In 1970 an experiment was conducted on pre-schoolers to gauge their ability to delay gratification.1 They were asked to resist eating a marshmallow for 15 minutes. Then, they were promised an additional marshmallow if successful. Follow up studies revealed that the children who succeeded in this simple test of willpower achieved better school results, health, and other life measures.2 Your success in sales (and life) will largely be determined by your ability to delay gratification on a daily basis. Today I’m going to share with you the greatest predictors of success in sales.
The Greatest Predictors of Success in Sales: Daily Prospecting
The most common complaint I hear from sales consultants is that they hate prospecting. “Once you put me in front of an interested person, I’ll get the deal” they promise. Very few people enjoy cold calling. This is because they risk rejection. In addition, it requires huge amounts of emotional energy to do. However, the payoff for regular prospecting is a constant pipeline of deals and resulting commissions.
Whenever you are reluctant to make sales calls, stop and imagine the future payoffs for the hard work. See yourself looking at your payslip with the commission you would earn. Next, plan in advance what you’re going to do with the money. If you are not paid commission, imagine instead the recognition you would receive from colleagues and managers. Finally, memorise the words of Jeff Olson: “Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do.”
The Greatest Predictors of Success in Sales: Daily Study
I get it, sales is tiring. When you arrive home at the end of the day, your first impulse may be to slump into the couch and binge watch TV programs. This may bring immediate gratification. However, it brings no long-term satisfaction.
A little study done frequently goes a long way. You only have to read for 20 minutes a day to complete a whole book every month. Consider that we have ~4 hours of discretionary time every day. Allocating a small portion of it to study is well worth the enormous dividends. Whether you read about sales or other related subjects matters little. Just keep sharpening your mind and remember that “Failures do what is tension relieving, while winners do what is goal achieving.” – Dennis Waitley
The Greatest Predictors of Success in Sales: Eliminate Distractions
Distractions are rampant in today’s workplace. With social media, phones, and emails constantly buzzing us for attention, it can be difficult to focus on actual selling activities. As a result, it can be tempting to hide behind being “busy” to avoid what we really need to do.
You can increase focus on priorities by turning off notifications from all devices. Make sure you have your priorities set out for the day in advance. Allocate specific times for handling emails, administration, and sales activities. Most of all, remember to “Keep first things first” – Steve Covey
Resist the marshmallow. Prospect daily. Next, study daily. Finally, eliminate distractions daily. Remember that your ability to delay gratification will grant you what you really want in the long-run, and your success will soon follow!
1 Mischel, Walter; Ebbesen, Ebbe B. (October 1970). “Attention in delay of gratification”. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 16 (2): 329–337.
2 Shoda, Yuichi; Mischel, Walter; Peake, Philip K. (1990). “Predicting Adolescent Cognitive and Self-Regulatory Competencies from Preschool Delay of Gratification: Identifying Diagnostic Conditions”. Developmental Psychology. 26 (6): 978–986.
Filmed in Chadstone, Melbourne