When it comes to sales, I don’t believe in luck. I don’t believe there is a successful salesperson who doesn’t consistently follow a set of principles and skills.
Luck is nothing more than “working smart to position yourself to find those opportunities others are hopelessly waiting to fall into their laps.” I honestly believe, even when it seems as if someone has stumbled across a lucrative situation, there wasn’t some effort or planning that positioned them to be in the right place at the right time. What may appear on the surface to be luck, when properly analyzed, is actually the result of planning and effort over a period of time.
Two of my clients were talking to each other during one of the breaks at our monthly workshop a few months ago. One of them was totally shocked at the number of referrals the other had received during the past month. These referrals amounted to more than half his sales for the month. He expressed his feelings by saying, “I wish I had your same luck in getting referrals. I don’t get that many referrals in a whole year.” I coach both of these salespeople so I know the inside story. The salesperson who believes the other is lucky to get referrals doesn’t make any effort or work a plan to receive them. He just hopes someone will drop him an occasional lead or referral. The salesperson who receives half of his sales through referrals has a specific plan and works hard each day at implementing his plan. He sets a goal for the number of referrals he wants to receive each day and each week. What may seem like luck is actually the result of diligently working the steps of a well-executed referral strategy.
I was talking to a client about ways of increasing his sales this year over last. He suggested if he just kept doing what he was doing that maybe he would be lucky enough this year to exceed last year’s sales. He then suggested if he was really lucky he might stumble across and sell a few larger accounts. That is illogical thinking as far as I’m concerned. We talked about current customers, the size of the market, the ideal customer profile, and the available time to produce more sales. We concurred that it takes almost as much time to find and sell a small customer as it does to find and sell a large customer. We put together a plan identifying who the large potential customers were, what their needs might be; strategized how to create interest, and which of his current customers might provide an introduction. As my client works this marketing plan, I’m confident he will be amazed at how “lucky” he will be this year at landing some very large accounts, and in the process, exceed last year’s sales. While traveling the road to success, luck will always be found at the intersection of effort and opportunity.
Here are five things every salesperson can do to increase their “luck.”
PLAN YOUR DAY: When you plan your sales activities and then follow that plan, you will be amazed at your increased “luck.”
SET DAILY, WEEKLY, MONTHLY AND ANNUAL GOALS: When you are working with a specific result in mind, the energy and focus you put into your activities will generate more “luck” than you can imagine.
WORK HARD AND BE CONSISTENT: These are difficult economic times and people are holding tight to their limited financial resources. They are still spending, but are more carefully focused on their potential return. The opportunities are still there, but you must put forth more effort and do it consistently.
WORK SMART: Write a game plan for your prospecting activities and then follow the plan. Don’t spend time continually doing things that don’t bring the highest degree of success. Once you find an opportunity, make a game plan for what will be required to earn the sale. Don’t “wing it”, plan it.
HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE: “Where performance is measured, performance improves. Where performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates."
In the world of sales, you can be as “lucky” as you are willing to plan, set goals, work consistently hard, work smart and hold yourself accountable. You have total control over your “luck”. In fact, by applying the five steps listed above, you will find that “luck” is actually very predictable.