In any sales position there comes a time when you come face to face with the prospect of your own failure. It’s there, every morning, staring you in the face while you go about your routine. You become so entrapped in the definitions of those words (success and failure) and in the muck of other people’s expectations that it’s hard to have real, personal, attainable goals.
A new agent had just joined our office. I believe he was in his third month when he came to me, frantic. He wanted some pointers concerning a large annuity case he had been working on, and his sales manager was not in the office. I asked him about the client, and after a few moments it became clear that an annuity did not fit the client’s need. This particular client was more interested in having their money be accessible at all times. I asked the agent if he had considered this.
“Not really,” he said, smiling. “But I want to get as far ahead of the required numbers as I can.”
You see? To this agent, failure was staying ahead of the quota. He was willing to risk his client’s trust in order to hit certain numbers. His perception of failure was skewed.
In order to have the clarity that one needs to become successful in any sales position, that person should have clear, personal goals. These goals will define what failure and success mean to that individual, and the first step to that clarity is a marketing plan. Any new agent, or any new salesperson, should have a clear vision of what their market is. My sales manager was most effective with seniors. He could talk easily with them, and could gain their trust by focusing on their specific areas of interest. He did this by asking four simple questions.
- With whom can I relate most easily?
- What are my own areas of interest?
- With whom do I find myself associating the most?
- Where do I personally fit in?
By having this self awareness, any agent can define their market successfully. Once the market has been defined, then the obstacle is getting in front of these people and branding yourself among them. If the majority of those in your market have a hard time trusting you, then your chance of success dwindles. Knowing your market should be top priority. Knowing where they hang out, knowing what their average income range is, etc. Once you know your market well enough to get in front of them, you must find a way to gain trust. Usually this entails a low pressure, comprehensive discussion of all their needs. They have to know you’re there for them, not your paycheck.
You need to keep a track on all the sales you have done till now, which will be your first step towards self awareness Sales tracking software helps you record all the intricate details of a sale which will help you to analyze your performance and do better in the future.
Once you have established rapport with a certain market, your view of success and failure will change rapidly. You will see enough people in your market to realize that failure is a matter of course. Everyone is not going to buy from you. Success will become a matter of your quality of service, and whether or not you came to meet the need as well as sell some products. Failure is inevitable in sales. The truly successful measure their success not on numbers but passion, determination, and the will to help people.