The Showroom

How To Overcome The Three Top Temptations Of Successful Salespeople

August 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Dave Anderson - Also by this author

In sales as in life, the enemy of great is good. In other words, the reason so few salespeople ever become great is because they get good and they stop: they stop learning, changing and stretching. They cease doing many of the things that made them successful in the first place. The key to avoiding the five temptations of successful salespeople is awareness. At this week's meeting, go over the following five temptations to make your team more aware of the pitfalls that will prevent them from getting to the next level.

1. Successful salespeople become lazy in their learning. Oftentimes, they will use their current success of the W-2 from their record year as a license never to read another book, listen to a CD or attend a course on selling. In extreme cases, they turn into unapologetic know-it-alls and become unteachable, believing that training is just for the new people. This arrogance becomes a disabling ignorance that eventually renders them irrelevant as a sales leader.

Remedy: Continue to increase your personal capacity to produce by consistently upgrading your skills. Work as hard on yourself as you do on your job and you will continue to reach new performance levels. Don't wait for the business to get better. It will get better when you get better, and you'll get better when you work on yourself.

2. Successful salespeople become lazy in their disciplines. Once they reach the top, they think they've arrived and are no longer required to adhere to the productive habits and disciplines that helped them reach the pinnacle. They abandon the basics and set themselves up for an inevitable production reversal.

Remedy: Become brilliant in the basics. Adhering to your disciplines is a morale builder. You can't help but feel better about yourself when you know you're doing the right things consistently. The key to becoming brilliant in the basics is to execute day-in and day-out: the days you feel like it and the days you don't; the days it's convenient and the days it isn't; on good days and bad days, alike. You don't have to do anything extraordinary to be the best at what you do; you simply must do the ordinary extraordinarily well.

3. Successful salespeople stop thinking big. Once they reach the top, they lose their killer instinct and stop playing to win, instead playing not to lose. They stop swinging for the fences and begin thinking incrementally. They do just enough to remain number one and fail to close the gap between where they are and how good they could become. In doing so, they often break their own momentum. No one does them in; they just can't get out of their own way.

Remedy: Act like a challenger even when you're the champ. Challengers are hungry, humble and have something to prove. Champs get lazy, complacent and descend into a maintenance mode. Know that if you don't stretch yourself, you begin to slide back as a result because the status quo doesn't hold its own. And understand that there are two ways you can fail when you set goals: you can fail by trying to go too far, or you can fail by choosing not to go far enough. The most successful people “fail” by choosing to go too far because they understand that its only in trying to go too far that you ever find out how far you can go. You never get to find out how far you can go by choosing to play it safe.

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