How to Succeed in Sales

6 min read
Jan 28, 2016
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learning sales skills

You know what people say: when you put too much time into something and there’s no result you should give up. They also say that it’s better to move on to something else because otherwise it’s just a waste of your time. Well, not in sales.

Most people don’t succeed because they give up too quick. I have a few theories about why this happens but before I get into that, let me tell you a little bit about my own experience with sales.

Me and sales

My job was to schedule appointments for consultations with a nutritionist. I earned for each arranged meeting. I saw the people I called once before, when they filled a survey about their health and diet. So each afternoon I called a number of people from the surveys. Whenever someone said he’s not interested, I gave up and quickly finished the call. My thoughts were like: “Ok, I won’t bother her anymore. I don’t want to impose myself.”

Obviously at the end of each month I compared my results with others and I felt a little bit discouraged. The results weren’t impressive.

Luckily at the same time, I had some great marketing ideas which my co-workers found very useful. So the next thing for me was to find to the job I felt I belong to.

After this experience I thought that my path with sales won’t cross anytime in the future.
But the truth is that when you’re in business, social media or you do some creative stuff like writing or photography, you’re partly in sales. Almost all of us are. Agents on chats too. It’s not even close to cold calling like in my previous job, but it’s still sales and has the sames rules.

So here’re my theories about why people give up before they close a sale and how to encourage them to stay persistent during the sales process.

You take “no” for an answer

After a few denials from the prospects (or even one denial in my case), you feel discouraged. You think you do something wrong and you shouldn’t impose yourself to the prospects. Meanwhile, it turns out a typical prospect says “no” 4 times on average before he or she says “yes”. Studies show that 80 percent of sales are made after the fifth sales conversation with the same person.

Why do salespeople take “no” for an answer so quick then?

Almost 50 percent of sales people quit trying after the first “no” - just like I always did.
I think what happens is that salespeople are actually coming with excuses that make them feel better with taking “no” for an answer. Would you agree?

You don’t want to impose yourself, you think your product is not good enough for them, you think you don’t want to bother them and you’ll find somebody else that will want your service.

But since 90 percent of salespeople wave the white flag after the fourth contact with a prospect, it means the competition is super low in this stage. And it’s only one more step to closing the sale. The one step that can make you persist in this 10 percent who succeed in sales. Unlike the rest who decided the prospects are not worth the effort.

You didn’t master all the sales skills

Another reason why people give up during the sales process is that they didn’t quite learn all the sales skills. I wrote about it in my article Sales skills every salesperson should master.

Learning sales is like learning any other competence. It’s a process. We often forget how much time and perseverance it takes to learn new skills.

Let’s take an easy example.

Remember when you first got behind the wheel? You first had to learn how to: steer, step on the gas, watch the road and change the radio station all at the same time. Then, you needed to concentrate on all of these things and think about all of them so you didn't hurt yourself or others. This is Conscious Competence.

After driving for years, skills comes naturally and with little effort. You no longer think about every action. Now you drive and text (don’t!), talk to your passenger, change the radio station and drive-through Starbucks. Driving is now a skill trained to the level of Unconscious Competence. And it looks damn easy from the side.

In sales the best ones got to the point of unconscious competence. They do things without much thought. That’s why you need time and persistence to get to their level.

You compare yourself to others

That’s another reason people give up during sales process and it causes an even bigger discourage. You probably compare your results with the results of people who were in the sales business for years. Doing this may be good for the long term, like setting a strategic goal for a year or two. But it’s not good for evaluating your actual work.

You should learn from the best not compare yourself to them. It’s best to explain it on life situations.

The Australian Open is ongoing nowadays. When you watch tennis players in action, it looks easy. When you look at them winning the game, holding a trophy, you don’t think about the hours of training they had, the thousands of balls they hit on the tennis court and all the sacrifice they made in personal life. You just see their success.

The same as you see that salesman selling the 5th car that week and getting a bonus at the end of the year. All you see is the final result, the success. You want the same. And you want it now.

Whenever you compare your results with somebody else, make sure that person is on your level, you have the same experience, similar resources and you put the same amount of work into it.

Persistence in sales pays off

At the end of this post, I want to recall a scene from a beautiful and touching movie “Pursuit of Happiness.” The movie is all about persistence, sacrifices and not giving up. It’s based on a true story but it’s still a movie, so it has some unrealistic moments of course.
But I wouldn’t focus on that. The bottom line here is to inspire people to not give up and pursue their dream.

Check it out.

Would you say this was easy? Or that he didn’t think about giving up a couple of times? You might want to read Sales Quotes to Help you Keep a Positive Attitude.

Sales is all about persistence. It’s the ability to not giving up when it feels like that's the best choice. It’s the process that everyone needs to go through in order to succeed. Don’t be discourage if closing a deal takes more time than you assumed first. In the end it’s always worth the effort.

If you liked this post, you might also like Success Quotes to Keep You Moving Closer to Your Goals.

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