You may be focused on making your sales goals as the year ends. You should certainly maintain your sales focus especially if you’re almost on target. There’s something else you should focus on now. Why not also measure your sales success?
Number 2 is not failure.
An upcoming book, “The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success,” by Albert-László Barabási, contains insights on successful ideas and people. He distinguishes between performance and success in one of his observations. Performance is an individual phenomenon. Success is the response of the community to you. He references the Olympics and the separation in performance of milliseconds of the worlds’ best in a few sports. The best of the best are within thousandths of seconds of each other. Does that make the bronze Olympics winner a failure? I don’t think so.
You may be number 2 or lower on your sales team. Barabási’s definition of success as the community’s response to your performance is what you should be focusing on. What’s your support network look like? It may be your family or it may be your friends. Is your family cheering you on? Do your friends support your work? That’s how I would define sales success for you. Number 1 in sales is certainly the best. Number 2 with family and friends’ support is a very close second.
How do your peers see you?
I once worked with a guy who no one liked. I never heard him give a sincere compliment to anyone. He critiqued everyone. He constantly complained about everything. Now imagine if he were the top salesperson. Do you think his peers would have liked him or respected him any differently? I don’t think so.
It’s hard to respect a seemingly successful person who makes everyone miserable. You may continue to work with that depressing top performer in a polite way, but you don’t do anything more than the minimal requirements to get along. I don’t consider that person successful despite that person having the highest numbers.
Unfortunately, the converse isn’t true. You can’t define yourself as a sales success even if you are liked, unless you are in the top half of performance on your team. Your job in sales is to sell and make money, not to simply be liked.
What do your customers think of your sales success?
I always marvel at the salespeople who leave their company and work for a similar company. There are some very talented salespeople whose customers move their business with the salesperson. They consider their work with that particular salesperson as part of what they are buying. Do you think your customers would move with you if you changed companies? That’s success.
Here’s a different way to determine sales success if you aren’t considering a change in companies. Do your customers quickly return your phone calls? Do they respond to your requests quickly and helpfully? Those behaviors show that they do respect you. It’s another indication of your sales success.
Do you think you are a sales success?
You are the ultimate manager of your territory even if you do report to someone else. You’re the one executing the strategies after all. How would you rate your success in sales? For some salespeople, it’s never enough no matter how much they make. That’s a sad situation. Those salespeople don’t see themselves as successful because they don’t have all that they want. The problem is that they will never be satisfied even when they have more.
Instead of looking forward at how to get more, why not look back and be grateful for what you’ve achieved? I think successful people do that. A successful person is one who is happy with what he has. Taking the time to be grateful for what you’ve earned is part of success.
What’s your verdict? Are you a success? I hope so. Your opinion is the most important one when you evaluate your selling success.