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Fail In Sales To Find Success

Some of the best sales professionals I have worked with, coached and managed all have similar traits. Tenacity, drive, curiosity, competitiveness and the ability to fail. Where do you fit?

Can you describe what traits make you a success in sales? While there are many traits, skills and habits that point to being successful as a professional sales representative, I can assure you that all of the above traits have been directly linked to the success I have witnessed great sales professionals have during their careers. However, the really awesome sales professionals all have one thing in common and it may not be what you think it is.

The Secret Sauce To Sales Success

While tenacity, drive, curiosity and competitiveness are clear connectors to success, the ability to fail is a trait that sets great sales professionals apart from the pack. They realize they can’t win if they don’t try and failure is just part of the package. You can’t win them all and you have to continue to get up and try again.

What Makes A Seller Great

If you want to be a great sales professional, you should always be focused on innovating, evolving and pressing forward. Push yourself daily towards success. Awesome sales professionals aren’t lucky or gifted,  or nor do they possess super powers. They just don’t quit, and when they fail, they try again. If you are failing, you are trying and trying is the first step to a successful sale.

What Makes A Seller Suck

Conversely, sales professionals I have coached who are struggling are often times on the complete opposite side of the fence. They put time into their work, they want to hit their daily, weekly and monthly goals but ultimately they are falling short.

What’s the difference?

Struggling sellers are afraid to fail. They spin their wheels on activities that don’t yield results, ultimately becoming ineffective. They fear putting themselves out there and falling short. Does this sound familiar?

  • You feel overwhelmed, do busy work to “focus” and ultimately get nothing accomplished.
  • Talk yourself through a plan of attack to change bad habits, refocus on your sales plan and start cold calling for new clients saying “I’ll start fresh tomorrow, Monday or next month”.
  • You justify your situation. “If my sales plan and quota hadn’t changed, I’d be doing better”.
  • Ultimately you put off what you need to do, your numbers fall farther and farther until you reach the point where you believe you can’t turn the ship. Ironically, you fail.

How To Make A Change

Change is hard, changing bad habits is even harder. Failure is the hardest. Taking the leap to correct bad sales habits is challenging and forces you to view yourself in a new light. Start small. Don’t try to change everything at once.

  • Step outside your comfort zone and do what you are most afraid of as a sales professional. Maybe it’s cold calling, presenting to a group or just dialing the phone. Whatever it is do it. Set a daily goal to do the one thing you fear the most. Each week add to that goal and eventually it will become a habit and will be much easier. You’ll succeed if you try.
  • Don’t expect to win every account you touch. Anticipate some failure as a sales professional. However, don’t let fear of failure block you from success. You’ll succeed if you try.
  • Take personal responsibility. You are the key to your success or failure. Not your boss, your dog or the guy at the McDonald’s drive thru. Only you - own it. You’ll succeed if you try.

Look For Improvement Opportunities And Ask For Help

Great sales professionals understand their weakness and strengths. They harness their strengths and drive their business from that focus. Having said that, they don’t ignore their weakness and they constantly work to make themselves better. Find ways to improve.

  • Partner with a Sr. Sales Professional in the office you can learn from. Go on a ride along to visit his or her accounts and learn from the visits. Let your peer know you respect their abilities and want to learn from them. Most coworkers will gladly mentor you and will be flattered by the request.
  • Attend a sales conference where you can learn from speakers as well as other attendees. Most sales professionals hate conferences because it takes them out of the field; their poor attitude hinders them from learning. Attend with an open mind. I guarantee you will learn something new.
  • Ask questions. You can’t learn if you don’t ask.
  • Seek a seasoned professional as a mentor. Target someone who is at a managers level or above. Look for an individual who has been in your shoes and grown professionally. Having a third party help you navigate your career is immensely helpful. Your mentor may be a professional career coach, a current or past supervisor or a past or present colleague. Focus on finding someone you can be completely open with. If you can’t expose your true self to this person, they will have a hard time mentoring you and driving change.

Being a great sales professional isn’t a mystery. It goes back to tenacity, drive, curiosity, competitiveness and the ability to fail. Focus on controlling what you can control, you. Your actions, and lack thereof, are the number one reason you will succeed or fail as a sales professional. As soon as you come to terms with this and begin to change you’ll succeed. And as always, Be Amazing! - Jeanna

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Polish Your Sales Presence

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About The Author

Recognized nationally as an industry leader in resume writing and career coaching, Jeanna McGinnis, CPRW is a Founding Board Member at ReResumeMe.com, a Board Member at A Players Executive Search Group Inc. and a recognized Coach for Forbes Coaches Council. Leveraging more than 16 years of experience directing hiring practices for multiple Fortune 100 companies, Jeanna and her team are refreshing how busy professionals brand, market and drive their careers. Please connect with Jeanna on LinkedIn or the ReResumeMe team on Twitter to simplify your career with updates on careers, job search and resume best practices!

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