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!