How many people do you know who have tried selling at some point in their lives? Out of all of those people, how many failed?
The answer to the first question is easy, probably quite a few. At some point or other in their lives many people have had a go at selling even if only as a student or in their first job. You may not know the answer to the second one... it's probably most of them!
Probably most of them.
Oh, for sure, they'll tell you that they did well. They'll tell you that they sold bucket loads! They'll tell you that they were a top sales performer. They'll even talk knowledgeably about how to sell. It's amazing what a good game people who only sold for a few weeks and never had any sales training can talk! They'll talk about open questions and wants and needs like they know what they're talking about but... seriously... most of them failed!
Not all, but most!
Top salespeople lead an enviable life. They earn great money. They win promotions. They have job security. They have respect, opportunity and friends. They have freedom, career choices and financial independence. They have fun, challenge and variety.
So if you had all of that, why would you leave? Mostly only if you weren't getting those things at all! I met a friend of a friend in the pub the other night and he looked scathingly at me when I said that I was a sales training expert and told me that he left sales for "more security" and opportunity. He earns in a month what I earn in a day. I recently heard that his company are looking to "cut back" in his department. Nuff said!
But why this tirade? And why today?
Simple. This week I worked with a really great team of salespeople. They were enthusiastic, interested, open and up for it. They embraced the fact that selling is simple and they wanted to master those simple skills. Sales is so simple in fact that nearly anyone could be very successful in sales. So simple that everyone in the room could achieve sales success if they chose to go for it...
So if selling is so simple why can't everyone do it?
Because selling is about attitude. Selling is an attitude. Selling is an attitude that leaves behind a trail of techniques. Now don't get me wrong here... sales skills are very important, very important indeed. Anyone who has been through a sales training programme with me or who has attended one of my sales seminars will know just how important I believe sales skills are...
But they're not the key factor in this equation. They're only a part of the equation. And on the other side of that equation is attitude. Without the right attitude you won't be able to access your skills. Frankly, without the right attitude, you're in trouble. If you can get and maintain the right attitude then you will make a success of yourself in sales and selling. Period. If you can't, you won't. It's goodnight sweetheart!
I would far rather hire someone with all of the right attitudes and potential and train them on the skills side than I would wrestle with someone with all of the skills and experiences who cannot be bothered any more!?The former salesperson I can train because they want to learn, the latter I have to re-motivate and re-educate. Possible but much harder...
You've probably worked with or recruited a salesperson who had all of the right attitudes but was light on skills. They probably did pretty well. It usually gets put down to "beginner's luck" but it's not "beginner's luck", its "beginner's attitude".
And it's at this point that many people not in sales might be tempted to conclude that sales and selling is easy. Something for thickos, something that anyone can do.
Just so wrong!
The hardest thing in the world is getting, keeping, maintaining and improving the right attitude. In sales you never know when you might run into someone who is going to be your best ever client. You never know if the next sales call is going to win you a multi-million account. You never know which meetings are going to convert and which aren't...
And this makes it hard because you have to be on top sales form for every call. Top sales form for every presentation. Top sales form for every meeting. Top sales form for every negotiation. Top sales form for every conversation. Top sales form for every communication. Top sales form. Top sales form. Top sales form.
Not for you the mindless "going through the motions" that some non-salespeople can get away with for periods of time. You have to be switched on, tuned in, fully focused, up for it, raring to go, playing from a 10, on the ball...
Salespeople often say to me that cold calling (for example) is repetitive and boring...
Wrong attitude! You have to be on top sales form for every call. It might be your 47th call of the week or the day but it is your client or prospect's first experience of you. You have to be on top form, you have no safety net!
To make matters worse, salespeople get faced with problems and challenges every day. Difficulties, challenges, issues, rejection and objection are a part and parcel of our daily lives and we need to smile through them and stay on top sales form.
So if selling is so simple, why can't everyone do it?
Because selling is about taking personal responsibility for your own attitude, your own behaviours and your own results. Selling is about smiling when you don't feel like smiling. Listening when you don't feel like listening, Caring when you don't want to care. Standing up when you feel like lying down. Pushing on when you feel like giving up. Firing on all cylinders when you feel like throttling down. Taking responsibility when you want to pass the buck.
Selling provides virtually unrivaled opportunities for anyone who is prepared to commit themselves. Your degree won't help you. Your qualifications and exams won't help you. Your resume won't help you. The only person who can help you is you. And that's too much of a leveler for most people.
Handbrake off, safety net removed, crash helmet discarded.
Most people want to blame someone else. It's all about what they didn't get, who didn't help them, who let them down, whose fault it is, why they weren't on top form, why they deserve another chance, why they should have done better...
If you want to maximise your sales performance and be a top sales performer you need to let all of this go now and focus on delivering the right attitude at the right time, no excuses.