Early in my career, I developed a list of guidelines for how to achieve sales success. After a few different versions, I ended up with 11 that I live by everyday. Then after a major career change, I added a 12th: Make sure you always have a plan B.
This exercise, and the resulting guiding principles, has helped me stay focused, which resulted in a very positive impact on my sales career.
The new ebook, 12 Guiding Principles to Sales Success, will dig into each guiding principle with insights and tips to help you work smarter, harder and better than you ever did before. Here are the highlights.
Guiding Principle #1: Work Smart and Hard
When was the last time you hit your breaking point? Until you do, you’ll never find out how good you can actually be. Wake up a little earlier tomorrow, stay a little later, and make an extra call at the end of the day. Understand what hard work and dedication is all about and where it can take you.
Guiding Principle #2: Always Ask for Feedback
I want to hear and understand feedback as directly and quickly as possible so I can adjust and get better. I don’t see the point in giving or getting feedback any other way. How else can we improve if someone isn’t going to be honest with us and tell it like it is, no matter how hard it might be to digest? We should constantly be asking for feedback from everyone around us.
Guiding Principle #3: Set High but Attainable Goals and Tell People About Them
The best sales professionals in the world set daily, weekly, monthly, annual and life-long goals. They also write them down and tell people about them. Without goals, you’re letting someone else dictate your path. With goals, you define the path and have a focal point to drive toward.
Guiding Principle #4: Earn Everything
Most sales reps don’t earn the right to make a cold call. They pick a list of names, smile and dial and hope for the best. Or, they put together a template email and blast it out to 1,000 contacts hoping they’ll get lucky. It’s actually not that hard to earn the right to make a call or send an email to someone you don’t know. Just do a little bit of research and have a valid reason for reaching out. The more research you do, the more relevant you can be, and therefore, the more you earn the right to reach out, not to mention increase the likelihood of a positive response.
Guiding Principle #5: Be Open and Honest with Everyone, Especially Yourself
When there is distrust everything ends up falling apart. This is true with managers, employees, partners, customers, and everyone else, especially yourself. At the end of the day, honesty is by far the best policy. If you screw up with a client, run late to a meeting, or forget to do something you were supposed to, etc., own it, take responsibility and move on. The more you try and cover it up, the worse it gets.
Guiding Principle #6: Don’t Think You’re Better than Anyone Else (And Know No One is Better than You)
Don’t consider yourself a sales rep. Think of yourself as a business professional that happens to be in sales. This evens the playing field. For instance, the secretary is also a business professional in the secretarial field. The CEO is a business professional in the C-Suite. We all put our pants on the same way. We all bring value.
Guiding Principle #7: Confidence Overcomes Most Shortcomings (Except an Ego)
There is a fine line between ego and confidence. An ego acts as a repellent. Confidence draws people in like a magnet. Sales professionals need to build and exude confidence, while avoiding an ego at all costs.
When making cold calls, have the mentality that you’re doing the prospect a favor but not in an arrogant way. I truly believe that I make a difference for the right client. There is a benefit to the client, which is why I never apologize for making that call.
Guiding Principle #8: Find Your Passion or Find Something Else to Do
Sales is the transfer of enthusiasm. Sales is one of the hardest professions in the world, but when you genuinely believe in what you do, it is a lot easier. You need the passion in order to be successful.
Guiding Principle #9: What Goes Around Comes Around
Do things for the right reasons and treat people with respect along the way and you will achieve success.
Guiding Principle #10: You can Learn Something New from Everyone and Every Situation
Don’t bypass and disregard the people that are not the decision makers. While they may not have a direct impact on your sale, you can learn something from them, good or bad. That will help you be more effective and successful.
Guiding Principle #11: Get 1% Better Every Day
Set the bar at a high (but attainable) level and then, once you reach that bar, don’t set another higher bar. Instead, focus on getting 1% better every day.
Guiding Principle #12: Make Sure You Have a Plan B
No matter how successful you are at the moment, always have a plan B. This will help you prepare mentally for anything that comes your way. Whether it’s a sudden job change or a specific deal you’re trying to close, always remember the worst-case scenario and plan for it.
These are my guiding principles and I hope they not only help you become a better salesperson, but inspire you to think of your own guiding principles. Read more about each principle in the ebook, 12 Guiding Principles to Sales Success or in the presentation below.
Dig deeper into these guiding principles with the free ebook below.