What does it take to become a sales success? Why do some people make it to the top. Or, more to reality -- why do some people who have the top talent, wallow in mediocrity? Big questions.
While the answers to questions of what it takes to "make it" are subjective, there are some common characteristics and principles that are attributed to those who have achieved success.
There are repeated patterns and actions of successful people. That's not surprising. Even less surprising is, that as you read these actions, there won't be any revelations. The difference is, that successful people execute the attributes every day -- and you don't.
What seven attributes do high achievers have in common? And more important, are you a master of each of these characteristics?
1. Self belief - They have the mental posture for success -- believing they are capable of achieving it. This belief must extend to their product and their company. A strong belief system seems obvious -- but few people possess it. Too many salespeople look outside (for the money they can make) rather than look inside (for the money they can earn).
2. Take advantage of opportunity - First that they recognize it. (Often it shows up disguised in the form of adversity) Second that they act on it. Opportunity is elusive. It exists all over the place, but very few can see it. Some people fear it because it involves change, most don't believe they are capable of achievement.
3. Have the right associations - Hang around the right people. Other successful people. Network where their best customers and prospects go. Join the right associations. Make the right friends. Stay away from poison people -- the one's who can't seem to get anywhere. Have a mentor or three.
4. Expose yourself to what's new - If you're not learning every day -- your competition is. New information is essential to success (unless you're like most salespeople who already know everything - lucky you)
5. Have the answers your prospects and customers need - The more you can solve problems, the easier path you will have to sales success. Prospects don't want facts, they want answers. In order to have those answers, you must have superior knowledge about what you do -- and explain it in terms of how the prospect uses what you do.
6. Take responsibility - We all blame others to a degree. Blame is tied to success in reverse proportion. The lower your degree of blame -- the higher degree of success you'll achieve. Get the job done yourself no matter what. Petty blame is rampant and the biggest waste of time
7. Willing to risk - This is the most crucial factor. No risk, no reward is the biggest understatement in the business world. It should be stated -- no risk, no nothing. It is a vital part of #1, #2 & #3. Risk is the basis of success. If you want to succeed, you'd better be willing to risk whatever it takes to get there.
7.5 Have a positive attitude - Surprisingly this is not a common characteristic. By the time many make it to the top, they have developed irreversible cynicism. But positive attitude makes achieving success much easier -- and more fun.
See, I told you -- no revelations. OK, so if these characteristics seem so simple, how come they're so difficult to master. Answer -- your lack of personal self-discipline and a dedication to life-long learning. Oh yeah, that.
I am consistently amazed and disappointed at the small number of people willing to execute the simple daily self-disciplines needed to reach higher levels of success. They know it will bring them the success they dream about, yet they fail to execute.
In sales, the person who will emerge victorious most of the time, is the person who wants it the most. Victory does not always go to the swift (hare vs. tortoise), victory does not always go to the powerful (David vs. Goliath), and victory does not always go to the lowest price (Yugo vs. Mercedes). The victory we call success goes to the best prepared, self believing, right associated, self taught, responsible person, who sees the opportunity and is willing to take a risk to seize it -- sometimes a big risk. Is that you?
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Knock Your Socks Off Selling and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless; Customer Loyalty is Priceless. To order Jeffrey's many books and/or audios and videos, go to www.yoursuccessstore.com. (c) 1999 All Rights Reserved.