In life, there is no substitute for experience. We learn, from trial and error, what works and what doesn’t work in almost any endeavor. After years of (hopefully) learning from our mistakes, we can look back and see those qualities that enabled us to gain a certain level of success. Regardless of our profession, it is wise to ask those who have been “around the block” what they believe are those qualities and/or principles that enable them to succeed.
Remember that success is a state of mind. One person’s success is another person’s failure. In today’s society, success often means an abundance of material things, power, and prestige. But these are only temporary as we certainly can’t take anything with us when we die. In reality, success is all about being content regardless of your situation. It’s wise, then, to think long term as to where success in life will eventually lead us.
Do we live for success or is there something more important that we should strive for?
Looking back on a career that spanned over 38 years, I have lived by several basic principles that have enabled me to sell over 400 MILLION dollars of products, mostly in the Telecommunications arena. Here are the six principles that I live by:
The first thing to remember is that God owns everything in heaven and on earth. It all belongs to Him and He works everything according to His perfect will. It is wise, then, to seek Him first in everything we do. Go to God first in prayer thanking Him for each and every opportunity that comes your way.
Ask God for His wisdom to always do the right thing regardless of the circumstance. When you move in accordance to God’s will, it doesn’t matter what the outcome is as we are promised that He will work “all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Know that you win some and you lose some. No one ever wins all the time. But, learn from your mistakes and losses. Other opportunities will arise that will require you to recall (and apply) what you learned from previous circumstances, I promise.
Going to God in prayer also gives you the confidence and courage to face any situation, knowing that the God of the Universe is with you every step of the way.
If God is for us, who can be against us?
Love what you do. Believe in yourself and your product. One of the first things a customer or client will notice, is your passion for what you are selling or representing. Enthusiasm, with knowledge, is contagious.
Share success stories and how you helped make them happen. Do this, of course, without being cocky and arrogant, but share previous successes with an air of humility. People love to hear the HOW and the WHY things happen the way they do. When making a decision, customers will most assuredly want to know what other Companies have done.
Passion is all about attitude. Be positive when explaining the pros and cons of a product or service to your prospective customer. There are few things that customers like less than someone with a bad attitude.
This is one of those intangibles that will separate you from the pack. Look and act in a professional manner. This includes making sure that your appearance is neat and clean…face washed/groomed, hair combed, and teeth brushed!
Take the time and spend a little money to insure that your wardrobe is up to date. Make sure that your clothes are neatly fitted and well pressed. Polish your shoes, if necessary.
Be on time! Always schedule an appointment in advance, call or email to confirm your appointment, and don’t be late. I remember a time I forgot to send an email confirming my appointment (which was in another time zone) and I showed up an hour late. The customer made me wait in the lobby for 1.5 hours until they were finished with lunch to see them. Needless to say, that never happened again.
Follow up each meeting with a thank you email, summarizing key talking points and action items. Never, ever say anything that isn’t true. It will come back to haunt you.
Answer and return calls and emails in a timely manner. Try to get return messages immediately or within 24 hours if possible.
There is no substitute for being prepared. It’s a game changer. Know your audience, your product, and your competition. This requires you to do some homework, but it’s worth the effort.
Know your audience and who you are talking to. If you are speaking to an Executive audience, try not to get “down in the dirt” with specific product knowledge and focus on the big picture and the value add to your product and/or service. Your message should always be geared toward your audience.
It definitely helps to know your product or service better than your customer. There is nothing more embarrassing than having a customer answer a product question that you should know. Spend some time reviewing what you are offering and when you have mastered it, review it again. Practice public speaking. It’s a well know fear that, when overcome, can greatly enhance your status.
It’s hard to sell a product or service without knowing the pros and cons of the competition. Knowing this helps you focus in on the strengths and benefits that you offer. Know the competition for comparison sake, but never disparage them as this will hurt you more often than not.
It has been said that patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success. I agree.
Being persistent means moving forward regardless of the obstacles. A Lumberjack cuts down a tree one chop at a time. Keep chopping away and eventually that tree will fall. I always told my son that God cannot steer a ship that is not moving. You must keep striving, keep moving, and be persistent in order to get where you want to go.
Seldom does success come with the first attempt. It takes knowledge of the basic skills and fundamentals for a solid foundation to be made. Then, repetition and time will make almost anyone an expert. Luck favors the persistent.
As I mentioned before, there is no substitute for knowledge with a great attitude. Remember this, people buy from who they like! It’s all about relationships. Make people like you by liking them. Be honest, be friendly, and be yourself.
When you walk into a room, smile. Ask questions. Get to know the people you are working with and for. It takes time to develop close relationships and trust in a person. Make the effort as I guarantee it will pay off big time in the future. Cherish friendships as those will be the memories that will last a lifetime.
Speaking of lifetime, success is temporary. Life is short. True success comes in knowing that your Eternal destination is secure. Seek God first in everything you do and He will show you the way and make your path straight. This will give you contentment and confidence in any situation.
The most important thing we can do in this lifetime, is to insure where we will be spending the next.