Having worked in a sales environment for over twenty years I have been asked many times what it is that separates successful salespeople from the ‘also rans.’ If I was to pick out one thing in particular that I think made the difference, then the answer is that successful salespeople regularly do the things that other people do not like doing. This does not only relate to sales, successful people in general do the things that other people avoid doing.
Think of a successful sportsperson, what thing in particular do they do that less successful people in their sports do not like doing? Is it getting up at four am to go for a run in the cold wind and pouring rain? Is it seeking assistance from a sports psychologist or performance coach to challenge their inner demons? Is it spending hour after hour practicing after everyone else has gone home to bed? Is it cutting out the things in their diet that they love but that they know will hold them back physically? Whatever it is, it is likely to be the single most unappealing aspect of their job that they do and others do not.
In business, successful entrepreneurs will do those things that others reject because they do not like doing it. Is it the financial risks that they take that others cannot stomach? Is it reinventing the wheel in order to get a better performing, more efficient wheel? Is it charging more than their competitors to illustrate the quality of their product or service?
When I was in financial sales I remember that I worked in an office where the walls of the office were lined with shelve after shelve of archived client files. When I joined the company I was told by my fellow salespeople that the key to being successful there was to get new clients enquiries. Their rationale was good in that if a client is enquiring, then the chances are that they are going to want to buy. The only problem was that there were not enough new client enquiries to go round. I asked one of my colleagues whether they ever considered pulling some of the archived client files off the shelves and calling them to see if there was anything else that we could do for them. My colleague told me that I could “give it a go, but it’s hard getting hold of them and most of them do not want to know. In fact the ones that do want to know will only want to complain about us.” Basically it was considered hard work and so the other salespeople would put this task to the bottom of their priority list.
I decided to keep an open mind. I worked out what I was going to say to these people, who had after all bought products from the company in the past, and I stayed behind after everyone else had left the office for the day and I started calling them. I called a dozen or so every night for a fortnight, and by the end of the fortnight my diary for the next month was completely full with appointments with these “archived clients.” One year later I was the top sales person in the company and I had achieved record sales for that company. I no longer had to stay behind in the evening calling the archived client files because I had enough people being referred to me from the clients that I had seen to keep me busy for the next six months at least.
What did I do in that job that made me successful? I found the one thing that the other salespeople did not like doing, and I went ahead and did it!
Think about something that you want to get better at. Figure out, what in relation to that thing is the thing that most people who do it do not like doing? Decide to do it!!!
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