This week I want to talk about two qualities that are crucial for success in sales.
Persistence and determination.
In last Saturday’s blog, I talked about the incredible comeback of Tiger Woods and the lessons we can learn from him as salespeople. All I could think of when following this return to success was just how much sheer persistence and determination Woods must possess. How easy would it have been for him to have faded into a quiet life, away from his past controversy and embarrassment? And yet, he didn’t give up and he won the Tour Championship, proving everyone wrong.
So, persistence and determination are crucial to success in the sporting world but they’re equally as important in the sales world. A study completed a few years ago found that 80% of sales take place after 5 – 12 interactions with prospects. I have no doubt that that figure could be higher now.
So what does this show if you give up too early? Yes, you’re right – it means you miss the boat and miss the chance to win your own sales competition.
One of the questions I get asked a lot is “How do I know if I’m being too pushy?”.
This question tends to arise when people haven’t qualified their prospects properly.
When you approach your prospect, never assume that they are interested in you, when they actually may not be. You could have a conversation with them, let them know what you are offering etc., agree to follow up at a later date, all when your prospect was not really interested in the first place. By doing this, you are wasting your own time, and theirs.
Qualifying your prospect stops this situation occurring. The way to qualify them is to understand their:
- Budget: Do they have the budget necessary for what you are offering?
- Authority: Are they authorised to make this decision or is someone else involved in the process?
- Need: What does your prospect actually need? What problem, need or want do they have that needs solving?
- Timeline: What has prompted them to address this issue now? What time frame are they looking at?
I like to say that it is not your prospect’s job to contact you; it is your job to follow up with your prospect. Let’s face it – people get busy. Life happens.
You may not be at the forefront of your prospect’s mind, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t want, and need, what you have to offer. If you have qualified that the prospect is relevant, and they really have a need/desire for what you can offer, you should be persistent. Too many people give up too early in the sales process because they think that after a few calls, the prospect isn’t interested.
Don’t make too many early judgments like this IF you have qualified them properly and built a good initial rapport. Tiger Woods had many times when he made a comeback which didn’t quite work out and he could have easily given up. He didn’t though. He was determined to get himself back to where he once was.
If you have a vision and a set of targets you know you HAVE to achieve and you know what it will take to achieve that vision, determination and persistence are the keys to making it a reality. You already know you want to increase sales. Being clear on what actions make that possible means that you can work towards making these actions habit.
A little example of how powerful good habits can be…
Back in September of last year, I set myself a goal. I really wanted to walk 12,000 steps a day, every day, for a whole year. I started on that same day and I built it into my routine until it became second nature and I didn’t have to give it much thought. And now, a year on, I am pleased to say that I achieved my initial goal, and I have walked 12,000 steps every day for the past 365 days. (No excuse not to carry on now!).
I know that this wasn’t an insurmountable challenge, but I knew from the start that if I didn’t turn this into a habit, I would struggle, and ultimately, would fail to reach my target. And I would have felt pretty lousy about that.
If you can set your vision, plan what you need to do to achieve that goal, and create habits to help you take steps towards achieving your goal, every day – you will get there. All it takes is dogged determination and persistence (just ask Tiger Woods!).