The Path to Success

They say you arrived where you are today because of your choices.  Your career, your spouse, your financial situation and happiness in life…all due to your choices.  If we accept that as true and we consider the fact that we often take the path of least resistance, we have a recipe for a result in life that we are not happy with.  What do I mean?  Our choices led us to where we are today.  Those choices were often the easy way out and we are not happy with the result of those choices.

For example, let’s use one aspect of our personal health – our weight.  Most of us are not happy with our weight.  Yet, there is really no secret to controlling it.  Aside from a few medical conditions, weight gain or loss is calories consumed minus calories used.  If it’s a positive number, you gain weight.  If negative, then you lose weight.  It’s that simple.  And simple does not mean easy.  The “easy” is the path of least resistance.  In weight control, the path of least resistance is eating that extra piece of dessert, having one more beer, eating fast food instead of making your lunch, ordering the salad and not the Big Mac or going back for seconds and thirds at the buffet.  For many years, I followed the path of least resistance when it came to eating.  My results showed in my weight gain.  My favorites foods were the 3 B’s and I consumed more than I should have.  My 3B’s were Breads, Beer and anything with Batter (pancakes, cakes, fried foods, etc.).  It took a lot of self-discipline to reduce these in my diet.  That discipline was my Path of Most Resistance.  Along that path, I had my inner voice challenging me to consume more of the three B’s.  As I started to lose weight, family and friends became worried and encouraged me to eat more.  They were well meaning and concerned for my health, but they became part of that Path of Most Resistance.

What does the Path of Most Resistance look like for a sales person?

 

Path of Least Resistance

Your Justification

Path of Most Resistance

Quitting early. I started early today, I deserve to stop early. Make one more call before you quit for the day.
Quitting the week early. Customers are done for the week as well.  There’s no harm in taking some time off on Friday afternoon. I worked hard all week.  I deserve a break. Make one more sales call on Friday afternoon.
Failing to do a Pre-call plan. I know my customer and I have been in this market for years.  I know everything there is to know about them. Sit down and really think about what you want from this customer and where you want to go with this account.
I am too busy to summarize my notes immediately after a sales call. I have another appointment to get to.  I don’t have time to stop and enter info into a CRM program.  Besides, I will remember it. Take 5 minutes to review your notes.  Write down 3-5 key points that were made.  Most importantly, write down those action items you need to follow up on.
Not asking good questions. I know everything there is to know or that I need to know.  I don’t want to look “salesy” or like I am prying too much by asking questions. Write down 3-5 high value questions in your pre-call plan for each sales call.
Not Listening to the customer.  My mind wanders during the sales call and I get distracted. I am thinking of what I want to tell them when they stop talking.  I get distracted by my phone during a sales call. Actively listen – put your phone away and make eye contact with your customer as they are talking.
Not following a sales process.  I am so fluent in the sales process that I will “wing it” when I get there. I don’t want to look “salesy” like I’m a scripted sales person.  I will just get on the call and take it where it goes.  Then I will close on the customer and tell myself that I am following a sales process.  When the customer rejects my close, I will blame it on price or blame it on my customer’s intelligence. Following a sales process.  It doesn’t have to be scripted or in exact order.  However, it shows professionalism and gets better results.
Failing to Close. I will just keep presenting data, facts and stories until the customer agrees to buy from me.  They have been really agreeable so far and I don’t want it to turn negative by asking for the sale. Close.  It’s not more complicated than that.  You have talked enough.  Move the sales process along and find out if they are interested.
Failing to Follow up. I already presented to them. They will let me know if they are interested. Follow up.  Typically, a sale takes more than 5 sales calls before a customer buys.  Most sales people quit after 3 or 4 attempts.
Quit attempting to sell after rejection. They told me they aren’t interested.  So, I don’t want to be “pushy” and persist in selling them. Follow up.  This gets even more difficult as time goes on.  We feel intimidated that the customer has already decided and we assume it’s a “Final Decision”.  Figure out a way to stay relevant and follow up.
I need help but don’t want to bother my sales manager She’s busy and I don’t want her to think I am not a competent sales person. Ask.  You are human and hopefully, your sales manager realizes it.  She wants to help.  That doesn’t mean she wants to do it for you.  Go to her for coaching, which is different than dumping your problem on her so she resolves it.
It’s not my fault that the customer did not buy from me after I presented They are just a price buyer.  They are not smart enough to understand how my product can help them. Forget blame.  As sales people, we can develop a defense mechanism for dealing with rejection.  We blame the customer for not buying from us.  Instead, follow a sound sales process, be persistent and resilient in your approach.
It’s not my fault the customer quit buying from us They got a cheaper price.  They got mad at our delivery program, our ordering program or all the hoops they have to jump through to do business with us. Forget blame.  Even if you are right – So what?  The result is still the same.  Follow up and salvage what you can.

 

Two key points I want to emphasize.  First, I realize that you need a break once in a while.  You may be stressed out and need to take an afternoon off.  Going too hard for too long can lead to burn out.  Good self-awareness is important.  If you need a break, take it.  Just don’t take every Friday afternoon off.  Second key point – you will make mistakes.  You will fail to close, fail to ask an important question or fail to follow up.  You will “Fall off the wagon” so to speak.  Not a problem.  All is not lost.  Just get right back “On the wagon” and do what you know is right – follow the “Path of Most Resistance”.

There’s a saying out there that “The path to success is in front of everyone, but we miss it because it is disguised as hard work”.   I would tell you that the path to success is often in choosing the path of most resistance.  We are wired to choose the path of least resistance.  It’s easy, fun and often seems faster.  When you are out there on territory and you are not happy with your results, raise your head up just a little and look down your path before deciding which way to go.  Sure, it’s easy, fun and faster, but will it take you to where you want to go?

 

Make your next meeting memorable by bringing in a speaker who’s been there.  Contact me to find out how Greg@GregMartinelli.net

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