There are, of course, many factors that determine whether you have success in sales or not. Some of these factors include having and using a good CRM system, having real-time insight into the sales processes, optimizing your sales processes, that you know your products and sales processes and so on. These and many more all have a role to play.
There are, however, also some factors that are less tangible which also contribute to success. My first ever sales manager was quite an impressive guy. He still is impressive and he still is amazing at sales. I was very fresh in sales at the time and I remember asking him, “What do you think is the key criteria to success? What do you think I should do or acquire to make it as a sales person?"
His answer? Enthusiasm. He said that if you are able to be enthusiastic and to show enthusiasm for your product, company to the customer you have in front of you, then it is a lot easier to close that deal. People buy from people, and it is much easier to say “yes” to an enthusiastic person than to one who is not.
Spread the motivation
That made sense to me. And it also made sense to Une Amundsen, the owner of SuperOffice. Ten years ago, things were not going so well for SuperOffice and we needed to embark on a whole new strategy in order to turnaround the company. Une knew that motivation and enthusiasm were vital to success – this was especially important, Une would describe, when the economic climate was "as cold and miserable as that in the South Pole". In order to spark the motivation and encouragement, Une brought in different motivational speakers to come and share their incredible stories.
The speaker that I remember the most was Cato Zahl Pedersen. For those of you who have never heard about Cato Zahl Pedersen, he is a Norwegian skier and multiple Paralympic gold medal winner. He has won a total of fourteen medals (thirteen gold and one silver) at the Paralympic Games, in both Winter and Summer Paralympics. He has no arms, having lost both in a childhood accident. This amazing man managed to walk to the South Pole, despite not having arms! Most of us would never be able to do that with all our arms and legs working. Here is a person who, despite all odds, was able to overcome the impossible and achieve his personal and professional goals by thinking positive, focusing on what had to be done and taking one step at a time. Une’s strategy of building one team which was focused and inspired worked. We turned around the company that year.
A strategy against a bad mood
What can curb your enthusiasm? Plenty of things of course, and that makes me remember another anecdote.
A few years ago, I took part in a CRM conference in Oslo where a highly capable consultant was a key speaker. I, unfortunately, do not remember his name, but I do remember a story he told; He once visited a company who did really well and when interviewing the MD discovered a strange strategy. If a person was in a bad mood he or she was called into the MD's office and told to go home as sick. The person would say" but I am not sick. I'm just having a bad day and a bit of bad mood". Well, the MD would say, he being in a bad mood is the same as being sick. It’s infectious and soon, other people around you also become in a bad mood.
Customers do not buy from sales people who are in a bad mood. So the MD preferred that if you were in a bad mood, you go home. His strategy seemingly worked and I've never forgotten the story - not so much for its strategy, but the point that a bad mood is catching. It occurred to me that I too have that responsibility, of not giving other people my bad day.
How do you create enthusiasm? Can one create it? Most of us know the saying: a cup can be seen as half empty or half full – which one do you see?
I’m definitely someone that sees the cup as half-full, but I am also very aware that this is a conscious decision on my behalf.
Yes, it may be a result of years of choosing this approach which makes it easier, but I, too, get influenced by my peers and my managers in their approach to challenges. Just as a bad mood is infectious or that leaders can inspire with their vision and actions. So I know it is also very much my choice. I know that I can look at things negatively, point to all that’s not there, not working the way I want, not like the competition and so on.
Or, I can choose to look at ways for this to be a benefit for someone, or how I can make something work. Enthusiasm follows the same rules. If I look for the things that make me enthusiastic, then that is how I feel, and act and talk. Enthusiasm is catching too. And I think you would agree that enthusiasm feels good.
As mentioned, there are plenty of factors that help you achieve great sales, but I still value the importance of enthusiasm as the secret spice that helped me to succeed in sales.
Do you agree or do you think there is another secret spice to success?