It’s great to be a successful salesperson. You make a lot of money, your management gives you more leeway and perks that others don’t get, and you become a person who is confident that they’ve mastered their craft. But just like anything else, the most successful people don’t get there without a plan and a process, and that usually involves constant planning, analysis, and adjustment. You can only get so far on natural ability, to be the best you need to always be critical and keep a running dialogue going with yourself. That’s why successful salespeople usually ask themselves these five questions:
1) What are my goals? – Successful people don’t sit around staring at their goals, but they are acutely aware of what they are at all times. This means their monthly, quarterly, or annual sales goals, their short and long-term financial goals, all the way down to their daily goals. Many of the best salespeople even get as granular as identifying their goals for a particular phone call or meeting, instead of just winging it and going in hoping for the best possible outcome. They say that “A goal without a plan is just a wish,” but a plan without a goal is a map that leads nowhere.
2) Do I believe in myself? – While salespeople tend to a be a relatively self-confident bunch, we also can get caught up in negative thinking and self-doubt, a result of a job where your results are routinely measured and impossible to hide. But if you don’t believe that you have what it takes to get better, to overcome your obstacles, and be the best, then you don’t have a chance in the world of ever getting there. Sales isn’t like a slot machine where the luck of the draw determines your success without any regard to how you feel about your own abilities. Sales is a marathon, where what you do everyday and how you do it determines whether you succeed or not, and even though there are lots of factors at play, the best will rise and become the best no matter where they go, partly because they believe in their abilities and never let external factors change that.
3) Where can I improve? – Being self-aware enough to accept and level criticism at yourself is one of the best signs of emotional intelligence, and separates the best salespeople from everyone else. Someone who is arrogant enough to assume that they don’t ever do anything incorrectly or have no room to grow is destined to fall from grace the minute changes start happening, and they always do. Whether it’s admitting that you’re not doing enough follow-up, or that you’re weak when it comes to asking the right questions, or something as simple as knowing that smoking makes you less marketable to customers or employers; being able to take a long hard look at yourself every day and trying to get better is what will make you into the salesperson you know you can be.
4) Am I happy? – This question is the one that is most likely to separate the best from the rest. There are so many salespeople who either hate their jobs or tend to see the glass as half empty that it’s no wonder when those same people are not coming anywhere near their true potential. How many unhappy salespeople would you want to buy something from? The difference between the cream of the crop and everyone else is their attitude. Happy salespeople aren’t always the ones who love every second of their job, and know with every fibre of their being that they are meant to work in sales. Sometimes, it’s the people who make the conscious choice to be happy with what they do, appreciate the amazing potential and benefits of their career, and understand that the happier they are, the better they will perform their job and that the success they achieve will result in more happiness that make the best salespeople.
5) How can I help someone today? – There’s a quote by the great motivational speaker Zig Ziglar; “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” There is nothing that’s more true, especially in sales. If you can change your frame of mind from thinking about how to sell someone to thinking about how you can help them, the selling part will take care of itself. Listen, identify what their problem is and offer the solution. Being helpful is so powerful that customers will oftentimes pay you more than someone else because you took the time to truly care about their problems, which gave you the most valuable currency a salesperson can ever have: trust.
The Sales Side is a website dedicated to the culture and lifestyle of salespeople. Please subscribe to our e-mail list and follow our Sales Humor page on Facebook!