In sales, as in life, the enemy of great is good. The reason so few salespeople ever become great is because they get good and they stop. They stop learning, changing, and stretching. They cease doing many of the things that made them successful in the first place. The key to avoiding the temptations is awareness – go over these with your team so they can be aware of the pitfalls that will prevent them from getting to the next level.
Successful salespeople become lazy in their learning
Oftentimes, they will use their current success from their record-breaking year as a license never to read another book, listen to a CD, or attend a course on selling. In extreme cases, they turn into unapologetic know-it-alls and become unteachable, believing that training is just for the new people. This intelligence arrogance becomes a disabling ignorance that eventually renders them irrelevant as a sales leader.
The Cure: Continue to increase your personal capacity to produce by consistently upgrading your skills. Work as hard on yourself as you do on your job and you will continue to reach new performance levels. Don’t wait for the business to get better – it will get better when you get better, and you’ll get better when you work on yourself.
Successful salespeople become lazy in the disciplines
Once they reach the top, they think they’ve arrived and are no longer required to adhere to the productive habits and disciplines that helped them reach the pinnacle. They abandon the basics and set themselves up for an inevitable production reversal.
The Cure: Become brilliant in the basics. Adhering to your disciplines is a morale builder. You can’t help but feel better about yourself when you know you’re doing the right things consistently. The key to becoming brilliant in the basics is to execute daily each and every day. The days you feel like it and the days you don’t. The days when it’s convenient and the days it isn’t. On good days and on bad days. You don’t have to do anything extraordinary to be the best at what you do – you simply must do the ordinary extraordinarily well.
Successful salespeople stop thinking big
Once they reach the top, they lose their killer instincts and stop playing to win -- instead playing not to lose. They stop swinging for the fences and begin thinking incrementally. They do just enough to remain number one and fail to close the gap between where they are and how good they could become. In doing so, they often break their own momentum. No one does them in – they just can’t get out of their own way.
The Cure: Act like a challenger even when you’re the champ. Challengers are hungry, humble, and have something to prove. Champs get lazy, complacent, and descend into a maintenance mode. Know that if you don’t stretch yourself, you’re bound to slide back as a result because the status quo doesn’t hold its own over time. And understand that there are two ways you can fail when you set goals. You can fail by trying to go too far or you can fail by choosing not to go far enough. The most successful people “fail” by choosing to go too far because they understand that it’s only in trying to go too far that you ever find out how far you can go. You never get to find out how far you can go by choosing to play it safe.