At this point in the motorcycle season, few professions (commercial crab fishing, I suppose) require the kind of mental, physical and emotional stamina that selling does. Long hours at the store, being enthusiastic all the time and possessing the fortitude to survive inevitable ego shots require energy like nothing else.
So you must be on the lookout to harness any and all available energy and put it to work for you. And one way you can do this is by celebrating all sales successes, both small and large, and not just the ones which involve money changing hands.
Most of us feel the rush when we close a deal. The satisfaction of seeing our customers sign the worksheet or hand over the credit card is obviously energizing. But now, we need more. More frequent “micro-successes” can give us the fuel to continue.
Where might you find these energizers? Here are a few ideas:
• Did you comport yourself well and make a positive impression on the buyer?
• Were you able to connect on both professional and personal levels?
• Do you use carefully crafted questions?
• Were you able to respond well to a question or objection?
If you did all of these things well but just haven’t earned the sale yet, mentally congratulate yourself and review what you did well. When you do this, your brain and your body undergo important neurological changes. But here’s what you avoid: After recognizing these successes and doing the mental end-zone dance, far too many salespeople start heading for the metaphorical locker room too soon. They’re too quick to go for coffee or relive the exchange with anyone willing to listen.
Be cognizant of your small victories, sure, but then harness the energy they create. Practice what Stephen Covey calls “integrity in the moment of choice.” Covey, most famous for writing The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, states that there exists a moment between a person’s response and his action in which that individual may choose the action.
When you’ve done something well, such as adhering to the examples above, don’t use that energy boost to relive a small but important daily victory with colleagues over coffee. Instead, use that energy-filled moment to generate momentum for making one more phone call, sending one last e-mail or speaking with one more prospective buyer. Don’t waste that precious momentum.
Harnessing the Power of the Crowd
One of my favorite sports stories ever fits perfectly with the sales lesson of harnessing personal energy.
My wife, Amy, is a University of Wisconsin graduate, and I have been delivering workshops for the university’s Executive Education Program for almost 15 years, so I consider myself a Badger by marriage.
In 1999, UW Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne captivated Badger fans like few other players have before or since. At legendary college football venue Camp Randall Stadium, the home team’s fans would collectively roar “Rrrrooooonnnn Daaaayyyyyynnnnneeee!” after the running back scampered for a touchdown. This was an infectious ritual, and Dayne became a household name in Wisconsin and the nation that year. But this story isn’t about him.
It’s about another running back — this one from Sussex, Wis., by the name of Matt Unertl (you-ner-tull). If that’s not a perfect Wisconsin name, I don’t know what is.
Unertl played third string behind the great Dayne. He saw some action in 1999, but he certainly didn’t appear in every game that season. After Dayne left the Badgers for the NFL, another running back, Michael Bennett, stepped in to fill the void. Unertl saw a little more action in 2000, but still had what could be described as an ancillary role — that is, until that Saturday when he ran his way into Badger football lore.
On Nov. 4, 2000, Wisconsin hosted the Minnesota Golden Gophers for the coveted Paul Bunyan Axe. A Minnesota turnover gave the ball to the Badgers late in the fourth quarter, and head coach Barry Alvarez put in Unertl. That’s when something fascinating and unforgettable started to happen: Unertl took the handoff and drove ahead as the stadium announcer announced “Matt Unertl on the carry!” to which some 80,000 fairly well-lubricated Badger fans echoed the call: “UUNNNeerrrttttlll!”
Television viewers could almost see the adrenaline flowing like racing fuel through Unertl’s veins. He sprang to his feet after the tackle, casting off pesky Gophers as if they were blades of grass and appearing to vibrate with excitement. Alvarez knew exactly how to capitalize on this momentum and gave the ball again to Unertl, who quickly rose to the occasion and began to look like his Heisman Trophy-winning predecessor.
Unertl ended up rushing seven times for 32 yards on the drive, capped off with a one-yard touchdown carry. In my mind, it truly is one of the great moments in college sports.
Here are the takeaways from Matt Unertl’s memorable drive:
• Seek out favorable conditions, such as home-field advantage. They can make a huge difference in your selling confidence. So make your office or your station conducive to a feeling of control and then, when possible, have the challenging sales exchanges on your home turf.
• Absorb positive energy from those around you. You probably won’t have 80,000 people chanting your name as you enter the conference room, but a positive comment from a trusted advisor can have a similar impact.
• If you’re working with other team members, find the individual on your staff that is “in the moment” and give that person the ball.
At this stage of the season, you need to harness all of your sales success, both big and small, and use that to keep going.
An award-winning author, top-rated trainer and founder of Peak Dealership Performance, Mark Rodgers holds a master’s degree in adult education and the National Speakers Association Certified Speaking Professional designation — only 500 people in the world have this coveted recognition. Contact [email protected] to improve your performance.