Most of my life, I have been taught to think positive;
To look at the bright side of things and to find the good in all situations. Fact is, I had tried that up to about 5 years ago, when I finally decided that being an optimist wasn’t enough. I had to find a better approach because frankly, thinking good things all the time didn’t bring about the effect I had hoped for as there was a dark side to things that needed to be dealt with and I was candidly tired of being disappointed.
When I speak about being a realist and stop being an optimist, many people automatically think I want them to be pessimists. Let me answer that right now; I don’t! I want you to be a realist and look at the situation as it is, so you can deal with the situation as it is.
In sales, the optimist looks like this: they simply go out and think positively that, “Yes, people will buy from me!” and then after knocking on 15-20 doors a day, they become discouraged because these people simply didn’t see the light. Maybe there was a reason why they didn’t see the light, but the optimist doesn’t consider those reasons as they are too busy thinking happy thoughts.
Fact is, in sales you will find disappointment. I have yet to find a salesperson who closes every deal and only with customers who are perfect. When you approach your prospect from a slightly different point of view of trying to determine do you have a match as opposed to trying to gain the sale, you many times find you simply do not have a match (not every prospect can afford what you sell and not every prospect will be a good client who takes what you sell and uses it perfectly).
The point is not to try avoid the disappointment, because you cannot and you will not. The key becomes recovery after disappointment and pressing forward to chasing success. Success is where you live financially comfortable as a salesperson and where your mind and soul will thrive. You will gain what you focus on, so it becomes crucial to focus on solutions, on fixing problems so you can minimize them and of course finding that success.
Vice Admiral John Stockdale recalls in the book, “Good to Great” how he knew who would survive the infamous Hanoi Hilton (Prisoner of war camp in Vietnam where he was the longest held American in captivity).”Simple, those who wouldn’t survive were the optimists.” He went on to explain, “The optimists would be saying, ‘we’ll certainly get out by Christmas’, Christmas would come and go, and disappointment would set in. After too much disappointment they would simply give up.”
Comparing ourselves to the advice of Admiral Stockdale, simply “hoping” for success is a lousy strategy. We need to understand 3 factors:
1. People buy for their reasons, not ours. When we key into what motivates them we stand a better chance of winning the sale, but there are some circumstances (like finances) that are not discussed but a major reason for them to perhaps not buy.
2. We won’t get all sales, but we can get a good amount, we need to focus on our closing ratio and through proper measurement shoot for improving that measurement in place of a pie in the sky perfect game.
3. Measuring the solutions instead of hoping for sales is a better strategy. Fix what you can and avoid the problems you cannot fix (i.e. broke customers).
You can be happy all you want in life, but in sales you need to be real. Be real and not emotional and you will soar.