To be effective at sales, you need practice and perseverance. Selling is an effort to beat the odds of rejection, and to do so you have to stay determined and be okay with not closing every sale. The best sellers don’t have a 100% track record of closing, but they know how to keep going even when they are discouraged.
What Does It Mean to Persevere?
The definition of perseverance, to paraphrase Merriam-Webster, is to persist in a state of enterprise in spite of opposition or discouragement. It is one of the primary foundational attributes of sales effectiveness and is necessary to succeed. Let’s take a closer look at how it applies to sales and works with the other attributes.
Perseverance follows the first attribute, self-discipline. Self-discipline provides the foundation for the ability to persevere. If you have a disciplined practice and are good at keeping yourself accountable, you will have the ability to keep trying even when things aren’t working. Show up on time every day and always think about how you can make changes to your practice and schedule in order to improve it.
Optimism is the second attribute. It enables perseverance by allowing you to continue to try without being discouraged. Maintaining a positive mental attitude about being a professional salesperson will help you stay dedicated to your work even when times get tough.
Perseverance stands on top of the third attribute, competitiveness. Engaging in a spirit of competition enables you to continue to fight and win in a tough contest. If you learn all you can about your competition and stay aware of what they are doing at all times, you will always be able to discuss why what you are offering is better.
The fourth attribute, initiative, sustains the desire and the ability to be proactive. This means constantly being on the lookout for new opportunities and hunting them down instead of waiting for them to fall into your lap. Having initiative means you are not intimidated by challenges, rather, you thrive on them. You have to accept responsibility for getting what you want in life. By waiting, you cut yourself down and limit your chances of success.
Perseverance also follows the fifth attribute, resourcefulness. While mediocre salespeople easily feel like they have done all they could, great salespeople tap out one resource and immediately go looking for another. Resourcefulness allows you to persevere until you finally find a way to succeed or until you make one. Flood your mind with positive input that helps you stay motivated and counteract negative experiences.
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States
Perseverance is the act of deciding on the desired outcome and taking action to achieve it. Perseverance is being resolute in purpose until you achieve your desired outcome. The ability to persevere is what allows one person to continue in their pursuit of an idea or a goal for as long as it takes for that goal to be achieved. You will experience setbacks, large and small, on your way to success. The weak of heart won’t be able to stick it out. Those with perseverance will. It is the ability to continue to chase a dream, even when all of the evidence indicates that it cannot or will not be realized.
To persevere is the ability to continue to try. To persist. To press on.
How to Persevere in Sales
Success in sales requires perseverance, plain and simple.
Perseverance and determination allow the salesperson to hear the word “no” and to continue to pursue their objective undeterred. Determination is what allows the salesperson to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and try again. It allows the salesperson to keep calling.
Perseverance allows salespeople to continue to pursue their dream clients for years, never failing to nurture the relationship, even when there is no indication that the prospect will give them an opportunity. To others, this seems crazy! Why wouldn’t you just give up? That is what makes the difference between those who succeed and those who aren’t even willing to try.
Perseverance allows the salesperson to believe that the contest is never over, even when the bell has rung. It allows the salesperson to remain engaged with their prospects, even after they choose a competitor. Those who have the ability to stick to their goals even in the face of discouragement and disappointment know that it’s never over – there is always one more round.
This determination continues even after the deal has been won. Prospects and customers value perseverance, and they buy it because they know that it is this attribute that will ensure that the salesperson will help them achieve the outcome they have promised. As the old saying goes, “The way you do anything is the way you do everything.” When your clients see how fiercely you are chasing them, they will know you will apply that same ferocity to the work you do for them.
When Perseverance is Missing
When the ability to persevere is missing, the salesperson accepts “no” as a final answer. The lack of determination feels smart: “They said no, so I am moving on.” But this isn’t smart. The lack of perseverance is detrimental to their success.
The best and most desirable clients always belong to your competitor. And they always start by saying no. You have to learn to expect it as your initial answer.
When determination is missing, the salesperson floats from one “no” to the next, never putting in the time and effort to nurture the relationship. They never create the familiarity that later allows them to gain access to the prospect. The prospect tells every salesperson no, and all but the most persistent simply go away. They only remember the salesperson that perseveres. When there is an opportunity, the shortlist is made up of the few salespeople who were determined to be on that list.
Their perseverance is what makes them worth talking to.
The ability to persevere is an essential attribute of great salespeople, allowing them to succeed where others fail. It provides the salesperson with an immunity to the word “no.” Perseverance allows the professional salesperson to persist in their efforts to acquire new clients and to succeed in delivering the outcomes they have promised.
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Questions Every Salesperson Needs to Ask
- Do I too easily accept no as an answer?
- Do I fail in persisting to pursue the difficult but most desirable prospects because they belong to my competitor?
- Do I believe that “no” is final? Do I believe that things will always be the way they are now, not recognizing that my prospect’s needs are constantly changing?
- Am I trying to find an easier path instead of the path I really want to take?
- Is it ever right to stop pursuing something that you really desire? Is it ever right to quit or give up?
- Am I failing my dream clients by giving up on them, even though I can provide them with something better than they have now?
- Will I be the first person my dream prospect thinks of when their needs change? Why or why not?
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