Last week I was asked my opinion of the one thing that was most important for a sales professional to achieve mastery and become an ‘A’ Game’ player. I answered that in that moment I couldn’t determine ’the one thing‘ because there are so many elements of success to become skilled and proficient in the art and science of selling. I gave this question considerable thought over the next few days and in the end came to my conclusion that what is required in the mastery of selling is multifaceted, complex, and with no real shortcuts. There is no ‘ One Thing’. I sat down with pad and paper in hand and reflected back on my personal experience as a salesperson, and as a sales leader and came up with 10 essential ‘one things’ I would advise any sales professional to pay attention to in order to take them to the next level of success. So, over the next couple of months I will post to LinkedIn those things that I would recommend to someone brand-new to sales, or to a seasoned professional wanting to substantially kick up their performance.. So let me start with ‘Thing’ number one.
@Angela Duckworth defines grit as a “passion and perseverance for very long term goals”. She likens it to a marathon….. not a sprint…. so endurance and perseverance becomes crucial! Her Ted Talk is worth the six-minute watch, listen, and learn (over 10 million views!)
In a profession where you have lots of competition, lots of client skepticism, lots of people saying ‘NO’ before you get to people saying yes; a profession where the ‘information age ’bombards you with new data on your product, regulatory changes, changes in competitive offerings, new theories on how to do what you do, and changes in the client dynamic, Grit keeps you going when obstacles are thrown up in your way. Grit is self-discipline and self motivation. Grit is a strong desire and a stronger intent to exceed your goals despite setbacks. Grit is an ego drive that says you will do whatever it takes, that you would walk over flaming shards of broken glass so passionate are you in your pursuit of your goals. Grit fuels and fans the flames of ‘fire in the belly’! Grit NEVER gives up!
Grit really needs to be hardwired in your DNA, and then cultivated. The more Grit you possess, the more you nurture your natural Grit and it grows. The most successful people in any field of endeavor possess Grit!
Here’s another perspective on GRIT, from an article in Forbes Magazine from Oct. 2013 by @Margaret M. Perlis entitled ‘5 Characteristics of Grit’. Worth the read.
In his book Outliers, @Malcolm Gladwell talks about the advantages of early access to opportunity, and then the discipline to put in 10,000 hours in order to master your field. While there are some that disagree with Gladwell’s findings, there is absolutely no doubt that the examples he used in his book, although they had opportunities not afforded to the masses, still required Grit as a prerequisite to attain the level of success they did because each of them faced obstacles. Sometimes HUGE obstacles! However, that burning desire to achieve their goals propelled them over, under, around or through the problems standing in their way. Want more proof of the importance of Grit? Read Gladwell’s book, David & Goliath.
Grit starts with passion for what you do, and passion for what you intend to achieve.
So there you have it, the first of the 10 things. Assess your level of Grit. You’ll need it to scale great heights and reach the pinnacle of sales success.