Charting a Course to Sales Success: A Q&A to Jumpstart Results
by Linda P. Kester July/August 2015
Linda P. Kester lists six essential questions that will facilitate smooth sailing in the never ending quest for success in sales. She says by taking action, visualizing success, thinking positive, setting goals and being persistent, salespeople can generate more volume and commission.
Most leasing sales reps have the desire to be successful and generate lots of volume and commission. Yet I see so many reps struggling. They complain that they don’t have enough vendors, leads or money in their lives. They point fingers and blame the credit department or their boss for not paving their path to success. However, I have also witnessed people come into our industry with very few resources and generate a profitable book of business. Regardless of personal circumstances or economic climates, enterprising people can thrive in equipment leasing sales.
Is there an exact formula for success? “No,” says bestselling author and motivational speaker Jack Canfield, best known for his Chicken Soup for the Soul series. “However there are certain common features that successful people exhibit and that anyone can practice.” Want to jumpstart your sales results? Start now by asking yourself the following questions:
1. Do You Take Massive Amounts of Action?
One of the traps that new sales people fall into is believing that they are entitled to existing accounts that are already producing business. They want to nurture and service existing accounts rather then find new ones. You are in sales. Your job is to make calls and generate new business. I talk to people who go for weeks without making one prospect call. Pick up the phone. Make a call. Set up a meeting. You are in control of the number and quality of your prospect calls. Successful sales people take full responsibility for their results. They have a targeted list of leads and focus on becoming an expert advisor rather than a product pusher. They evaluate their sales techniques and adjust them accordingly. They face the uncomfortable and take action.
2. Do You See Yourself Succeeding?
“Scientists used to believe that humans responded to information flowing into the brain from the outside world. But today, they’re learning that we respond to what the brain, based on previous experience, expects to happen next,” says Canfield. Visualize yourself being a top producer. Your mind is a powerful instrument.
This idea is supported by research done by Thomas Troward, a brilliant scholar who published Edinburgh Lectures on Mental Science in 1904. He said, “The law of floatation was not discovered by contemplating the sinking of things.” In other words, it takes the same amount of time and energy to imagine wonderful things as it does to worry, and the results are incredibly different.
As you commit to visualizing success, also make a commitment to stop grumbling and complaining, even if it’s just in your head. Pay attention to what you are complaining about. “My leads stink. Our rates are too high, and I can’t get anyone approved.” Really examine your complaints. More than likely you can do something about them. I have found that the busier a rep becomes, the less they complain about marginal credits not being approved.
3. Do You Think You Have What It Takes?
If you are going to create sales success, you have to believe that you are capable of making it happen. Whether you call it self-esteem, self-confidence or self-assurance, it is a deep-seated belief that you have what it takes. Your work has value. Know this and have unwavering faith in yourself. Read as much as you can about sales techniques. Read biographies about people you admire. Have the attitude that you are helping vendors sell more equipment and you are helping lessees acquire the equipment they need to grow their businesses. When you start from a place of service, sales results come faster.
4. Do You Believe the Universe is on Your Side?
There is a new song on the radio — I listen to Sirius XM The Pulse — by the band, Echosmith. The lyrics include “I think the universe is on my side. Heaven and earth have finally aligned. Days are good and that’s the way it should be.” This is my new theme song. Imagine how much easier it would be to succeed in sales if you were constantly expecting the marketplace to support you and bring you opportunities. Successful salespeople do just that. They have a positive attitude, expect the best and take action. There is an African proverb “When you pray, move your feet.” In our business, moving your feet is really moving your fingers and dialing the phone. If you are praying for sales results, take action: make calls, send emails and get out to network.
5. Do You Set Goals?
In 1990 I attended a Tony Robbins seminar where I walked over hot coals. The premise was to turn your fear into power. It was an amazing experience. From that seminar, I was inspired to read every book I could about goal setting. In 1991 I gave a Lunchtime Learning talk at Advanta Leasing where we all set written goals. A year later I gave a follow-up presentation to the same group of people. They were astounded by their results. Most of them had achieved at least three goals on their list. If I have trained you in the past, stop reading this article and pull out your sales training binder. Go to the goal setting section and see how much you have achieved.
The brain is a goal-seeking organism. Sometimes we need to make just one initial goal to get started. A first step can simply be making an immediate change in a single area of your sales habits. Keep in mind that you have to be willing to change your behavior if you want a different outcome. You have to be willing to change your opening statement, or push back in a respectful way. If you’ve already taken an initial step in the right direction, now is the time to plan more steps to keep moving you forward faster.
6. Are You Consistently Persistent?
Imagine going to the gym and working out three days in a row. That’s good work. Is your body going to look different? No. It takes time and repeated effort and a change in your eating habits to change your body. Everybody knows this. So why do reps prospect three days in a row and expect immediate results? They think that it will only take a couple calls to land a vendor. If it just took a couple of calls then everybody would want this job. To be a true leasing sales professional you need to call, email and network on a very consistent basis. Positive persistence is what helped me land my best accounts.