Thirty-six years ago I embarked on the greatest adventure of my life. I began my professional sales career. I was young, ambitious and optimistic that the present and future would meet my expectations. Looking back, it has been the best of times and the “almost best of times”. I have learned that life is what you make of it and a career in selling is the same – it is absolutely what you make of it. In a sense, a salesperson is an independent businessperson. Your skills are transferable from one industry to the next. Your financial success rests squarely on your shoulders. You are totally responsible for your own success or failure. The “buck” stops here. If you are not happy with your present situation, you can seek employment with another company and take all of your knowledge and skills with you. If you are exceptional at your trade, you will be in high demand by other companies and your future will be secure.
One of the greatest joys of a career in selling centers on the diversity of experiences, coupled with daily challenges and a consistent pattern of goal setting and achievement. Every day offers different experiences and emotions including the euphoria of finding new opportunities and the satisfaction of completing sales. You can work diligently at your trade or you can squander your time doing unimportant tasks. The choice is your and your decisions will directly impact your success or failure. You can be proactive in your approach to selling by actively pursuing opportunities or you can busy yourself with unimportant details while you wait for luck to find you.
Early in my career I believed that hard work was the answer to sales success. I also believed that some salespeople were just inherently lucky to be in a position that contributed to their success. I later learned that both of those beliefs were wrong. Let me share a few thoughts about selling that I have learned to be true over the coarse of my career.
1. Working hard is only part of the answer to sales success. You must work hard doing the right things the right way at the right time to be successful.
2. Success doesn’t just happen. You must have a burning desire to be successful and believe in yourself, your ability and take full advantage of your circumstances.
3. Selling is the hardest work you will ever do. If it isn’t, you will never be successful.
4. Self-discipline is critical to sales success. Only you know what you are capable of doing. You may receive praise from your employer for your efforts, but you are the only one who knows if you are performing your best.
5. Selling is the only profession that will ever compensate you fairly for your efforts.
6. Salespeople can earn the highest incomes or the lowest; it is up to the individual. You are in total control. If you think you are worth more, prove it.
7. Your ability to create wealth combined with your skills is portable, allowing you to live and work wherever you choose.
8. Knowledge applied is power. If you want to be a powerful salesperson, seek learning and then apply it to your trade.
9. A career in sales is a career focused on helping others to achieve their goals, solve their problems and find satisfaction as a result of your efforts.
10. A career in sales can be the most fulfilling and satisfying work you will ever do. You will work hard, rely on yourself, discover self-discipline, earn a great income, control your own destiny, gain great knowledge, and enjoy the satisfaction of helping others.