Mr. Corporate works in sales for a capital equipment company in the healthcare industry. Recently, he had a divisional meeting and an opportunity to meet the new head of sales for North America. The new head of sales started out as a sales executive and worked his way up to be top dog.
He’s a very optimistic guy who is bullish on the future. When he speaks you can feel how much he cares about the products, the customers, and the company’s mission. The passion is palpable and it’s inspiring to see that he views the opportunity as great but the responsibility to customers even greater.
During his first presentation to the sales staff, he mentioned that he gets a lot of college kids/people reaching out to him who want to move into a high powered sales position. (Note – High powered being (115k – 1M+) The question he gets asks the most is “How to land a high powered sales position and be successful? Below are the three things he finds necessary for any successful sales executive.
1) Motivation – You have to be self-motivated. Motivation can be fleeting so you have to have that fire in the belly that drives you every single day. A lot of times, in these types of sales roles you are managing a large territory, sometimes a whole state. Therefore, it will just be you out there on the road. You don’t have someone constantly looking over you so you need to be self-motivated to get things done.
2) Learning – He made a profound comment that you must be willing to learn to be the teacher. Because the teacher learns concepts differently. The teacher doesn’t just understand the material like the student does. The teacher knows it like the back of their hands. They can field any question, handle any objection and flawlessly deliver the value proposition. In this situation, we are talking about sales but the learning doesn’t stop with the product. You need to know the competitors, industry trends, customer’s unique situation, etc. If you don’t know it now then you need to ask the right questions. If you don’t know which questions to ask, check out one of our other posts here for help.
3) Highly Disciplined – It is amazing how many things at the end of the day come back to being highly disciplined. Now there is a fine line between motivation and discipline. Best summarized by John Maxwell – “Motivation get you started but discipline keeps you growing.”
That discipline can be waking up an hour earlier every day to read about your industry, get in a workout, or just spend that time reflecting. If you read about any successful individual they were highly disciplined at something. Whenever the conversation of discipline comes up I always think of Jocko Willink and where I first heard him on Tim Ferriss’s podcast.
Keep in mind, everyone has their own way of doing things so perhaps your personal strategy is implementing these and adding on to this list. But at the end of the day, we can all agree these are inevitable things when it comes to being successful. The one that took me by surprise was the importance of learning. I underappreciated how difficult it is for managers, recruiters, etc to find an employee who is willing to put in the time to learn. So if you take anything away from this post let it be that you can create a competitive advantage for yourself just by willing to learn more than the other person.
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