Customer Experience News & Trends

The No. 1 requirement for sales success

The number one requirement for sales success has nothing to do with product knowledge or selling techniques. 

It’s resilience – the ability to get up off the mat after being knocked down, getting back in the fight and throwing more punches. Resilience means turning adversity into triumph, based on your optimism, positive attitude and confidence in your own sales success.

Developing resilience

The US Navy SEALs ethos states, in part, “In times of conflict or uncertainty, there is a special person ready to answer the call. A common person, with an uncommon desire to succeed. I am that person. I stand ready to bring the full spectrum of resources to bear to achieve my goals in the worst of conditions. I will not fail.”

Salespeople should follow this constructive, optimistic attitude to develop the psychological body armor needed to overcome adversity.

High pressure

Resilience enables you to operate intelligently under high pressure, maximize your performance, bounce back from setbacks and achieve your sales goals.

Every salesperson can develop resilience by understanding its four components:

  1. Active optimism. Active optimism is more than a hope or a belief. It’s a mandate to bounce back, to be successful, to avoid being a victim. Believing your actions may make things better is the key to developing resilience. When you are actively optimistic, you move bravely ahead, even when others run from the fight. Optimistic thinking makes salespeople happier and more successful. Start with small successes to boost your confidence. Watch other salespeople who attain their goals. Assume that if they can reach the heights, so can you.
  2. Decisive action. By being decisive you may distinguish yourself from other salespeople, usually in a positive way. This means weighing your options, choosing the best course of action and doing what must be done. To rebound from a temporary setback, be prepared to act with courage. Feeling strong will enable you to make tough decisions under pressure and to act on them. Bouncing back requires a choice from numerous options and moving ahead decisively. This level of decisiveness meets problems head-on and teaches you to leverage adversity to grow as a salesperson.
  3. Relentless tenacity. This makes you determined and persistent. No matter what obstacle you must overcome, trust your tenacity. You have full control of the effort you put forth. Resolve demands your wholehearted effort. Follow the lead of great salespeople who demonstrate persistence in the face of great challenges. Let them motivate you to stay on course.
  4. Interpersonal support. The more support you have, the better your sales career will be. Support the people you hope will support you. Demonstrate your respect for prospects and customers. Don’t take their actions personally even when they seem rude or demanding.
Barriers to resilience

Here are three obstacles to developing resilience:

  1. Fear of failure. The fear of failing can be immobilizing to salespeople. It can cause them to do nothing and resist moving forward. The best thing about failure is that it’s entirely up to us to decide how to look at it. We can see it as an ultimate disaster or look at it as an incredible learning experience. These lessons are important because they may keep us from making that same mistake again. Failures stop us only if we let them. Think of the opportunities you’ll miss if you let failures stop you.
  2. Procrastination. “I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one.” Those words from Mark Twain apply to too many salespeople. Procrastination is more than putting off tasks. It’s a fear of action. If you never start, you’ll never have a chance to fail. But you’ll never have a chance to succeed, either. Unrealistic goals feed procrastination. Stop fantasizing about desired results. Instead, develop practical steps to achieve them.
  3. Losing sight of the long-term goal. A best-case versus worst-case analysis can help you focus. When you’re considering a decision, ask, “What’s the best thing that’s likely to happen if I act?” “What’s the worst thing that’s likely to happen if I act?” “What’s the best thing that’s likely to happen if I don’t act?” “What’s the worst thing likely to happen if I don’t act?” Sometimes the worst-case scenario may be genuinely disastrous. In other cases, the worst case may not be that bad.

Adapted from: Stronger by George Everly, Douglas Strouse and Dennis McCormack. Everly is an expert on stress management. Strouse is the managing partner of Wexley Consulting. McCormack was one of the first Navy SEALs.

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