Everyone is in sales. Your title doesn’t have to be Account Rep, VP of Sales, Business Development Associate or some variation thereof to be considered a salesman. Some of us are in direct sales because we’re trying to sell a product or a service. But you may have to sell an idea to your boss today, or pitch a new business line to your board. Or you may have to convince someone that you’re the right guy for the job. Even the cashier at the grocery store is trying to sell me one last thing at the register in support of a local charity.
No matter what you’re selling, there are three ingredients necessary to be successful: talent and grind covered with a gentle sprinkling of luck.
- Talent can be inherent – like charming good looks and a likeable personality – but it can also be learned and cultivated by your favorite sales guru. Find a mentor who can help you develop your sales talent and techniques, and keep up with trends via your favorite electronic means. We like Sandler Training for basic and thought-provoking technique, and Marketing Profs for marketing, content and sales tips across the board.
- Grind is the repetitive nature of the beast: making the cold calls, following up on the warm leads, proposing the hot leads and prospecting new territory. This is what we do for a living, so it’s our daily beast, and we think we do it pretty well. It is hard work though, a constant, daily effort of reaching out to new people to start a new conversation. In the summers we take Friday off.
- Luck comes in the grind, cause you just might hit the right person on the right day at the right time if you hit enough prospects. It is a numbers game, though raw talent and studied technique can lower those numbers. You still have to reach out to xxx number of people to get xx number who are interested to get x number who have a budget and a need right now. Those who don’t need you right now are still important, and they remain in your daily grind, hopefully to float to the sprinkle of luck category sometime soon.
My son is caught in this process right now. He’s selling himself: a college kid looking for a job to support his independence and his education. He’s scouted new territory (close to his new in-town digs), found the pizza place with the help wanted sign (his technique of hunger drives him), made the proposal (filled out the application), had the first and second interview, and is now waiting for a third (this is the grind part). Maybe today he’ll get a sprinkling of luck.