Every sales professional is familiar with failure. In fact, truth be told, we’re probably more familiar with failure than success. Even the best. And while many books state that the difference between the successful salesperson and the mediocre one is something like mental tenacity or perseverance, neither is enough to continually motivate us to dial another phone number when the going is really tough. Perseverance keeps you active, yes. Perseverance may even improve your initiative. But perseverance doesn’t address the heart of motivation.
The Wrong Perception of Failure
The truth is that most sales professionals haven't really striven for major success because of the fear of what might result if you don't succeed. But failure isn't something to be feared—it's something that is inevitable if we are to attempt big things, if we are to climb to the next level of success. Failure isn't fun—we know that. But failure can be very beneficial—even enlightening at times.
To continue climbing toward higher pinnacles of success, despite past failures and the likelihood of more on the horizon, you need more than stick-to-itiveness. You need more than mental toughness or fervent initiative. You need more than a capacity for psyching yourself up. You need to be inspired at your core. When the sky is falling, or has already fallen, you need a foundation to stand on that is more solid than mental elasticity. Bouncing back again and again is admirable; but if that’s all you do, your sales career will always feel like jumping on a trampoline. Up and down. Up and down. A lot more activity than productivity, mixed with occasional disorientation and a regular loss of balance. And that’s no way to spend your sales career.
To continually move from your foundation toward success, you must have more than perseverance— you must have the right perception of failure.
“Failure,” rhymed poet William Arthur Ward, “is a delay, but not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead-end street.” (John Cook, Editor, The Book of Positive Quotations, Fairview Press, Minneapolis, 1997) Salespeople are people, which is to say that we are imperfect like everyone else. You must understand that in order to become proactive with failure. You will fail—there’s no doubt about it. And when you accept that fact, you begin to understand that it’s not in ceasing to fail that a salesperson climbs to the summit of success. Rather, it’s in using failure to enlighten the path to success.
The truth is that mistakes should never leave you uninspired to continue. In fact, with the right perception of failure, you just might be more motivated to sell after a mistake. That’s because if you’re following the Law of the Summit, a mistake is not perceived as a step backward, but rather a pause for redirection, an opportunity to make a positive change. According to the Law of the Summit, a mistake often offers you a more precise directive toward your summit than any amount of preparation can. And if reaching the summit inspires you, learning how to reach it more effectively is not a disappointing prospect.
A NEW PERCEPTION OF FAILURE
Contrary to what you might think, high trust selling is not a matter of avoiding mistakes. The success journey is strewn with failure. Furthermore, maintaining a thriving, trustworthy business is not necessarily a matter of failing less than others. In fact, usually, the most successful people have failed more than most. To advance toward the summit of sales success and establish a business worthy of any client’s trust, you must recognize the positive role that failure plays in your climb.
Reaching the summit of success in the sales profession is not so much what you receive from climbing as it is what you become by climbing.
Reaching the summit of success is a matter of continually increasing your level of inner fulfillment and satisfaction from your performance. In other words, when you reach one summit of sales success, another higher summit comes into view, and so on. In fact, there is no limit to the amount of summits you can reach in your sales career. While it’s true that you can decide to stop climbing at any time, the highest achievers never stop climbing. They are always challenged to continually improve. To take trust to higher and higher levels. As they see it, where there still exists failure, there still exists room to climb. And as a result of this mind-set, their success never ceases to elevate.