A career in sales is an excellent choice for anybody who enjoys helping others, talking to people, and being rewarded for your efforts.
How do you become successful in sales?
The answer is quite simple:
You must do the same things that other successful salespeople are doing.
And what are successful salespeople doing to achieve their goals of a high, uncapped income and the freedom that comes with controlling your own destiny?
That’s also easy to answer:
They’re simply doing the things that unsuccessful salespeople won’t do.
Here are the 5 keys to long-term success for a career in sales:
5. Have a passion for what you’re selling
There’s no faking it.
If you don’t stand behind your product or if you don’t think it can truly help your prospects, then you’re better off finding something else to sell that you can back 100% with all your heart.
It’s simple. If you don’t truly believe in your product, then how would you expect your prospect to believe in it either?
I personally have used this tool, both when I applied to my job and to hire others. So I definitely believe in it.
Plus, I have heard from our clients that using Cangrade has helped them save time when screening candidates and significantly lowered their employee turnover.
I know our product works and how useful it can be for busy HR and hiring managers who have a mountain of resumes to screen and not a lot of time to do it.
What we offer is a solution to improve the hiring process and ultimately benefit a company’s bottom line.
And since I want my product to help companies and ultimately improve the global economy and help people find the jobs they were meant to do in life, then this passion transfers into everything I do to sell our product.
Every email I send, phone number I dial, and prospect I meet is fueled by my passion to help people solve a problem and improve their status quo.
If you can bring this same passion into your own sales process, then everything else will fall into place and you’ll find yourself going above and beyond the call of duty to help others with your solution.
And this is ultimately what will drive you to achieve sky-high success and achieve everything you want, not just in life but in your career in sales, too.
4. Be an entrepreneur within an enterprise
As a sales professional, you are an independent business owner who sells a product produced by someone else.
Once you realize this and adopt this owner mindset, you will approach sales in a whole new way.
Now you will do the little things like send that extra followup email or make one more call at the end of a long day.
You will go to the networking events and you will treat everyone you meet as a potential million dollar client or someone who could refer you to a potential million dollar client.
You’ll do things like dress better in public, hit the gym, groom yourself, eat right, get plenty of rest, and do the things that keep you running at your peak levels of optimum performance.
Once you treat your sales as your own personal business, then your entire perspective on life, working, and how you treat others will totally change, most likely for the better.
3. Understand that repetition is the architect for success
Nobody is perfect the first time they attempt anything of significance.
If you want to become excellent in the art of professional selling, you’ll need to put in hours of training, practice, and role playing before you will feel truly comfortable at sales.
When you start your sales training, you will likely be given a script for your cold calls and product demonstrations.
The only way to get these important aspects of the job down pat is by rehearsing them over and over again until they become natural-sounding and eloquent.
You must record yourself giving your pitch and play back the recording to listen to your voice inflection and tone. Otherwise, you will never know how you sound to a prospect.
Do you sound calm, professional, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic about your product? Or nervous, bored, anxious, and unprepared?
Record yourself and analyze how you sound. Go over it with your manager or a colleague who will critique you.
Keep practicing until you have it down pat and can deliver your pitch flawlessly, even in your sleep.
Check your ego at the door, homie.
Because the work you put in today will result in the sales you close tomorrow.
And that’s what you want, right?
2. Don’t let stress and anxiety burn you out
A career in sales can be stressful if you let it.
Yeah, I said it.
That’s because almost any situation in life can be stressful if you let it.
It’s how you perceive and handle these situations that dictates the amount of stress you will ultimately feel.
For many years, I let stress from both work and my personal life get the better of me.
I’d have trouble sleeping, my weight went up every year, and my general health was on a one-way path to destruction.
Then one day, I decided to take back control in my life and not let outside forces dictate how I reacted to the different challenges and obstacles that frequently blocked my path.
I had two options to choose from:
- Do I let these challenges continue to block my path to success?
- Or do I find ways to overcome them and continue to strive for my goals and achievements that I wanted in my life?
For years and years, I chose option 1. That only lead to more stress, depression, and poor health. It was the most vicious of cycles.
They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Well, I simply chose to stop the insanity and change my game up.
I decided I wanted to finally overcome these obstacles and do the things I wanted to do all of my life.
But what was holding me back from achieving my dreams?
Me. And only me.
Quite simply, I was never able to get what I wanted in life because I let failures and setbacks hold me back time and time again. I gave up and accepted failure as my lot in life.
Then one day, I decided I needed a change.
I could either continue to live a substandard existence and just die.
Or, I could change by enacting change.
I could try new things that might lead to different, and hopefully better, results. Worst comes to worst, I would just fail again, and that was something I was used to at this point.
I decided to try four small changes which lead to even greater life changes for the better. Enacting these changes lead to reduced stress and improved my mental and physical health.
The four small changes I enacted in my life which resulted in a major overhaul in my everyday being were:
For years, I heard about the many benefits of meditation but never really gave it a try. Then one day I heard about the Headspace app and decided to give it a try.
Headspace is a 10-minute guided daily meditation created and narrated by leading meditation and mindfulness expert, Andy Puddicombe.
If you’re brand new to meditation, or maybe you’ve tried it in the past but didn’t receive the results you expected, then give Headspace a chance and see for yourself how beneficial guided meditation can be to reduce stress, lower anxiety, and eliminate the fears and doubts that can damage your career in sales.
Imagine if you paid millions of dollars for the best thoroughbred racehorse in the world.
Would you feed this racehorse cheeseburgers, candy bars, and fried cheese?
Or would you feed it a strict diet designed to maintain its health and keep it running and peak efficiency with huge reserves of energy.
You’d probably feed it good food, right?
Then why would your own diet be any different?
Granted, I’m no diet expert and I’ll be the first to admit that I love to eat foods that might not always be super healthy, such as pizza.
However, I also have cut back or eliminated from my diet many of the junk foods that I used to mindlessly consume throughout the day, including things like salty chips, deli meats, candy, sodas, and other foods that have minimum nutritional value.
Instead, I have replaced these with healthier alternatives such as fruit (I’m a big fan of bananas and strawberries), vegetables (I eat a bunch of kale and carrots almost every day), and grains, legumes, quinoa, and flaxseed.
As a result in my change in diet, I’ve found that I not only shed unwanted pounds and improved my physical appearance, which improved my self confidence.
I also improved my levels of mental alertness and clarity. Boosting these attributes have helped my career in sales by giving me the extra gear I need when I’m pounding the phones or giving back to back to back demos for prospects without a lull in energy or enthusiasm.
It’s important to get regular exercise at least 3 times per week. Work up a sweat and get plenty of cardiovascular exercise through things like running, bicycling, playing sports, and lifting weights.
Regular exercise will control your weight and maintain your stress levels and blood pressure while keeping your mental clarity sharp. These are all important health assets that provide the foundation for the success you will create in your career in sales.
When you begin your career in sales, it will be tempting to spend all your free time thinking about, learning, and trying all the new sales techniques, tips, and advice you will learn.
While it’s important to be motivated and enthusiastic about your career in sales, it’s also important to step away from it every once in a while to give your mind and body a break so you can re-charge and come back even stronger.
Having a hobby is a great way to allow you to focus on something other than making sales. I’ve recently taken an interest in urban gardening, and I volunteer at two urban gardens in my community.
Having an opportunity to plant, water, harvest, and get my hands dirty in the soil while enjoying fresh, organic vegetables and feeding others healthy food has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Get yourself a hobby that you enjoy and is completely unrelated to sales.
Engage in your hobby at least once a week, and you’ll be amazed at how re-centered and invigorated you will feel. You will take this energy back into the office with you, and your sales calls and presentations will show it as well.
1. Never stop learning
Some sales professionals think that just because they’re done with school, their education is over. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, once you’re done with school and in the “real world”, then you could make the argument that your “real” education begins.
Sales is constantly changing. What might’ve worked 10 years ago, or even 10 months ago, will not guarantee you success at selling today.
That’s why there are so many sales experts and trainers making millions of dollars from books, seminars, and training courses.
Just do a quick AltaVista search of “sales training” and you will find countless sales blogs, forums, online courses, and other useful content that will help you do one thing: sell more.
Below are a few of my favorite sales blogs that I subscribe to that have helped me improve my selling technique and benefited my career in sales:
Quite simply, there are no shortcuts in achieving a successful, long-term career in sales. Like anything else in life, nothing worthwhile is easy.
However, if you are willing to put in the work, humble yourself to learning the keys to effective selling, and you can 100% commit yourself to reaching your full potential, then I have no doubt that you will become a sales superstar.
The only question is: how badly do you want to be great?
What are you doing today to close more sales tomorrow?
What is your gameplan to achieve a life of freedom, prosperity, and success?
Leave a comment below and let’s learn from each other.
James K. Kim
James "Jim" Kim is a commercial real estate agent with Cushman & Wakefield / Pyramid Brokerage Company in the Capital Region of New York, specializing in retail, office, and industrial tenant and landlord representation.