I've been lucky to have had three great mentors who have had a great impact on the way I think, sell, and deal with the obstacles that stand in the way of my goals.
Here are some of their best tips that will help you focus and hit your sales targets a little more easily when you find yourself off course:
1. Always Be Ready
My martial-arts trainer--Dai Shihan Mark Walker of Eye to Eye Jiu Jitsu--has been studying martial arts for more than 25 years; he works with Navy SEALs and other units in the Special Forces.
He talks regularly about being prepared and aware at all times. As he reinforces the basics, he explains that constant training and preparation give you the confidence to perform under pressure.
Business training is not so different from martial-arts training. Practice constantly: Keep prospecting; write handwritten thank-you notes; keep your top targets posted on your office wall; and provide massive follow-up and support to your customer base, to make them your top promoters. All that hard work makes a clear path to your goals.
No matter how well your business is going, you should always be alert to what's around you. I've seen many business owners enjoy a great streak of success, but in the process ignore the constant prospecting that sets you up for future streaks.
It's much easier to prospect for new business when you're doing well and your confidence is high; it also keeps your skills sharp.
2. Be Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
Sometimes people can affect you in a very short time--becoming mentors, even briefly, with advice that stays with you.
Several years ago I interviewed Richard Machowicz--a former Navy SEAL, author, and host of the Discovery Channel and Military Channel show Future Weapons. The conversation had a profound effect on me.
One of the statements he made was that the key to success is being comfortable being uncomfortable. That means doing things that take you out of your comfort zone.
Here's how that translates to sales: Sometimes when you're prospecting, you need to call at the highest level of the company in order to hit your targets. That might make many people uneasy--but the only way to really learn how to do it is by actually making it happen. That's how you get over your fears and start learning real skills that help you get in the door.
Never forget: Successful people do the things that unsuccessful people don't like to do.
Tony Wainwright was a legend in the advertising industry: I never met anyone who had built so many strong relationships with so many top business people across all industries.
I learned many lessons from him, but the one I remember most is this: "Most people really don't listen to the people they meet. Truly listen to not just what they say but also how they feel, what's going on in their personal lives, their body language, and more."
You might say, what does this have to do with hitting your sales targets? It has everything to do with it. Most sales are lost because of miscommunication: The customer thought you said X, when you thought you'd said Y (or vice versa).
Business is built on relationships, and listening is what keeps them strong. When you are seen as a person who really cares about the individual you're with--not just about landing the account--it makes a huge difference when hitting your targets.