Sales Skill and Will
What are the odds that an undersized college quarterback who has the talent but not the size to make it in the NFL makes it in the NFL? And not only does he make it, but he makes it big despite the fact that he now plays a position that he’s never played before?
Julian Edelman is an example of how to succeed in football, life, and in sales, and though you might not be the New England Patriots fan that I am, you can still learn a lesson about drive from Tom Brady’s favorite target.
Here’s a guy who saw his only chance of playing in the National Football League as becoming a receiver and set out to learn the position. Head Coach Bill Belichick has a knack for finding talent and recognizing football smarts, knowing that when you combine those two things and add effort, it can pay off in the future, regardless of the past. So, he kept Edelman on his team of 53 players.
Julian had made it ... for now.
Making the team and excelling at a position are two different things. So, Edelman called up the equipment manager and beckoned him to the practice field at 5 a.m. to fire footballs at him for a few hours before practice. Every day. Then he moved to California to pester Brady into using him for target practice. Through sheer repetition, Julian rose quickly to the top and became Brady’s go-to guy. From there, it took making sure that he didn’t drop key passes (read: the anti Wes Welker) and voila, he wins a Super Bowl ring.
While Julian Edelman had some skills, he did not have the skills as a receiver. What he did have was the will, and that is far more important. His raw desire gave him the motivation to learn and apply, learn and apply. And apply. And apply. And apply.
This is good news for the rest of us and, in particular, those of us in print sales. No one is born a salesman. Sure, there are some raw materials (gift of gab, great smile, etc.), but to be the best of the best you have to build the skill and apply the will.
There are four key factors that make up sales success:
- A high-value sales call;
- A high-value prospect;
- An effective prospecting process ...
- ... applied with diligence and pleasant persistency.
The first three require training but the fourth is the answer to the question, "How badly you want it?" This one is completely within your control. It might require you to get up at 5 a.m. You might have to bug the experts to learn what they know and you're definitely going to have to learn how to overcome voicemail and objections and customers who are doing everything that they can to avoid talking to you.
Not all of us are born to be the quarterback. * But we can all become superstars in sales through desire and the application of our will. And apply. And apply. And apply. Ready? Break!
* Oh, and if you think Tom Brady had an easy path to stardom, read the book, "Moving the Chains." He has earned every bit of his success.
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Bill Farquharson is a respected industry expert and highly sought after speaker known for his energetic and entertaining presentations. Bill engages his audiences with wit and wisdom earned as a 40-year print sales veteran while teaching new ideas for solving classic sales challenges. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (781) 934-7036. Bill’s two books, The 25 Best Print Sales Tips Ever and Who’s Making Money at Digital/Inkjet Printing…and How? as well as information on his new subscription-based website, The Sales Vault, are available at salesvault.pro.