I have talked to all kinds of sales people over the years. I have talked to successful ones and ones that have really struggled in their profession. Why do some sales people continue to crush their quota and over perform? What drives them? Starting next week I am going to interview some of the most successful sales people that I have ever encountered. Every sales person will have a few tricks or nuggets that you can hopefully implement in your sales strategy.
I admire these people. I know sales is not an easy career. It can be fun and lucrative, but it also can be very stressful, demanding and downright infuriating. Winning over and over is not easy. Sales can really take a toll on you emotionally if you let it. It takes a certain person and a certain personality to be in sales.
Here is my observation before I begin talking to some of the experts about what they do differently than others. Sales People who continually find themselves in the “Winner’s Circle” or “President’s Club” ALL have 3 common characteristics. They are all persistent, they persevere, and they all have a game plan.
- In sales you are going to hear “no” all of the time. You have to have some pretty thick skin in sales and you are going to have to ask for the sale more than once. You have to be Persistent. Sales people who really want to succeed don’t accept “no” as an answer. As a sales person, you may have to be creative in your approach. It is important to be aggressive, but not overly-aggressive. There is a fine line. You need to understand it. If you give up though after one phone call, e-mail, or LinkedIn invite, you will never make it in sales. Keep at it!
- I loved Cal Ripken Jr. I had a poster of him in my office with the word “Perseverance” on my wall for years. For those of you who don’t know him, he played 2,632 games in Major League Baseball with the Baltimore Oriels without taking a day off. Think about that for a minute. 16 years without taking a day off! In addition to being persistent, you have to persevere. Sometimes you feel like you are a punching bag getting knocked around by Mike Tyson. The key is to not give up. When you get knocked down, you get right back up. Let me tell you friends, in sales, you are going to get your ass kicked sometimes. Shake it off, learn from your mistakes, and get right back out there.
- Lastly, all successful sales people have a process. They have a game plan on how they are going to go after each and every day. What accounts are you targeting? What part of the day are you going to spend prospecting? How many meetings will it take for you to hit your goals? How do you organize your contacts? How do you know which prospects you are going to follow up with? Which deals do you have in the pipeline that will close in the next 30 days? 60 days? 90 days+? Without a game plan of how you are going to succeed, you may find yourself watching TV in the middle of the afternoon. If that happens, you have failed.