The salesperson who sells twice as much is not twice as smart and does not necessarily work twice as hard as everyone else.  

During the Olympics, there are competitions won by a mere one thousandth of a second and others by as little as one hundredth of a point.  Horse races have been won by a nose, football games by an inch and basketball games by one shot.  The difference between victory and defeat, in many instances, seems almost too small to measure and yet those small measures define both victory and defeat.  Selling is similarly defined by small actions.  In fact, the difference between success and failure in selling could be as small and seemingly insignificant as one word spoken or a thought not acted upon.

Over the course of my sales career, I have experienced for myself and witnessed in others, many small things that have made the difference between success and mediocrity in selling.  Many of these things were not apparent in the moment, but over time, crystallized in my understanding.  As I coach and train salespeople each day, this truth is reconfirmed; it is not the big things that make a difference, but the successive application of small, almost insignificant activities building upon each other that become the reason for outstanding sales performance.  Let me share a few of my discoveries, in hopes of improving your sales results.

  • Most sales are closed at the end of the month.  Salespeople typically have goals or quotas for the month, but they never seem to make progress towards the achievement of the quota until their awareness has been stimulated by the rapidly approaching last few days of the month.  Imagine the sales that would be made if you worked as hard every day of the month as you work the last week of the month.  Many of my clients reach their monthly goal well before the end of the month and then spend the last week or so working to achieve their super goal.  They may not be working any harder than their peers, but they are more consistent in their efforts and by striving to reach their goal early, they can spend the last week of the month exceeding their goal, not just trying desperately to reach it.

  • In my experience, I have discovered most salespeople have no idea what they are capable of achieving.  They tend to over estimate the ability of others and under estimate themselves.  A person’s belief in themselves and their own ability is a major factor in their success.  You truly can achieve that which you believe.  A few years ago I was working with a salesperson and we were setting goals for his achievement.  We reviewed his numbers from the prior year and then discussed what might be done in the current year.  He cautioned me that one of his sales months was an anomaly and should not be considered when establishing his new goals.  He said that during this particular month, sales that should have closed in the prior month combined with sales that he expected to close the next month had all come at once.  Therefore, in one month he had the results of three months all together.  He wanted that abnormally high month to be eliminated from his average.  I told him if he had that kind of a result previously, he could have it again, and I held him accountable to do it again.  He told me it would be impossible but we worked together to achieve it.  During that year, this salesperson exceeded the sales achieved in that extraordinary month on four different occasions.  The following year, every month exceeded what he sold in that month he considered to be an anomaly.  Believe in yourself.

  • Have you ever considered the power of making one more sales contact each day?  That would be an additional five contacts a week, twenty-one contacts per month, and two hundred and fifty-two contacts a year.  It may seem insignificant, but two hundred and fifty-two more contacts could amount to fifty more sales, assuming your closing ratio was twenty percent.  What about asking for one referral a day?  Referrals typically close at about fifty percent.  You could make two more sales each week if you just asked for a referral each day.  What about your use of time?  Studies have shown that the average salesperson spends fifty percent of their time working on sales and the balance doing other “stuff.”  If you were more focused in your efforts, without spending any more time on the job, you could potentially double your sales.

It is the small things that make a difference.  Things like working hard each day to achieve your goals, instead of waiting until the last few days of the month.  Believing in yourself and your own abilities allows you to reach levels of performance you only believed others could achieve.  Don’t sell yourself short.  If you have achieved something once, you can do it again.  Never forget the cumulative power of making just one more contact each day, or asking for a referral, or focusing more time on selling instead of just doing “stuff”.  You don’t have to be twice as smart or work twice as hard to double your sales, you just have to pay attention to the small things.