In this 3-part series, we’re doing a deeper dive into the 6 personality traits that make up mental toughness. Mental toughness is a psychological construct — each of the six traits are individual components of a larger whole — so it’s important to remember not to make assumptions about singular personality traits. However, we will take a closer look into the interplay of two of the six traits that make up mental toughness:  Resiliency/Ego-strength and Energy/Persistence. Along with other traits, these work together to help mentally tough salespeople persevere. 

With decades of research, Caliper has defined a common concept between top-level athletes and professional salespeople. This concept is known as mental toughness, the natural psychological edge that enables you to cope better than your opponents in high-demand situations. Mental toughness is made up of six distinct personality traits that give you an edge to perform under difficult conditions and with successful outcomes. In part one of this series, we discussed the first two traits: level-headedness and stress tolerance. Today we’re diving into resiliency/ego-strength and energy/persistence.


Caliper’s scientists define Resiliency/Ego-strength as the ability to handle setbacks, criticism, and rejection. With sales in mind, those who score high in this trait bounce back quickly from rejection and do not let failures control their self-confidence. This is one of the must-have ingredients of mental toughness, and within a sales framework is a key component for success; rejection is a prevalent theme throughout a career in sales.

Want to know more about the specific traits that make up #MentalToughness? Take a look in part two of @CaliperCorp's 3-part series that takes a deep dive into resiliency and persistence: Click To Tweet

Sales professionals who exhibit resiliency and ego-strength can take a “no” and turn it into something meaningful. They can learn something new, find insight, or uncover an underlying issue that helps them move forward with better understanding. They don’t let the “no” hold them back, and can continue their work with confidence and drive to complete the task at hand. Sales professionals with this trait are emotionally proactive when faced with difficult situations, and as such, they’re able to establish action-oriented goals, be optimistic, and always follow through.


How to Develop Resiliency/Ego-strength

The overall process of sales is challenging — maintaining a large workload, consistent client communication, and constant rejection all haunt the job of a sales professional. These challenges can be discouraging and stressful, but the key to success is an ability to manage them in a calm manner. Resiliency means an individual can accept and power through hardships while remaining positive and motivated. Here are a few tips for developing and maintaining Resiliency/Ego-strength:

  • Security is key. When employees feel more secure in their role, it improves resilience, and they recognize and respond to stress better. Make sure they have the resources they need, a manager to support them, and access to proper training and coaching.
  • Offer skills training. This includes communication courses, technical skills development, and soft skills classes. Learning new tools and skills to help them carry out their daily role shows your employees you care and support their overall well-being while improving their abilities and confidence to tackle challenges head on.
  • Use a coaching mindset. Form a relationship with individuals in which you serve as mentor and coach. This builds meaningful relationships where they can come to you during challenging times, knowing they’ll be heard and have someone to help them get work through tough problems.
What is it about resiliency and persistence that contributes to your #sales professionals having #MentalToughness? @CaliperCorp breaks it down in part 2 of their mental toughness deep-dive: Click To Tweet


Caliper’s scientists define Energy/Persistence as the ability to sustain a high level of activity over extended periods. Those who score high in this trait relate well to being active and persistent in overcoming obstacles. In sales, obstacles, objections, and hesitations occur frequently — and a lot of money is on the line. Sales professionals are at the mercy of their client schedules, have to get buy-in from multiple stakeholders, and need to anticipate all the hoops they’ll need to jump through before closing a deal. It’s a demanding job, and to be successful, a sustained energy level is needed.


What Makes Up Energy/Persistence?

Maintaining stamina and motivation in a fast-paced, highly demanding role is a unique skill — more so when it’s often coupled with a long roll of red tape. What does it look like to have energy and persistence? Here are four key indicators:

  1. You take ownership of your work. High levels of persistence fuel those who show a strong drive towards goals. They’ll persist in accomplishing tasks to their best abilities, regardless of outlook.
  2. You can adjust and adapt. Those who are highly persistent won’t keep hammering the same tactics at a task when they aren’t working. They seek to understand the issue, find a better way to do it, and adjust their action plan. Even in the face of obstacles, they will achieve their goals.
  3. Your skills and self-discipline are highly developed. High-energy salespeople know how difficult it is to stay motivated, especially when they think they’ve hit a dead end. Nevertheless, they rely on their self-discipline and the skills they’ve learned over the years to always drive towards their goal. While the work may not have an immediate impact, they know their hard work will pay off in the end.
  4. You never stop learning. Persistent sales professionals know their goals will take time. They constantly seek to learn, because they understand the dynamic nature of their job. Tools, technology, and processes advance with the market, and they need to keep up. To be the best they can be, they know they must welcome and embrace change, and know there’s no such thing as too much expertise.

In part three, we’ll cover the remaining traits of mental toughness: How self-structure and thoroughness help sales professionals excel. To see how Caliper can help you build stronger teams by finding candidates with the right personality traits, reach out to our experts today, and get started.