These last two parts of my series will focus on the one characteristic that is perhaps the most important of all. You’ll find this characteristic in ALL top performers, not just in top sales producers. You’ll see it in top athletes, actors, musicians, dancers, top business people, academics, etc.
All top producers have this quality in abundant amounts, and parts nine and ten will focus on how to develop, grow, protect, and maintain it within the sales arena. And here’s what it is:
“All top producers develop and maintain a positive, can and will do, attitude.”
Top Characteristic Part Nine: In order to develop and protect your positive attitude, the first thing you need to do is resign from the company club.
What I mean by this is that you have to stay away from the group of sales people in your office who do nothing but grumble about how bad or unfair things are in your company or about how bad the economy or industry is.
You know what and who I’m talking about. You usually find them congregating in the break room or hallway or warehouse, or they are outside smoking cigarettes or waiting for the food truck. Every company has them, and they are poison for your career and your life.
This “company club” can be made up of average sales people or a mix of under producers and unhappy managers who feel they deserve more, or even above average sales people who think they should be treated better.
They grumble and talk negatively about any and everything: The leads are bad or marketing is doing a crappy job, or the good leads are being given to the top producers only. They grumble about the product, or the pricing of the product, or the warranty or durability. They grumble about their office environment, the phone system, the computers or their desks and noise level. They grumble about the commission structure or the salary or benefits, or the bonuses they did or didn’t get.
They are lazy and set a low standard and drag everyone who will let them down to their level. Instead of focusing on solutions or on making things work, they look for reasons why a new sales campaign or lead source won’t work. They are a cancer to all companies, and they are especially deadly to you and your sales attitude.
The answer? Resign from their club.
When I was a bottom 80% producer, I used to love the club. Every morning the club would meet in the kitchen to eat the free donuts or bagels the company provided. Were we grateful and thankful for the free food and coffee? No. If they gave us bagels, where was the salmon? If they brought donuts, where were the bagels?
And once we poured our coffee and started in on the free food, we’d start in on the leads, or the industry, or the company or on how the top producers always got preferential treatment. We grumbled our way through the food, grumbled our way back to our desks, and grumbled our way through lunch.
If we missed a sale, we’d reconvene in the break room to talk about how we could never sell this stuff with all the things that were wrong with it. How in the world did they expect us to be competitive if they were going to put out such trash? And the leads! On and on we would go until it was finally time to go home. And then we’d grumble to our wives or husbands…
Everything changed, though, when I made a commitment to become a top producer. Once I had, the first thing I did was resign from the company club.
Instead of commiserating with the club, I’d arrive at the office an hour early and start cold calling or closing leads I had set up the night before. When the club finally wandered in, I usually already had a deal on the board and was going for another one. I declined invitations to go to lunch with them, and instead I ate at my desk.
When the club members came over to my desk during work hours, I didn’t stop calling to talk with them. Instead, I went right on calling and working. They soon got the hint. When they tried to engage me in the breakroom, I was pleasant but told them I had to meet my call quota and wanted to get back to work. After a while, they left me alone.
What was interesting is that I noticed that the other top producers acted the same way I now did. They were the ones who also came in early and left late. They were the ones who were more focused on working than they were chatting, and if they did want to talk, it was usually to strategize a better way of closing a deal. I almost never heard them grumble or talk bad about the company or the industry or the market.
The top producers (of which group I began a part) were more interested in finding ways to succeed and exceed quota. They didn’t mind working harder, or getting help or leveraging management’s or each other’s experience. When we spoke with each other, it was usually to challenge one another to do better. We competed in a positive way to up each other’s game. We shared resources and closing techniques.
What I found is that we had our own club, but it was lightly attended because we had work to do. On those occasions when we did get together, it was to talk about better things like what neighborhood we were moving into, or whether we liked Mercedes or BMW better, or how we were setting up our retirement accounts. These were not the kinds of subjects that were ever discussed in the company club.
What I find even now as a consultant is that all the companies I work with have a company club. When I’m onsite, I can see them gathering and chit chatting. I also see the top producers at their desks working away. I’ve found that top producers are usually loners who are always working, always looking for ways to improve. At the end of my training, the company club members thank me politely and then head off to the break room to talk about what a waste of time the training was.
The top producers, however, are in the training room picking my brain for a new technique or to discuss one of the scripts or closes I’ve developed for them. They are thirsty for information and you can see the commitment on their faces. They are top producers who are always looking for a way to up their game.
So the question for you is: Are you a part of the company club in your office? If so, then resign today and start finding ways to build your attitude rather than spending your time ripping it down. And you can begin building it up by following Top Characteristic Number Ten.
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