When we come across somebody who is wildly successful in sales (or any other profession), some people tend to attribute this success to luck. Luck, after all, is easy to point to when you haven’t seen what goes on behind the scenes, and the many hours and disappointments that it usually takes to accomplish anything worthwhile.
But luck, while it can play some role, is fleeting. Nobody gets lucky day after day, year after year — it simply doesn’t work like that. On a long enough timeline, most people (assuming they’re playing in the same arena) will get just as many opportunities that come their way. The difference has to do with what they do with those opportunities, or, perhaps more importantly, what they do to earn those opportunities to begin with.
To put it another way: the most successful salespeople make their own luck. They control what they can to maximize the chances that they’ll have opportunities they can then turn into deals. And the best part is that with the right level of self-belief and a little bit of work ethic, anybody can make their own luck. Here’s how:
1. Think outside the box
If you sit there every single day and wait for deals to come to you, you’ll never achieve sales greatness. And strictly adhering to prescribed methods of prospecting is likely to yield the same exact result. If you want to make your own luck, you have to be proactive and think outside the rigid constraints that tend to keep us doing the same thing everybody else is doing. Instead, try to be creative about where you can reach your target audience. Can you start writing a weekly industry blog? Is there a niche trade association or group you can offer to sponsor or become a part of? The possibilities are endless if you’re willing to be creative enough. But if you want to rest on your laurels and expect the success to come to you on its own, you’ll be waiting quite a long time.
2. Strike while the iron is hot
Perhaps the most insidious behavior that leads sales reps to failure is moving too slowly. If you want to be the best, you need to not only be reliable, but you need to move quickly at all times. This, of course, means responding promptly to prospects, but it also applies when looking for new opportunities. For instance, if you see a potential prospect posting about something on LinkedIn, reach out and make a relevant (and organic) comment about it. If there is some sort of triggering event that might mean there’s an opportunity for you to break into an account, don’t hesitate to move quickly. Fortune favors the bold, and if you sit there mulling things over instead of taking action, you’ll never be first in line when decisions are being made.
3. Talk to more people
Networking sometimes gets a bad rap, but it works. And the same principles that make networking effective are the same reason why sales reps should always strive to talk to as many people as possible. To be sure, not all conversations are created equal, and talkings to people just for the sake of talking is a waste of time. But if you’re sticking within your industry, or even with industries that have ties to your target market, then you can’t really go wrong with maximizing your contacts. When you meet people, serendipity starts to take over, and before you know it, you’re getting talked about, referred, and making contacts that over time, usually prove their value. Again, you can stare at your laptop and hope that marketing sends you more leads, but if you want your pipeline to start bursting at the seams, then you need to get out there and meet more people.
Successful sales reps are never pessimists, and they rarely spend time feeling sorry for themselves. Instead, they few failure as a temporary setback rather than a permanent state, and approach each day with energy and optimism that comes across in their calmness and professionalism. Some people might not think that mindset is important, but if you think about it, our mindss are all we have. They shape how we behave, how we view the world, and how we conduct ourselves when we’re on prospecting calls, when we get a difficult email, or when we’re doubting ourselves after our fourth rejection in a week. If you want to be successful, then make sure your mindset is in the right place; everything flows from it. And if you can get your mind right, then you’ll be one step closer to that next deal, which some people might just end up attributing to sheer luck.
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