After 26-plus years as a successful salesperson, here is what I know to be true about sales.
If you’re looking for a 9 to 5 position, safety and security, sales is not for you. Sales really is the hardest high-paying work or the easiest low-paying work. Top salespeople are extremely hard workers, they get in early, stay late, and most work the weekends. While it’s true that well-established salespeople sometimes cut back a bit on their hours and weekends, when needed, they are still able to call upon a great work ethic and put in the extra hours. Top salespeople go above and beyond, they answer their phones off-hours, and they are always ready to respond at a moment’s notice.
In addition, top salespeople can take the ups and downs of a sales career. They are experts at overcoming adversity and pros at controlling their emotions. They realize that sales is not for the feeble or faint-of-heart. They know you need to keep your mental edge at all times, and you must learn to use everything to your advantage.
Successful salespeople always find a way to succeed. Have you noticed that the most successful salespeople are always successful regardless of how bad the economy, the market, or anything else seems to be? Have you also noticed that unsuccessful and mediocre salespeople are always, at best, average, no matter how good things are? Ninety percent of your brain, the subconscious, is super creative. Successful salespeople use the creative brain to come up with resourceful ways to increase business, get through hurdles, and overall, become more successful.
Sales success or failure comes down to you. This ties in with lesson #2. Successful salespeople know that if you do the proper number of the right activities during the day, you will be successful. If you don’t, you won’t. This assumes that you have a decent product and work for a reputable company. If that is the case, and you still fail, you have no one to blame but yourself. It’s not the economy, your upbringing, or the bad break you got 15 years ago. Ohers have had it worse than you and have been successful. The top salespeople understand that you and you alone are responsible for your success or lack thereof.
You need to have a burning desire to succeed. Successful salespeople know what they want for themselves and their families, they have a plan to get there, and they will either win or die trying. They do not allow for anything other than success. You can see it in their eyes, hear it in their voice, and sense it in the way they carry themselves. There is an overwhelming confidence that they will achieve the outcome they desire, and they do so time after time. Top salespeople know that you can have it all and you don’t have to sell your soul to get it, but you do occasionally have to go through hell.
You are the parent of an 18-year-old, and the 18-year-old is you. Any parent of an 18-year-old knows how tough it can be to get them to do some things. Well, when it comes to sales, you are your own 18-year-old. Top salespeople are self-starters and have the self-discipline to govern themselves and do what must be done every day. They realize that in sales, you are self employed, and that if you make the sales, you’ll stick around; if you don’t, you’ll be gone. The bottom line is: If you need someone standing over you to make sure you are doing what you have to do, you’re in the wrong business. Top salespeople have the drive and motivation to push themselves extremely hard even when they’re all alone.
You always have to be learning and improving. Top salespeople know that you can never know it all. There are always new techniques, new technology, and new ideas being created every day. Top salespeople stay up on changes in the industry, keep abreast of the latest sales ideas, and constantly look for ways to stay positive and motivated. They know that school is never out, and there is always more to be learned.
by John Chapin
With over 26 years of sales experience, John Chapin is a number one sales representative in three industries, and author of Sales Encyclopedia. For his free newsletter, visit www.completeselling.com.