Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts
Persistence and Determination alone are omnipotent.
- Calvin Coolidge
Many highly revered books on the subject of selling contend that it takes five to 10 follow-up actions with a prospect to make the first sale. Obviously, persistence is a key ingredient for sales success.
But persistence is key to everything in life and business: from meeting a deadline to losing 20 pounds; from providing excellent customer care to finishing a triathlon. The greatest skills in the world are useless unless combined with the correct amount of persistence. That amount… a bunch!
Consider: Persistence is a Byproduct of Passion.
If you see persistence, passion is at work. Passion leads to a zest for the pursuit. Plus, passion is extremely attractive. Passion is dramatically damaged by discouragement, cynicism and apathy. If you are going to be a top sales pro you must eliminate these from your vocabulary and behavior. The challenge is that facing what could be many months of sales effort can be discouraging and lead to a loss of passion. Don’t focus on the long sales process. Instead break it into a series of short steps.
Sell Yourself on Your Sales Goals.
To keep the passion, constantly remind yourself of the benefits you are expecting from your efforts. Keeping your thoughts constantly on the benefits of your sales goals will allow you to dispense with failure quickly and decisively re-adjust your sales efforts.
Persistence is Not Pushy.
Persistence is sometimes confused with being pushy and a lack or respect for the prospect. Sales persistence demands respect for and good rapport with your prospects. It is much easier to follow-up with someone you have a good relationship with. Your ability to follow-up will determine your success in sales. If you ever feel that your prospect is pulling back because of your follow up, you may want to try saying something like, “I don’t want to seem over eager or as anything less than professional. How would you like me to follow up with you?”
Keep Your Sense of Humor.
Professionals who maintain a sense of humor gain respect. Plus it’s good for you. When you laugh, you release endorphins in the brain that make you feel better. You have more energy to tackle sales challenges. People are drawn to people that are upbeat and have a positive jovial frame of mind.
Do Not To Take Rejection Personally.
I know this is tough, especially when you have passion for what you do. But consider that a huge reason so many sales people never persist is they take every sales rejection, setback, or failure personally. To an unhealthy degree, they equate the success their product or service with their personal self-esteem and thus each business setback becomes a personal failure. Work hard to get out of the limiting habit of beating yourself up mentally when you can’t get to the decision maker, when the presentation does not go well, when you forget to pop an Altoids in your mouth after that lunch of garlic and onions. By focusing on blaming yourself, you are seriously breaking down your level of resolve and persistence and believe me there are plenty of other people out there who are only too willing to do that for you. Give yourself a break. You ain’t perfect and wouldn't the rest of us feel weird if you were.
Things Can and Do Go Wrong.
Each lost sale, missed opportunity or A / V problem should not be allowed to become an emotional ‘downer’. Self pity is not part of a rocking sales professional’s make up. Re-frame the setback to your advantage. Invest the time in stepping back and analyzing what went wrong. Play the event back in your mind and try to find the words or solutions that might have made the difference. Consider that by eliminating another sales idea that didn’t work, the path to sales success became clearer. Pay constant attention to implementing necessary changes in marketing and sales strategy, while keeping long term goals the same.
Go. Do Try.
The average, self-made millionaire in this country was broke, bankrupt or financially destitute 3.7 times before becoming a financial success (I’ didn’t make that up, but I read it somewhere). Even Wal-Mart, a two billion-dollar corporation founded from nothing, had to struggle to avoid financial collapse in the early days. But Sam Walton was extremely extremely persistent and I hear Wal-Mart is doing pretty good these days. Don’t quit. Keeping doing something you believe will lead to progress. We haven’t lost until we quit trying. As the Japanese proverb teaches, the eventual winners are those who ‘fall down seven times, get up eight.’
Dean Lindsay is the author of The Progress Challenge: Working and Winning in a World of Change and Cracking the Networking CODE: 4 Steps to Priceless Business Relationships.