By Bill Hellkamp
As a selling skills trainer, I am often asked what I believe to be the “secret” to sales success. I answer, “There is no secret”, but it is obvious to anyone and mentioned as far back as Aristotle who said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” There you have it. Your success as a sale’s professional (or any other kind of professional) is based upon your habits. If you habitually perform activities which are productive, then you will have success. Most people miss the opportunity because they think that they can accomplish something by accident. But people who have achieved greatness realize that it happens based on what they do every day, day after day after day. Here is how you can move from the hope for accidental success to the reality of habitual achievement.
The first decision you must make is to rid yourself of the belief that success is an accident. You won’t “fall” into a six-figure income. You must work for it. That means you must become intentional. Each work day (often that means more than five per week) you must work with a goal to achieve what you’ve set out to achieve. What is it that you want to achieve? That is step 2.
Establish a Set of Productive Activities
You must know what it will take to achieve success in your profession. For those of us in sales it means we must contact probable buyers, meet with them and close enough deals. How we do those things can take a variety of activities such as: attending networking meetings, making prospecting calls, setting appointments, following up on proposals, asking for referrals, etc. You must develop a daily checklist of these activities and continue to refine it until you are doing just those activities which provide you with the most productivity. Then you must become a slave to that checklist. That is step 3.
Create Urgency With Your Checklist
As a salesperson, you will not fail by missing one or two goals on a particular day. But you will fail if missing those goals becomes the norm instead of the exception. The successful people I work with make an unbreakable commitment to the goals they have for each day, week or month. They will skip meals, functions and sleep in order to ensure that the goals are achieved. In order to match their success, you must develop the same level of commitment and urgency.
For most of us, success is a long-term process, not a quick event. That means they we must stay motivated despite the miss-steps and setbacks that will occur along the way. That motivation can come from inside or outside and can be positive or negative. It can be a desire for achievement or a fear of being fired. It can be that beautiful home on the lake or it can be an overdue rent check. Whatever gets you motivated is fine, but when you face the reality of not wanting to do the activities you have assigned yourself, then it is time to think of your motivators. Put up pictures of the things you want or put them on your phone. When you face a roadblock, pull out the pictures and remind yourself of why you are working harder than other people. Use these motivators as a way to push through the barriers of fear and doubt.
Get a Coach or Mentor
As mentioned before, success takes time, often a long time to accomplish. As you move along that road we suggest you get a mentor or hire a coach to help you stay on the correct path. It is often difficult to self-analyze our progress. A coach or mentor can answer questions, recommend adjustments and help guide you to new opportunities. Your mentor/coach should also be willing to challenge you in those areas where you are not getting the job done. As one of my best mentors told me, “People do what you inspect, not what you expect.” If you would like to talk about personal or sales coaching contact me here.
Eventually, your consistent effort will get you to the point where it is no longer drudgery or an effort to accomplish your productive activities. Instead, they will become core habits that are essential to you as with any other habit that you have. However, these habits will be the ones that drive you continually towards the success you desire. For another perspective on the importance of habits, read this article by John C. Maxwell.
Bill Hellkamp is the founder of REACH Development Systems. For over 25 years, this organization has been dedicated to helping individuals and teams maximize their abilities through group training and personal coaching. REACH Development specializes in Selling Skills, Leadership Development, and Presentation Skills training.