If you want to be a consistently successful sales professional, you can learn a lot from those who continually experience sustained success in their careers.
Specifically, they agree that just 7 factors make the biggest difference. They are…
- A sense of urgency
- Self discipline and control
- Never assuming anything
All 7 are all equally important. One doesn’t take priority over the other.
Instead, they interact as a circle of things that you never stop doing as long as you want to experience sustained success.
Here’s how each of them work.
A Sense of Urgency
A sense of urgency means you don’t put things off. Anything that needs to be done today is done today, no matter how big or small.
The really successful sales people will even tell you that, at the end of their business day, when they look at what has to be done tomorrow, they usually don’t wait, choosing instead to proactively do some of tomorrow’s tasks today.
Many of the most successful people in history agree that persistence is a cornerstone of success. They simply don’t stop until they get what they want, until the goal they have focused on is achieved.
President Calvin Coolidge summarized it nicely,
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
Self Discipline and Control
This factor is part of the broader topic of Self-Management but in this context it simply means that consistently successful sales professionals won’t allow themselves to be seduced into making non-productive choices.
They temporarily, mentally compartmentalize the things that are not important, which allows them to focus solely on the activities that will contribute to achieving their daily goals.
They plan and think about everything in detail before they actually do it.
This includes planning for all sales related meetings as well as conversations (using any medium) they will have with other people, before they actually have them. A very important part of this planning is to consistently behave out of empathy to make sure their “intent” will not potentially be misinterpreted by anybody.
Never Assume Anything
This success factor covers all assumptions you might make around a sales situation. It means not assuming that the person on the receiving end of any information you give them knows what to do with it – just because you know what to do with it.
And, it means that you mustn’t assume that you know what to do with the information that someone is giving you, until you’ve checked the appropriate way to context what they are sharing with you.
It also cascades to not having any expectations of anyone without first, clearly and appropriately, negotiating what is specifically expected.
If you “never assume”, you are much less likely to have your intent misinterpreted.
They know the value of limited time. They know that they have at most 2000 hours a year (8 hrs. a day x 5 days per week x 50 weeks) to achieve their annual performance goals. Any hour that is squandered is lost and can’t be recovered. That’s why activity is so important to them.
In some cases, the minimum activity (such as maintaining new business or getting new business) might be 15 face-to-face meetings in any given business week. This becomes their minimum non-negotiable norm with themselves.
They do not end their business week until this weekly activity goal has been achieved.
This ties directly to the other 6 factors. Simply applied, it means they consistently follow-up on everything that is expected to be done or committed to. They don’t stop until this is achieved.
If you’re a sales professional who wants to become a consistently high performer, you may simply want view yourself against these 7 points.
If any of them are not currently included in your own evolving pattern of success, you may want to apply some of them immediately for improved sales performance results.
About the Author
Philippe is the President of Denichaud Consulting Group and the founding partner of Breakthrough Management. He has consulted internationally to businesses across many industries, positively impacting organizations from the President down to those on the shop floor. His educational background is Commerce, Finance and Industrial Psychology. He is also a Certified Management Consultant (CMC). Click here for more information on Philippe's work.
A special thank you to John Parikhal for his editorial support.