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Top 9 Reasons Salespeople Fail

David Letterman has his “Top Ten List.” Stephen Covey has “Seven Habits” and John Maxwell has his “Twenty-One Laws.” Here are my “Top Nine Principles for Success or Failure in Sales.”

Sales Success Principles:

1. Ask for Help

Average producers are not good at asking for help. This may stem from lack of confidence in not wanting to be transparent about a weakness in their selling process. Lack of asking for help may also come from not being committed to doing what it takes to succeed. If you ask for advice, people expect you to execute on the advice. Top producers, on the other hand, are confident and have no problem admitting they are not perfect. They are also committed to do what it takes to become excellent in their profession. Top producers seek out advisors and mentors. I have also noticed they are the best students during a sales training course. They bring case studies for review or call for extra coaching. Top producers understand that no one gets great by themselves.

2. Sales Activity

When I first entered the sales training profession, I had a sales coach. The first question asked during our weekly coaching sessions was, “Tell me about your sales activity plan.” At first, I found this question puzzling. I was in the sale guru business. Wasn’t he supposed to ask me about my ability to find “pain” on a call or uncover corporate decision making process? This wise coach understood that the sales training business is no different than any other business. If my sales activity plan didn’t lead me to prospects, it didn’t matter how good my selling or training skills were….no one would ever know! Top revenue producers understand that a consistent sales activity plan is the key to finding new clients and driving revenue.

3. Eliminate Excuses

Poor producers spend most of their time discussing excuses that prevent them from making their sales goal; i.e. increased competition, problems with operations issues at the company, or the current market. Top producers invest most of their time discussing how to achieve results, how to beat increased competition, ways to improve/work around operations issues, and how to sell regardless of economic issues. Top producers live by the mantra, “We are judged only by results, not by excuses.”

4. Lose Your Mediocre Friends

Remember your mom saying, “Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you what you are like.” (Okay, so maybe it was just my mother.) This quote is absolutely true in sales. Tell me who you “hang” with and I will tell you what you are like. Mediocre performers like to “hang” with other mediocre performers. The bar for success is low and membership criteria is easy….expect and accept less. The weekly agenda for meetings is always predictable and preset: Bring one new excuse for discussion.