Part of becoming skilled or “well trained” at any discipline is sorting out what is true, from what occasionally appears to be true, or even worse, from what appears to be true but is false. Falsehoods often continue to exist through word of mouth, because people tend to repeat something they hear as truth, even if they have no personal experience of information to confirm what they are repeating.
In my role as a sales trainer, I am often asked to weigh in on things that may come down to a preference or opinion, versus things that are factual. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but no one is entitled to their own set of facts. There are bedrock like truths, or laws that are the foundations of a functional, cooperative, and respectful sales approach and are not open to interpretation. They are like gravity. Denying them or attempting to work around them usually leads to pain.
In my time, I have confirmed the existence of only a few of these “sales laws”.
The Law of Repetition – There is only one thing that makes you great at something. That thing is repetition. Tony Robbins states it as “repetition is the mother of skill” and he isn’t wrong. It’s not just “a way” to become an expert, it is “THE WAY” to become an expert. There are no shortcuts. Knowledge of something can come from education, books, observation. Expertise can ONLY come from repetitive application of that knowledge. Sales, soccer, tennis, cooking, singing, it doesn’t matter. There is no such thing as natural talent. Want to be good at making cold calls? Make cold calls! Lots of them. Want to be good at pull ups? Do pull ups, lots of them. Show me someone who’s a “born salesman” and I’ll show you someone who’s spent a whole lot of time selling stuff to people.
The Law of Intent – Your intention coming into a sales conversation cannot be successfully hidden for long. Sure, you can fool some people some of the time, but ultimately and on a macro level, if your intent is to separate people from their money, not to help them accomplish their goals or overcome obstacles, clients will sense that, the word will get out, and you will forever be replacing and churning customers. Some deceivers are better than others, but eventually the word gets out. Intent alone doesn’t get the job done, but it’s a necessary ingredient.
The Law of Attraction – Even the bible mentions this one. You reap what you sow. If your main focus at work is hoarding leads, then the other sales people will hoard leads from you. If you help people with no other agenda, people will help you. Not every person is going to help you. In fact, not every person you help is going to help you back, but at 50+ years old, I’ve run out of memory space for all the times someone has appeared to offer assistance or guidance in my life when I didn’t expect it. I know I help people, in many ways, yet I’ve also been surprised by glowing letters from people who claimed I really helped them, even when I didn’t realize I was. We attract the energy we put out in the world. Bad things happen to good people, for sure, but day to day, those who focus on positive things have significantly more positive lives.
The Law of Visualization – You cannot accomplish anything until your brain sees it as a realistic possibility. I was on the phone this week with a client who is going to break $200K in annual revenue for the first time in his life. He clearly saw a path to it this year, and once his brain saw it as possible, it guided his actions to that outcome. Two years ago, he broke $100K for the first time in his life, and at the time he couldn’t believe he had gotten there. Not to go all “Matrix” on you here, but reality is nothing more than a series of electrical impulses sent to the brain. The brain works 24/365 on programming your behavior, and MOST of that happens below the surface of consciousness, like an iceberg. If you don’t SEE it happening, you can’t MAKE it happen. Imagine and visualize what you want to happen. Harness the power of your subconscious mind.
The Law of Struggle – You ever notice how miserable a lot of the very wealthy people are? That’s because the human brain is never more satisfied and happy than when it overcomes challenges and obstacles. Without struggle, all the luxury in the world doesn’t create that sense of achievement which is at the root of true fulfilment. It’s why we love movies with a comeback story. It’s why we love rags to riches stories, and it’s why we love to see animals get saved after being hurt or abused. Since the initial days of humankind, the mega powerful computer between our ears has rewarded us with endorphins and other chemicals to motivate our survival. It’s chemically programmed into us and has been for generations. How do you even define success, without the associated struggle to attain it? I read somewhere that 90%+ of lottery winners file bankruptcy within 5 years of their winning. Many of those situations come from self-sabotage, because a life without struggle is also a life without wins. Embrace the struggle. Lean into it. There’s a reason goal setting is crucial to mental health.
The Law of Failure – This one can be hard for people to accept. Success is usually built on failure. Avoiding failure at all costs is a sure-fire way to be paralyzed from taking any risks, blocked from the benefits of struggling, and doomed to a stagnant and unfulfilling life. Don’t aim to fail, but never, never fear failing. Once you fail, get up, dust off, look around and figure out what you did wrong. Avoid that mistake the next time around. It’s OK to make mistakes, but it’s not necessary or smart to keep making the same mistakes. Every great thing in my life has its roots in a failure. My marriage of 17 years is a direct result of my failed relationships prior to meeting my wife. I absolutely would have mucked up that courtship without the learnings I had from the previous relationship. My success in this business is entirely based on the mistakes and CATASTROPHIC failures in past jobs. I’ve been fired, laid off, and even escorted out of the building a few times.
The Law of Choices – First and foremost, success in sales is determined by the full and total acceptance of the choices we make. Most of your circumstances are based on choices you make. You don’t control what happens, but you do control how you CHOOSE to react and respond to what happens. Your emotional state is your responsibility to control. The leads are bad? Good, what are you going to do about it? Maybe you can’t control the quality of the leads being provided to you, but you certainly can control how you respond. Do you give up and blame the leads? Do you put in a process to further qualify the leads? Do you find alternate leads sources? Accept responsibility and make better choices. The alternative is to be a pinball, bounced around by circumstance.