by Anneli Thomson, Managing Director, October 2014
Why is the business of selling such a struggle? I’ve seen so many people over many years get worn down working long hours, getting stressed, and becoming annoyed with their results. Often it’s not because they weren’t working enough, they were simply not working on the right end of the problem.
The old adage, “sales is a numbers game” is hugely misleading. There’s no question you’ve got to continually make new contacts and find new opportunities but that’s only step one in the business development process. Have you ever heard a fellow salesperson say, “Well, [the prospect] will give up before I’ll give up,” only to spend countless hours and days doggedly pursuing an order from that person.
Perhaps they got the sale simply because the prospect just wanted them to go away. The problem with that scenario is that it doesn’t bode well for a future relationship, simply to close something for the sake of closing it.
On the other side of the spectrum, we sometimes see salespeople who feel like simply showing up is 80% of the work. Anyone can grab at the low-hanging fruit. However, it’s a tough way to impact your long-term success. You’re going to cause yourself a lot of frustration if you show up and hope you’ll get lucky. That’s why world-class athletes, musicians, and business people work at their craft to become the best - they work systematically at preparing, strategising and executing their plan. They don’t just show up.
Why try to push a rock up hill? That’s exactly what you do when you spend time and energy trying to get someone to buy what he or she doesn’t want, need or afford. There are thousands of prospects who need what you have and are looking for a professional with whom they can work to help solve real problems. The key is to find them. There are systematic processes to make the business of selling less work and more successful.
There are no awards for working extended hours, developing high blood pressure and ulcers. Sales can be a great career if you do it right.