Updated: Oct 14, 2019
*This is a 3-part post. Stay tuned for next week’s blog post for the 2nd part to this message.
There are two types of salespeople.
Those who are in sales for the long run.
Those who are in sales just to hold themselves over until they find something else.
If you’re in it for the long run, then you KNOW you must master your game. It’s all in for you no matter what! If you’re in this category, it’s imperative that you waste no time and improve your selling skills. Your income keeps waiting on you to do so!
Now, you may not know you’re in it for the long run, yet. You may be thinking that you will move up with your company and that you will be in a leadership role soon. You may be thinking that you’re just in a temporary role until something better comes along.
Hardly anyone comes into sales with the intention of dominating that role and marking themselves as a career salesperson from day one. A lot of us in sales and sales leadership roles fell into our positions by accident and the ones who make it here long term are those who master their sales skills.
Once the selling skill is mastered, it becomes very difficult to want to put yourself into a different type of role. Of course, having sales skills will make your more valuable in any other position and you’ll have the ability to negotiate for yourself better than most.
Even if you’re promoted to a corporate VP position, you’ll notice that the freedom and the large cashflow always goes to the master salespeople. Once you’ve tasted that, it’s hard to trade it in. I’m speaking from experience.
This discussion usually brings up the truth that most salespeople will struggle and/or barely get by. Some would state that most salespeople would love to trade in their selling hat for a corporate role and enjoy the ride from there.
I agree with them on that point! See, I know most salespeople would rather not rely on sales to make income, but in this post, I’m not talking about most salespeople. I’m only talking about those who master the selling skill.
Why are there so few who master sales? It’s not necessarily a hard skill to learn and there have been many others who have done it. The separator is in the fact that so few salespeople have the discipline to withstand the repetition in sales mastery.
Sales, thankfully, has nothing to do with talent. And from reading my previous posts, you can tell that women particularly have a knack for selling. So if you are talented, confident, and things have come easy to you in the past, those things won’t matter long term for sales success.
Only the DISCIPLINE of repetitive practice will get you there.
So, what discipline must you practice in order to reach the highest ranks? Well, there are 2 parts to mastering sales.
2) Skill set
These two ingredients create a magical experience in a salesperson’s life and fortunately there are clearly visible steps to improve these areas all around us. Let’s break them down and discover what you can do to see a rapid improvement in these areas which will affect your numbers in an upward trend.
This week, we’ll discuss:
We will break this category down into 2 sections: Clarity and Toughness.
Section 1: Clarity
This intangible subject is the guiding force that will help you stay, thrive and surpass obstacles in business.
Ironically, clarity is the area most sales leaders struggle with. When you ask a salesperson what her goal is for the month or year, you may hear her reply with a target sales number. This is where we start off on the wrong foot. That is not a goal. That is the means to a goal, but not the goal in and of itself.
Here’s a story by Harvard marketing professor Theodore Levitt you need to be familiar with if you’re not already:
A customer was staring intently at the drill section in a hardware store. An eager attendant walked up to the customer ready to give insight on the latest buzz features these new drills were equipped with. He eagerly approached the customer, “Hello! I see you’re interested in a drill today?”
Imagine the attendant’s surprise as the customer responded by shaking his head and saying, “No sir, I’m interested in a hole.”
The moral? What’s the result? What are you going to do with your tool? The tool itself is never the goal, it’s merely the machinery used to get you what you want.
Just like the customer in the story is interested in a hole in his wall for either pictures of family memories, or shelving in his garage, so are you interested in an end goal that will enhance your life. This is a secret to career satisfaction, also.
Instead of looking for the work to be the end all game, look at the work as a fulfilling mechanism to give you a life closest to your dreams.
Therefore, clarity is critical. You must know exactly what your “hole” is in life. Take in the following quote by Andrew Carnegie:
All riches & all material things begin in the form of a Clear Concise Mental Picture of the thing one seeks!
So, get out a blank sheet of paper (very few people will take the time to perform this exercise which is why very few people will achieve a dream life – will you be one of those who do?) and start mapping out what kind of life you want to live.
It’s okay if this exercise takes you a couple of days to complete. You don’t have to do this in one sitting. Separate your paper into sections:
And start having fun. Pretend you’re looking through a catalog and you get to order anything you want from that catalog in any quantity. What would it be?
Dream home? Family travel? Body goals? Adventures? Restaurant Experiences? Philanthropy?
By the way, there is no right or wrong answer to how these goals should be formed. Don’t let society tell you what you should be fighting for. It’s just as noble to fight for a Porsche as it is to build an orphanage.
Think about it. In order for you to develop yourself into the person who can reach those levels, you will help people along the way. If you try to fight for a goal that isn’t truly at the heart of your desires and motivation, you’ll find that you will slip during difficult times.
Aren’t you better off hitting the goal of driving your dream car and having benefited others along the way instead of being politically correct by saying your goal is to fund a worthy cause and giving up in the process?
So, make sure you work on your goal. It’s you who must fight for it anyway!
Once you have mastered the clarity of your efforts, you must develop the second part of mental section in order to have stellar sales success:
Section 2: Toughness
It is imperative to be able to tap into the strength to help you forge through downward trends in your sales career. There will be days where you are taking correct actions (making phone calls, prospecting, following up, doing appointments, etc.) and still see zero results come through from those days.
If we were able to judge which days would have those results, then you may as well just sit on the beach and skip them. But, alas, we don’t have those superpowers, so we treat each day as if it’ll be the best and stay ready to come face to face with these downers.
If you don’t develop mental toughness, you’ll only be able to handle a couple of these days before it starts wearing your optimism down. In fact, even a couple bad client visits, a couple of angry customers, even a couple of family members teasing you for thinking you could be any good at this type of role can knock you down and then eventually wipe you out completely if you aren’t mentally tough.
Don’t despair, mental toughness is a muscle. It is simply underdeveloped for most salespeople in the beginning of their career. Strengthening this muscle will serve you well to succeed in sales, but the magical side effect is that it will help you power through life with much more resilience as well.
3 steps to hone your mental toughness muscle:
1) Be mindful of the company you keep
The people who surround you deeply impact your mentality in life. If you are constantly spending time with good natured and well-meaning people who subtly belittle your big dreams and tell you that you don’t need much to be happy, it’s going to be pretty tough for you to justify to yourself that those month end pushes and promotions would be worth it. I mean, do you really need a new Porsche?
On the contrary, when you’re around people who have firmly developed their mental toughness muscles, you’ll be having much different conversations. You’ll be talking about the benefits of striving, and you’ll be competing to see who is closer to reaching their potential.
Can you see how those two types of conversations can lead to different actions?
In order to increase your mental toughness muscle answer the following two questions:
Who can you be more mindful to spend less time with?
Who can you be more mindful to spend more time with?
2) Read self-improvement books
Reading books authored by mentally tough people can give you a glimpse into how they react to scenarios and how they view everyday situations. The more you read (listening to the audiobook counts) these concepts, the more you’ll mold your subconscious to think the same way. Reading is a mental toughness strengthening exercise that should be performed daily.
List out the next 3 Self Improvement books you will read:
3) Attend sales and motivational conferences
If your first reaction to this advice was that you don’t have the time or money to attend these types of events, then you KNOW you are in dire need of a mental toughness shift. These events will get you closer to hitting targets and sales goals, so making the investment to attend these events is crucial.
If you make excuses not to attend rallies, events, trainings, workshops, etc. then you haven’t truly understood their benefit, yet.
How do you take advantage of these events?
· Feel inspired
· Make big decisions
The massive energy created by all the attendees who are also building their mental toughness causes a surge in you to make BIG decisions. These decisions propel you to the next milestone in your career. You will have a recharge of energy to get you to the next step.
Taking enough ‘next steps’ eventually gets you to reach your destination. Attending conferences and events, especially those put on by your company, are non-negotiable for building mental toughness.
List the next 2 events available in your area and commit to attending them:
Notice that growing your mental toughness is a process that you may not notice your day by day, but soon you’ll start to realize that certain client reactions won’t affect you anymore. You’ll notice that making calls or doing appointments don’t seem scary to you at all. Maybe you’ll even notice the behaviors in unseasoned colleagues, and you’ll be able to tell how you would handle the situation differently under that circumstance.
It’s a necessary and gradual growth process that will swell your sales career and ultimate sales goals.
Stay tuned for next week’s post on Part 2: Skill Set
Your Challenge for this Week:
Complete all the exercises in Part 1 of this post.