Talent isn’t THAT important
In some occupations, talent does matter. Muggsy Bogues, at 5’3″, was one of only a few short guys to make it in the NBA. Talent, of course didn’t get him there. A lot of effort did. In sales, effort matters just as much. Anyone can make an effort, and it’s those who choose to make a greater effort who succeed in sales. In my early years, I wasn’t a great presenter, nor was I a smooth talker. I was, however, determined to work harder if I had to. I got to the office at 6:15 AM and left at 9 or 10 PM. I usually made 200 more calls per day than most of the other brokers. Within my first few months, I brought in some very big accounts, not because I was so good, but because I just put more effort into it than he next guy.
Look the way you want to be perceived.
People often say ‘God sees your heart,’ and whether you believe in God or not, the truth is you’re not selling to God, you’re selling to people, whose initial perception at least is going to be limited to what they see and hear. Invest in quality business attire, have it tailored if at all possible, and groom yourself in a way that reflects exquisite taste and judgment. For ladies, think Grace Kelly meets Meg Whitman. For Men, think James Bond meets Jack Welch. Let’s face it, if Daniel Craig walked into your business dressed like Bond, you’d probably take him more seriously than some scruffy guy in a baseball cap. Image isn’t everything, but it’s your first chance to communicate who you are and what you’re all about.
Follow up and follow through
In today’s world, people are accustomed to poor follow-up, and this is one are where you can make yourself really stand out from the pack without being the greatest salesman in the world, and it will make much more of an impression than the smoother salesman with poor followup, who is all too common.
Set goals and study them daily
Goals give your activity purpose and direction. It’s hard to hit a target if you don’t have one. If you have a target, how easy is it to hit it if you’re not looking at it? Give yourself daily, weekly and monthly goals, and go over them at the start of your day, and look at them throughout the day. In my wall street days, we had a big bell and a hammer. When someone would close a deal, they’d ring it. You don’t have to do something that dramatic, but giving it a bit of a flourish when you hit a goal can add some fun to your day, and in a team environment, can get others motivated.
Your attitude affects your perception, and perception is reality. People deal with reality according to how they perceive it, so your attitude can affect not just your perception, but that of others around you. Your attitude can mean the difference between impressing a client and being seen as just another salesman. I remember once going to a job interview in my younger days, and the receptionist thought I was someone important. She was really surprised when she realized I was there just to apply for a job. It’s amazing what a difference an attitude makes.