The multi-year process of rewriting the city’s development code caused a significant amount of sturm und drang, especially among the downtown folks, but...
A town that’s been booming since 1838 has its share of great salespeople. Many of their names are lost to history. Others you might know personally. Some of their successes were on a grand scale, such as selling the idea of a city-owned electric utility or our wetlands waste water treatment program or our wonderful parks and trails system. Some successes were on a smaller scale yet significant. Who would have thought people everywhere would rinse their noses with a product developed in Columbia or that car-buying would be transformed by collecting data here or that our town would become the hub of VA loans?
It’s easy to look at these kinds of models and think you’re different from the people who accomplished these successes. If you’re any kind of salesperson selling an idea, product or service, you are not any different from them. You might be working on a different scale, but it takes the same skills and thought patterns to sell a new pair of shoes as it does to sell anything else. You might not have the same resources available to you, but you are very much the same.
Riding the roller coaster
Here is how top salespeople think. They live with a blend of optimism and fear. They know they can make better lives for themselves, their customers and their co-workers if they can make a sale. They can see how the world becomes a better place as more people buy more from them. They also have a little fear in the pit of their stomachs that they might fail or that conditions might change on them or that a competitor might outpace them.
Top salespeople balance these two emotions so they never succumb to the roller coaster. They never feel too good about a win, nor do they feel too badly about a loss. They know a big win means more hard work and chances of something going wrong, so they respect a win and take care of it so it keeps their momentum moving forward and feeds their optimism. Top salespeople don’t get discouraged by losses.
They know every loss is an opportunity to get better, learn more and pivot into the next success. So they respect their losses and chalk them up to experience.
If you look at the top salespeople in our town, you see their wins and losses help sustain their enthusiasm. Top salespeople may have a calm demeanor, or they may be energetic types. In either case, they have an enthusiasm for their work that gets them up early in the morning and keeps them going.
Finding your vision
Look at yourself a moment. do you have a vision of how people are living better and feeling better because of what you sell? do you have a healthy dose of fear that you might fall short or won’t make enough sales to sustain a growing momentum? If you answer yes to both of these questions, then you share the makings of Columbia’s top salespeople.
Your next assignment is this: Learn to smooth out the emotional highs and lows while continuing to fuel your enthusiasm. Take every positive customer interaction for your fuel. Use that fuel to build the developing story of your success. Take every failure, and learn from it. Sometimes you don’t make a sale for no fault of your own. Sometimes you don’t make a sale because your preparation was inadequate, or you missed a buying sign or you weren’t on your game. don’t beat yourself up over it. There will be more prospects. Learn your lesson, and make the next contact.
If your product or service is useful and helpful, the only things that can stop you are poor financial planning and call reluctance. I can’t help you with the financial planning, but I can help you with call reluctance. The cure for call reluctance is simple: Talk to the next prospect. The difference between mediocre salespeople and top salespeople is that the top salespeople keep selling. So pick up the phone. Send another email.
Talk to the next person who passes you by. Let your fear make you smart, and let your optimism make you relentless. There are top salespeople all around this town whom you can model after and others who are looking to you as their model. So make the next call.