Are You Number One, 24/7?
A friend of mine told me the story of a former member of the San Francisco Giants. This player was very close to making the big-league roster. He was one of those players that had the skillset but lacked the consistency in his performance to win a job outright. One day, an injury took him out and other players saw their chance to eventually beat him out for his position. After some time, he was no longer a member of the Giants. In the end, he had the potential physical skills to be number one and make the team, but did he also have that necessary burning desire to make it?
As salespeople, many of us can relate to this story. We had a sale, but then lost it to another salesperson–why does this happen? Why we lose a sale can have many answers. It could be us. We did not secure enough trust from the client to carry the deal to the finish line. We did not provide the service that the client was expecting. The product or service did not live up to the initial sales pitch. Or we lost the sale because another salesperson did a better job than us and took the business away from us.
That burning desire needed to win a job as a big-league baseball player is the same burning desire any salesperson needs to have to be number ONE in their field. That burning desire is special and the hotter it burns, the more chances there are for you to win more sales and be on top.
If you look at the San Francisco Giants today, there are a number of players that played previously and won in the 2014 World Series. However, the Giants today are no longer number one, and may actually be one of the worst teams in baseball this season. The term “has been” comes to mind.
How did the Giants fall from number one to near dead last? Age and physical ability, of course, come into play. Big paydays could easily burn out passion to win against those players that are still trying to secure their “brass ring”. In baseball, there is always another star in the making that may want it more than you do and has the skillset to knock you out of the number one spot.
In sales, we see the same thing. You can be riding high, but unless you are implementing strategies for continued success, have a strong work ethic, and keep that desire to be number one– then someone will eventually take away your business.
Getting to number one and staying at number one comes at a cost. That cost is your time and effort which takes more than just normal working business hours. It’s a 24/7 effort. As a salesperson, you need a system that allows you to create and service business 24/7. If a client needs something on a Sunday night, then you need to have a way to provide that service. You also need a 24/7 marketing program that will help generate new opportunities for you at any time, any day, and anywhere.
Does this mean I need to work 50-60 or 80 hours a week? No, in fact, great salespeople that are number one in their field can work far less than 40 hours a week. But being number one 24/7 means developing a system that creates support for your effort. This may be through social media, hiring contractors to help you, or simply having an automated way for people to get serviced when you are absent. The burning desire is needed to create the passion to follow through and never let up. That desire will also fuel you to stay in touch with past clients and ensure that that they will remember you for their next sale, or at least refer you to others that might need your services.
Number one 24/7 takes a consistent commitment and an understanding that someone is lurking to take it away from you. It’s like a heavyweight boxing champ that may be 40/0 but someone will eventually take them down. As a salesperson, someone will take you down too– you just want to hold onto the number one as best as you can.
—Hans Hansson, Starboard Commercial/TCN Worldwide