As I write this column our country is in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. Stay-at-home orders are in place, social distancing is the norm and uncertainty reigns supreme.

For salespeople, this time can be daunting. Big deals stall, top prospects won’t return your calls and finding someone new to talk to can be as tough as buying a winning lottery ticket.

Times like these can wear on you and make it especially tough to keep a positive mindset and positive momentum.

I’ve had similar situations happen in my career. About 20 years ago I couldn’t make anything happen. I thought I had lost my mojo. Fear and uncertainty crept in and became an evil partner in my quest to make sales and earn more. Worry and doubt became my constant companions.

It’s easy to let fear and doubt enter your life, especially during the pandemic. Issues seem to magnify, and our thinking is muddled. It’s a vicious circle and one that will only get worse unless you stop it right now.

Here are some things you can do that will help improve your outlook and make sales during these tough times:

1. Detach yourself from the situation. View it as a third-party would. Understand that nearly everyone is having trouble selling during these times and that you are not alone. Don’t internalize the situation and take it personally.

2. Instead of dealing with a problem, frame it as a challenge. Winners respond positively to challenges. Their minds like challenges. They focus on answers and solutions, not questions and problems. Frame your situation as a challenge to be successfully solved.

3. Remind yourself of your 100 percent success rate. To date, you’ve successfully survived every other challenging situation life has brought your way. You can handle this one.

Now that you are getting your mind right, it’s time to take action. Here’s what to do:

  • Contact existing customers. Figure out ways to get more business from them and to get referrals.
  • Improve your skills. Now’s the time to learn how to properly conduct a Zoom meeting, to send a cold email a prospect will respond to or to use LinkedIn as a prospecting tool. Work on crafting your messaging so it generates a response.
  • Network more. Look, other people are locked up just like you are. They want to interact with others. Reach out to them. Learn how you can help them. Discover how they can help you.
  • Study others. What are they doing to generate results in tough times? How are they handling this situation?

Tough times can be ideal for trying something new. It’s a great time to experiment with new approaches and strategies. Scientists who experiment free themselves of failure — they are simply finding what works and what doesn’t. That’s why we experiment. Learn, try, achieve.

Dr. Robert Schuller always says, “Tough times never last but tough people do.” How we approach challenges often determines their outcome. We can sit around and whine or we can take action to improve our situation.

It’s time to change. It’s time to get better. It’s time to learn more and sharpen our skills.

Most of all, it’s time to act. Feeling sorry for yourself and doing nothing is the sure path to doom and gloom. Get off your rear end, get out of your negative mindset and do something.

Some people are going to look back on COVID-19 as a time of great development and triumph. Others will view it as a time of doom and gloom. What’s it going to be for you?