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Doing The Work

by David Brock on January 10th, 2013

Sales people love to talk.  Sales people love to talk about selling.  Get a few sales people together, they exchange war stories, whine, talk about successes, share ideas.  Sales people will talk about their customers, they’ll talk about their territories, they will talk about what they want to do.  They will strategize about different approaches, how to get the order.  The list goes on, sales people love to talk.

Lots of people are enamored with the concept of selling.  Meeting with customers, talking about their products, the psychic rewards of winning a deal, the financial rewards of winning deals.

But then it comes to doing the work.

Everything changes.  Start talking about doing the work, a room of sales people will go silent.  How many calls did you make today?  How many meetings do you have scheduled this week?  How many deals are you working right now, when will the close?

Results don’t happen unless you do the work.

Too many talk about the work.  Too few do the work.

Doing the work is tedious.  It’s figuring out why a customer might want to talk to you.  It’s figuring out how to catch the customer’s interest.  It’s having the courage to pick up the phone and reaching out.  Then dialing again, and again.  It’s going back, after the customer has tossed you and insurmountable challenge and getting the customer to have a different perspective.  It’s about doing the work–sharply, in a focused manner, creating value in every call, persevering in the face of obstacles.  It’s picking yourself up after you’ve been kicked in the teeth, figuring out what you might do better and going back.  It’s about knowing that if you don’t make those 25, 50, 100 or whatever calls you need to make today and not letting anything deter you from making the calls.

Being a sales professional is about doing the work, not talking about it.

Where do you fall?

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  1. Right, all the talk in the world won’t replace doing the work–period. It might make you feel like you’re doing something, that you’re busy, but that’s about it. Work Habits are one full side of the sales Triangle. I’ve had a number of people challenge me about devoting an entire section of my book to Work Habits; these people thought it was a bit much, that I had gone overboard about the subject. I think they’re dead wrong. You can have everything else going for you–a powerful mental attitude, knowledge till it’s coming out of your ears; but if you don’t make the calls and talk to people, give presentations, SELL, you’re deceiving yourself, you’re not a professional salesperson. One of the chapters in that Work Habits section is Self-Starter. A self-starter does the work without being told to.

    • Bob—You probably should write an entire book on work habits! Too many just don’t do the work. They look busy, they are in meetings, they are endlessly tweeting or whatever, but they aren’t doing the work. Until you get out there and start doing the work, you don’t produce results. Until you’re out there doing the work, you won’t learn whether you are having an impact or not, you won’t be able to adjust your strategies to be successful.

      I hate to say it, but perhaps those people that complained about the section on Work Habits are spending a little too much time reading (Albeit a fantastic book) and not doing the work.

  2. Natalie Brown permalink

    Happy New Year Dave!
    Thanks for the great post. Simple and yet hard. Jeffrey Gitomer in his “little books” says “Sales is not hard, Sales is hard work.”

    • Happy New Year to You! Although, based on work, it seems we are months into the year already 😉

      Sales is simple. Selling is hard!

  3. Thanks for your posting I enjoy reminders of these realities. Seems to me an issue of philosophy. The reason I am in sales is because I want to help people. In order actually help it requires me to learn about people before I can offer them something. I will only offer something if I believe they will benefit from it. Sometimes prospects may jump to a rapid assumption I am trying to sell them something when I am actually trying to learn about them. While potentially hurtful to be misjudged, I realize they don’t know any better. It is part of qualifying anyway. In order to help people I have to actually make calls and connect with people. Helping people is my mission and sales is a way to do some aspects of it. Clearly being a nurse or fireman helps people more dramatically and I recognize I may be small in my helping abilities but nonetheless it is all about asking how can I help explore solutions to your needs? I can only do that by actually doing the corresponding.

    • Forrest: Thanks for your thoughtful comment. The job of sales people is to help people and organizations achieve their goals. To few people who call themselves sales people recognize this. They think it’s about getting orders. You are right on target with your thinking! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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