The two main pillars of great salesmanship are being competitive and compassionate.
This isn't a contradiction.
To excel in sales, you need to be hyper-competitive.
- Compare yourself against others.
- Keep score of revenue generated, commissions earned, deals closed.
- Be driven by this. Look at the leaderboard and feel an intense desire to be number one, to be the best, to be better than everyone else.
You need compassion. Tons of it.
- Care intensely about your customers.
- Believe in what you sell, and have a more encompassing understanding of how your product/service helps people to solve a problem or improve their life or business.
- Be mission-driven, it must be about something bigger than yourself. Passionately feel responsible to empower others with your solution. This is one of the biggest differences between true masters of the sales game and everyone else.
Why does mission matter so much?Salespeople who are stuck in the old school used car-salesman mentality are ego-driven and selfish. They just care about their commissions, their quotas, their paychecks. They're in it because of greed.
Being mission-driven is almost like possessing a superpower in the world of sales. It's a secret source of strength. If you ever fall on hard times, it's your mission that will compel you to keep pushing, rather than giving up like most people do. And the deepest learning happens beyond the point where 99% of the people have already given up. If you're driven by something bigger, you will persevere when others would already have lost hope.
Which brings me to the next big thing...
Daily defiance.Every single day, you need to resist the temptation of complacency. Every single day you need to push yourself one step further. Always have at least one leg outside your comfort zone.
Most people don't have it in themselves. They don't want it bad enough. They want a break from all the pressure. Everybody feels that way - it's normal. But normal won't lead to excellence.
Condition yourself to thrive at this. In sales, the score starts at zero every single day. No matter what you have accomplished in the past - what matters today is only what you achieve today. Nobody gets a head-start.
Sales is like sport. Every time you walk into the arena it's a completely new game.
Every single day, you need to get back in the ring, take the hits and throw your punches.
Years, not months.Most people think too short-term. Because they don't have the patience. And they don't want to put in their 10,000 hours.
Getting great at sales takes years.
Do what's difficult.Take on jobs that others shy away from. Avoid "easy money" jobs and low-hanging fruit.
Sell things that are hard to sell. Find the best people in these markets and learn from them.
Go into areas where you have to be really great just to survive. You might go broke - but desperation can turn you into a totally different kind of beast. It's going to give you the muscle, the strength and the energy to go into a market where things are easier and totally crush it there.
Seek out risk.Ask yourself: "What am I still afraid of? Where are opportunities outside my reach?"
Great salespeople are comfortable taking risks and going for things others are scared of.
"To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often."
- Winston Churchill
Study communication. Read as much as you can. Learn. Practice. Constantly sharpen your saw. Listen to audiobooks. Go to seminars. Find mentors. Become a student of human behavior. Work in places where they have the best sales culture and surround yourself with great salespeople. Master the art of the pitch.