Something that most people don’t know is that our company, Southwestern Consulting, is actually the training and consulting arm of a much larger corporation known as The Southwestern Company. In fact, The Southwestern Company is the oldest direct selling company in the entire United States.
We’ve been around for just shy of 160 years. I’ve been selling for almost a decade now. And in my case, selling sales coaching, sales training, sales speaking, sales consulting, I’m in a unique situation because I’m selling sales training. But I wish someone had told me these three simple, but impactful tips before I started selling:
1.Selling is Hard Work – I really wish I knew how hard I was going to have to work. I knew that being a part of the selling industry wouldn’t be easy.
But I wish I knew how hard it was going to be to be a salesperson. I wish somebody would have sat down and told me,
“You’re going to have to have a lot of perseverance. You’re going to have to be very persistent. You’re going to have to work when you don’t want to. You’re going to have to work longer hours than you thought. You’re going to have to work on weekends. Sometimes you’re going to have to miss parties, and events, and weddings, because you’re going to have to work.”
I wish I would’ve been prepared so that when it came time to work that hard, I didn’t get upset. That I didn’t resent the fact that this was my job.
I’ve finally learned how to really love the daily grind of working hard and today I really take pride in the fact I’m part of a job that I’m so passionate about it doesn’t feel like work.
But many times as a salesperson, we start to feel unbalanced because we didn’t have the proper expectations of how hard we’re going to have to work.
2. Study, Study, Study – Being a great salesperson means it’s an undying pursuit of learning. And again, like working hard, I really learned to love that about what I do at Southwestern Consulting. I am very blessed to be a part of an entire company who is passionate to the tenth degree about learning and improvement and self-development.
However, when I first started in this job one of the first things I was most excited about was, “I can’t wait ’til I know what I’m doing so I don’t have to study so hard anymore.”
Guess what, I’m still not there. Almost 10 years later, I’m still not there.
I wish I would’ve known that the books that I read were going to teach me more than any classes I ever attended in college. I wish somebody would’ve said,”Buy these books. Listen to these tapes. Go to these seminars. Get a coach. Find an accountability partner. Study hard. Really be a student of the game. Listen to people. Ask for advice. Be a never ending learner.”
3. To Sell, You Must Be Coachable – What do you mean I have to learn how to change the way I did things? That I was going to have to be open to feedback and constructive criticism? That sometimes the way I wanted to do something wasn’t the best way to do it?
I had to push aside what I thought was right and was best, to listen to others. I had to be coachable. Learning to be flexible is never easy, but being stubborn doesn’t help anyone. Be open to trying new things, even when you think you know everything.
Whether it’s your first day in sales or your first year or you’re a long time veteran and you’ve been selling for 50 plus years, it doesn’t matter. Those three things never change. You have to work hard, study hard, and be coachable if you’re going to succeed at anything.