It’s frustrating not having as much receptivity from customers in my territory as I would’ve expected after six months in Seattle. Thirty-five hundred miles driven along the most extended diagonal road trip in the U.S. now finds me in my first, frustrating backward year in sales. Figuring out what my new normal is and how to be successful in this environment has been ultimately the challenge I was looking for. With many company conversations centering around hitting our target goals to end the year strong, my struggle is in my gains overshadowed by decisions made before my arrival. For my mental sanity, this is about the information I take in, how I define success, doing what needs to be done every day, and recognizing what I can control. This opportunity to show what my level of consistency looks like when I show up calls for a growth mindset, not taking the word no personally, or fearing rejection.
A couple of weeks ago, I journaled that this year felt like having 200 customers at varying degrees of avoiding me. By journaling and asking, “What can I do to control any of this?”, I began processing that people do what’s important to them. If a customer promises they will be somewhere and cancels or complains no one gives them attention, yet avoids communicating with me, it could be a sign I need to improve my communication skills with customer value that resonates with them. Or be some version of a story I don’t want to give time to make up or repeat.
In January, I’d listened to the Achieve Your Goals podcast titled, “The Reality Check We All Need.” It inspired me to write a blog post about mediocrity and develop a set of affirmations on actions I felt an ideal sales professional did consistently. That definition of what successful activities looks like has been very helpful, remembering behaviors I would naturally begin to avoid, or subconsciously begin. Like avoiding making prospecting calls because of feelings of rejection from being sworn at or hung up on. Or how the freedom to set my schedule could invite procrastination to call tomorrow instead.
By doing what’s necessary every day, I can make my push not just to finish this year on as much of a positive as I can but create momentum for 2020. Reading “Fanatical Prospecting,” by Jeb Blount back in February gave solid advice about how I can handle being in the red, but not become desperate at a time like this. In it, he says, “desperation taps into the downside of the Law of Attraction, which states that what you focus your thoughts on, you are most likely to get. When you’re desperate, you no longer focus your thoughts on what is required for success. Instead, you focus on what will happen to you if you don’t get what you need, thereby attracting failure.” So, what needs to be done every day, outside the obvious of selling and prospecting? Two points on my list include uncovering variables and experiences that have impacted customer confidence, loyalty, and trust, and continue to serve my customers that are doing business me with the passion and integrity that tops my ideal sales professional affirmations.
To this point, I still haven’t mentioned that during my first men’s league hockey game in Seattle, I fell and thought I’d sprained my ankle. Upon further review, a grade 2 sprain was diagnosed, and a fractured fibula discovered. For six weeks, I was in a boot and on crutches working on all of this. My option was to accept my situation because things had to happen still, and time wasn’t going to stop because I was injured. I could still control my level of effort. I chose to do things like limp into an office with muffins in hand to thank a customer for their business and was told at another location that no one had stopped by to see them for two years! Two years!? With one good leg, I could still make an impact. I just had to try and give whatever my 100% was at that moment.
I want to look back at this time and of my experience of being in this position, and be the person who showed up, even when the times weren’t easy. Success is not just a territory, but a series of choices and courage to act.
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