Monday, October 11, 2010

What I've Learned About Success In Sales and Services

"Plant the seed of desire in your mind
and it forms a nucleus with power to attract
to itself everything needed for its fulfillment."

-- Robert Collier

"Our aspirations are our possibilities."

-- Robert Browning

Having started in sales in 1972 and sales management in 1975, I've seen a lot of opportunities for people to excel at what they do and have seen most fail to either see the opportunity, seize it, or follow through on it. After all of these years of hiring, training and managing sales people, and studied sales, and made my own observations, I think the main reason for this is weak desire. I have come to believe by watching so many, that it is the desire to do what they do that makes all the difference.

If a person has a strong desire and they focus on their desire, they have no need to know how it will be done. How is so much less important than the desire. A weak desire is much like a wish or a hope, or a try and see what happens. It is wishy-washy, lukewarm, and reminds me of a limp, sweaty handshake. But a strong desire and focus will move mountains. A strong desire and focus will attract everything that is necessary for success. First is the strong desire. One has to want it strongly. Next is the focus on it. See it being done as if it is already accomplished. In other words, believe.

Though this sounds so simple, it is a rare combination to find in my experience. There are so many who give so little toward their own success. Instead, they seem to (and actually do) sabotage themselves at every turn. It is always circumstance, other people or influences that keep them from doing what they need to do. Those things are real indeed, but they were attracted to give them legitimate reason to quit or to perform poorly. It must be something outside of themselves to blame. It is the only way to save face.

So, rather than I should focus on the negative here, I want to instruct what I have seen that makes all the difference in excellence.

First, is the desire. It needs to be big, and grand enough to inspire. Second, is to focus on the desire, the end result as if it is done already and to keep that focus every day. When problems come up, they will be easily solved with your focus kept on the goal. Do not focus on the problems, just deal with them as if they are just part of the successful accomplishment of your desire.

Next, think beyond where you are now. More reason to focus on the desire and the full accomplishment of it today though it may be far away physically right now.

Let me give you an example:

After 25 years in the auto business, with almost 23 of those years in sales management, I have seen a lot of auto sales people and frankly, about 90% of them failed eventually. I think it is the same reason: lack of strong desire and focus and that resulted in thinking so small that they couldn't see beyond the shift they were working and the problems that were constantly surrounding them. But, rather than play with this, how could it have been different, or better? The answer applies not only to auto sales, but almost any sales or service related field, including hair dressers, dry cleaners, plumbers, and every other service related to serving the public. So, here's some ideas that can make a huge difference:

  • First has to be a strong desire. If it isn't there, find a position in an industry that fires you up. Don't settle. Find your passion. Everything else will be a sacrifice--your own.
  • Second. Fan the flames. Focus on the desire, see it already done.
  • Third. Forget about how it will be done. How is not your job. What and why is your main job.
  • Fourth. See a much larger picture that where you are now. See what you do as making a difference. It has to be bigger than you; bigger than a paycheck. It must be an inspiration; an aspiration. In other words, you love what you do, you would do it for free if money were not needed and you are fired up.
  • Fifth. Let go and open yourself up to inspirational thoughts. Take notes. Don't worry. Don't think about how, just let ideas and things come to you. When you feel inspired to act, then act. Think possibilities. The only how that is worth considering is how you will be of more service than you are now, but forget about all the other how's.
  • Sixth. Believe. Believe it will come and you will succeed. It is inevitable. You cannot be denied. You will succeed.
  • Seventh. Deal with any problems as if they are merely a twist in the road. Never focus on the problem, or what is not yet right. Focus only on the desire, the goal.
  • Eighth. Grow. Keep learning, expanding, becoming more. For you to have more, you must become more. Be of more value, more service, more pleasant. Get better. Expand your knowledge and skills. Read, study, experience, teach. Teaching by the way is the very best way to learn.
  • Ninth. Be continually grateful for every thing and every situation that comes. You will never know when a situation that looks negative could very well be the exact thing that creates superior success. Gratitude will keep all of the balls in the air and all of the wolves from the door.
  • Tenth. Enjoy the journey. The journey must be just as important and enjoyable as achieving the goal would ever be. When it is, the power is with you and in you. Have fun. Having a big goal does not mean that you have to be too serious. It is okay to show your personality. Enjoy the journey.
That's it. That's what I have learned about succeeding in sales and service in the last 40 years. If you think it is lacking specifics based on your particular field, think again, or just relate this to what you do. Apply these to what you do and failure cannot happen. It is a guaranteed success.

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