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To Buy is Human – Approaching Buyers the Way They Buy

People act on emotion and justify with logic. From complex to completely transactional, impulse purchases, emotions drive buying decisions. The examples are legion and science is stacking up one study after another that demonstrate how emotion influences the choices we make.

Daniel Pink says that to sell is human, likewise to buy is human. Though as humans we are certain that we’re making choices based on rational logic, our best interests, or organized facts, science says that we often don’t.

Emotion is why well-educated executives make multi-million dollar decisions with massive implications to their companies because they feel that one sales team cares about them more than another.

At a wine tasting party where researchers placed the price of the wine on the wine bottles, people exclaimed that wine with the higher price tag tasted better, even though every bottle was filled with the same low-cost wine.

In another study, German beer hall music lilted from the liquor store’s speakers on Tuesdays and French music on Wednesdays. Correspondingly German beer sales went up on Tuesdays with French wine sales increasing on Wednesdays.

On the sidewalk outside the store, researchers peered into brown bags and interviewed the patrons to learn why they purchased the beer or wine. Most shoppers gave logical reasons for the purchase: Saw it in a magazine, recommended by a friend, cooking steaks tonight, like the taste premium beer.

As humans, it is important that our self-image correlate with our decisions. So, we fall on logic to justify subconscious, emotional buying behavior – thus avoiding the pain of cognitive dissonance.

Despite all the tools, information, and data at their fingertips in our internet connected world, buyers continue to make irrational decisions. Am I saying that product features, quality, specs, delivery options and speed, service, technology, locations, price, and other tangible attributes of your offering don’t matter? Of course, not. These things absolutely matter – all are tickets to the game.

However, the sales profession inclusive of salespeople, sales trainers, sales leaders, and the marketing teams that support them are and have been, under the collective delusion that buyers make logical decisions that are in their own or their company’s best interest. That they weigh decisions rationally and choose options that make logical sense.

You Don’t Need to Look Far for Proof

Evidence upon evidence and data stacked on data refute this assumption. Frankly, you don’t need to look far for proof. I have no doubt that you’ve been frustrated with a prospect into which you’ve poured heart and soul. You’ve built the case why they should do business with you. You’ve analyzed their current situation and shown them how you can save them money, time, stress, and offer better service.

The case, the proof was irrefutable, and your references impeccable. There is even a compelling trigger event to drive urgency. Yet, instead of signing your agreement, they gave your competitor who’d taken them for granted, provided shoddy service, pissed them off, and overbilled them for the headache, a second chance. I know, I’ve been there and it’s maddening.

If we were to ask your buyer why he chose to remain with a vendor that was not working in his best interest, he would lead off with a number of what he felt like were logical, rational reasons. But refuting and arguing the facts would get you nowhere. The buyer would just dig in, unmovable.

What he would be unable to explain or unwilling to admit is his fear of making a mistake; or that there was just something about you that, at the sub-conscious level, he didn’t trust; or that because he avoids conflict, firing his current vendor would put him in an uncomfortable position. Layers of emotions – conscious and sub-conscious – driving his irrational choice. Yet he explains his decision in completely rational terms.

When All Things are Equal

As a sales professional understanding how emotions dominate and drive buying decisions is critical to supercharging your income and advancing your career.

When all things are equal, and in today’s marketplace there are rarely huge gaps or differences between competitors (at least from the prospect’s viewpoint), your ability to both influence the emotions of your prospects while regulating your own disruptive emotions, as you move deals through the sale pipe, gives you a distinct competitive edge.

Emotions are difficult to wrap our arms around and are sometimes hard to face. It’s so much easier to pitch the features of a widget than turn on empathy and tune into emotions. The brutal, inconvenient truth is you can pitch, challenge, teach, and offer insight to your heart’s content but it will not matter because, People buy for their reasons, not yours.

Approach Buyers the Way They Buy

Sales and buying are woven into the imperfect fabric of human emotions. No matter what you sell, your sales cycle, or the complexity of the sales and buying process, emotions play a crucial role in the outcomes of your sales conversations, interactions, and deals.

Sales EQ - Emotions Drive Buying Decisions

Most salespeople begin the sales process from a position of logic and over the course of the sales process shift towards emotion. On the other hand, buyers tend to begin the buying process at the emotional level and over time shift towards logic.

At the beginning of the sales process the buyer is asking a basic question about the salesperson: Do I like you?

In the same moment, the seller is delivering a pitch on product features they believe will generate interest from the buyer.

Few things make sellers more unlikable than pitching.

At the end of the sales process when the buyer is asking rational questions, putting objections on the table, and negotiating, the seller is reacting emotionally to perceived rejection, desperate not to lose the deal.

And so, it goes throughout the buying journey. At the emotional level, the parties are perpetually out of sync.

Of course, I’m not blind to the oversimplification of this example. Human interaction is complex and quite often non-linear. However, dealing with people in the context of sales conversations doesn’t need to be overly complex or overwhelming.

There are a handful of principles and frameworks that guide most human behavior most of the time. When you learn to master these simple frameworks, you’ll become a master of emotions and thus, influence and persuasion.

I’ve already shared with you one of the most cogent truths in sales. People buy for their reasons, not yours. It follows then that to be effective, you must approach people the way they buy rather than the way you sell.

Sales EQ: The New Psychology of Selling

Sales EQ Book Cover - by Jeb Blount Sales Specific Emotional IntelligenceLegions of salespeople and their leaders are coming face to face with a cold hard truth: what once gave salespeople a competitive edge—controlling the sales process, command of product knowledge, an arsenal of technology, and a great pitch—are no longer guarantees of success. Yet this is where the vast majority of the roughly $20 billion spent each year on sales training goes.  It’s no wonder many companies are seeing 50 percent or more of their salespeople miss quota.

Yet, in this new paradigm, an elite group of sales professionals are crushing it. In our age of technology where information is ubiquitous and buyer attention spans are fleeting, these superstars have learned how to leverage a new psychology of selling—Sales EQ—to keep prospects engaged, create true competitive differentiation, as well as shape and influence buying decisions. These top earners are acutely aware that the experience of buying from them is far more important than products, prices, features, and solutions.

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4 Tips for Getting Past Sales Objections [Video]

Every salesperson thinks about objections. What objections they might get. What do do when they get them. What to say. The best way to respond. Salespeople hate objections because objections are speed bumps and sometimes roadblocks on the the way to the next step in the sales process and more importantly closing the sale.

This is why dealing with objections and the feeling of rejection that often accompanies these objections is one of the most difficult aspects of mastering sales.

In this video I discuss the 4 Keys to Getting Past Objections with Nancy Bleeke – Author of Conversations That Sell . Whether you are dealing with a

  • price objection;
  • shopping around objection;
  • need to think about it objection;
  • have to talk to my boss objection;
  • or we like you competitor better objection;

the more prepared and relaxed you are with your response, the more successful you will be in getting past the objection and closing the sale.

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  • Use five levers that open the door to stronger relationships that quickly increase sales, improve retention, increase profits, and advance your career
  • Make instant emotional connections that eliminate objections and move buyers to reveal their real problems and needs
  • Anchor your business relationships and create loyal customers who will never leave you for a competitor
  • Build your personal brand to improve your professional presence and stand out in the marketplace

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7 Keys to Making a Great First Impression in Sales

At dinner this weekend our good friend Michelle told us a story about an experience she had recently while shopping for a mattress. Now this wasn’t just any mattress; this was a high end mattress that cost a couple of thousand dollars. Prior to making the purchase she had done extensive research online and had narrowed her focus to a few brands and styles. She found exactly what she was looking for at the first furniture store she visited and the price was right.

But she didn’t make the purchase . . .

Instead, she drove all the way across town to visit another furniture store where she met sales representative Gwen. There, she purchased the same mattress she had seen at the other store. When I pressed her she admitted (while trying not to look at her husband) that she paid more at the second store than the first.

“Why would you do that?” I asked.

She responded, “The guy at the first store, I think his name was Ray, just didn’t impress me. I mean, from the first moment there was just something about him I didn’t like. So even though he had the mattress I wanted I decided to shop around some more. Gwen, the rep at the other store, was different. Even though we had just met I could tell she cared about me. She made me feel important.”

No Second Chances With First Impressions

Like Michelle, we all make instant judgments when we first meet people. Those judgments, which are both imperfect and emotional, have a lasting impact on how we view and interact with others. In Michelle’s case first impressions caused her to make the illogical decision to pay more for the same product because she liked Gwen more than she liked Ray.

Trust me, your prospects make these same imperfect judgments about you every day. First impressions are about likability and likability is the gateway to building emotional connections with your prospect. Emotions drive sales. If your prospect likes you they will be open to answering your questions, engaging in a conversation about their needs and situation, and ultimately buying from you.

Unlike trust, being perceived as likeable or unlikeable occurs in mere moments and begins in your prospect’s subconscious long before they are aware of how they feel about you at the conscious level.  Ray, the rep that turned Michelle off, is the poster child for the saying, “You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.”

Be Likeable

The word likable is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as, having qualities that bring about a favorable regard. We all, to some extent, have qualities and characteristics that make us naturally likeable to certain types of people and personalities; though at the same time we possess qualities that make us naturally unlikeable to others.

The problem we face in sales is we don’t always get to choose the people we interact with. Many of the people we encounter will not be naturally attracted to us. Complicating things more are the preconceived notions that all people bring into relationships. These perceptions, which include but are not limited to cultural, racial, and socioeconomic biases, are also beyond our control.

There was just “something” about Ray that Michelle didn’t like. That “something” could be that he reminded her of a bully back in grade school, a bad date in college, or a sales rep that broke a promise in the past. Perhaps she didn’t like his facial expressions, his accent, tie, eye contact, posture, or the tattoo on his wrist.

The point is, there are myriad reasons a prospect may not like you and many of the reasons (rational or irrational) are completely outside of your control. This is why, when you meet new prospects, it is absolutely critical that you control those things that are within your power to control.

Take Control of Perceptions

There are, however, important and critical actions you can take that will positively impact first impressions and likeability. These actions are completely within your control and, when executed properly, help you both neutralize biases outside of your control and attract people who might not otherwise find you naturally likeable.

Smile: A pleasant, sincere smile is the best way to make a great first impression. The smile is the universal human language and people are naturally attracted to people who are smiling. So be aware of your facial expression and put a smile on your face.

Be Polite: I saw a bumper sticker once that said, “Mean People Suck.” People who are rude, impolite, and discourteous are unlikeable. Unless you were raised in a barn by animals, someone taught you basic manners. Put those manners to work in all interactions with prospects and customers. People will notice.

Dress: Despite the admonition “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” people do and will judge you based on what you wear, drive, and your grooming and appearance. If you engage in face to face sales conversations dress well. Wear the best and most professional garments you can afford. Ensure that they are cleaned, pressed, and put you in the very best light.

Grooming: Look your best. Ensure that you smell good (breath – BO) and that your cologne or perfume is not overpowering. Ensure that your hair, facial hair, and nails, are clean, cut, clipped, and manicured. If you have tattoos cover them up. Yes, tats are more acceptable in today’s society than ever before however, they can potentially turn off buyers who don’t consider them appropriate. “I chose not to buy from that sales rep because he didn’t have a tattoo,” said no one ever.

Stay Focused: In today’s demanding work environment it is easy to become distracted. Jim Rohn once said, “Wherever you are, be there.” This is essential advice when it comes to first impressions. You must develop the self-discipline to shut everything else out and remain completely focused on your prospect.

Be enthusiastic. Enthusiasm for your product, service, and company sells. Enthusiasm is transferable and infectious. Your enthusiasm is driven by your attitude and beliefs, so it is critical to work consistently to build and retain a winning attitude. One note, though: there are few things more off-putting than insincere enthusiasm; so be careful not to get carried away.

Be confident. Weak people repel. Arrogant people are turnoffs. Confident people attract. Confidence is driven by your self-image, product knowledge, attitude, style of dress, health, and even your spirituality. This is why, even if you are an inside sales rep, it pays to dress for success. When you look good you feel good. Your level of confidence is a direct reflection of your willingness and self-discipline to invest in yourself.

The good news is, making a great first impression is actually very easy if you focus completely on what is within your control. And though you never get a second chance to make a first impression, you only have to make a good first impression once to lay a solid foundation on which to build a profitable relationship with your prospect.

For more tips on leveraging likeability to influence buying decisions read my #1 bestseller: People Buy You: The Real Secret to What Matters Most in Business

Sales is Schrödinger’s Cat

Sales is an art …

Sales is a science …

Sales is a numbers game …

Sales is hard . . .

Sales is easy . . .

Sales is complex . . .

Sales is simple . . .

Sales is simple but not easy . . .

Sales is a process . . .

Sales is about relationships . . .

Sales is challenging . . .

Sales is emotional  . . .

Sales is logical . . .

Sales is consultative . . .

Sales is a language of questions . . .

Sales is just a conversation . . .

Sales is human . . .

Sales is life . . .

Sales is changing . . .

Sales has changed . . .

Sales is dead . . .

Sales is everything . . .

Sales is just one person solving another person’s problems . . .

Sales is . . .

If you’ve been in sales or around the sales profession for more than five minutes it’s likely that you’ve heard sales described in one of these or a dozen other ways salespeople, sales leaders, sales trainers, and executives attempt to categorize sales into a neat little one-size-fits-all box.

Yet, as much as we try to stuff it into that box it will not comply. Sales defies a singular, ubiquitous description. It will not comply with cliches and generalities. Sales is a shape shifter that at once seems ordered and easy to understand and simultaneously is baffling and tremendously complex.

More books are written about sales than any other business discipline. Sales experts abound – you’ll find one on every corner. The experts write books, develop training programs, and give speeches in which they tell you that their “Sales is . . .” is the one true way to success. These experts pander for your attention with proclamations that – “everything in sales has changed;” “buyers have changed;” “old school selling doesn’t work;” and on and on and on.

Each publishing season ushers in a new set of everything-as-we-know-it-in-sales-has-changed-books that attempt to package up “Sales is” with a tidy little bow. New sales training programs are marketed to  C-level executives and Sales VPs who continue on their insatiable, quixotic crusade for sales process nirvana.

Yet, sales refuses to comply.

My library is thick with sales books. Most of them are formulaic facsimiles of the hundreds of other sales books that ply you with a dire prognostication that everything in sales has changed, promise that the information in the book will lead you into sales salvation, and then go on to regurgitate the same shit that you’ve read dozens of times before, disguised with different labels and idiotic acronyms.

This is why so many salespeople and executives are left scratching their heads wondering what sales really is. Sadly, it reminds me of the question that Bill Clinton so famously asked under oath:  It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is?”

The real answer is that “Sales is,” all of the above. There is no single word or phrase that can define sales. This is because Sales exists in an ever changing business environment; is impacted by unique products and services; is transactional, short-cycle, long-cycle, simple, and complex; is local, national, global; is never one-size-fits-all.

Most importantly Sales is woven into the imperfect and unpredictable fabric of human behavior and emotions. This is why Sales eludes definition and why each account, prospect, deal, interaction, and conversation within the sales process are unique. As long as humans are involved, what “Sales is . . .” can never be defined because at once, all definitions are both true and false.

Sales is . . . Schrödinger’s cat.

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Sales in a New York Minute [Podcast]

In this podcast episode I go into the studio with Jen Gluckow, founder of the sales training firm Sales in a New York Minute. Jen is a sales and social media expert who earned her chops in the Big Apple. In our conversation we take on cold calling in New York City, the Sales Gods, social media, success, failure, millenials and so much more. You’re going to love this conversation!

Here are links to the freebees I mention at the beginning of the episode:

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About: Jeb Blount’s Sales Gravy podcast is longest continuously running sales podcast and the most downloaded sales podcast in iTunes history. New episodes are produced weekly.

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Are You a Holiday Slacker?

For the next month much of the western world will be in full holiday mode and salespeople will be met with this constant and frustrating refrain from prospects – “we’re just going to hold off on doing anything until after the holidays.”

You’ll also be tugged away from sales activity by many pleasing distractions – the perfect excuse to let your guard down and slack off. From now until the first week in January everything in sales tends to get turned upside down.

It’s critical for salespeople to properly manage holidays. Consider that in the U.S., when we include the period between Thanksgiving and New Years Day with Memorial Day, the 4th of July, Labor Day, and the handful of other national celebrations, roughly 20% of the year is impacted by holidays. That is a huge chunk of prime selling time that can only be ignored at your peril.

It’s Harder to Sell During the Holidays

When managed poorly Holidays wreck sales productivity. Customers are on vacation, some businesses shut down completely, prospects put off decisions, and in many cases, with all of the distractions, your head isn’t in the game.  During the holidays, more than ever, you must have a concrete plan for sales activity.

The brutal fact is it is harder to sell during the holidays and you basically have two choices: give up and give in or get focused.

In sales, like it or not, activity is everything. If you are not prospecting, questioning, presenting, closing, and taking the actions that move deals through your pipeline you will fail no matter what time of year it is. The challenge you face during the holidays is there is a much higher probability that deals in your pipe will stall and die because your prospects have an easy excuse to procrastinate. Because of this you must be even more focused and on top of your sales pipeline. You’ve got to work harder to keep every deal moving forward. You also need prospect even harder to ensure that your pipe is full of qualified opportunities going into January.

Maintain Activity or Pay the Consequences

During the holidays it is so easy to allow your self-discipline to slip and relax. It’s easy to drift away from your daily sales routine. When you allow this to happen you face peril as your pipeline velocity slows, your closing ratio drops off a cliff, and many of your prospects disappear into a black hole.

Failing to effectively manage your activity and routine during the holidays carries two consequences.

  1. In the short-term it hurts your income in December and January when you need those commission checks the most to pay off holiday bills.
  2. In the long-term it negatively impacts your sales pipeline during the first quarter of the new year – January, February, and March.

Going into the new year with an empty pipeline raises your stress level, depletes your confidence, lowers your future income, and can even get you fired if you’ve dug yourself too deep of a hole over the holidays and you fail to recover.

Make a Plan Now to Outsell the Holidays

To keep this from happening to you, it is critical that develop a plan for outselling the holidays right now. Start by ensuring that you have your calendar properly blocked for daily prospecting and lead generation, as new and follow up appointments. Take into account all of your holiday activities and build them into your calendar so you avoid surprises. You may have to do some work arounds to get everything in, but the key is getting your month planned out in advance. Develop the discipline to review your calendar every morning during the holidays and hold yourself accountable to staying on track.

Next, set daily activity targets.  Set prospecting targets, closing targets, revenue targets, and be sure you have a goal for the number of qualified prospects you will have in your pipeline the first week in January. Make a firm commitment to review your targets and progress each morning and afternoon – every day.

This forward planning process is a powerful technique that will keep you on track and focused during the holidays.

Most importantly by planning in advance and committing to daily activity targets, you will find that you feel less stress, keep the commission checks rolling in, set yourself up to win in the New year, and still have plenty of time to enjoy the holidays with your friends and family.

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5 Steps to Voice Mail Messages That Get Returned [Podcast]

To leave a voicemail or not to leave a voicemail? This is a question that salespeople everywhere are asking in an age when it seems like nobody actually returns voicemail. The good news is prospects do return voice mail messages that are short, relevant, and easy to return. The bad news is most salespeople leave awful voice mail messages that get deleted.

In this podcast I give you a powerful 5 Step technique that guarantees that you will double your call backs on voice mail messages.


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7 Mindsets of Top Earning Salespeople

Jim Rohn was famous for saying that “success leaves clues.” But, he wasn’t the first to say this.

Highly successful people from ancient philosophers, like Aristotle, to modern day thought leaders have always made the point that there is little need to “reinvent the wheel.” If you study what successful people do, you find patterns. When you duplicate those patterns, you are able to duplicate their success.

Developing and maintaining a winning mindset is the ultimate key to success in sales. This mindset keeps you focused, persistent, and driven to open doors in the face of inevitable set-backs, challenges, and rejection.

When you adopt a winning mindset, you’ll grow in the face of adversity rather than shrink before it.

I’ve spent a lifetime studying the habits of top earning sales pros. Along the way I discovered seven core mindsets that define them. These are their success clues. Duplicate these mindsets and you’ll guarantee yourself success in filling your pipeline and crushing your number.

Seven Mindsets of Top Earning Sales Pros

1. Optimistic & Enthusiastic: Top earning sales pros have a winning, optimistic mindset. They know that negative, bitter people with victim mindsets do not succeed in sales. They attack each day with enthusiasm – fired up and ready to rock. They view each day as a fresh new opportunity to achieve. Because of this they seize the day, brush past naysayers and complainers, and dive into prospecting with an unequaled drive. Even on bad days they reach deep inside and find enough stored enthusiasm to push themselves to keep going and make one more call.

2. Competitive: Top earners view the world through the eyes of a fierce competitor. They are hard wired to be number one and will do what it takes to stay on top and start each day prepared to win the battle for the attention of the most coveted prospects. They out-wit and out-hustle their competitors at every turn.

3. Confident: Top earners approach prospecting and sales with confidence. They expect to win and believe they are going to win. They have developed mental toughness and the ability to manage the disruptive emotions of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. They leverage confidence and self-control to persuade prospects to give up time and resources to engage in sales conversations.

4. Relentless: Top earners have a high need for achievement. They do whatever it takes to reach their goal. They believe, at the core, that persistence always wins and use rejection as motivational fuel to get up and keep going. In the face of the difficult, rejection dense work that is the sales profession, they move forward with determined belief that their next “yes” is right around the corner. Because of this, they never, ever give up.

5. Thirst for Knowledge: Top earners welcome feedback and coaching. They seek out every opportunity to learn and invest in themselves by voraciously consuming books, podcasts, audiobooks, blog posts, online training, live seminars, and anything else they believe will make them better. They have an unshakable belief that everything happens for a reason, and through this lens view setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow.

6. Systematic and Efficient: Top earners have the ability to execute with near robotic efficiency. They are skilled at their craft like a pro athlete. They protect the golden hours, block their time, concentrate their focus and power to be efficient and mechanical with sales activities, stick to their guns and avoid disruptions, systematically develop their prospect database, and squeeze every moment from each sales day.

7. Adaptive & Flexible: Top earners have acute situational awareness. Because of this they are able to respond and adapt quickly to changing situations and circumstances. They leverage the 3As: Adopt, Adapt, Adept. They invest in themselves to discover and adopt new ideas and best practices, then adapt them as their own, and work at it until they become adept at execution.

They are constantly trying new things and flexing with the world around them – whatever it takes to keep their pipeline full. They know where to mine for gold and tend to be early adopters of new sales techniques, cutting-edge technology, and game-changing tactics.

Look around you, I guarantee that you will find that the highest earning sales professionals in your city, networking groups, and company share these seven mindsets.

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Adopt a Balanced Prospecting Mindset

The very best salespeople have mastered balanced prospecting in the same manner that wealthy people have mastered balance in their investment portfolios.

Balance simply means that to get the best return from your prospecting time investment there should be measure of telephone, in-person, email, social selling, text messaging, referrals, networking, in-bound leads, trade shows, and cold calling. The relative distribution of your time investment in each prospecting methodology should be based on your unique situation.

There isn’t a one size fits all formula for balanced prospecting. Every territory, industry, product, service, and prospect base is different. As are the demands of the sales plan, economic drivers, and the strategy and direction of the business – all of which are certain to change over time. It’s also important to have a clear understanding of where you are against your goals because that may also determine the appropriate mix of channels.

When It Is Time to Go Home, Make One More Call

I don’t remember where I found the eleven words that changed my sales career. I think I may have stumbled on them in a newsletter or magazine I subscribed to back when newsletters were mailed rather than emailed. What I do remember is the words instantly resonated with me:

When it’s time to go home, make one more call.

I cut the blurb out of the newsletter and taped it over my desk where I would see it each day. It was always the last thing I looked at before I hit the streets to go on my sales calls.

Those words became my mantra. On days when I was dragging my ass because I’d had it handed to me by prospects I couldn’t close; or, it was hot, cold, raining, or snowing; or, I was tired, worn-out, burned-out, or, jonesing to go home early on a Friday afternoon; or when I was coming up with really good justifications to knock off early for the day, this mantra, “when it is time to go home, make one more call,” kept me going for one more call (and sometimes two, three, or four). It kept me focused on paying for my success, in advance, with hard work.

The impact of those extra calls was mind blowing. So many of my “one more calls” turned into sales. It was as if the universe was rewarding me for sticking to it. That final push paid off and kept paying off in my performance and my paycheck. Five more calls a week, resulted in 20 additional calls a month, resulted in 240 additional calls a year. At a 34% closing rate that produced an additional 82 deals a year, almost $2 million in incremental revenue, and, an extra $100k in my pocket – income I would never have generated if I had not developed the discipline to make one more call. That, by the way, is called Sales Gravy.

Over the years I’ve shared this mantra with the sales professionals who’ve worked for me and I continue to share it with the new generation of sales professionals I teach and coach. Some adopt it as their own, others . . . go home. I get hundreds of calls, text messages, and emails each year on Friday afternoons or near dark from top tier sales pros that say things like this:

“Hey Jeb, you are not going to believe this. I was about to give up but decided to make one last call and the guy bought from me right on the spot – can you believe that???”

This kind of sales serendipity happens every day across the globe to the sales pros that are fanatical about making one more call.

Of course there are those who will tell you that this is bunk. They’ll argue that working harder is stupid. “Why work harder when you can work smarter?” they somehow say with a straight face.

Here is a brutal truth: “Working smarter” is the hobgoblin of mediocre salespeople. Like all losers, they use “working smarter” as an excuse for their lack of achievement. Trust me on this, losers love company so they are happy to lure you into their “working smarter” camp with the Siren song of less effort for more results. Do not buy into this bull.

Top sales professionals have the self-discipline to do the hard things in sales. Do these top performers get tired, cold, hungry, burned out, and feel their resolve wavering and want to give up and go home? Of course they do. Do these top performers love prospecting or the other difficult activities required for success in sales? Of course not! They don’t enjoy these activities anymore than the salespeople who are failing.

What top performers in sales (and frankly all walks of life) understand is that to succeed at the highest level they’ve got to pay for their success in advance with hard work, sacrifice, doing things they hate, and making one last, final push over the finish line.

The salespeople on the bottom know this too but, instead of making one more call at the end of the day when it is time to go home, they make excuses.

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