Ladies and Gentlemen of Sales… always prospect.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, prospecting would be IT.
The long term benefits of prospecting have been proved by businessmen whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.
I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the power and greatness of your selling. Never mind. You will not understand the power and greatness of your selling until they have faded.
But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really were in selling.
You are NOT as bad as you imagine.
Don’t worry about the lead generation; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.
The real troubles in your sales are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.
Do one thing every day that scares you.
Don’t be reckless during sales deals, don’t put up with people who are reckless with your deals.
Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The tail is long, and in the end, the race is only with yourself.
Remember sales you close, forget the failures; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your old sales letters; throw away your old price quotes.
Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know how to sell to the next lead. The most interesting sales people I know just have built trust with their leads, some of the most interesting salesmen I know still have this trust with these customers.
Get plenty of relationships.
Be kind to your relationships, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.
Maybe you’ll make a fortune, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have leads, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll become sales manager at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 50th salesman anniversary.
Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself, either. Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.
Enjoy your sales ability, use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.
Even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.
Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.
Do NOT read business magazines, they will only make you feel a laggard.
Get to know your customers, you never know when they’ll be gone for good.
Be nice to your sales assistants; they are your best link to your success and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
Understand that colleagues come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography in relationships because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.
Be at the top once, but leave before it makes you hard; be a failure once, but leave before it makes you soft.
Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, products will change, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, products were great and competitors respected each other.
Respect your competitors.
Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a recurrent business, maybe you’ll have a big customer; but you never know when either one might run out.
Don’t mess too much with your career, or by the time you’re 40, it will look badly.
Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.
But trust me on the prospecting.
This is based upon “Everybody’s free (To wear sunscreen)” by Baz Luhrmann, who has used an essay called “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young” written by Mary Schmich and published in the Chicago Tribune as a column “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young” in 1997.
Read the entire “Everybody’s free (To wear sunscreen)” story.