What makes a successful salesperson? At the most basic level, the attribute that all successful people share is self-discipline. It is their self-discipline that allows them to keep the commitments they make to themselves. Successful people know that their good intentions don’t add up to a hill of beans. Actions make the difference in their results.
You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating: Successful people do what unsuccessful people aren’t willing to do. (Note: It’s not that unsuccessful people are unable, but they are unwilling.) When it comes to success in sales, the following five areas require a thoughtful, disciplined approach.
1. The discipline of prospecting. There is one area of sales where self-discipline makes a tremendous difference (and is rarely found). That area is prospecting. You can immediately produce better sales results by applying your self-discipline to prospecting. Salespeople with no real sales abilities or skills often outperform those with greater abilities or skills simply through disciplined prospecting. You give yourself more opportunity to be successful through the discipline of prospecting. Long term, your results are going to be the product of your prospecting. Make prospecting a discipline.
2. The discipline of nurturing. Your dream clients already have a supplier, maybe even a partner. Ignoring and neglecting your dream clients doesn’t do anything to move you closer to the relationships you need. The discipline of nurturing is what eventually opens up the relationships that open up the opportunities. Your effort to create value for your dream clients—without demanding anything in return—is what will eventually bear fruit, but only if you exercise the self-discipline to create and share with them your ideas and solutions.
Who you are as a professional salesperson is visible in your client list. If you want to add marquee clients to that list, you have to have the discipline of nurturing.
3. The discipline of following up. Your clients and dream clients are judging you, make no mistake. They are watching to see if you keep your commitments. This is true for all commitments, great or small.
The discipline of following up is more than just sending the email you promised to send. It’s also the discipline of doing high-quality follow-up work. You make it easier for your client to say “yes” when you observe the discipline of following up, keeping your word and doing quality work. Practice the discipline of follow up, and you’ll be someone who can always be counted on.