Decades ago, a sales career wasn’t likely to be associated with riches or prestige, and was more likely to be seen as a blue-collar job — the traveling door-to-door salesman comes to mind.
But things have changed since then, and a successful sales career now puts top earners in the same category as surgeons and high-end lawyers, a sought-after career with all the trappings of success.
But getting there isn’t easy, otherwise everybody would be doing it. It takes years of grit, confidence, and effort to advance, and doesn’t usually happen without overcoming a fair bit of hardship and adversity, not to mention self-doubt, stress, and, let’s be honest, a tiny bit of luck. But those are the obvious things, the things everybody knows. What’s a less obvious are the things exclusive to sales — a unique and challenging profession.
So if you want to reach the peak of the sales mountain, make sure to do the following five things that other successful sellers do:
1. They develop their work ethic
There’s no way around it: if you want to be a successful sales rep (or leader), you have to work hard. Some people develop their capacity for hard work when they’re young, but even if you didn’t, you can learn how to sit down and do long, focused work at any age, and it’s one step that you absolutely cannot skip if you want to get to the top of the field in sales.
Sales is a numbers game, it’s an effort game, and there are a ton of moving parts, but nothing can happen until you learn how to sit down and do the work, even on days when you don’t feel like it… especially on the days when you don’t feel like it.
2. They’re always on the lookout for opportunities
Some people think that calling a person an “opportunist” is an insult, and in some cases, it might be. But for sales reps, being an opportunist is a must, as the job requires you to look for angles all the time.
This doesn’t just apply to your prospects and opportunities for sourcing new business, it also applies to your career, as successful sales reps will look for opportunities to advance in other organizations if they feel like they’ve hit a plateau in their current role.
At the end of the day, you have to have a hunter’s mindset: it’s not about sitting around and waiting for opportunities to come to you, it’s about getting out there and looking for them, and being able to spot them whenever they’re in sight.
3. They understand and manage their emotions
Introspection and understanding oneself might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you picture a successful sales rep, but you’d be mistaken if you don’t think it matters. Managing your emotions is an important skill to have, but in sales, a profession with intense ups and downs, when you have to deal with people from all walks of life and in all stages of happiness, sadness, and anger, it’s even more critical.
Managing your emotions is also essential when it comes to getting work done. And lastly, it’s an extremely helpful skill when it comes to staying grounded no matter how successful, or unsuccessful of a month or quarter you might be experiencing — don’t let yourself get too high, and definitely don’t let yourself get too low.
4. They’re optimists, but also realists
According to the 9 X-Factors of highly performing salespeople, successful sales reps effectively balance pessimism and optimism, with two-thirds of high performers exhibiting a healthy dose of pessimism. The benefit of pessimism (or realism) is that it can help you prepare for all outcomes, and it can drive you to be extra curious, to prepare more than you would otherwise, and to plan for all contingencies.
Being optimistic is great, but reality will arrive no matter how positive your attitude might be, so being realistic and a bit pessimistic can help you understand the challenges that face you when closing a deal, that way, you can prepare, and make sure you’ve thought through all objections ahead of time.
5. They know their “story arc”
As salespeople, we know how to tell stories. But there’s one story that’s more important than all others, and that’s the story you tell yourself about your career. To put it another way, people with successful sales careers know how to zoom out and view their career on a longer trajectory, rather than getting bogged down in what might be absorbing their attention or stressing them out in the moment.
If you just look at today, or even at the next few months, then you’re not putting your efforts in the right context. Make sure the story you’re telling yourself is BIG enough to cover a career, otherwise, you’ll convince yourself that all you have is a job, and that’s a terrible way to get where you want to be long-term. Don’t forget: sales is a sprint, but it’s also a marathon.
Successful salespeople are also masters of their time. They’re productive and efficient. And that’s where Dooly can become your best ally. Check out the short video below to listen to how an AE realized the impact of saving time in admin work. And then head over here to see Dooly in action.
Join the thousands of top-performing AEs who use Dooly every day to stay more organized, instantly update their pipeline, and spend more time selling instead of mindless admin work. Try Dooly free, no credit card required. Or, Request a demo to speak with a Dooly product expert right now.