Sick of Selling? Donít
Quit Just Yet
Your attitude will defeat you faster than any problem
you'll ever have or any competition you'll ever encounter when selling
advertising in your associationís publications. Here are three tips on how to build a
killer sales attitude ó even when you feel like quitting.
By Dr. Alan Zimmerman
Life in sales isn't
fair. You know that. Some association salespeople have more than their share of
difficulties, and some get more breaks than they deserve.
What fascinates me is
how salespeople respond to their difficulties. Some of them use their
difficulties as an excuse for their lack of achievement, while others use their
difficulties as the motivation for their success.
I remember one set of
identical twins raised by an alcoholic father. At age fourteen, the twins were
sent to separate foster homes, not to be reunited for some thirty years. When
they were brought together at age 44, they were interviewed on a TV talk show.
One of the twins had become an alcoholic like his father, while the other one
had become a teetotaler. When the TV host asked them why they turned out the
way they did, they both gave the same answer. Each of them said, "What do
you expect? How could I turn out any differently considering the father I had?"
Simply put, it wasn't
so much their difficulty that made the difference in their lives. It was their
response to the difficulty that made them a winner or a loser.
The same is true in
your association publishing career: Your attitude determines your altitude.
Good sales attitudes tend to bring good sales results, and bad sales attitudes
tend to bring bad sales results. In fact, your attitude will defeat you faster
than any problem you'll ever have or any competition you'll ever encounter.
So how do you develop a
killer sales attitude?An attitude that will get you back up when you get
knocked down by objections, price comparisons, unethical tactics, and a host of
other things?You need to do three things:
catastrophizing. The more you fret about your lack of sales, about not
meeting your sales quota, or whatever you
fret about, the less energy youíll have to work your way out of the slump. Youíll
even lose your ability to think clearly and strategically.
So catch yourself thinking or uttering Mind Binders, which are
negative self-judgments.Theyíll destroy your confidence and, left
unchecked, theyíll destroy your sales career. So catch yourself when you begin
to think such things as "Iíll never get ahead Ö I wasnít cut out for this job Ö
Iím no good at prospecting Ö or Ö I donít know how to close a sale.ĒThey
will never serve you well.
And then, stop yourself from the continued use of Mind Binders.Tell
yourself, "Cancel, CancelĒ when a negative thought comes to mind.Or talk
back to yourself, firmly and repetitively, saying, "Now stop it. Just
stop it.Ē By doing so, you take control of your mind rather than have it
control you. Youíve taken the first step in building a killer sales
2. Stay calm. When you think of Tom
Edison, you think of such words as inventor, genius, and entrepreneur.You
probably donít think of him as a salesman ó but indeed he was.If he
couldnít sell his ideas, he never would have gotten money from the banks to
finance his projects.And if he couldnít sell his inventions to the
public, he would have soon been out of business.
One of the secrets to
his sales success was the killer attitude of calmness.When his 10-year
project to build a storage battery was destroyed in a fire, he didnít panic. He
yelled to his son: "Go get your mother. Tell her to hurry up and bring her
friends. They'll never see a fire like this again."
The next morning,
Edison called all of his employees together and made an incredible statement.
He said, "We're rebuilding." He told one man to lease all the machine
shops in the area. He told another one to get a wrecking crane. Then, as an
afterthought, he asked, "Oh, by the way, anybody know where we can get
Edison stayed calm. I'm
sure he had some feelings of disappointment and discouragement. That seems
fairly normal. But he didn't let his feelings take over. He did what needed to
be done. He stayed calm.
What about you?
When you encounter sales problems, do you panic?Do you talk incessantly
about how bad things are? Or do you stay calm?
Youíve got to stay calm
because your mind cannot function at its peak when itís all agitated.Your
mind canít think of new and better ways of selling your associationís media
products if itís tied up in knots. So stay calm.
Of course, that may
sound easier said than done ó but thereís a trick to it.Attitudes and feelings
always follow behavior.So if you act calm, even if you donít feel calm, you
will eventually be calm, with a stronger and more positive attitude.
3. Keep on
practicing your sales skills. Competence and confidence go hand in
hand.If youíre really good at what you do, youíre bound to feel more
confident.If you keep on practicing your advertising sales skills, youíre
going to be more competent, and youíre going to get a killer sales
are two times when a salesperson stops practicing the basics in sales: when
things are going poorly and when things are going well.When things are
going poorly in sales, when a salesperson gets knocked down and feels like
quitting, chances are he has stopped practicing the basics in sales.Heís
taken some shortcuts that are hurting him. Just as commonly, a salesperson
might reach a new high in her career, and she does the same thing.She
thinks sheís so good she can stop practicing the basics in sales.And then
she hits bottom, gets a negative attitude, and wonders what
Youíve got to keep on
practicing to maintain a killer sales attitude and move toward higher levels of
success.Long ago, professional basketball star Bob Petit proved
that.Even though he became one of the highest scoring players in the
sport, it wasn't that way in the beginning.
As a freshman in high
school, Bob was weak, frail, and uncoordinated. All he really had going for
himself was the determination to practice. Bob began with a wire coat hanger
that he bent into the shape of a basketball hoop. Hour after hour, day after
day, he threw tennis balls through his makeshift basket. Eventually his father
got him a real basketball and hoop. Bob would throw baskets after school every
day, eat dinner, and then go back to practice. It wasn't too long before he
became the star of his church team, then his high school team, college team,
and finally a professional team.
It's the same for you
and me. There are few shortcuts on the road to sales success. We all have to
practice first and then keep on practicing.So itís no wonder that the
most talented sports figures, singers, dancers, movie stars, speakers, and salespeople
have coaches to refine their craft.
What are you doing on a
regular basis to keep on practicing and refining your sales skills?If the
answer is "not much,Ē then donít expect too much in the way of sales
4. Hang in there. Itís natural to feel
disappointed and discouraged when things arenít going well in sales.Itís
natural to get a bit negative during those times.But itís not helpful because if you
lose your positive attitude, you will lose everything ó including the chance to
turn things around.
You canít quit just
because it's too hard to keep going. Be careful of putting too much stock in
your feelings. Feelings are a useful piece of data in any decision you make,
but they should not have the final say in doing what you know you should be
doing.Your feelings get a voice, but they donít get a veto.
That's how Muhammad Ali
became great. He even said, "I hated every minute of the training, but I
said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.íĒ
The most successful
salespeople keep on working when they feel like walking. They keep on building
when they feel like bailing. They refuse to let their feelings take over. They
just keep on doing what needs to be done when the tough times come.
Take a look at the
Olympics. You canít help but notice one outstanding characteristic of the gold
medalists. Very few of them were natural-born athletes, but almost all of them
had a killer attitude.
If and when you ever
feel like walking away from your association sales career, just remember you
donít have to.You can turn it around with these four keys to a killer
Dr. Alan Zimmerman speaks to organizations that want to transform the people
side of their business.He is author of The
Payoff Principle:Discover the 3 Secrets for Getting What You Want out of
Life and Work.