Sometimes Sales seems like the easiest job in world. And it’s probably fair to say, the best job in the world. No one has control over how much they earn like a sales person does. And no one has so much control over what they do and how they do it.
The Money is usually good, if not great, certainly if you work for a decent business, and the perks that go alongside are terrific. Typically you’ll have a company car and be able to claim client gifts and entertaining as legitimate expenses. You’ll find yourself at premier events and sporting occasions, playing the finest golf courses and sampling the best cuisine your home city has to offer.
You’ll typically be highly trained, more so than average ‘workers’ and probably have more chance to self train, through reading material, online resource etc. than many others. You’re motivated, successful and respected within your company. You are at the top of your game, the peak of your powers, and the future opens out in front of you, exciting and full of promise.
It’s not a bad life is it? It’s a wonder that more people don’t do it! In fact, why on earth don’t more people do it? Simply put, because most people can’t.
If you set aside the glib taunts of non sellers, about being shallow or untrustworthy. If you dismiss the british stereotype of the dodgy dealer type (in America, selling is a highly respected and aspirational career) we get somewhere closer to the truth.
The level of focus required to be a successful sales person is beyond most people. The level of drive required is missing. Most people don’t have the gumption to simply get up off their backsides and do something with their lives, to set themselves objectives and then go out and achieve them. Taking personal responsibility for themselves and their future along the way. If you fail at selling, there is only one person at fault. YOU. And there’s the rub, and that’s why most people CAN’T be sales people. They aren’t prepared to fail. They aren’t prepared to risk everything, and to take the chance it won’t come off.
So they sit back and mock as the others, the sellers, the entrepreneurs, go about life and business as if it’s the most important thing in the world.
Of course the cost of failure is huge. And this blog is about how to react when you do fail. But the most important thing to remember is that you must fail. Fail, fail again, and fail better. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. And the fact it’s not, explains why most people can’t do what we do.
No one is more measured than a sales person. Daily, weekly, monthly and even annual goals and targets mean you are never off the hook. Always being weighed measured and taken to task. Your businesses very survival is probably at stake, as well as you and your families livelihood.
Add to that the daily rejection faced by all sales people and you start to see why most people chose to stay out of our career!
The worst thing though? Missing targets. And missing multiple targets the worst of that, one after another, They each seem to add more and more pressure and weight to your shoulders as you go about your day-to-day tasks. A crushing, stifling, suffocating pressure at times.
There are many reasons why targets may be missed, and I’ll not go into that here, but suffice to say, the sense of failure and pressure, constant over a week or a month or even a year takes a certain type of talent to survive. And a certain type of talent to not only survive, but thrive. A certain type of talent to then strive to turn it round, and when it is tuned round, to kick on again from there, never settling on any one achievement as being sufficient. That is what makes good sales people great.
But in the meantime, when you’re in the middle of a bad run? What can you do? Well it’s as easy as ABC!
A is for attitude.
I won’t, I can’t, He won’t like it, they won’t buy it, it’s too expensive, they have no budget, I’ve taken all that cash already, I can’t get appointments, no one is buying, no one wants to see me, the market place is down, it’s tough out there…
These are all things I have heard real sales people say when times are tough, usually before they’ve even spoken to the client! And it’s these thoughts that hold you back! I work to a simple mantra:
If you think you can’t you won’t! If you think the task is beyond you, it will be. If you think they won’t buy off you, they won’t. If you think you are too expensive, you are. If you think there is a better product out there, there is.
If you think you can, on the other hand, then you at least might!
Ask and you get, don’t and you won’t – Simple.
B is for behaviour.
What do you do that makes you successful? It amazes me that sales people, under pressure, put loads of work into, say making appointments for instance. They call and call, not taking no for an answer, or at least ignoring it, and moving on to the next prospect. Setting calls up, taking briefs and generally working really hard to build that pipeline.
And then stop!
They stop to take the orders, process the orders, and I don’t know, look back at how great they are maybe? Why stop? Why stop the very work that has brought them the success on the first place? Why, each time you find yourself back in the doldrums, restart the effort, and repeat the same cycles all over again?
There is every chance the things you do that make you successful are pretty straightforward. Building the pipeline usually is. Closing the deals and negotiating are usually the harder parts of the job. Keeping clients happy when they have bought certainly is! But why stop piling the raw material into the top of the process? Why ever stop?
And finally, C is for commitment.
The number one reason sales people fail. Lack of commitment. There are always reasons why a sales person might fail, external reasons. Mitigating circumstances if you like. Clients might go bust, or heaven forfend, you may fall ill. Clearly we can’t do anything about that (so just deal with it and move on!) but lack of commitment is the worst, then there’s only you to blame.
Whether its fear of loss, or fear of gain (I’ve seen both) you need to learn to deal with it, and throw yourself into the game. It’s the only way to win. Commit! Set yourself a target, and go for it.
What happens if you do fail? No one is going to care usually. Most of time, most people are too wrapped up in their own little life dramas to even notice. It’s the thoughts of failure that are holding you back, rather than the reality. And that’s plain ridiculous!
And so what if you do win? OK, maybe the expectation does get higher? You’ll just earn more! More money, more respect, and more satisfaction from a job so well done.
Commit! Try it, even if you agree to only try it for a month, try it! It’s the thing that makes the difference. It makes a difference in your relationships, it makes a difference to your training or your diet! It will certainly make a difference to your career.
Besides, remember the mantra? If you think you can’t you won’t.
So think you CAN, and then you might! And at the very least remember to ‘fail better’ every time. Soon, there’ll be no stopping you because no one else is willing to go as far as you are, and that’s your edge…
Good luck, you won’t need it!