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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