Last week's huge post "Is a Sales Career Right for You?" went through the characteristics that top sales professionals share. However, the lack of those characteristics aren't the only reason that sales pros fail. Here are the top ten reasons that people (mostly new-hires) fail to build a successful career in Sales. Some of them are similar to the ones described in the original post, but some are new:
- REASON #1: They base their self-worth on what other people think. If you define your sense of worth based on how you assume your boss, co-workers, and customers see you, you'll be deeply hurt by anything that smacks of criticism. Selling, and working inside a sales organization, begins to look like a series of horrible and (finally) intolerable rejections.
- REASON #2: They assume that past failure defines the future. Some people find failure so unpleasant that they try to avoid it at all costs. As a result, they avoid any situations where failure is a risk. Because any meaningful sales effort entails risk, such people seldom, if ever, accomplish anything significant in a sales organization.
- REASON #3. They believe in destiny, luck and fate. Some people believe that their status in life and potential as a human being is determined by luck, fate or divine intervention operating upon the circumstances of their lives...
These beliefs, however, constantly keep you focused on what you can't change (e.g. fate) and not on what you can (e.g. your skill set.)
- REASON #4: They lack the right attitude. The right attitude for a sales pro consists three qualities: 1) Empathy, so that you can understand customer needs. 2) Confidence, so that your can bring customers to the point of buying, and 3) Resilience, so that you can use rejection and temporary setbacks as spurs that constantly move you forward.
- REASON #5: They don't perceive the subtleties. When mediocre sales pros make sales calls, they are so busy "trying to sell" that they miss the nuances of the customer relationship. Top sales pros know that the most important element of a successful sales call is the value that the sales professional can bring to the customer, rather than whatever might eventually be sold.
- REASON #6: They'd rather be doing something else. Failing sales pros often wish they had the nerve get out of sales and do something completely different. If a sales pro's ideal occupation is to play baseball, be a musician, write a novel, or do anything else that not in Sales -- they'll eventually sabotage their sales career.
- REASON #7: They don't learn from their mistakes. Sales pros tend to avoid looking at their failures and would prefer to examine their successes - and then attempt to replicate them. However, until and unless you understand how, why and where your sales process is failing, it's impossible to correct systemic problems in your sales approach.
- REASON #8: They can't follow simple instructions. Sales skills must be learned. Some people are naturally resistant to learning new ideas and new techniques, especially if they've already achieved a certain level of success. Many a sales pro has "topped off" at the lowest level because of a failure to understand that news skills are needed at each stage of a sales career.
- REASON #9: They lack true honesty and candor. Sales is all about relationships and relationships are all about trust. People who lie and fudge the truth may become good at fraud or other criminal acts, but they're at an extreme disadvantage when it comes to being successful at an honest sales job. Most customers can "sense" when a sales rep isn't being real... and avoid buying.
- REASON #10: They can, but won't, do the work. This is true not just of selling, but of every other activity in the world. Sales pros who don't makes their numbers either can't or won't do what it takes to make sale. When you can't do the job, it's usually because you don't know what to do. When you won't to the job, it's because you simply lack the drive.