Killing the Sale
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About "Killing the Sale"
There are approximately 12.2 million salespeople in the United States -- that's about 1 out of every 23 people! Salespeople are everywhere, selling everything imaginable. Some are making a killing, but a greater percentage end up victims of the sales industry -- and their own mistakes. Some are normal bumps in the road toward success. Others are more damaging. But many are fatal to a career.^Duncan addresses these catastrophic mistakes are addressed with clarity and directness. Whether you're a seasoned sales professional or someone considering sales as a career, Duncan's wisdom can help you avoid errors in perception, practice, and performance that could not only kill a sale but also your career.
Meet the Author
Todd Duncan, CEO and founder of The Duncan Group in Atlanta, Georgia, is one of America's leading experts in the area of Sales and Life Mastery. His tapes, seminars, and books, including High Trust Selling, Time Traps, and Killing the Sale: The 10 Fatal Mistakes Salespeople Make and How To Avoid Them have helped millions worldwide tap into their potential.
Table Of Contents
Excerpt from: Killing the Sale
According to the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations, there are approximately 45.6 million sales professionals in the world today. And of that number, 12.2 million sell their wares in the United States. That means more than one-quarter of all the selling professionals in the world live here in our own backyard-in your city and mine, next door, down the street, and just around the corner. But let's put into perspective just how many salespeople that really is.
The Census Bureau reports that there are approximately 291 million people currently residing in the U.S. Are you doing the math? What that amounts to is that in the United States, incredibly, 1 in every 23 people is a salesperson. Mind you, that's not just 1 in every 23 working adults. That's 1 in every 23 people living in the United States-young and old, babies, children, teens, adults, and retirees. In other words, salespeople are literally everywhere you look. In your neighborhood, at the mall, in the movie theater, at your favorite restaurant, and at the gas station. On the bus, in your taxi, at your church . . . and in your mirror. And salespeople are selling everything imaginable. Stocks, bonds, homes, loans, copiers, and clothing. Cotton candy, peanuts, and ice-cold Coca-Cola. The latest technology. The greatest tip. The loudest stereo and the lightest phone. The funniest book and the fastest burger. Jobs, Jaguars, and fancy jets. In fact, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted more than 3 million patents in its history. And what do you suppose happens to all those creations? The vast majority are sold-by you and by me.
We understand, like every other twenty-third person, that opportunity abounds in the sales profession. Of the $80 billion produced in sales in the worldwide economy every year, more than $25 billion is produced in the United States. That's a lot of available commission. And some salespeople are making a killing. But a much greater percentage end up victims of the sales industry-and I'm not talking about the customers. I'm talking about the large percentage of salespeople who live paycheck to paycheck-those who go from job to job in search of that ever-elusive cakewalk to success. I'm talking about the large number of salespeople who quit the sales profession every year . . . thinking that it was their bosses' or coworkers' or customers' fault-when most often the truth is that it was no one's fault but their own.
Despite the promise of hope that the sales profession offers, many salespeople are left haggard and hopeless at the end of their workweeks. And many aren't achieving the success they set out for when they began. Sure, you could blame it on an oversaturated industry, but that's not really the problem. The real rub is that salespeople make mistakes. And lots of them.
Mistakes are inevitable in every profession, but especially the sales profession. I know because I've made many of them. Once I failed to send some very important paperwork to a client on time-despite her explicit instructions. My client was very frustrated when she called to let me know of my blunder. Yet instead of owning up to my mistake and apologizing, I became defensive. When she expressed her disappointment and threatened to take her business elsewhere, I told her I didn't care. Go ahead, I said. But five days later, I had lost not only her business but also the business of four other clients who had heard about the incident. Big mistake.
The fact is that when one person is involved in any endeavor, human error will eventually come into play. Mistakes will be made. We're not flawless individuals. But the sales profession, to the chagrin of some, is not an individualistic enterprise. Others are always involved. And if one person alone can botch a solo endeavor, a couple of people can absolutely ruin a shared enterprise. That's because all it really takes to produce some good ol'-fashioned mayhem are two strong-willed individuals with varying values and motives trying to force an agreement on something. And truth be told, that describes far too many selling efforts. Certainly some of mine, and I bet some of yours too.
The bottom line is that the sales industry can be a breeding ground for blunders: fallible salespeople offering fallible products to fallible customers. If we were all good at what we did and every customer was perpetually satisfied, there would be no need for this book. But unfortunately that's not the case. Salespeople still mess up. Customers still walk out. They still hang up. They still blurt obscenities-God forbid, but they do. And why? Because we're not always doing our job right. Because we sales professionals make mistakes. And some are bigger than others.
If every salesperson in the world made only three mistakes a year, that would be a whopping 136 million mistakes per annum. Of course, that's just hypothetical. Oh, that we could be so lucky to err so infrequently. The truth of the matter is that the vast majority of salespeople make more than three mistakes per year. A lot more.
Some of the mistakes we make are just normal bumps in the road to successful selling. Bruises to the ego. And often they can add some comic relief to our days. Like the general sales manager who was running late for an early sales meeting and subsequently took his shirt straight from the dryer and slipped it on in darkness. He made the meeting on time, and he certainly made a lasting impression. But not the impression he had intended. When he took off his jacket, several snickering salespeople let him know that his wife's lace panties were stuck to his back. Ah, that dreaded static cling.
Other mistakes are more damaging. And like a sprained ankle or a broken arm, they can take time to mend. Like the young car salesman who misquoted the price of a new car to his former high-school principal. When the principal came back two days later to buy the car at the quoted price, the salesman had since recalculated the price with his boss and discovered an error. But the principal wouldn't budge. He still wanted the dealership to honor the original quote-mistake or not. And when the salesperson told the principal that he could not sell the car for a loss, the principal asserted, "Your math is to blame." To that, the salesman snapped back, "What do you expect from one of your former students?" And the rest of the story is history-along with the sale.
Then there are fatal mistakes. Those errors in perception, practice, or performance that can kill not only a sale, but also a sales career. Like a blood clot, a bleeding ulcer, or a clogged artery, such mistakes will eventually put an end to your sales life if you do not tend to them. In April 2003 we were privy to an example of one such mistake at the corporate level when it was revealed that Delta Airlines' CEO Leo Mullins was willingly receiving a $12.2 million pay package for 2002 amid thousands of layoffs and additional requests (from Mullins himself) that other Delta employees take cuts in pay. And while the consequences are yet immeasurable, the news undoubtedly cast a luminous shadow over Delta's reputation as a respectable airline during a time when airline ticket sales were suffering considerably. As Delta and Mullins will certainly learn, it is such mistakes-fatal mistakes-that every sales professional must avoid like the plague. That's because the wounds of some sales mistakes just won't heal. They will kill your sales efforts; if repeated, they can kill your sales life.
And so, what is a sales professional to do? How can a salesperson like you, like me, steer clear of such lethal lapses in judgment? Well, that's what this book is all about. Based on thousands of interviews, years of research, and two decades of personal sales experience (and though I hate to admit it . . . making many of the mistakes), this book is specifically designed to help you steer clear of the fatal selling mistakes that can literally turn your selling career into a sales graveyard. I'm confident that if you follow the forthcoming strategies to avoid the 10 fatal mistakes that are discussed in this book, you will succeed in the sales profession, regardless of your product, service, or industry. And you won't just succeed now and then. If you create selling habits that allow you to consistently sidestep the fatal mistakes, you will succeed on a regular basis. And I'm not just talking about making more money. If you're ready, let me show you all that I'm talking about.
Mistake #1 - Hyping
Relying on "You Can Do It" Propaganda to Maintain Your Sales Motivation
Take a look in the backseat of the average salesperson's car and you'll often find a bona fide smorgasbord of motivational merchandise. Books, tapes, videos, and pamphlets dedicated to the art and science of becoming more successful. Salespeople are known for building extensive libraries of pump-you-up products. And in the right context, there is certainly value in such merchandise. But the problem is that despite filling their heads with the time-tested wisdom of the sales sages and productivity gurus, many salespeople still find themselves in the middle of the pack, achieving only mediocre success. Maybe you've been there . . .
After attending your fourth sales and success event and spending more than $2,000 on products over the course of two years, you've found yourself whirling in a wind of debt without much success to show for it. You thought you made the investments that were necessary to take your selling success to the top, but it's beginning to look as if your investments are turning sour-and as a result, so is your attitude about selling.
After reading another book or listening to a new cassette or attending another seminar, you feel on top of the world. You feel confident that you can become the best salesperson in your field. You're inspired to persevere when you read or hear phrases such as, "Success might be one call away!" So you keep trying-but things don't improve that much. You've tried to talk yourself into being a better salesperson. "I am a successful salesperson," you've reminded yourself. "Just keep plugging away. No pain, no gain," you've reassured yourself. You've remained optimistic: "People want to buy my product! I will make a sale today!" But that approach works only for a couple of weeks. And so here you are, reading about a problem that you share with many other salespeople. Highs, then lows. Mountaintops and deep valleys. And you're probably wondering how this book is going to be any different from all the others you've read. Well, it won't be any different . . . until you understand the essence of one of the biggest mistakes salespeople make. That mistake is something I call "hyping."
What's All the Hype About?
Hyping, in the most basic terms, is relying solely on external stimuli-success books, cassettes, videos, seminars, and the like-to gain energy and maintain enthusiasm to sell. It's the equivalent of eating a Baby Ruth candy bar to sustain your energy for an entire week. It usually works in the short term, while the sugar is running through your veins, but it never lasts. Before long, you're back to where you started: tired, hungry, and in need of energy. And the same is true in the sales profession. The only difference in the world of sales is that the "Baby Ruths" are bound, audible, and often come with a name badge and a ticket.
Don't get me wrong here; success merchandise isn't the problem. The root of hyping lies in the false belief that any form of external stimulation can alone truly sustain your motivation to sell successfully. It simply can't and won't. Like sugar in your veins, it may give you a little pick-me-up for a short period of time, but before long you'll be left to fend for yourself.
It All Starts with a Motive
Listen in on any criminal trial and you'll most likely hear one word repeated more than any other. In the widely publicized criminal trial of O. J. Simpson, this particular word was mentioned 226 times in the opening and closing arguments alone. "What's the word?" you ask. Motive.
"The defendant had a motive to commit the crime," argues the prosecution again and again. "The defendant did not have a motive to commit the crime," claims the defense over and over. And both the prosecution and the defense have good reason for their reiteration. Motive is ultimately the foundation of every criminal trial in America. The police detain a suspect on suspicion of motive. The state arraigns a suspect on probability of motive. And the court tries a defendant on legitimacy of motive. Why is all this talk about motive so significant? Because motive is at the heart of any action-good or bad. Because motive leads to action.
In the end, the fate of a defendant on trial usually lies in each lawyer's ability to prove or disprove that the individual's motives can be linked to a specific action. If the evidence shows that the individual's motives and the criminal act are an unlikely association, there is little ground to convict. In other words, actions without motives are very unlikely to occur. And the same is true of your actions as a salesperson.
Tapped Motives Sustained Action
In the sales profession, you can't ignore your core motive for selling, then rely solely on hype to sustain your enthusiasm to sell. When you do, your enthusiasm will simply be based on emotional highs and lows, on how you feel that day or in that particular moment. And that will make it very difficult to sustain momentum. Trying to sustain your selling energy without tapping into your core motive for selling is like trying to run a marathon on inspiration alone-without food or water. No matter how much adrenaline you have as the starting pistol sounds, when your body is depleted of nutrients, no amount of inspiration will give your muscles the energy they need to keep going. And eventually you'll collapse.
Untapped Motives Unsustainable Action, or Hyping
As a salesperson, your level of enthusiasm depends heavily on your core motives for selling. That's because motive truly gives birth to action. External stimulation (books, tapes, seminars, and so forth) is supposed to be a catalyst that taps into your existing motives for the purpose of initiating consistent, motive-centered action. But external stimulation alone is not the true mother of action. And as a result, it will never sustain your enthusiasm in the long term. Maybe you can relate.
Uncovering Your True Motives
The bottom line is that true, sustainable enthusiasm in sales begins when you understand your core motives for selling. Unfortunately that's where too many salespeople go wrong. Either they don't understand their core selling motives, or they mistake money and materialism for motives. And those mistakes lead to an emotional roller coaster of a career while they leave discerning customers with a bad taste in their mouths.
Have you ever thought about what might happen if your customers could hear everything you were thinking during a sales transaction? Would they still want to do business with you? Would they put their trust in you? Or would they walk away even sooner? If anything would reveal your current motives for selling (whether legitimate or not), letting your customers hear your thoughts surely would. For some salespeople, that would certainly be a good thing. It would show customers that their intentions are honest and mutually beneficial. But for many salespeople, revealing their thoughts would get ugly. It might sound something like this:
Salesperson: Can I help you with something?
Customer: No thanks. I'm just looking.
Salesperson: Well, just so you know, we have a big sale going on right now on several of our new models . . . Not really, but I'm telling you that because I want you to think you're getting a better deal than you really are.
Customer: Okay. I'll keep that in mind.
Salesperson: Was there a particular car you were interested in? Preferably one of our most expensive models so that I can get a big commission.
Customer: Well, I'm thinking about buying my daughter an Altima for her high-school graduation gift. But I'm not sure yet.
Salesperson: Those are good cars. I used to own one myself before I traded it in for a Maxima . . . The truth is that I've never owned either car, but I am telling you that so that I'll have more credibility with you when I talk you into spending your money.
Customer: I think a Maxima may be more than I want to spend right now.
Salesperson: Well, let me tell you that once I realized what I was missing, it was a no-brainer to spend a little more money to get the added safety and features that a Maxima offers. And ironically, now my daughter drives that car and loves it . . . Actually I don't have a daughter, but telling you that helps me relate to you better and should help me talk you into buying the more expensive car, which means more money for me.
Customer: What do you drive now?
Salesperson: I was hoping you'd ask . . . I just picked up one of our new 350Zs. Talk about a great car! And if I can, I'll try to talk you into buying that one because that's the biggest commission I can make. The truth is that I don't own that car either, but it will-I hope-make you think I'm more successful than I really am.
Customer: Those are great-looking cars. All right, I'm just gonna keep looking, and I'll let you know if I need anything.
Salesperson: No problem. Take your time. Why don't I go ahead and run some numbers on the Altima while you're looking? That way, if you find something you like, we're one step ahead of the game and you won't have to spend all day here. And while I'm at it, I'll run numbers for the Maxima and 350Z, too, so that I can try to convince you to buy one of them. In fact, I'll make it look like you can get a great deal on the more expensive cars so that the Altima doesn't look like your best option.
Salesperson: Great. I'll be right back . . . Get your checkbook ready.
Now, I know that's only a humorous example, but many customers would hear something similar if every salesperson's motives were audible. And that's sad. In fact, the fundamental source of hyping is that the "default" motives for many sales professionals are money, status, and job title. The problem is that those are merely rewards for successful selling-but they can never be core reasons to sell. They are results of successful selling, but not the roots. And such motives are certainly not earnest enough to keep you consistently motivated.
If you've been relying on something similar to keep yourself enthusiastic about selling-if you've been constantly reminding yourself of the potential payoff in order to get through tough times-if you've been solely looking to pump-you-up products to get yourself excited about selling, without looking at why you sell in the first place-then you're guilty of hyping. And you need to make a change before it's too late, before the "sugar high" wears off and you feel more lethargic about selling than when you started.
In order to break free from a hyping habit, you must leverage your core motives for selling. You must look deep inside yourself and answer the question of why: Why, above every other reason, do I want to succeed in sales? And if your answer is something that can be measured externally (for example, money, position, status), you will continually have trouble remaining motivated to sell-especially when difficulties arise. That's because how you sell (your action) is linked to why you sell (your motive), whether you know it or not.
We all have one predominant reason for why we sell. You have one motivating factor that dictates much of how, when, where, and why you go about your business of selling. And ideally that core motive drives you to new heights as a professional. But if you don't know your core motive for selling or are mistaken about its identity, you will constantly find it difficult to remain enthusiastic to sell. And when the going gets tough, you will have difficulty doing your job each day. You will have the hope to sell successfully, but not the heart. And like many, you will eventually call it quits, whether by force or by surrender.
The breeding ground for hyping is created when you don't take the time to understand the primary reason for why you sell. But the proving ground for hyping is cultivated when you try to pull up your proverbial bootstraps by looking externally for inspiration instead of internally where your true motivating factors exist. I found this out early on in my sales career . . .
There I was again, in the midst of another success seminar. Along with thousands of people in the auditorium, I was standing on my feet, beating my chest, and proclaiming, "I am great. I am a winner!" The energy in the room was as intense as the speaker himself. He had literally put the audience in a trance that made us feel invincible. With a booming voice he summoned us to "dream big dreams!" Again and again, he shouted, "You can overcome anything!" And I was truly believing it.
I vividly remember the speaker as he towered over his audience and told his rags-to-riches story. It would have been difficult to convince anyone there that he or she couldn't make something big happen. With eight hours of pure exhilaration in my veins and several hundred dollars' worth of resources at my side, I felt "programmed" for success. I was invincible. But as I would soon find out, that wasn't enough.
As the days passed, I felt my motivation waning. All the hype that external stimulation had summoned was beginning to dissolve, and reality was setting in. After a few weeks, my success tapes sought hibernation in the backseat of my car. And before much longer, I had only distant memories of the selling energy I had come to possess that day at the seminar. While I was contemplating this reality, I stumbled upon what is now the governing axiom in my life. I finally realized that motivation can't come from the outside. It must begin on the inside if it is to be sustained consistently.
Putting Yourself into the Equation
Our company's average client spends approximately $5,000 each year on products and events in order to become a better, more enthusiastic salesperson. And of all the salespeople I speak to each year, nearly one-third of them have heard me speak before. These statistics indicate that salespeople want to be successful. They want to remain motivated. They're not just spending money on products and seminars because it's fun. They're in it to win. They're looking for something to keep them on par with their colleagues, and they're looking for the key ingredient that will keep them enthusiastic about selling in good times and bad-the magic potion that will keep them motivated to ascend and go beyond the hill of mediocrity. But many salespeople don't realize that the heart of remaining passionate about selling resides within them, not in the latest, greatest "how to" merchandise. It's simple: when your core motives for selling are clear, your path to success is also clear. And there's no other way around.
I am a motivational speaker. It's what I do for a living. So it's obviously in my interest to motivate people, right? But in all my years of speaking professionally, I've learned one thing about the advice and enthusiasm my products and seminars offer: they're not the keys for remaining motivated to sell successfully. I can be the most motivational person in the world. I can play the loudest, most inspiring music at my events. I can show you the most touching, moving film clips on five big screens that surround the room. I can have you walk on hot coals. I can fill your head with the most cutting-edge selling techniques and tactics. I can bring in the most successful salespeople on the planet to assure you that "you, too, can be successful!" and "you, too, can have everything you want!" But unless you understand your core motives for selling, everything I do will leave you full of short-lived hype. And eventually you will need another fix to keep you going-something or someone else to pump you up again.
The truth is that the only way to sustain selling enthusiasm is to first get clear on your motives, your underlying purpose for wanting to sell well. That's why at my multiple-day events I reserve at least four hours of the first day for the attendees to do some real soul-searching-something many of them haven't done in years, if ever. I make them leave their briefcases, cell phones, pagers, and agendas at the event site, and I load them on a bus headed for the beach or a park or the mountains. Then I leave them there with one requirement: think. Think about what is most important to you in life. Think about why you became a sales professional in the first place: Is that related to what's most important to you in life? Think about why you're still a sales professional today. Think about why you want to succeed in the sales profession. Think about why you are excited to meet with a new customer and win that customer's trust. Think about where you want to be one year, five years, and twenty years from now. Think about your motives for living and for selling and doing both well. I want them to think about such things because within their answers are the true keys to gaining and maintaining enthusiasm throughout a selling career.
Exposing Your Internal Motives
Recently my family and I spent a long weekend at our mountain home in Mammoth Lakes, California. For me it was a time to think, a time to reevaluate my life, my company, and my career as a sales trainer. It was a time to take a look at where I've been, where I am now, and where I desire to be days, months, and years down the road. It was my bus trip to the mountains to think. And during that time, I followed a simple thought pattern that I believe will help you secure and leverage your core motives for becoming successful in sales.
If you truly have a heart for the sales profession, the following exercise will help you do away with hyping once and for all, and it will provide you with the resources you need to remain enthusiastic about getting out of bed each day for work. It will help reveal the keys within you that are required for maintaining your energy to sell and sell well. So if you're ready, turn off your cell phone and pager or whatever else might distract you, and hop on the bus with me. It's time to do some real thinking.
What I am about to share with you is incredibly personal. These are my own results from completing an exercise, introduced to me by my friend and client Dan Trinidad, called "Ahead to 80." The objective of the exercise is to imagine and describe your life-past and present-as if you were eighty years old. But I want you to understand that as I share my results with you as a template for your own thoughts, the things that are important to me might not be important to you, and that is okay. You simply need to complete this exercise according to what's on your heart.
Todd Duncan . . . Ahead to 80
At the completion of my "Ahead to 80" exercise, I am forty-five years old. But remember, I am imagining myself at eighty years old, looking back on my life and describing in first person what I know and see. As you read over my thoughts, begin to jot down your own, in the margin, in your journal, or on a sheet of scratch paper. And if you've been struggling with hyping in your sales career, set aside some uninterrupted time this week to finish your thoughts.
Where do I live? My wife and I have been blessed to spend forty-five years of our lives a short walk from the crystal-blue waters of the Pacific Ocean in the city of La Jolla, California. Now, during our twilight years, Sheryl and I continue to stroll the boutique-strewn sidewalks and sunny sands of La Jolla where the water is blue, the air is clean, and the waves crash down just as they did that first day in 1989 when we wiggled our toes with excitement at the prospect of living near the mighty ocean.
Who am I with? My wife, Sheryl, is still as beautiful as the day I first met her on July 6, 1985. I'm grateful that we took our covenant seriously, until death do us part, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. For the last fifty-three years, we have worked hard to create a marriage that endured tough times, major illness, and times of doubt. And now we celebrate our love often with our friends who journeyed the same path.
What have my children become? My sons, Jonathan and Matthew, are balanced, confident, successful professionals. They are generous, loving husbands, dads, and perhaps even granddads. Both are firm believers, and they are fervently committed to their faith in God. They have achieved manhood with strong character, healthy self-esteem, and a passion for their families and for adventure.
What am I doing? Sheryl and I are reclining in lounge chairs at the beach, hand in hand, discussing our boys and their families, our many blessings, and our next adventure. As we talk and laugh and our eyes fill with soft tears of contentment and joy, we are enjoying the magnificent beauty of God's hand-painted ocean sunset for what seems like the ten-thousandth time. And it has never grown old to us.
What do I want? To live out the rest of my days with an unwavering love for Sheryl and our three-generation family. To remain a man of integrity and commitment, no matter what happens. To help another person understand his or her value and God-given talents. To share my faith with whomever will listen.
How do I feel? Fulfilled and full of joy; but no less passionate about my life purpose than when I was thirty years old. I am hopeful that there might be one more life that God will allow me to impact. For the last fifty years, I have pursued with passion a career in teaching people how to be true sales professionals and how to balance their careers with an abundant life. Now I feel overwhelmingly privileged to have been God's instrument in helping people secure careers, save marriages, revitalize relationships, achieve success, maintain integrity, and pursue spiritual intimacy with Him. I am still eagerly awaiting more opportunities-even at my advanced age.
As you can see, this exercise really gets to the heart of the matter. It unearths why being a great sales trainer is important to me. (And it will reveal why being a great salesperson is important to you.) When I imagine my life as an eighty-year-old, I just can't see myself eagerly awaiting my next bank statement or counting a stack of one-hundred-dollar bills with my grandkids or gleefully reminiscing with my sons about the day I became a millionaire or billionaire or trillionaire. Is money important? Sure it is. We all need provision to live. Is more money a fair reward for working hard and smart? Of course it is. But it's not my core motive for speaking or writing or helping salespeople. And it won't be what brings me joy and fulfillment when I'm old.
Making a difference in your life and in the lives of my family will. Sharing my faith in God will. Helping you discover your purpose in life will. Showing you how to become a great salesperson and an even better person will. Teaching you how to add value to clients and to your spouse, son, and daughter will. These are the things that get me out of bed in the morning. These are the things that fire me up the night before a speaking event. These are my motives for becoming the best sales trainer and author I can possibly be. And you know what? The moment I forget these things and look to something more superficial to keep me motivated is the same moment I will begin to lose momentum in my career and enthusiasm about my career. And the same will be true of you . . . unless you're willing to get to the heart of the matter and stay there.
Exploiting External Stimulation
Most salespeople struggle with motivation fluctuation. We all have days when we're sick or tired or just feel like playing hooky and going to the beach or the mall or the movies. And these feelings are not the result of hyping. Hyping happens to those who fail to link external stimulation with their internal motives for selling. Those salespeople have the most difficulty getting out of bed each day or picking up the phone one more time or visiting one more prospect. And for some, the lack of motivation can be a fatal blow to the sales job or, worse, to the sales career. But for those of you reading this book, that should no longer be an alternative.
Hyping goes away when real motives come into focus. And the key to keep hyping out of the picture is to become consistent and deliberate about selling from a foundation of your core motives. When your success in sales is measured by your ability to sell in a motive-centered manner, you won't have difficulty remaining enthusiastic-even when the sales seas rise and the sales winds begin to blow. And that's what you have to remember now, before we move on to the next mistake. If you're guilty of trying to hype your way through your sales career-even a little bit-it's time to stop and evaluate what you're really relying on to keep yourself motivated. Whatever it is, if it's superficial to your core motives, you're traveling down a dead-end street. And no salesperson wants to go there.
In the beloved American film It's a Wonderful Life, George Bailey (played by Jimmy Stewart) is on the verge of giving up on life. (And maybe you feel that way about your sales career right now.) George believes that he is worth more to his family dead than he is alive, so he secretly prepares to commit suicide on Christmas Eve to avoid any more of life's difficulties and disappointments. But something happens. A heavenly visitor (Henry Travers) arrives and gives George the opportunity to peer at his life as an outsider-to see what life would be like if he had never been born. And George discovers something he didn't see before. He finds that his position in life affords him the opportunity to add value to many people's lives. He realizes that he is needed and genuinely appreciated, and that his relationships are very valuable commodities. He realizes that his life truly does make a difference.
As many of you who have seen the film know, George Bailey's new perspective reignites his passion to live, and he reenters life with a true, sustaining motivation to make the most out of living. Why? Because he finally grasps his core motive to live. And for many of you reading this book right now, that's precisely what you need in order to ignite your passion to continue selling. Like George Bailey, you need to step back and look at your (selling) life from a new perspective. You need to look closely and determine what makes you passionate about being a salesperson. Then you need to add your core motive(s) to your equation for success so that you no longer invest your hard-earned dollars and precious time on things that just add up to a lot of disappointing hype in the end. When you can do that, you'll be on the right path to a long-lasting, highly exhilarating career in sales. That's because all true sales success begins when you consistently tap into your core motives.