“It worked once, it worked twice, it worked three times,” reflects the serial killer in Lee Child’s Running Blind. “But you know there are no guarantees in life. You know that, better than anybody. So you keep on thinking, because the only thing that can get you known is your own complacency.”
The words may seem strangely philosophical for a crime novel, but no matter who we are, it’s complacency that gets us “known,” that betrays us. For anyone in sales, complacency is a sure-fire career killer. With that in mind, here are some thoughts that can help avoid the consequences of complacency.
1. “My customers love me.”
Salespeople find fulfillment in believing that their customers really love them, or at least like them. However, such affectionate thoughts often result from selective memory.
For example, salespeople seem to possess perfect recall for what they do for their customers. They describe in copious detail instances when they went far beyond a second mile to help customers. On the other hand, customer recall can be quite different. Customers never forget what salespeople didn’t do or how they felt let down, taken advantage of or cheated.
By basking in self-congratulation — the worst form of complacency — salespeople deny themselves the golden opportunities for understanding customers more clearly, earning their trust and serving them more effectively.
2. “It takes persuasion to get people to buy.”
If ever there were a cornerstone description of sales, it might go something like this: how to turn “no” into “yes.” To be successful in sales, the ability to persuade is a core quality for climbing to the top rung.