Thomas Edison said it this way: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
Here Art shares the simple formula for winning. I said simple, not easy:
You beat 50 percent of the people at your company by working hard.
You beat another 40 percent by being a person of honesty and integrity.
The last 10 percent is a just a plain old dogfight as you jockey to become #1.
Anybody that has told you that selling success at your company is a make-money-fast proposition has also got some swamp land they want to sell you. Selling success takes hard work, probably harder than you have ever worked before. The good news is the potential income is probably greater than you’ve had a chance to earn before on previous jobs, so it will definitely be worth it when you get there.
Art reminds us that believe it or not, work isn’t fatal! People die from stress, worry, and fear, but not hard work. No matter how hard you work or how many hours you put in, you can just keep working because before you die, you will pass out. God wired you that way. When you come to, take a hot shower, get some rest and you will be ready to show up and go at it again tomorrow.
Most people don’t give themselves enough time. You’ve got to work hard for several years, not months. Throughout my career I (Doug) always hated to see salespeople that I trained or coached do pretty well early, but end up giving up and leaving for a “good job” when they realize it will take a couple of years to succeed at the level they desire. They always leave for another job that ends up offering less opportunity, but the grass always seems to look so much greener from where they are at the time.
I remember a sales guy that worked for a company where I conducted sales training for newly hired outside salespeople. Following his initial training he sold there for almost a year, and was doing quite well for his tenure. But he gave up too soon, and left to be a service writer at a local Ford dealership, where he had been “sold” on what a great opportunity it would be, since he would no longer have an irregular commission income. For the next couple of years I would see him when I would stop in for service on my company vehicle, but every time I saw him his attitude seemed to heading further south. Promises made to him weren’t being kept, and the green grass income level hadn’t materialized. I tried to convince him to come back to my company, but his pride wouldn’t let him do it. What a shame, as one day he disappeared from the dealership, a political casualty of an ownership change there.
Not only do you have to work hard, you must also master the fundamentals. Too many sellers are searching for a system that guarantees success, but the system isn’t the key. Football is a good example of this principle. Different teams use different formations but still win. Some win with a “pro set”, others with the “wishbone”, and still others with an “I-formation”. So it’s not the system that brings about the victory but rather the team that wins does a better job of blocking and tackling and is in better physical condition that their opponents.
While I am referencing football, although I grew up in Kentucky, my Big Blue loyalty only extends to basketball season. During football season I’ve always been an Alabama fan, and can remember well our legendary coach “Bear” Bryant.
He coached at four colleges, Maryland, Kentucky, Texas A&M, and Alabama. Each of those schools had a losing record when he went there. He started with the same players, same facilities, and the same alumni as the coaches before him. At each school, almost immediately, things began to improve and the team began to win.
Most people just assume that Coach Bryant was a football genius, but that’s not true. Those close to him knew that where other coaches coached football, Coach Bryant coached people, and the techniques he used involved the fundamentals of the game.
Your personal selling success will unfold one step at a time just like it did for Coach Bryant’s players. That’s why one of my favorite slogans is, “inch by inch it’s a cinch, but yard by yard it’s hard.”
Recently I (Doug) interviewed a sales guy who qualified for his first corporate incentive trip after six years at his company. He was the first seller to accomplish this from his location. He said he used to think it was just impossible, although he always made a decent living. But he just kept applying the fundamentals, inching his way along, and logged the following annual sales increases that put him over the top, during the four years of the Great Recession: +11%, +17%, +6%, +14%. He finally accomplished “the impossible”, and he and his wife had a great time at the week-long all expenses trip at a western Canadian resort.
That’s why it’s crucial to master the fundamentals that will lead you to your personal championship. You can’t just read about them and then go on to something else. You have to apply them to your business life and think about them every day. Sometimes you will be like a juggler with too many balls in the air, and will drop one of your fundamentals. Reach down, pick it up, work on it one more time, and eventually you will get there.
Art closes this chapter by saying that, “I hope you realize that nobody’s going to strike an oil well in your back yard. You are the one who has to change. If you don’t, the person you see in the mirror right now is going to be exactly the same one you see there five years from now; plus some weight, wrinkles, and more gray hair.”
Art’s advice: Get fundamentally sound and stay fundamentally sound.
If you have been around the sales profession for a while, how about Speaking Your Mind below and sharing how you got fundamentally sound?
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