I recently read EXTREME OWNERSHIP How U.S. Navy SEALS LEAD and WIN by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin and took away many great principals that we all should practice to ensure we win on the battlefield of sales. The best thing about being in sales is that you don’t have to be born a salesperson, you can work your tail off and do things to become one. Yes, some people are born with natural traits and advantages that work well for them in their sales careers, and that’s good. Good for them, but most people like myself have to work very hard to be good at sales, and even harder to become great. I want to become great, do you?
So, what are some of the things I took away from EXTREME OWNERSHIP that can be applied to my sales career?
Leadership, believing in what you’re doing (the mission), believing in your team, checking your EGO, keeping things simple, prioritizing and executing, and the mindset that discipline equals freedom just to name the ones that impacted me the most. When we make these part of our mindset daily good things tend to happen for us.
Think about it for a second. Do you believe in the product or service that you sell? Do you believe in you and that you’re the best person to be helping your customer or client? If you work for a company, do you believe in it? These are all VERY important things to ask ourselves and be clear about. We have to be sold on our purpose 100% going into a selling situation because the belief in your mission is what gets you through it and allows you to succeed when things get tough and in sales, they tend to get tough! People want to do business with other people they like and trust, and when someone believes 100% in what they’re doing trust gets established!
However, never allow your EGO to come into play. We must stay humble in sales and realize that the competition is hungry as well, and they have access to technology, have a similar product or service, and believe in themselves and their product or service. When we become TOO confident and it comes across as arrogance we lose. It’s hard for anyone to like you when they think you’re an arrogant jerk, right? In the business world people may do business with you because you get the job done, but when another option comes along that gets it done as well but with a humble approach, you get left in the dust. Ego IS a killer.
We have to work with many other people to become successful in sales. Whether its co-workers, managers, referral partners, lead sources, etc. we have to develop quality relationships with the people we work with to accomplish our sales goals. Remember to have some self-awareness, keep your ego in check and always look to be humble and kind. Look to learn from the people around you, genuinely care about others and look to help them. Be open to suggestions and never think you know it all about anything. You don’t, and the minute you think you do you’re losing.
Believe strongly in yourself and what you do, but never allow your ego to enter the picture!
It’s just best to keep things Simple in sales, don’t try to complicate things with complex planning or by trying to focus on too much at one time. The best plans are simple plans that you can understand and execute on. If there are other people involved in making our plans work which is usually the case, we must be sure to keep things simple so all the moving parts can accomplish their specific jobs. Customer experience is huge in today’s business world and salespeople who deliver that unique and easy buying experience win the day. We need simple plans and processes so we can consistently follow them, repeat them, and get them done.
One thing that works for me is writing a success list, not a to-do list. A to-do list actually hinders my success because I tend to want to do the easy things, knock a bunch of them out first and then get to the harder stuff like follow up calls, prospecting, and cold calls. I keep it simple and write down a couple of items that will bring me closer to success for the day, the one or two things I need to do that are harder, but make the biggest impact on my business. I knock those out when I have ALL my energy, ALL my creativity, and ALL my motivation. The to-do list items like filing, organizing, etc. are important they just aren’t most important.
Keeping my sales process simple and keeping my sales day focused on the most important tasks first, is an excellent formula for success for me. Prioritize and then execute. Don’t overcomplicate things, I’m not a NAVY Seal fighting the battle of Al Ramadi with bullets flying by me and potential death around every corner. No, you and I are salespeople, and while what we do is VERY important to our companies and the economy of the world, we tend to make things harder for ourselves than they need to be. Keep it simple.
What I learned most from reading Jocko and Leif’s book is that Discipline truly equals Freedom. When we discipline ourselves to be leaders, remain humble and not let our individual egos run wild, focus ourselves on a simple winning process and follow it, prioritize our day and execute on the tasks that will make the biggest impact on our business, and believe with conviction we are the best option for our customers, we win.
I highly recommend you pick up the book and check out Jocko’s Podcast. There’s so much to take away from the book you will not be disappointed. If you have read it before I invite you to leave a comment below about what you took away from it the most. Make it a great day today…