There is one attribute that a highly successful sales person possesses that allows them to exponentially achieve higher results.

Over the years, I have constantly asked sales people and sales leaders why they got into sales in the first place and why they remain in sales? The variety of answers always intrigued me – many people get into sales because of the attraction of earning high income, of receiving recognition and some even to create something meaningful for their customers, although this answer typically represents a small minority. When asked the follow up question of ‘what is the most challenging aspect of sales?’, overwhelmingly the response is rejection and not achieving. This is only human nature, as most people do not like to be rejected and they do not like the word ‘No’. However, what is the single biggest word a salesperson must hear in order to be successful? ‘No’. And lots of it!

The world of sales is one of the oldest professions on the planet and can be exceptionally lucrative, even if only enjoyed by a small percentage. In fact, as I have written about many times, sales is the ultimate form of service and if you are able to match a customer’s problem with a solution that is tangible, you would be doing them and yourself a huge disservice by not selling your product or service.

However, there is one attribute that a highly successful sales person possesses that differentiates them from all of their competition and allows them to exponentially achieve higher results, and more sustainable results. When you grasp this attribute, when you own it and embrace it, and learn to use it to its fullest potential, it could literally help you make millions. And contrary to what many believe, it has nothing to do with your ability to ‘close a sale’. The attribute is RESILIENCE.

In all areas of life, Pareto’s Principle plays out all the time and sales is no different. And it has been my experience that 80% of the sales and revenue achievement is delivered by 20% of the sales team, meaning that 20% of the sales and revenue is delivered by 80% of the sales team. What I have also come to learn is that the majority of sales people want to be part of the 20% delivering the bulk of the results however, they are missing the vital ingredient that prevents them reaching that threshold – resilience.

When the market is buoyant and customers are enthusiastic and optimistic, sales can become a little easier and this can often lead to a false sense of security and achievement, with many sales people merely reverting to ‘order takers’ rather than remaining as true ‘problem solvers’. However, it is when the market turns and people become a little more cautious, that the great sales people rise to the top, because their focus all along has been on solving problems, not ‘closing sales’. And whilst sales at its fundamental level is a numbers game, the great sales people know how to stack the numbers in their favour through their daily focus on resilience.

So if resilience is the core attribute that can make millions, what makes it so? Here are a few areas to contemplate:

  • It is not what happens to you – great sales people who enjoy sustainable success understand this fundamental principle. It is not what happens to you that is important, it is how you respond to what happens to you that makes the difference. Successful people understand that not every sales call or meeting will result in a sale, and that many times things will happen which are completely beyond their control. And when these things happen, they have the ability to choose their response and move on quickly.
  • Rejection is never personal – great sales people embrace the concept that rejection by a customer or a prospect is very rarely personal, and hence have the ability to disassociate from the situation. They realise that the more disassociated they are, the less emotion is involved. A great example of this is on display at your local McDonald’s restaurant. The 16 year old behind the counter will often ask you ‘Would you like fries with that?’, and when you say ‘No’, do they spontaneously combust or melt into a pool of water on the floor? Of course not, they know it is not personal and they move on quickly. In fact, they may even say or think to themselves ‘Next’. Great sales people do exactly the same – Next!
  • Mindset is critical – have you ever had days when you walk into the office or to a customer meeting, and things don’t quite ‘feel right’? If you were to rate your mindset on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being terrible, and 10 being super positive, chances are, on these days, your mindset would most probably be below a 5. And what do you notice about your ability to solve problems and be creative, when your mindset is under 5? If you are like me, you probably find it near on impossible to get the creative juices flowing. Now contrast this with a mindset of 8-10, how easier does it feel to generate ideas and get into the ‘creativity’ zone? Much easier. So mindset is absolutely critical to your ability to be resilient, and the great sales people will constantly check in to identify where they sit on the mindset scale.
  • Great sales people maintain curiosity – even when they are in the middle of a difficult sales conversation or they have just been ‘rejected’, great sales people will maintain their curiosity, and hence, perspective. They may even say, as the late Jim Rohn said, ‘isn’t that interesting?’ (not always out loud of course!) – 3 very powerful words that enables the sales person to objectively observe what has just happened, and then plan the appropriate next step, always with a sense of curiosity.

So if you and/or your sales team are currently not achieving the results you are seeking, ask yourself why? It could be that you are allowing yourself to be a victim of circumstances, rather than taking full responsibility for what is happening. The person who takes full responsibility deeply understands the above 4 principles and they consistently apply them. Please help your team develop resilience – as the title of this article says, it really is the one attribute that can earn you millions!

To your continued sales leadership success.

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Darren Mitchell
Over the last 20 years Darren has built a successful career in Corporate Sales, Sales Management, People Leadership, People Development & Leadership Coaching. Darren specialises in working with Sales Leaders to create, implement & embed a sales leadership game plan that will deliver outstanding and sustainable sales & revenue results. Many sales leaders, especially when they first take on the role, do not know the rules of the game and do not have a sales playbook. They are literally ‘thrown to the wolves’, and expected to deliver immediate results, often without the support they need. Darren holds a Bachelor of Engineering (in Building Engineering, with distinction), is a Certified Life Coach, Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Certified Master Practitioner of The Coaching Institute’s Deep State Re-patterning™, Certified Master Practitioner of Hypnotherapy, Certified Trainer of Neuro Linguistic Programming, Extended Disc® Accredited Consultant & Trainer, Certified Level II Practitioner & Profiler of Meta Dynamics™. Darren has worked closely with a number of Senior Executives from organisations including Telstra, SingTel Optus, PwC, KPMG, rogenSi, Defence Health, Wesfarmers, Target, IBM and salesforce.com