Sales Philosophy Breakdown: Effort

This is the first part in a series on the Kick Ass Sales Philosophy. I'll be highlighting Effort in this post, specifically how measurables can guide your Efforts.

Effort + Curiosity + Ability to Make Connections = Kick Ass Sales.

 Effort + Curiosity + Ability to Make Connections = Kick Ass Sales.

The cornerstone of sales is effort. Without effort, you have no chance. Effort is pushing yourself beyond where you are comfortable. It is about activity...and lots of it. The extra call, the extra email, the extra stop in, the extra thank you note. Those are effort. 

Basically, effort is trying. What you are trying to become determines the amount of effort required. If you are trying to become mediocre (stop reading now and go back to watching SportsCenter), you can put in minimal effort. However, if you are trying to become a Kick Ass Salesperson, then you have to put in a Kick Ass level of effort. If you aren't finishing every day thinking, "WOW! I got a lot done today," then you are not putting in enough effort. If you can't quantify what "got a lot done today" means then you need to understand Effort with a little more granularity.

To know if you are putting in the amount of effort needed to say you are actually trying, you need:

  1. measurables
  2. standards
  3. expectations


In college one summer, I worked as a credit card telemarketer. Before the Do Not Call List, I had free reign in making myself one of the most hated people in America (true story - sold a credit card to a woman in Missouri as she was standing on the table of her home's dining room surrounded by the floodwaters of the the Mississippi River).

On average, a credit card telemarketer issues less then 2 credit cards per hour by getting the "prospect" to fill out an application over the phone. Toughest sales job I have ever had. I still drive by the place occasionally and feel the shadowy burden of massive amount of daily rejection. After 3 months that summer, I was named employee of the site and new hire of the site because I tried to be the best. I issued a little more than 4 credit cards per hour (and probably enslaved hundreds of young people in debt - forgive me, Lord).

If your passion, vision, and commitment aren’t enough keep you going, you’ll never get a customer going about your product.

How did I more than double the average employee's sales and earn those awards? Simple. I tried. I averaged 112 phone calls per hour. The person next to me only made 50 dials an hour. I wasn't a better talker. I wasn't friendlier or more persuasive. I found The Measurable and I used it to my advantage. If I made more calls, I made more sales. If I made more sales, I made more money and got the accolades. Making calls equaled the best. I tried to be the best so I tried to make the most calls.

Measurables need to be something you control. The most common candidate put up as a The Measurable by people I mentor and manage is appointments. "If I have 10 appointments per week, I will hit my goals." Appointments are an outcome, not a measurable. I'm not saying you don't need to know how many appointments you have or how your close rate is on setting appointments. I'm saying you can't control if you get an appointment or not on any particular call. You can have great verbiage, energy, and an interesting proposition, but the person you are calling may be rebooting Outlook and can't see their calendar so no appointment. Don't boil your process down to something you can't control. 

You can always control phone calls, emails, face-to-face visits, mailings, conversations, networking events attended, leave-behinds, miles driven. Make your mearsurables activities. The only thing that can stop you from be active is you. That's how you want it. If your passion, vision, and commitment aren't enough keep you going, you'll never get a customer going about your product.

Find The Measurables in your process. If you can't boil down what you do to one or two key measurables, I would argue that you don't really know what you are doing. Find the things you can control that lead to the results you want. Set a standard for yourself in The Measurable and then exceed your own expectations.

Speaking of which, we'll cover those (standards and expectations) in the next posts breaking down the Kick Ass Sales Philosophy.