Have you ever wondered how it is that two people can be speaking about the same subject but one of them is surrounded by a group of people while the other only has one listener? How about when there are two restaurants in close proximity to each other; one has a long waiting line while the other has plenty of open tables. What’s going on there?
It’s a fascinating phenomena because both the lone speaker and the empty restaurant owner want what their competition has – an audience of people willing to give them a chance. They both have access to the things that should help them become a success, but for some reason, it doesn’t happen.
The same situation can be found within sales teams. Each member has access to the same resources as well as territories full of opportunity, but some reps will consistently outsell their team mates. The question in the minds of those who are struggling is: “What does he/she have that I don’t have?”
In an interview, comedian Jerry Seinfeld said, “The reason the mega-star comedian only surfaces every 10 years or so is because the vast majority of comedians are not willing to put in the time to learn how to write jokes. It is tedious work and most aspiring performers can’t come up with the discipline and put in the time.”
When people do put in the time, what is the result? Credibility. One of the first things expected of any sales person is that they are a credible source of information when it comes to their products or services. From a client or customer perspective this means being able to answer and ask relevant questions, and being able to address a variety of unique and situation specific issues.
Credibility requires consistency. In business, there aren’t a lot of second chances, and even the brightest and most well-intentioned business people can slip into a “mediocrity coma.” In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell talks about one common trait he found in individuals who reach the pinnacle of success; they put in roughly 10,000 hours of practice before reaching critical acclaim.
They didn’t “cram” for success as if it were a test. They made a habit out of consistently working which ultimately turned into the habit of success. The truly exciting thing is that the kinds of habits that lead to success are 100% within your control.
Tips for growing and sustaining credibility:
- Regularly schedule time to grow your knowledge and expertise.
- Learn about your customer’s business drivers and how they impact their ability to grow.
- Continue to develop your ability to discuss business from your client/customer’s perspective.
- Strive to communicate clearly and effectively. Listen intently so your contributions will be informed and relevant.
- Keep your own energy level high. Don’t “cram.” Sales isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon.
Each level of success you experience becomes the foundation for the next. I’m not suggesting you should aspire to reach the levels of Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Gates or any other super star. What I am saying is that people who excel experience more success because they’ve made the decision to work at it and put in the time necessary to perfect their skills and build their credibility.
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