales leader. That’s plenty, really. Here are six examples of how you must do that.

Your Sales Mindset: 6 Ways to Focus on What’s Within Your Control

1. Break Your Problems Into Smaller Pieces

Let’s say you or your team are given a high quota to reach this quarter. Don’t give into the temptation to wasting time, complaining about how unfair or unrealistic it is. Instead, you must segment the challenge into a series of smaller, more achievable wins. You do control the number of constructive activities you take on to meet that quota. You do control how well you keep your pipeline full. And you do control how well you stick to meeting each of your sales velocity metrics. Can you send one more email or make one more phone call at the end of each day? Of course you can.

2. Focus on the Inside Network in an Organization

In business, there’s no shortage of mergers and acquisitions. It’s also leading to an unprecedented amount of cross-continental migration, as people within those businesses either get reassigned or get headhunted by other firms. All of it means more uncertainty and organizational churn for them…and for you. Minimize that impact on your ability to sell to those customers by ensuring you have multiple engaged relationships within every client organization. Build out that organizational chart so you have backups and backups to your backups! Make sure you are never caught by unexpected developments. This is entirely within your control.

3. Stop Ignoring Pricing and Supply Challenges

It’s not your job to control price spikes and supply issues. But it is your job to acknowledge these problems exist and find ways for you and your customers to adapt to that uncertainty. You must follow the lead of the top sellers and leaders in today’s market. They’re communicating openly and often with customers on market conditions. They’re talking to those customers about how they can optimize value and offer new ways to use existing products and services.

4. Stop Blaming Your Manager

Many sales reps I talk to today are frustrated that their boss won’t make time for coaching. Or that they cancel scheduled training because they’re too busy with other tasks. Rather than waste time getting angry about those developments, focus on what you can do for yourself to improve your skills. Take it upon yourself to read or attend classes on selling techniques. Subscribe to sales coaching newsletters. Attend online conferences (I’m speaking at OutBound this Fall). The desire to learn is always within your control.

5. Stop Fighting Technology

Stop getting mad at your CRM and obsessing over how it doesn’t work the way you want it to. Or that it’s just another burdensome task. Technology is a lever that will produce a high personal ROI for you when used effectively. It’s there for a reason. It lets you do more and understand more in less time. Maybe the technology tools you’ve been given aren’t your preferred ones. But you can still work them to become better and more efficient at your work.

6. Think Ahead When It Comes to Business Travel

Most sellers are back on the road for the first time in quite a while. And for many, it’s been a tough pill to swallow: long lines at airports, flight delays, and flight cancellations are all-too-common. It is in your control to think ahead. Do you really need to travel to do a face-to-face meeting in the first place? And if you do, travel with carry-on baggage only. Know your back up flights and alternative airports. Stop making excuses to yourself that being stranded during business travel means that you are unable to work. Know where the local hotels are relative to the airports you’re at. Ensure your work can be 100% mobile adaptable.


It’s easy to trick ourselves into the belief that we’re dealing with unprecedented problems in the present. But times are always uncertain. There has never been some golden age of calm. That’s why we have 2,000-year-old books still in circulation, giving us timeless wisdom about focusing on what’s within our control. There is also a good reason why that advice still matters: it works.

Connect with Colleen on LinkedIn about your sales mindset.