The Most Important Lessons I’ve Learned About Selling for a Living

SEMA Member News—March/April 2014  

The Most Important Lessons I’ve Learned About Selling for a Living

By John Chapin, www.completeselling.com

 

Top salespeople understand that you and you alone are responsible for your success or lack thereof. Getting Involved With SBN: From MRP to Select Committee
Top salespeople understand that you and you alone are responsible for your success or lack thereof. Getting Involved With SBN: From MRP to Select Committee 

   

After more than 26 years as a successful salesperson, here is what I know to be true about sales.

Lesson #1: If you’re looking for a 9 to 5 job with 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 on weekends. Top salespeople go above and beyond, answer their phones off-hours and are always ready to respond at a moment’s notice.

In addition to putting in extra hours and working extremely hard, top salespeople are able to 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 faint of heart. They know that you need to keep your mental edge at all times, and you must learn to use everything to your advantage.

Lesson #2: Successful salespeople always find a way to succeed

Have you noticed that the most successful salespeople remain successful regardless of how bad the economy seems to be? Have you also noticed that mediocre salespeople are always average no matter how good things are?

About 90% of the 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 become more successful. Unsuccessful salespeople use the creative brain to find ways to look busy, waste time and otherwise avoid the hard work necessary for success. They clean their desks, do paperwork in the middle of the day or schedule personal appointments during prime calling times. This is the same theory behind why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Lesson #3: Sales success or failure comes down to you

Successful salespeople know that you will be successful if you do the right activities during the day. This assumes, of course, 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 a bad break you got 15 years ago. Many others have had it much worse than you and have been successful; the top salespeople understand that you and you alone are responsible for your success or lack thereof.

Lesson #4: 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; 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 voices and sense it in the way they carry themselves. There is an overwhelming confidence that they will achieve the outcome they desire 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.

Lesson #5: You are the parent of an 18-year-old—and the 18-year-old is you

Parents of 18-year-olds know how tough it can be to get them to do some things. 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. 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.

Lesson #6: You must always be learning and improving

Top salespeople know that you can never know it all. There are always new techniques, new technologies 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 look for ways to develop themselves personally and professionally. There is no neutral or standing still; you’re either getting better and moving forward or losing your edge and moving backward. School is never out; there is always more to be learned.

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