“The secret of success of every man who has ever been successful lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.”
– Albert E. N. Gray in the Common Denominator of Success
Here’s where the real power of sales pipeline management success lies. Up until now, the lessons have been about specific tasks. It’s in the wisdom of this lesson that you will be able to see if all your hard work is really paying off or not.
Make the simple hard choice
Let’s begin with a personal example from Pipedrive’s past. I got my start in sales in a summer job selling educational books door to door in San Jose, CA. It didn’t start out well for me.
As you might expect, I got a lot of no’s. Often, the prospective customer would slam the door in my face before I even got into my demonstration.
One thing I noticed early on was that the Hispanic families in the area were much friendlier. They’d at least let me finish my demo before they said no. It was easy to see how a lot of time could be wasted on trying to sell to customers that weren’t buying. Sound familiar?
In order to succeed, I had to make a difficult choice. I could spend a lot of time talking to the nice families. I’d feel comfortable while not selling very much, or I could bite the bullet and go down the hard road.
I made the hard choice. I avoided the friendly streets and focused my efforts in the areas where I got more rejection. But I made more sales and got to be a better salesman in the process.
Sales success is the hard choice
If you’re in sales, you must face this choice as well. An unavoidable part of sales is rejection and our natural tendency to avoid rejection.
Our fear of rejection goes back millions of years. If our ancestors made the wrong choice when faced with a fight or flight situation, it might be the last choice they ever made. Ironically, you still have to face a fear of rejection because your ancestors made the right choice.
Learn to overcome your fears
It’s natural for us to form habits that reduce our exposure to rejection. In fact, it’s unnatural for us to do otherwise. If you want to succeed in sales, you have to do the unnatural until it becomes natural.
You may, for example, find that selling to mid-level managers is easier and less stressful. These folks are easier to reach and more pleasant to deal with. You’ll also find that they’re not the decision makers, however.
Make unpleasantness your routine
It’s true in life, and most definitely true in sales pipeline management, that you must do a lot of things that you may find unpleasant. What’s worse, you have to continually do them until they become habits.
There is some light at the end of the tunnel, however. The more you stick to this, the less unpleasant these things become. There will come a time, believe it or not, when the fear of rejection will go away or become so mild you don’t even notice anymore.
To quote Albert Gray again: “Any resolution or decision you make today has to be made again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, and the next, and so on. If you continue the process of making it each morning and keeping it each day, you will finally wake up some morning a different man in a different world, and you will wonder what has happened to you and the world you used to live in.”
What is your WHY?
One of the best ways to stick to the tough habits is to figure out what your real reason for doing them is. Why are you a sales person in the first place?
Don’t simply use your desired commission, everybody wants that. Figure out a deeper seated why. Perhaps you want to make a mark on the universe before you leave it. Maybe you want your kids to have a better life. Perhaps you don’t want to live with the regret of “what if…?”. Maybe all of these and more.
Everyone likes pleasant activities. What seperates the successful person is that he or she craves pleasant results. The real trick of sales is that it’s full of unpleasant activities that lead to pleasant results.