You may think your product is what you sell and what customers pay for. You would be only partially correct. You are part of your product. Your strategic selling covers not only how you sell your product, but all that you do to protect yourself as you sell.
Be protective of your selling time.
Athletes don’t let anything get in the way of their practice to improve their performance. Have you noticed runners outside in 30 degree cold and 100 degree heat? Adverse conditions don’t stop them. You should be thinking like an athlete for your sales success. I’ve seen salespeople work in toxic environments where other salespeople or even worse, their manager undermines their performance. I’ve been in both situations. What do some salespeople do about it? They retreat or do nothing. Either is unacceptable.
What you can do is work to prevent the negative behavior. One salesman thought I could be his personal chauffeur to the airport so that he could reduce his expenses. Helping out a salesman occasionally would be acceptable to me. Weekly rearranging my schedule to accommodate his airport schedule and reducing the time I had to sell was not.
What did I do? I had a private discussion with him. I told him that I was unable to take him to the airport each week since it was interfering with my sales call schedule. He got angry. He said, “Don’t you take your husband to the airport?” I replied, “No, I don’t. That’s what his expense budget is for.” And even if I did take my husband to the airport, this salesman wasn’t my husband! How arrogant of him to make that statement.
You can’t control the weather. You can control the sales environment you work in.
Mental toughness is key.
Pay special attention to anyone who acts to undermine you publicly. You’ve got to act immediately to put a stop to it. You will lose confidence if you allow anyone to undermine you. You also will lose credibility and power when others see you allowing this behavior.
I’ve been in meetings where participants roll their eyes when a speaker makes a comment. The speaker sees the eye rolling and does nothing to respond. Yes, there might be some situations where you don’t want to publicly address the eye rolling. But, you must act immediately after the meeting to address this privately when you see this unacceptable behavior.
Respond, if the meeting is composed of people who know each other, “Eye Roller, is there something about this that is an issue for you?” Pay attention to your tone of voice. Speak calmly. Be prepared for a negative response if the person is somewhat forceful. Offer to take the conversation further after the meeting if you don’t’ want the negative behavior to escalate. You might get a simple “No” if the person just wants to try to unnerve you. Just know that you cannot trust that person in the future.
Assemble your cheerleaders.
It may be too late for some of you if you’ve made a bad choice. Choose your spouse wisely. Some spouses will be the head of your cheerleading squad and others will undermine you by competing with you. I heard a very successful CEO once state that he had never seen another successful CEO who had problems at home. The choice of spouse will support your success or be an obstacle to it.
Sales, which despite your being part of a sales team, is a solitary profession. It’s also very competitive which makes it a more difficult profession than most. Yes, you can determine your own success by how hard and smart you work. Yet, the challenges are many and the days are long. That’s why you need to have a home life that enriches your spirit and contributes to your peace of mind. You don’t need more obstacles at home. Someone who understands and accepts you just the way you are and who wants what’s best for you makes a suitable companion.
Companies work hard to ensure that they’re selling a product in the best condition, free of defects. You are part of your product. Do all that you can to ensure you are in the best condition to sell.