By Tibor Shanto – firstname.lastname@example.org
People are always looking for the formula to sales success, so here’s the deal: there ain’t one! There are a number of things that when executed consistently will lead to more continuous and predictable success; those that tell you a otherwise are selling their book – there are no silver bullets – just work.
Having said that, there are some specific things that are consistently present in successful sales and successful sales people, let’s look at three that when combined can give you a powerful advantage:
Ability – While most sales professionals have ability, especially at the start of their initial success phase, it is often a filleting thing. As markets and clients change and evolve, so must your ability; at the same time as you have some success, you get drawn away from practicing those abilities that made you a success to begin with, strengthening your abilities in one part of the sale, while weakening them in others. This imbalance can come back to haunt us unless we proactively focus on always improving our abilities. I wish I had $100 for every time a sales person has told me that they know what they are doing, they have 15 or more years of experience. The fact is that if they have not delivered consistently better results, then it is likely that they have had the same year 15 times over, and it is time to focus on their ability. Probably the easiest of the three elements in this piece to address.
Action – There is a lot of talk in sales, all kinds of theory, but as I have said in the past, sales is all about Execution – everything else is just talk. The challenge is often not just the complete lack of action, but more of selective action. Many sales people do what they like and avoid those things they don’t, but to be a complete sales person, you need to take action right across the cycle. There is a lot of people who are good at planning, but then fail to act on it; as in other areas in life an OK plan one acts on leads to greater results than a perfect plan that is never executed. How many sales strategies, account and territory plans sit gathering dust on a shelf, right next to the last sales training manual, the one that focuses on execution. I know at times things can get daunting, I know at times we are prone to over analyse; but it is amazing how when you take action, steps to change the course of events, and put things into motion, the enormity of the challenge shrinks. I recently read about a marathoner who when asked what was the hardest part of daily training, replied “getting out the door”.
Accountability – If sales people had to buy excuses or rationalizations by the pound, many would either go broke – or better yet quit relying on them. Yes the product sucks, the market is down, buyers are hiding, Jupiter just doesn’t want to align with Mars, but none of that changes the fact that we alone are responsible for our own success. It is up to me to be resourceful and figure out how I can sell what I am paid to sell (legally and ethically) no matter what. While at times one can positively show that it is not their fault, that is not the issues, it is up to us to be accountable and figure how to overcome the hurdles and make the sale. If someone is not a buyer, either figure out what you can do to change that, or find someone who is – everything else is an excuse and avoiding the accountability that professional sales requires. As a friend once said “isn’t sales great, and if it was easy they wouldn’t need us!” Embrace accountability – realize sales success.
One last thing to keep in mind, each of these is in you power to impact, change or ignore.
What’s in Your Pipeline?