Want Sales Success? Show Up Every Day and Earn It
As I write this, my daughter is complaining that she can't sleep. She's been in bed for an hour, and it just isn't happening yet. It's frustrating for her because as far as she's concerned, she should close her eyes and suddenly wake up the next morning.
She's nine. For her, that's the norm, so she doesn't have the perspective to know that some nights it's going to be a lot easier (or harder) than others.
For a lot of salespeople, especially those new to the position and the career, similar expectations creep in. Somewhere along the way, you were duped into thinking that it would be easy.
...that you could follow a simple [insert number here] step program to having millions of followers, and that they would all hang on your every word and buy everything you had for sale.
...that a template email or call script will get a response or a callback every time.
...that overnight success is a repeatedly attainable concept.
There is certainly a skill set that can be taught and learned that will allow salespeople, particularly with B2C and transactional sales, to have some early successes. It's still laughable to me how often I get calls asking me if I can help them "drum up some sales." It's as if I can wave a magic wand, create a pipeline, and turn on the faucet of new customers in the course of a couple of calls...
It doesn't help that many companies and managers take a sink-or-swim approach to hitting revenue targets. "If you can't hit your numbers, we'll find someone who will."
Tell me, if that's the standard being set, and you've got any modicum of self-confidence, where on Earth would you get the impression that you couldn't have success immediately?
This perspective, or rather lack thereof, is one that plagues salespeople and lulls them into short-sighted complacency. If sales and revenues can be turned on when they're needed (often at the end of the month), then why work the other three weeks? Before too long, customers are demanding (and waiting for) the discounts they've been trained to expect, morale and profitability go through the floor, and the job gets frustrating. Sound familiar?
Sure, a few people may be unbelievably fortunate, but that's not a game you can bet on and win. True mastery comes with time, experience, and dedicated intentional practice.
The way you become an overnight success is by practicing and growing for years.
The way you get millions of (meaningful) followers is by showing up every day and connecting.
The way you get people to respond to your calls is by having something meaningful and valuable to say to the individual you're reaching out to.
You can dream of success, just make sure you're showing up every day to earn it. You have to be willing to make an investment in yourself, in your network, and in your customers, and those investments require time to come to maturity. There's just no rushing it, no matter how badly you want to. The work needs to be done every day. If you can discipline yourself to do that work, then you might just find ten years from now that you've become an overnight success.