I got my first sales job way back in 1986 when I began selling financial services products. I had not taken the further education route, I’d had all sorts of jobs prior to entering the sales field, and now I was hungry for wealth and success. I had done my research and commission only selling seemed like a good idea. To me, commission only was honest; you get paid in direction relation to your performance. The better you perform the more income you generate.
On my first day, I was on my way to Oxford Street, London, in my brand new suit, shirt and shoe. Yes I only had one shoe! My other leg was in a cast, but that’s another story. I was nervous, I had never had a job where I wore a suit, and I had never had a job where I was paid commission only. This was a new way of life for me.
I limped through Oxford Circus Station, on my crutches navigating the rush hour crowd. I had a broken leg, it was in a cast and it hurt. I was determined not to let that get in the way. The previous week, had been the induction course. I had learned the sales procedure. I had been through every role play situation you can imagine. This week was going to be the real thing, and I was beginning to wonder how different it would be to the classroom.
I walked through reception; I walked as best I could, like a seasoned professional, my left leg shaking, my right sweating because of the plaster cast. I went in the lift to the sixth floor and walked into the office. Half of the other rookies hadn’t come and the rest were equally nervous. Our boss came out, dressed in a Saville Row suit. Smiling he said “Today’s the real thing. Let’s start selling”. “What already?” I thought. My colleagues, the other trainees, found all sorts of reasons to disappear to the toilet. I stayed. The boss said “Phone these numbers, read the script, be enthusiastic and get an appointment”. I did what I was told, and made a phone pitch, I asked the prospective client, whether his preference for an appointment was morning or afternoon, and he replied ‘afternoon’, so I said how about this afternoon, and he agreed…I was on my way, I had my first appointment.
The old guys in the office who were still loafing around, said I was crazy, no decent prospect would want to see me that afternoon because successful people are busy. The old lags also said I was giving out the wrong message, I was too eager. Their cynicism motivated me. I made 5 other appointments, got my crutches and went to go on my appointment. On my way out the door, I asked the old guys how many appointments they had made in the previous hour. They shifted uneasily when they admitted their Monday morning total was none. I smiled and got down to business.
I approached my prospect’s house, stomach churning, and 3 times I walked away, the fear was getting me. “I can’t do this” I thought as I was walking, crutches banging, down the street. Then I thought, if I walk away, I will never know if that prospect would buy or not. I would never know if I could be successful in this business. At this moment I realised, we really do shape our own futures with our thoughts and actions. I decided that I really could influence what happens here. I turned back, and nearly ran up to the door, and gave it a loud knock. The client let me in and 50 minutes later he became my first client.
I rushed back to the office, stormed in and rang the sales bell. Mr Saville Row was delighted, the old guys sneered – ‘beginners luck’ they said, (they hadn’t been out yet). My peers who were also trainees were stunned to find out it could be done. Beginner’s luck, I thought, I’ll show them. I had beginners luck 28 times that month and outsold them all by a mile. I was the top performer in my first month.”
“Beginners luck is good; it lasted awhile. Four years later I bought the company”
Get the Success Attitude
In my career I have seen many talented people falter and fail simply because they did not have the success attitude. High performance selling requires resilience, organisation, energy, thoroughness and an indomitable spirit. It also requires focus, planning, being personable and having a strong enough character to deal with objections and to close the sale. The weak fall at the early hurdles. The mediocre achieve just mediocre results because they give up easily on a sale or are too timid to pitch new prospects. The high performers either have the success attitude naturally or they have learned it along the way. They work hard; they prospect exciting new business and do not fear rejection. They are personable and fully able to close the sale. They are at the top of their game and enjoy the financial rewards of being there. Make sure you have the success attitude.
The difference in results between poor, average, and excellent performers are vast. One enjoyable aspect of sales success is the lifestyle choices it brings. The average sales person lives in an average house, on an average income; they have average holidays in average destinations and retire on an average pension. If this talk of average is as gut wrenching to you as is me, you certainly have the attitude of a high performer. The high performance sales person works hard to be at the top of their game; the high performer has an attitude of success and enjoys the lifestyle others envy, such as luxurious holidays, time with loved ones, a luxurious home and plenty of money in the bank. It’s not all about the money, top sales people work hard so they can enjoy the finer things in life.
The Science of Sales Artistry
Sales can be considered both an art form and a science. The artistry in sales is the picture, the tapestry, the music that is formed in the relationship between sales person and client. The science is the techniques of influence the salesperson uses to persuade the client and the discipline applied to prospecting for new business. When art and science come together something special emerges, in sales the emergent factor is higher levels of performance which leads to more clients saying YES. I am happy to announce, I will be leading a four stage programme ‘called the ‘Science of Sales Artistry’. The programme is not for everyone, it is for those who are serious about high performance. Each programme is restricted to ten people. This is much more than a course, it’s about embracing high performance and catapulting your performance to a whole new level.
To apply for ‘the Science of Sales Artistry’ reply to this email and you will receive the relevant application form.