The challenges of learning and mastering a trade notwithstanding, it can also be a challenge to resurface, reapply and reinvent yourself on a regular basis.
Anything in life, if repeated numerous times, can get monotonous and mundane, even the high-octane world of sales and marketing. Keeping a few fundamentals near and dear to your heart can greatly ease the process.
First, recognize that you are going to be dealt your fair share of rejection. Baseball players are fortunate to get a hit one-out-of-three times they march to the plate and – it is likely – your conversion rate is far less. Hearing the word “no” over and over can be a blow to the ego (and, if you are a sales superstar, you likely have an inflated one). It is not personal and it is not uncommon. Just be able to look back on every visit or call and know (1) no one else could have closed that sale if you didn’t and (2) the specific reason why the customer did not believe your product or service would work for them. You can’t close them all, but, if you did that, you did your job.
Hark back to who you were on interview day. We lose sight of that a lot. We sold ourselves to the hiring manager that we would sign on to fulfill the duties of the position. We promised to deliver above and beyond. Chances are, we gave it our all for a while, settled into a groove and have gotten lazy about some components of the job. Always analyze yourself and your performance. Be your own toughest critic. If my name was next to a statistic, it was going to be great; never let anything that is not indicative of your skill level show up on a report with your name on it. Exude excellence in everything you do.
Keep your personal life outside the office – period. With all due respect, it’s very likely no one at work cares about your personal life anyhow. It is not because they are heartless, it is because everybody hurts (thank you, R.E.M.) sometimes. It is because we all have a job to do and we are not in the excuses business. Don’t make them. Ever. You will be branded as unreliable for the rest of your days. Persevere. People get a limited number of times they can call in sick, have an “emergency” (whether real or perceived) or complain about their marital woes or outside forces before someone is going to brand them as weak, whether it is deserved or not.
Find something that wakes you up and keeps you going. Working out in the morning, double-fisting a 44-ounce Diet Coke and a coffee, blaring “You’re the Best” from The Karate Kid on the way to work, and surrounding myself with 42 pictures of my 2-year old daughter in my office achieved these things for me. I had high energy, was surrounded by reasons why I wanted to be successful and the most important thing in my world – my baby girl – was always around to pick me up when I was down.
Lastly, don’t ever let anyone see you bleed. The food chain for you, whether you are the rep working with a customer, a manager with a rep or division manager working with a manager, you always have to be cool, calm and collected. Work through whatever is ailing you before you face the target of your presentations. Any false moves will diminish your credibility and upset the balance of future attempts.
To pick yourself up from every “no”, to bring yourself back to do a job day after day, you have to keep yourself grounded, remind yourself who you are and what you are after, and you have to always stay focused on the big picture. You may not be in your final incarnation as a salesperson just yet, but to get to the next one you have to show you can deal with anything.
All the best, and make it a great selling day!