Get Gritty To Be Future-Fit

Here’s the one habit that will keep each of us relevant and valuable during times of rapid change. Do you have it?

It’s the worst of times, and the best of times. Our worlds are transforming – and fast. Now artificial intelligence is at the centre of a new wave of change.

But change is our friend. The more technology changes work and roles, the more critical one thing we humans can do so much better than a machine becomes. Hone these skills to survive and thrive. Here is what we have that will save us.

The ability to persuade, influence, counsel. The ability to SELL.

Key in the future-fit executive’s’ toolkit is the ability to sell.

The art of persuasion is a human skill. Being able to get your customers to say ‘yes’ to our ideas and thinking is at the core of our differentiation and value proposition.

But ‘selling’ is difficult.

It requires evolving and lifting your skills. You need to build your credibility, become a powerful storyteller, an adept negotiator, a savvy manager of ‘key moments’ along the path.

No-one is born a great salesperson. You need to learn these skills. Here’s the good news. Small steps of improvement in selling capabilities will make a massive, fast difference to your effectiveness and results.

When you are converting your sales efforts, it’s an amazing, energising feeling. Celebrate and savour those moments.

Selling can also be a grind. It requires persistent, and a tough skin. You will get far more ‘no’s’ than ‘yes’s’ during the sale process, no matter how brilliant you are. A ‘no’ is not personal. It just happens. But those ‘no’s’ can deplete you.

Great sales people, in any industry, know building ‘grittiness’ and resilience is at the core of success. Learn to love ‘no.’ In selling, ‘no’ never means ‘no.’ It just means ‘not now,’ ‘not yet.’

Setbacks are part of selling. Building resilience, then, is one of the first steps to future-proofing your career.

Here are 7 ideas on on how to build resilience in sales.

1. Anticipate setbacks. Get your mindset right. Accept you will get knock-backs. When you get a ‘no,’ celebrate. Every ‘no’ is a step closer to a ‘yes’. Be optimistic!
2. Stay ‘green.’ If you are green, you grow. If you are ripe, you rot. Understand that in selling, you will always be learning. Every time you get a setback, see it as a learning experience. Take the lesson from it, and move on.
3. Face your fears. Making ‘that phone call‘ can cause butterflies and stress. You can often stall or avoid the tough moment. Teach yourself to have ’10 seconds of courage.’ Coach yourself to be brave, just for 10 seconds, and make the call. Use these moments of courage to leap your barriers and fears. Look fear in the face – and do it anyway.
4. Get a second opinion. If your successes are declining and the ‘no’s’ rising, ask a colleague to hear your sales pitch. Or to critique a key conversation you are about to have. Get feedback. Feedback is the food of champions.
5. Pump your tyres. When you’re feeling depleted, spend time with people who lift your spirits, who give you hope. I call them ‘the friendlies’. Or do something you know energises you. Exercise is a brilliant option here.
6. Momentum is everything. Little bits of momentum are key. Look out for little signs of success and positivity. Getting meetings set up, or phone calls returned, or a social media post that is shared widely, are all signs of momentum. Catch yourself doing things right rather than focusing on what’s not working.
7. Reset and take action. Keep resetting goals. Set short-term achievable goals. And then regularly clear the page, and start again by setting new goals within shorter time frames. A commitment to goal setting is the number one habit of successful sales people. I set non-financial goals…all about doing more of the right things, and doing them well.

Executives who can sell – who can persuade effectively – have a future-fit and powerful career in any industry. These skills can be learnt. Commit now to working on lifting to next level in sales for 2018.

And remember – central to being a great sales person is resilience. Toughen up. Take care of yourself. And sell your socks off!

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10 Responses to Get Gritty To Be Future-Fit

  1. Mark McCraith March 13, 2018 at 4:59 pm #

    Thanks Chris great advice again

    • Chris Savage March 14, 2018 at 4:57 pm #

      thanks Mark!!

  2. Jim March 14, 2018 at 10:38 am #

    Love #1.
    Heard Nigel Marsh of ‘Fat, Fired & 40’ fame talk once about ‘expecting problems’. Work up from that view and you are away.

    • Chris Savage March 14, 2018 at 4:57 pm #

      Jim- thanks for that! Hope all is well. Chris

  3. Grant Butler March 14, 2018 at 12:00 pm #

    Thanks Chris. Interestingly guys like Salesforce are now building AI into their CRM tools (in their case Einstein) to better predict where you’ll get a ‘yes’. So AI can also be a seller’s best friend!

    • Chris Savage March 14, 2018 at 4:58 pm #

      Thanks Grant! We can still beat the machine…I am sure of it!! Chris

  4. Martina March 17, 2018 at 4:51 pm #

    I love the 10 seconds of courage. That’s going into my toolbox moving forward.

    • Chris Savage March 20, 2018 at 5:45 pm #

      Thanks Martina…. I love it too.Chris

  5. Chris Golis March 19, 2018 at 8:17 am #

    This blog resonated for me because of a defining moment in my business career. In the early 1970s I did an MBA at the London Business School. My tutor was Charles Handy, who subsequently became a well-known management writer; indeed, Fortune magazine described him as the best modern management guru of the 1990s. In my final year I had the good fortune to be offered a job by McKinseys in New York after being flown there twice for interviews. When discussing this opportunity with Charles he said that if he were in my shoes, he would not take the position. In his opinion the most important key to success in business was to be good at one-on-one meetings; because that was when decisions were made. However, while MBA courses were good at teaching business analysis they were very poor in developing people skills. He suggested the best way to gain this expertise was to become a capital goods salesperson. I subsequently went to Australia and following his advice became a trainee salesman with ICL, a British mainframe computer company. It was at ICL I was introduced for the first time to the Humm-Wadsworth profiling technology which I now believe is the secret to lifting your emotional intelligence and the best profiling tool for salespeople..

    • Chris Savage March 20, 2018 at 5:46 pm #

      Thanks Chris- appreciate very much that story. The road less travelled. Most would have taken the McKinsey role I am guessing. Chris

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