To be brutally honest, sales is a numbers game. It always has been and always will be about the numbers.
Salespeople who generate the most activity will always generate the most sales. At the end of the day, it all boils down to just one thing, numbers. If you are willing to do the work, then you will produce the numbers. There is no secret to selling, and selling certainly isn’t rocket science. When you think about it, it’s pretty simple. Produce the numbers and you will be a top sales performer.
Now, so you don’t get the wrong message, let me give you the rest of the story. First and foremost, salespeople must produce the numbers. We call this “hard work.” Second, salespeople must do the right things; we call this “working smart.” Sales success is a combination of working hard at doing the right things, or “working hard at working smart.” You will never reach your true potential without doing both. Working smart is all about applying the correct sales skills and principles. In order to maximize your performance, you must be doing the right things. If you are not using the right tools and using them properly, you will never achieve the best results.
Several years ago, I had a close friend and associate who was the top performer in our group. He sold more than any of the rest of us and yet, he could have done so much more. He had a habit of staying up late at night and rolling out of bed long after the rest of the team was busy working. In many ways he was working smart, but he wasn’t working hard, or putting in the hours he should have been working. Imagine what his sales numbers might have been if he had only put in the time.
Throughout my many years of coaching and training salespeople, I’ve been amazed at the numbers salespeople can reach when they work hard. However, the most astonishing results have come as the result of working both hard and smart. That combination has produced results far beyond my wildest expectations. Using the power of working both hard and smart, I’ve seen salespeople increase their gross profit sales from two to fifteen times what they were doing previously. Imagine, a salesperson selling more in a month than was previously sold in one year. Or, selling more in a seasonally slow month than was previously sold in the best month of the year.
Herb Brooks, the coach of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team made the following remarks to his team as they were training and preparing for the Olympics. Talking specifically about the Soviet team, he explained this same concept of working not just hard, but smart, as the only way to beat them.
“Forty-two games in the last three months. Forty-two wins. Their main weapon is intimidation. They know they're gonna win. And so do their opponents. Look, I can give you all a load of crap about how you're a better team than they are, but that's exactly what it'd be.
Everyone here knows what people are saying about our chances. I know it. You know it. But I also know there is a way to stay with this team. You don't defend them. You attack them. You take their game and shove it right back in their face. The team that is finally willing to do this is the team that has a chance to put them down. The NHL won't change their game. We will. The rest of the world is afraid of them. Boys, we won't be. No one has ever worked hard enough to skate with the Soviet team for an entire game. Gentlemen, we are gonna work hard enough.”
That gold medal victory for the U.S. hockey team was referred to as “The Miracle On Ice.” Yes, it was a miracle, but Coach Brooks applied the right formula for victory, working hard and working smart. Each of you can magnify your sales success by working hard at applying the correct principles and skills of salesmanship. Spend time each day studying and learning the art of selling. Hard work is absolutely necessary. However, applying the correct principles and skills will magnify many times over, the results of your hard work. Here is a great way to visualize this concept. Working hard is like earning $5 dollars an hour for eight hours. Working smart is like earning $10 dollars an hour for eight hours. In both examples you are working hard for eight hours. However, when you work smart, you can earn twice as much. It doesn’t take any more time to work smart than it does to work hard, but you can double your income.