“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.”
He’s a high school dropout with two arrests and one night in jail under his belt. He’s also a billionaire. And he’s not afraid of failure. In fact, Richard Branson, Virgin Entrepreneur, holds the X Factor belief that failure is a good thing — and a necessary part of learning. He says, “You don't learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” As one who has fallen often, Richard Branson sure has learned a lot, despite the dyslexia and poor math skills that led to his early departure from formal education.
What does this mean for you as a sales professional? It means you should embrace failure. As Branson says, see failure as an opportunity to learn. When you fall, don’t well on what you “shoulda, woulda, coulda” done. Just think about what you’ll do differently next time. When Branson found himself facing a potential legal record on suspicion of tax evasion, he didn’t wallow in all the mistakes he’d made and everything he didn’t know. He paid his fine and spent the next two years learning money management so that he wouldn’t make the mistake again.
This X Factor approach also means that embracing challenge is a good thing. I always tell sales leaders that their job isn’t to make their sales pros’ lives easier, but to make them better. That’s an X Factor belief too — not looking for external circumstances to improve, but finding a way to improve yourself. Branson tackled the airline business when it didn’t make sense based on all external factors. But Branson did it anyway. He just found a way. It wasn’t based on everything lining up perfectly. In fact, he says if he’d always waited for things to line up, he wouldn’t have gone into any of his businesses. Branson said, “I mean, if I relied on accountants to make decisions, I most certainly would have never gone into the airline business. I most certainly would not have gone into the space business, and I certainly wouldn’t have gone into most of the businesses that I’m in.” Hello risk taker! That’s the kind of brashness that comes with being unafraid of failure. And it often happens to precede success.
This year was tough; next year’s sales prospects are going to be even tougher. I hope you are not suffering from failure to impact syndrome. If you are what should you do?
Tip #50: Beware of Failure to Impact Syndrome
Time and time again I see it. Sales reps going through their daily activities like robots. They have little impact on each call, but show up and expect the business. I call this “failure to impact syndrome.” It is contagious and can spread throughout an entire sales force. It works as long as the business grows. Everyone gets high fives and there is no need to dig any deeper.
But what happens when sales are off and senior management starts asking questions. Sales managers struggle to come up with the answers and reps get nervous.
The cure: Get out in the field and inspire your reps to be innovative. Just like a car you need to be behind the wheel to drive it.
Sales executives and managers who are looking for more Sales Management tips to take their game to the next level look for my new book 52 Sales Management Tips The Sales Managers Success Guide launched at Amazon.com on Oct 15th, 2012. To find out more go to www.52SalesManagementTips.com.
By Steven Rosen
Who is to accept responsibility for the wasted training dollars? Trainers? Sales leaders? Or both? This month in SOLD Sales Executives, Paul McCord discusses the root causes of training failure. Read a new SOLD Sales Executives Magazine to get advanced sales management advice from the top industry experts.
What's Inside Issue #2:
- 27 Must-Have Tools to Help You Be More Successful Getting Things Done by Dan Waldschmidt - p.24
- So You Think You Are A Sales Leader by Meridith Elliott Powell - p.12
- Your Sales Team - Wise Investment or Money Pit? by Lee B. Salz - p.64
- Find Your Fit Sales Training by Erica Bell - p.49
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