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Are You A Real Sales, Marketing, or Business Pro?

by David Brock on December 9th, 2013

I’m a tremendous fan of Steve Pressfield’s writing.  If you haven’t read him, pick up a copy of The War Of Art or Turning Pro.  I reread each a several times a year.  Every once in a while, when I seem to lose my focus or purpose, rereading either helps me rethink what being a Professional is about.  It helps me rediscover what I am here to achieve,

As we wrap up the year, reflecting on what it is to be a professional is important, so I thought it would be useful to highlight the qualities Steve says the Professional possess.  I’m just listing them, they are pretty self-explanatory, but if you need explanation, look at the books.

  1. The professional shows up every day.
  2. The professional stays on the job all day.
  3. The professional is committed over the long haul.
  4. For the professional, the stakes are high and real.
  5. The professional is patient.
  6. The professional seeks order.
  7. The professional demystifies.
  8. The professional acts in the face of fear.  (By the way–every professional faces fear, but acts in spite of the fear.)
  9. The professional accepts no excuses.
  10. The professional is prepared.
  11. The professional does not show off.
  12. The professional dedicates herself to mastering technique.
  13. The professional does not hesitate to ask for help.
  14. The professional does not take failure or success personally.
  15. The professional doe not identify with his/her instrument.
  16. The professional endures adversity.
  17. The professional self-validates.
  18. The professional reinvents herself.
  19. The professional is recognized by other professionals.
  20. A professional is courageous.
  21. The professional is not distracted.
  22. The professional is ruthless with herself.
  23. The professional has compassion for herself.
  24. The professional lives in the present.
  25. The professional defers gratification.
  26. The professional does not wait for inspiration.
  27. The professional does not give her power away to others.
  28. The professional helps others.

To be the top in any profession demands purposefulness, focus, and commitment.  Being a Pro demands practice every day.  There are lots of amateurs in sales (or any profession). Amateurs may have occasional successes–perhaps even in spite of themselves, but they never sustain it.  Amateurs don’t commit to the work, but continually look for short cuts.

It’s difficult to be a Pro every day, it’s what Steve calls Resistance.   We all slip, we lose our focus, we succumb to the resistance.  The Pro recognizes this, refocuses, and does the work.

Are you a Pro or an Amateur?

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.



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  1. Ron Garland permalink

    #7 is my favorite: The professional demystifies. That’s how we get paid. If we can’t explain our product or service in a way that is understandable to someone who doesn’t know as much about it as we do, we have failed and will most likely not make the sale.

    Most salespeople spend all of their time answering the question “What” when the question in the mind of the prospect is “So what?”.

    • Great to see you here Ron! Great comment–sales people demystifies everything for the customer. We have to bring clarity both to what the customer is trying to achieve and to how we can help them achieve it.

  2. Brian MacIver permalink

    Great List, Dave.
    And a thoughtful start for 2014, especially for Sales Leaders.
    Thanks for your inspiration in 2013, and I look forward to more Sales Thought Leadership from you in 2014.

    Good Job!
    From a REAL Sales Professional.

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