The Sales Blog http://thesalesblog.com S. Anthony Iannarino Tue, 04 Aug 2015 14:17:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 S. Anthony Iannarino The Sales Blog clean The Sales Blog iannarino@gmail.com iannarino@gmail.com (The Sales Blog) S. Anthony Iannarino The Sales Blog http://thesalesblog.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://thesalesblog.com The Prospecting Rule of Thirds http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2015/08/03/the-prospecting-rule-of-thirds/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2015/08/03/the-prospecting-rule-of-thirds/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 23:24:14 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=49516 “You don’t really mean call 1,000 prospects, do you?” Yes. I do mean call 1,000 prospects. Unless you have a list that you have built that is big enough—and well defined enough—to create more than enough opportunities, you need to make a lot of calls. The First Third At any given time, one-third of the […]

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“You don’t really mean call 1,000 prospects, do you?”

Yes. I do mean call 1,000 prospects. Unless you have a list that you have built that is big enough—and well defined enough—to create more than enough opportunities, you need to make a lot of calls.

The First Third

At any given time, one-third of the prospects on your list will be dissatisfied. You have no idea which third of these prospects are dissatisfied. And you have no idea who within these prospects is motivated to change.

There is no list that you can buy that will tell you who is dissatisfied, why they are dissatisfied, and how motivated they are to improve things (and downloading a white paper or attending a webinar provides very little proof when it comes to real dissatisfaction).

The Last Third

Another third of your prospects are thrilled beyond belief with the company that sells them whatever you sell.

There is no way to tell by looking at a prospect list who is happy with their current provider. You might have some insight as to when they changed, but even that is no guarantee that they aren’t dissatisfied enough to change again.

The fact that so many people tell you that they are happy when you cold call them tells you nothing about whether they are dissatisfied enough to change. Mostly, it tells you that they didn’t hear enough value in your pitch.

The Middle Third

The middle third is made up of prospects that are neither happy or unhappy. The dissatisfaction they should have lies dormant. They aren’t in love with the people they work with, and they aren’t unhappy enough about anything to take action. They’re coasting along with things as they are.

It’s easier to create opportunities where major dissatisfaction exists. But it feels like this middle third is more like ninety percent of companies, even though that isn’t true.

You can develop the case for change within this third, even if it isn’t easy.

Make Your Calls

You are never going to know which prospect belongs in which category unless you pick up the phone and call them. The copied and pasted email isn’t going to help you. The comments you are making in LinkedIn groups aren’t going to tell you who is who either.

You can make the calls you need to make in a few weeks. Or you can take forever and never succeed at building the pipeline you need—or the opportunities you should be working on.

Make your calls.

  • How do you find the prospects who are dissatisfied enough to consider changing?
  • How do you identify the prospects where you might be locked out due to some sort of mismatch that would disqualify them?
  • How do you determine who has a form of dissatisfaction that is lying dormant, waiting to be developed?

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The Hustler’s Playbook: Be Authentic http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2015/08/02/the-hustlers-playbook-be-authentic/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2015/08/02/the-hustlers-playbook-be-authentic/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 01:20:06 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=49508 You do not need to wait for someone to give you permission to be the real and authentic version of yourself. You don’t need anyone else’s approval or their blessing to become what you must become. Withholding who you are is to withhold your gifts, your truth, your contribution. You have all the permission you […]

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You do not need to wait for someone to give you permission to be the real and authentic version of yourself. You don’t need anyone else’s approval or their blessing to become what you must become. Withholding who you are is to withhold your gifts, your truth, your contribution. You have all the permission you will ever need now.

You don’t need to imitate anyone else. You don’t need to be a pale copy of a brighter original. You don’t need to succumb to the fear that you are somehow not enough and that it would be better to be like someone else (or to be that someone). You are enough.

You also don’t need to be a derivation. You don’t need to be “the next” anyone or anything. Your truth is your own. Living someone else’s truth is to live a lie. Your interpretation is as valid as anyone else’s. No one else’s way is your way.

You have to believe in yourself. You have to believe that your truth is enough, that your contribution is enough, that you are enough. The doubt you feel is the fear of being judged by others. It’s what happens when you live in a society that judges, that separates us from each other. Your belief in yourself has to be strong enough to overcome your fear of being judged.

You have to have the confidence to act. You have to believe that you have the right to live your truth, even when those around you will work to make you believe that you don’t. Some would have you believe it’s safer to conform, to turn down your light, or extinguish it completely. But the real danger isn’t acting; it’s not acting and wasting the time you have been given.

You have to rely on yourself. You have to trust yourself, your intuition, and your instincts. You have to believe that you alone can do what must be done and that you can make a difference. You have to be the one that you count on.

Your mission and vision are your own. Your purpose is your own, and you decide what that purpose is. Your time is short. Make the most of it. Today is day one.

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Who Can You Learn From? http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2015/08/01/who-can-you-learn-from/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2015/08/01/who-can-you-learn-from/#comments Sun, 02 Aug 2015 02:07:39 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=49504 My teenage son asked me who my heroes were when I was his age. I struggled to come up with any names. I never really had any heroes, and I still don’t. But I do have a list of people who have shaped my thinking and my work. In 1995, I read Howard Bloom’s book […]

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My teenage son asked me who my heroes were when I was his age. I struggled to come up with any names. I never really had any heroes, and I still don’t. But I do have a list of people who have shaped my thinking and my work.

In 1995, I read Howard Bloom’s book The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Journey Into the Forces of History. I wanted to understand memetics (memes, long before the word meme meant something gone viral on the Internet). So I emailed Bloom. He added me to a newsgroup that he was part of, and I dove in and started reading.

Whenever I am in Brooklyn, I try to meet with Howard and buy him dinner or join him on his daily walk through the park, a walk that always entails stopping to interact with every canine between his flat and whatever coffee shop he will be working from. Howard’s work has had a tremendous influence on my work and my thinking.

A few years later, I wanted to learn about John Boyd’s work, particularly OODA loops. Colonel Boyd had passed away long before I became familiar with his work. But in my studies, I came across the work of Chet Richards, one of the key people with whom Boyd worked. Chet had written a book called Certain to Win, in which he masterfully applied John Boyd’s work to business strategy.

I emailed Chet, met him in Atlanta, bought him lunch (and maybe a couple nice beers), and he helped me to understand OODA Loops. Boyd and Richards both helped me think about strategy.

I read every book and every blog post that Tom Peters has written. Tom was the first person to write about the importance of people in a business. And he doesn’t mince words about the obligation of leaders to empower their people; he really, really means it. Nor does he pull any punches when he speaks about the individual’s obligation to do their best work.

Tom’s work helped me understand what business can—and should—be. I spent an hour on the phone with Tom interviewing him for this blog. I may not have any heroes, but I was thrilled beyond measure.

Right now, I am studying everything Ken Wilber has written (which is a massive undertaking by itself). I am also listening to dozens of audio recordings to strengthen my understanding of his theories and their application to individuals and organizations (myself included). Wilber’s work provides a massive and complete framework for how people evolve and change, individually and in groups.

I was fortunate enough to spend a few hours with Ken, and I have pages of notes. I’m working on the application of those ideas now.

I am still a student. I still seek understanding. I still seek growth. I look for people who have something that I want to learn. Who can you learn from?

  • From who have you learned the things that have shaped your thinking?
  • Who has helped you develop your beliefs and your values?
  • What are you reading and studying now that will help you live the life you want to live and make your contribution?
  • Who should you be learning from now?

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5 Reasons You Fail at Cold Calling http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2015/07/31/5-reasons-you-fail-at-cold-calling/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2015/07/31/5-reasons-you-fail-at-cold-calling/#comments Sat, 01 Aug 2015 01:00:50 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=49500 Here are five reasons some people fail at cold calling. Cold calling doesn’t work when you aren’t making enough calls. If you make between 6 and 10 calls a day, you aren’t really prospecting. That isn’t enough calls to give yourself a fair chance at success. To make cold calling work you need an already […]

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Here are five reasons some people fail at cold calling.

  1. Cold calling doesn’t work when you aren’t making enough calls. If you make between 6 and 10 calls a day, you aren’t really prospecting. That isn’t enough calls to give yourself a fair chance at success. To make cold calling work you need an already researched target list and 60 to 80 fasterdials. That number will not only produce appointments, but it will also give you enough reps to get better faster.
  2. Your value prop is weak. If your cold calls aren’t producing results, one of the primary reasons for the failure to obtain appointments is that your sales call value proposition isn’t compelling. How would you like someone to “stop by,” to introduce myself and my services?” The great benefit your dream client can expect is a chance to listen to you talk about yourself and your company? You can see why they might pass. To make cold calling work, you have to ask for a meeting where your dream client receives the value.
  3. Asking for big commitments early on causes resistance. If your “ask” is open-ended when it comes to time, you frighten your dream client off. They believe you may wear out your welcome by sitting in front of them for 90 or 120 minutes. Even asking for an hour can be too much. A smaller commitment, like 20 or 30 minutes instead of an open-ended request, is more palatable. And your dream client can say “yes,” confident that they can bail out if you aren’t creating value.
  4. Cold calling won’t call if you don’t ask for a meeting twice. You should expect a “no” to your request for a meeting on your first attempt. Your dream client says “no” to everyone who calls, not knowing how to tell who is worth meeting and who isn’t. The first attempt elicits an objection, a test to see if you might be worth meeting. You must ask twice.
  5. You can’t succeed at cold calling without resolving your prospect’s fears or concerns. You will hear “We are already working with someone.” You’ll hear, “We are happy with the people we work with now.” You will also hear “Just mail me information,” and “I don’t have time right now.” None of these objections to a meeting is likely true. In fact, some of your competitors are meeting with people who gave them these objections. Your prospect’s real concern is that you aren’t going to make a meeting worth their while, that you don’t have any real insight, that you can’t really help them, and that they are going to regret meeting with you. You have to promise that none of these things are true.

Are you making enough calls?

Do you have a compelling value proposition for the meeting you are asking for?

Is the commitment small enough that it is easy to say yes to?

Are you always asking twice?

Do you know how to resolve your prospects real concerns?

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You Fear the Wrong Failures http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2015/07/30/you-fear-the-wrong-failures/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2015/07/30/you-fear-the-wrong-failures/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 01:24:00 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=49493 We mostly fear the wrong dangers. And we also fear the wrong failures. Let it never be said that I told you it was okay to fail to make your number. But if you sell long enough, it’s bound to happen to even the best salesperson. It’s okay to fail to make your number. You […]

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We mostly fear the wrong dangers. And we also fear the wrong failures.

  • Let it never be said that I told you it was okay to fail to make your number. But if you sell long enough, it’s bound to happen to even the best salesperson. It’s okay to fail to make your number.
  • You might fail to negotiate the deal that you wanted and that your company needed. You might fail to capture your fair share of the value that you created. It’s okay to fail in a negotiation.
  • If what you sell is complex, risky, and difficult to execute, you may fail your client. You may fail to provide them the value that you sold them and they paid for. It’s okay to fail a client.
  • It’s especially okay to fail as an entrepreneur, even if you are dumb enough to believe that your burn rate is the one metric you should be watching (instead of paying clients). Failure is part of the entrepreneur’s journey.
  • It’s okay to fail to pay your bills on time. It’s okay to fail to make it to your daily workout. And it’s okay to fail to follow your diet.

It’s not a good idea to fail at one of these things all the time. But in the big scheme of things, these aren’t the failures you are going to regret in the future.

The real failures you should fear are bigger than all of these, even if they don’t frighten you enough now.

  • You don’t want to fail the people who count on you, the people you love. Your don’t want to fail in your role as a father, mother, daughter, son, brother, or sister. You don’t want to fail the people who depend on you.
  • You don’t want to fail that part of yourself that is your purpose. You don’t want to fail to live a life of meaning and contribution. You don’t want to fail to make a difference, whatever that difference may be. You are here for a reason.
  • You don’t want to fail to create whatever it is you are here to create, be it a business, a charity, or your art. You don’t want tho fail to live your life as your true authentic self.
  • You don’t want to fail to live fully and love deeply. Your were born with a certain set of gifts. You don’t want to fail to use those gifts.

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day challenges and struggles and worry about failing. But you need to succeed in the areas that really matter. If you are going to fear failure, then focus on fearing the failures that you will later regret.

What failure do you fear now?

Even though it may be painful, is this failure something that you are going to regret at some time later in your life?

What failure should you fear now? What do you need to change to avoid that failure?

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Your KPIs Aren’t My KPIs http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2015/07/29/your-kpis-arent-my-kpis/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2015/07/29/your-kpis-arent-my-kpis/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 02:06:38 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=49487 Your key performance indicators aren’t my key performance indicators. The activities and outcomes that might indicate that you are moving towards success can be wildly different from mine. Different Strategies Your strategy might be to increase your revenue. New revenue might be an excellent indicator for proving that you are on course. If that is […]

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Your key performance indicators aren’t my key performance indicators. The activities and outcomes that might indicate that you are moving towards success can be wildly different from mine.

Different Strategies

Your strategy might be to increase your revenue. New revenue might be an excellent indicator for proving that you are on course. If that is your strategic goal, then that is a significant key performance indicator, even if it is a lagging indicator.

But let’s pretend that my strategy is to increase my margin. Revenue isn’t a good indicator for me. Of course, I am going to look at that number! But margin growth is a better indicator for me as to how I am progressing towards my strategic goals. In my case, I might trade higher margin business with lower revenue growth.

Different Activity

You might need very high activity when it comes to prospecting. You might need high activity because you don’t presently have enough. Or maybe it is because you are a startup, and customer acquisition is the key to profitability (and just maybe you are smart enough not to look at your burn rate to determine how well you are doing). The outcome of new opportunities created is an excellent indicator as to how you are doing.

I might need less activity because I am focused on acquiring strategic accounts and because that is the only real way for me to reach my goals. For some businesses, smaller transactional clients don’t produce the necessary results and only divert attention from acquiring dream clients. I might take less activity for more concrete outcomes, like meetings with strategic prospects.

Different Needs

Your company and my company might have very different needs. What you measure should be important to what you need to grow and improve your business. What I should measure should ensure my company’s growth and my improvement.

Different businesses have different needs. And they have different needs at different times. You need to make your KPIs your own, whether they are activity or outcome metrics.

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Make Your Calls Faster http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2015/07/28/make-your-calls-faster/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2015/07/28/make-your-calls-faster/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 01:03:27 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=49477 How long is it going to take for you to make your calls? Slow Dialing Some people will call a list of 500 prospective customers over the course of a year. To these folks, this seems like a reasonable plan. Subtracting out two weeks for vacation, they can call 50 prospects a week and reach […]

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How long is it going to take for you to make your calls?

Slow Dialing

Some people will call a list of 500 prospective customers over the course of a year. To these folks, this seems like a reasonable plan. Subtracting out two weeks for vacation, they can call 50 prospects a week and reach their goal. That breaks down to ten calls a day, something easily accomplished by almost anyone.

Let’s pretend that the hypothetical people in the above scenario follow this plan (something I don’t believe to be true). These people make around 40 calls a month, talk to about 10 of their prospects, and maybe they book two appointments.

Fast Dialing

Another group of people would take the same 500 prospective customers and call them over the course of two weeks. They’d make 50 calls a day, starting every morning with prospecting. Let’s pretend this group is no better on the phone than our first group. They’d talk to 12 people a day, and book two or three appointments.

The first group of slow dialing salespeople would have shallow pipelines. They’d hope that marketing and inbound would develop enough opportunities for them that they could somehow make their number. Their managers would be unhappy with their performance (even though they are in large part responsible). And their CEO’s would be calling me and emailing me to help them understand why they can’t reach their goals.

The second group, the fast dialing salespeople, would be developing opportunities. They would be entirely independent of marketing and inbound when it comes to making their numbers. Their managers would be focused on improving areas other than opportunity creation. And their CEO’s would still be calling me, but it would be to help them increase their win rates or margins by creating greater value.

Make Your Calls . . . Faster

You are going to have to make your calls. You are likely going to have to make hundreds—or thousands—of calls. You can make those calls over the course of months or years or decades. Or you can make those calls over a few weeks.

You determine the actions that you take, but not the consequences of those actions. If you need new business, make your calls. And do it faster.

  • How does making your calls over a shorter time improve your results?
  • What do you tell yourself that prevents you from making your calls faster? What beliefs hold you back?
  • How important is it for you to reach your goals? What does that mean you need to do when it comes to making your calls and prospecting?

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Your Web Presence Is Your First Impression http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2015/07/27/your-web-presence-is-your-first-impression/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2015/07/27/your-web-presence-is-your-first-impression/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 01:40:55 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=49469 Your web presence is likely your first impression. If it’s not, it’s probably your second impression. You need to be thoughtful about what people see when they Google your name. If you have a site, you need to spend time and money on design. If you are going to build a personal brand on your […]

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Your web presence is likely your first impression. If it’s not, it’s probably your second impression. You need to be thoughtful about what people see when they Google your name.

If you have a site, you need to spend time and money on design.

If you are going to build a personal brand on your site, you need it to present you well. If you are using WordPress or Tumblr, you need to pay for a professional design. You need professional images. And most of all you need content that speaks to the people who you serve.

A cheap design makes it look like you aren’t successful, even if you are. A lack of content gives the impression that you have nothing to offer in the way of value. Spend time and money developing something that presents you and your story in a way that gives your audience confidence that you can create value for them.

If LinkedIn is home base, you need to build it up to tell your story.

There are still too many LinkedIn profiles that are something less than a resume. There is too little information about who the person in the profile really is or what they do.

There are also too many LinkedIn profiles that are nothing but a resume. And that might be okay if it isn’t a useful social tool for you, or if it isn’t your home base.

But if you are in sales and using LinkedIn as your home base, you need to do the work to build out a profile that tells the story of who you are, how you create value and all the things you’ve done that brought you to this point.

What you tweet on Twitter, post on Facebook, and share on other sites can show up in search engines.

This section could have just as easily been titled: Don’t be stupid. What you post lives on the Internet forever. Even if you delete something stupid, someone can always capture a screen shot of your mistake to use in the future.

Do you want to argue about politics? Do you want to argue about touchy social issues? You think that you have to keep it that real? As long as you are willing to live with the consequences of your actions, have at it. But remember that you are leaving a trail behind you, and anyone can pick up that trail.

Do you want to be known as divisive? Do you want to be know as argumentative? If that is what your brand is, and if it brings you success, then it is okay for you to play here. But if you want people to know you as a smart, positive, energetic, value creator, negative content won’t give people that impression.

Make sure your web presence represents you in a way that makes the first impression you want.

What does your web presence tell people about you?

Does your LinkedIn profile represent the real value you create?

What do your social sites say about you? What impression do they leave?

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Other People Believe What You Won’t http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2015/07/26/other-people-believe-what-you-wont/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2015/07/26/other-people-believe-what-you-wont/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 00:07:13 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=49462 You don’t believe that you can make more money than you are making now. You believe that money is scarce and that it is hard to come by. You hold onto this belief even though you look around and see hundreds of people making more money than you are now. You don’t believe that picking […]

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You don’t believe that you can make more money than you are making now. You believe that money is scarce and that it is hard to come by. You hold onto this belief even though you look around and see hundreds of people making more money than you are now.

You don’t believe that picking up the phone and calling a stranger can produce appointments. You don’t believe that an old, mature technology like the telephone is better than a new technology like Twitter. You believe this even though you are surrounded by people who are picking up the phone and out-producing you.

You don’t believe that you can have a much greater level of success than you have now without some divine intervention. You believe that having what you want for yourself requires that someone taps you on the shoulder, gives you permission, and anoints you as the chosen one. You maintain this belief even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Beliefs are viruses. They are infections that spread from one mind to the next. Some people are immune to negative, limiting beliefs. Others have to go through the long, painful process of ridding themselves of the viruses that infect them.

If you are willing to believe the truth, you can choose your infections. You can decide what you believe.

  • Right now, there are people who are making more money than you are because they believe they can. They believe they create more value than others. And they believe they deserve to make more money.
  • There are also people who believe that the prospecting methods and the sales activities that you avoid are the most effective methods for winning new business. These people are using the very same methods to produce breakthrough results.
  • When you look around and see people succeeding at a level that you wish to attain, know that they first believed that they could succeed, and then they took massive action in that direction.

Other people are producing different and better results than you are now because they believe things that you are unwilling to believe. Most of the beliefs that are preventing you from having what you want are about yourself, who you are, and what you deserve.

  • What are the beliefs you have about some area in your life where you wish your results were different?
  • Who do you know that is already producing the results you want now? What do they believe?
  • If you were to rid yourself of unhealthy infections of the mind, what actions would you take that you are not presently taking?

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5 More Things Hustlers Don’t Do http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2015/07/25/5-more-things-hustlers-dont-do/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2015/07/25/5-more-things-hustlers-dont-do/#comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 01:00:29 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=49455 There are certain things that hustlers don’t do. Here is a pretty good list I wrote some time ago. And here are five more observations I’ve made lately that are worth adding. Hustlers don’t troll: Hustler’s aren’t trolls. They don’t leave nasty, foul, argumentative comments on other people’s sites as a way to draw attention […]

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There are certain things that hustlers don’t do. Here is a pretty good list I wrote some time ago. And here are five more observations I’ve made lately that are worth adding.

  1. Hustlers don’t troll: Hustler’s aren’t trolls. They don’t leave nasty, foul, argumentative comments on other people’s sites as a way to draw attention to themselves. You don’t find them spending their time being critical. Hustler’s don’t believe that they way they build themselves is by tearing down others. Hustler’s are creators, not critics. And, as creators, they let the haters hate.
  2. Obsess over the news: It’s important to be informed about what is going on in your world. But no hustler believes that Facebook’s inflammatory, politicized, news-related posts are a real source of information. The hustler looks at a paper or two to maintain an awareness. They read magazines and other long-form content with some depth. But the news of the day doesn’t steal time away from their purpose.
  3. Pretend to know something that don’t know: Hustlers don’t pretend to know things that they don’t know. They’ll readily admit to you that they have a depth of understanding in some areas while being far less knowledgable about almost everything else. If a hustler wants to know something, they go to the source to learn. They study that subject and build a base of knowledge. They put what they are learning to work immediately.
  4. Fear selling: Hustlers don’t fear selling because they believe they can make a difference. They know that they have the ability—and the desire—to create value for others. Because they believe, they aren’t afraid to sell their product, their service, or their idea. They know that they are really selling themselves.
  5. Concern themselves with things over which they have no control. If something is within your control, or if you can somehow influence the outcome, it’s okay to spend your time doing so. But if there is nothing that you can do to change an outcome, then there is no reason to concern yourself or worry about it. Hustlers are so focused on what they can control, influence, or impact, that they never stop to worry about what is outside their control.

These things will keep you from your hustle.

The post 5 More Things Hustlers Don’t Do appeared first on The Sales Blog.

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