How to Guarantee Success in Sales
By: John Chapin
Sales success can be broken down to an almost mathematical equation that works every time. There is a direct correlation between work and results when it comes to sales success. If you do the proper amount of work in three key areas, you pretty much guarantee sales success. If you don’t do the proper amount of work in those three areas, you will struggle and may fail completely.
Let’s start with the key to sales success which is: Talking to enough of the right people the right way. If you talk to enough of the right people, in other words, people who want and need your product now, have the means to invest in it, and have the ability to make a buying decision, and you talk to them the right way, meaning you say the right things, you’ll make the sales you need to make. In order for that to happen you have to put the proper amount of work into three key areas, one: number of contacts, two: sales skills, and three: product and industry knowledge.
While all these areas are important, the first one, number of contacts, is the most important. If you read my articles with any regularity or you’ve heard me speak, you’ve undoubtedly heard me say that 99.9% of the time when someone fails in sales, they fail due to a lack of activity; they didn’t make enough contacts to get enough leads, to make enough sales, the other .1% of the time someone fails in sales, they got hit by a bus. Literally in my 36 years in sales, every time I’ve seen someone fail in sales it’s been a failure of usually all three of the activities we’re talking about here, but it’s always, and primarily this first one, not making enough contacts. Another saying of mine is ‘Even a blind pig finds corn’, in other words, if you’re out calling on enough people, you’ll eventually bump into someone who says, “I need what you have” or, “I know someone who needs what you have.” The bottom line on area number one is: you’ve got to make enough contacts, to get to enough people, to ultimately make enough sales.
The second area, sales skills, is the second most important. The reason the number of contacts is more important than sales skills is because someone with the greatest sales skills in the world who doesn’t call on anyone, or very few people, will almost always make fewer sales than someone with average or bad sales skills calling on hundreds of people. When it comes to sales skills you have to do enough work in this area so that you know exactly what to say in each and every sales situation. You must then commit all that knowledge to memory so that the responses flow smoothly and easily on sales calls. It’s simple, provided a salesperson can get through the gatekeeper to the decision maker, get and keep the decision maker’s attention, say what they need to say to set an appointment, effectively qualify the prospect, find wants, needs, desires, and problems, tailor that into an effective presentation and quote, answer any questions, overcome any objections, close the sale, keep the sale closed, and go on and build the long-term relationship, they’re going to make some sales. These sales skills coupled with area number one, the proper amount of contacts, will lead to a good amount of sales.
Finally, we have the third area, which is knowing your industry and your product or service. This is the third most important area. The reason it’s the third most important is because if you’re not calling on enough people and when you do call on people, you don’t know what to say, all the technical knowledge in the world won’t bail you out. That said, if you are making enough calls and you have the sales skills necessary, then you add that to strong technical skills, in other words, knowing your industry and product well and specifically why people should absolutely buy your product, your company, and you, now you’ll be unstoppable.
If you are at least average in intelligence and people skills, your sales success will be virtually guaranteed by working hard, correctly, and enough in the three areas mentioned above. The biggest mistake I see salespeople make is that they avoid this work as much as possible. They look for shortcuts and ways to game the system. While it’s one thing to work smart, and you should do that, the goal of their shortcuts is to avoid the work necessary for success while at the same time avoiding any discomfort that comes from rejection and putting themselves out there in the world. Avoiding the work I’ve outlined here leads to failure, doing this work leads to success. Sales is like jiu-jitsu, playing hockey, or anything else you want to get great at in life, you have to do the drills and put in the hours to get the results. You’ve got to do the necessary work to be successful.
#1 Sales Rep w 34+ years’ experience, Author of the 2010 sales book of the year: Sales Encyclopedia (Axiom Book Awards) – also the largest sales book on the planet (678 pages).
John Chapin is a motivational sales speaker, coach, and trainer. For his free eBook: 30 Ideas to Double Sales and monthly article, or to have him speak at your next event, go to www.completeselling.com. John has over 34 years of sales experience as a number one sales rep and is the author of the 2010 sales book of the year, Sales Encyclopedia (Axiom Book Awards). You can reprint provided you keep contact information in place.