How Dedicated Are You?

Watching the Olympics over the past few days, I can’t help but be impressed with the amount of passion and dedication that these athletes have for their sport. Their background bios are filled with stories of speed  swimmers’ parents driving them to pools at 3:30 in the morning; of gymnasts leaving home at the age twelve to pursue their dreams; of special diets, and exercises, and other regimes in their quest to be the very best in the world.

These young people and in some cases not so young people in their forties, have dedicated their lives to their passion. They are nothing if not all in.

This made me realize that those who are the best at what they do are all in, all the time. Great artists and writers are all in, all the time. As are artisans and craftspeople. My own wife spends sixty to seventy hours a week on her quilting, and that’s besides taking care of her end of our business. The results are amazing, but no one really knows the hours she puts into those amazing quilts.

Stephen King writes eight hours a day every day and I mean every day, weekends and holidays included.

Musicians like Yoyo Ma practice their instruments ten to twelve hours a day every day. I think it was the Cellist Pablo Casals who said, “If I skip practice for one day, I will know it; if I skip it for three days, you will know it.”

The one thing that all of these people have in common is dedication, true dedication, to their work.

Certainly, as with many of these people the rewards can be great. The rewards for their dedication can be fame and fortune, but in the end that is not why they do it. No, they do it for the sake of the craft, for the sake of doing something well, doing something they truly care about well. And that, in and of itself, is the reward.

It struck me that if we are going to succeed in anything that we do, we have to have this kind of dedication. We have to be as “all in” as these people are.

So, what does that mean when it comes to sales? What does a salesperson have to do to be so dedicated that she is “all in”?

Here are eight things that all truly dedicated sales professionals should be doing to be successful:

  1. Define your product or service. What exactly are you selling? Do your homework. Study the product, what it does, how it works and most importantly how it benefits your customers.
  2. Define your customers. Who are your customers…exactly? What business are they in? What do they have to do to be successful? What can your product do to benefit them, to help them be successful?
  3. Develop your sales process. How will you find your perfect customers? How will you approach them? How will you present yourself and your product to them so that they will want to buy your product?
  4. Develop your sales skills. Always be learning. Read books. Watch business shows. Attend Webinars and Seminars. Look for good mentors. In other words, do whatever it takes to be the best salesperson you can be, the most skillful salesperson in your field.
  5. Be Creative: Don’t be afraid to look for new and different ways to sell your products. Let your mind wander to the point of inventing innovative ways to approach and win new customers.
  6. Be a good, ethical, and upstanding person. This is more important now than ever. The better person you are, the better salesperson you will be. The adage is simple, “People respect, respectable people.” This means never cutting corners, this means being a straight up person. This means always having the customers’ best interests at heart. This means looking out for your customers at all times, even those difficult times when telling your customer what he really needs to solve his problem is not really what you are selling. This kind of difficult decision can hurt, but in the end, you will be the better for it and your relationship with your customer will be the better for it.
  7. Never stop learning: The best in the world never stop learning how to be better. They have the passion and yes of course the dedication to always be thinking and learning about their craft. They are always on the lookout for a better way, a better idea, a better tool, a better method to be the best.
  8. Be Altruistic. This means always trying to walk in your customer’s shoes, always being focused on helping the customer in any way that you can. One of the rules of life that I learned a long time ago is that when you try to find ways to help people, including customers and potential customers, the money will come…as will other benefits such as referrals. When you help people in the best ways that you can, those people will want to repay the favor by helping you in return.

And one last one. Strive to do your best and to be your best at all times. No matter what it takes. You might not be a Pablo Picasso, or a Simone Biles, or a Tom Brady, but you do have the choice of being the Pablo, or Simone, or Tom of your field if you have enough passion and yes, dedication. It’s only common sense.