As a kid growing up in Indiana, basketball was the altar at which I worshiped and one player stood out to me above all of the rest: Larry Bird. Larry was a legend to all Hoosiers and his name was synonymous with hard work. Larry was one of the most prolific scorers in the game and in his 13 years as a Celtic, he made 89% of his free throws. His ranks as the 12th best free throw average in all of NBA history. So, how did Larry do it? Habits! As a high school student and throughout his collegiate and professional career, Larry developed the habit of shooting 500 free throws each and every day, even when he was on crutches.
Like Larry, great salespeople can be created through great habits.
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Learn Like a Champion
Great salespeople work hard every day to improve and hone their craft. Search for articles, blogs and podcasts that interest you, pertain to your industry, or relate to your role and/or that of the personas you target. Schedule 30 - 60 minutes each day to learn something new. Take notes as you garner information that resonates and is relevant. Review your notes and disseminate the information that you can incorporate into your routine to become a great salesperson.
Utilize social media and build your personal brand on a daily basis. If your company has a presence on these platforms, like and share their posts. Connect with everyone you meet. Share some of the articles and content you're digesting on a daily basis. When you share something, personalize the share by adding your own comments to the share and tag people who you think will be interested.
As a salesperson, if your calendar is not full, you are failing. From prospecting activity or working out at the gym to learning time, you should have everything scheduled on your calendar. Doing this will not only keep you on track, it will also provide a great way to hold yourself accountable. Prospecting activity is critical to your success as a salesperson, so do not allow ANYTHING to get in the way of your scheduled prospecting.
Take the Time to Hone Your Craft
Sales is a tough and demanding career. If you are not careful, you can quickly find yourself in a mental death spiral. So, set-up joy triggers. Joy triggers are mental exercises that condition your mind into optimistic thoughts that are triggered by an action, such as walking through the doorway of your office or picking up your phone handset. Some may call them Jedi mind tricks. Either way, they work. Come up with two or three joy triggers that you can incorporate daily and you will be well on your way to a more optimistic outlook on sales and life.
Drop the Excuses
Excuses will never secure an appointment nor close a deal, but they will paralyze you from having any level of success in sales and life. Take ownership, of both your successes and your failures, and you will become a successful sales person and future leader. In his book, Extreme Ownership, former Navy Seal Jocko Willink says “Total responsibility for failure is a difficult thing to accept, and taking ownership when things go wrong requires extraordinary humility and courage. But doing just that is an absolute necessity to learning, growing and improving performance."