During my sales training workshops I often ask the participants, “What do you like about the sales profession and what do you dislike about the sales profession?” The answers are then listed on a flip chart in the front of the room.
These are the answers I often receive:
What I LIKE:
- Working with people
- Solving problems
- Control my future
What I DISLIKE:
- The ups and downs
I then ask, “What is the common denominator between the two lists?” You will notice as you review the lists that there is not one policy, procedure, or product on either side. So, what is the connection between the two?
Here is comes. Are you ready? The connection is how the salesperson handles the emotional demands of the sales profession. That’s right. How you handle the emotional side of selling. More so than any profession, sales professionals move on emotions.
Here is an example. Let’s compare the accounting profession to that of sales. I admire accountants because I don’t have an analytical bone in my body. I can’t do what an accountant does. (Do you know what I do when my bank statement doesn’t balance? I change banks!) How long is the reporting period for an accountant? A month? A quarter? A year? How long is the reporting period for a salesperson? Every door knock, every handshake, every phone call. Our reporting periods come fast and furious. We are going to hear the word “no” more often than other professionals. We will have more opportunities to fail than other professionals. Therefore, we must be emotionally stronger than other professionals.
One of the many reasons I love selling is that success doesn’t depend on the color of your skin. It does, however, depend on the thickness of your skin. When you became a salesperson, you accepted the chance of hearing “no.”
Here is the key: you don’t have to like everything about selling to be outrageously successful. That’s right. You don’t have to like every aspect of selling to succeed. I find that statement to be liberating. You don’t have to like all the activities associated with selling. But you do have to perform them.
As you progress through your sales career, you have to continually evaluate yourself, your skills, your attitudes, and your growth. Do not fall into the trap of “beating yourself up.” Salespeople are famous for holding themselves to unreachable standards. Yes, you need high standards. However, you need realistic standards. Give yourself permission to be successful. You have to stop being critical of yourself when you stop being fair to yourself. Do not unfairly criticize yourself. Loosen up! Remember, angels fly because they take themselves lightly.