The “secret” to sustainable success in sales is brutally simple: aggressive, constant, focused HUNTING. That’s it. By and large, the #1 reason someone doesn’t make quota is because they are not prospecting enough – and “I’ll use ‘prospecting’ as a general term for ‘seeking’” opportunities because you CAN and should prospect your own client base for opportunities as well. In my career, the salespeople who were always on top were relentless, persistent, aggressive phone prospectors. They got in early and stayed late, working the phone constantly. They were obsessed with keeping a FULL pipeline of opportunities, following up persistently and working while at work – not checking Facebook, talking at the proverbial office water cooler, screwing around with paperwork and surfing the web. They were smart about targeting the right people but didn’t waste hours obsessing over whether or not “this” person was a good person to call or “this” was the right time to call – they just picked up the phone and CALLED, knowing this is, to a certain extent, a numbers game.
- “They don’t overthink every call. (“Well, it’s lunchtime and probably not a good time to call.”)
- They don’t make overreaching, unproductive statements like “NOBODY is answering the phone,” and then use that as an excuse for not making more calls.
- They don’t waste time calling back UNINTERESTED prospects, but qualify, schedule a time to call back and do exactly that.
- They are not easily deterred by people telling them “No” and the occasional rude a-hole. They know that’s just part of the job.
- They prospect when times are good…AND when they’re bad. Especially when they’re bad.
- They INCREASE their activity during the slow times instead of complaining about it and using that as a reason for not calling or simply accepting they won’t hit quota this month.
- They skip meals and do deals, working at their desk instead of taking long, leisurely lunches.”
- They don’t work “9 to 5” but UNTIL they get their activity quota in.
- They aren’t complaining, “If I only had ________” or “If only the company would __________.” Sure, there are things every company can do to make your job more productive – but when you take a sales job, you should take it with eyes wide open and accepting that, ultimately, it’s up to YOU to make the number, no matter what the company does or doesn’t do.
The outside reps who were most productive were also aggressive prospectors. They joined multiple networking groups and SHOWED UP consistently, talking to people, handing out business cards and hustling for business. When they weren’t face-to-face with a potential prospect or client, they were burning up the phone looking for the next new opportunity, rallying under the cry of “always be closing” (or hunting, in this case). And when they had a great month, they didn’t take their foot off the gas pedal but instead kept filling their daily prospecting quota.
Bottom line is this: Sales is a GREAT profession for a person who is willing to prospect and work…a horrible one for someone looking for an easy, friction-free job (and those jobs pay the least). If you’re willing to prospect and close, you can make an above-average income (well over $150,000 to $300,000 a year), have job security AND the certainty of knowing that if the company you work for won’t pay you what you’re worth, you can EASILY find someone who will. You are ALWAYS in demand. You have the BEST job security in the world because you know how to produce – and truthfully, that IS the biggest security blanket you can have.
But if you’re a crybaby who prefers a good excuse to a good opportunity, you’re in the wrong business. Not everyone can work under that kind of “pressure.” Technically, it’s not really pressure, but performance quota – a bet on YOURSELF. Yes, there are always roadblocks, obstacles, setbacks, bad economies, competition and, of course, rejection. Hard work is not an option. But you’re not roofing in July, folks, so stop all the complaining about “how hard it is.” Such behavior only makes things worse. Never lose sight of the fact that the ONLY things you can truly control are your own actions and your chosen mindset about events. So, while you’re crying about why it cannot be done, you can bet your bottom dollar here’s someone out there getting it done.
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