I was a collegiate shot putter at a division III state school in New Jersey. I floundered along my first few years with marginal performances at best. After a dismal Junior season left me unqualified to compete in the National Championships, I set my goal to be an All-American in my Senior year.
For the next 12 months, I spent every waking second training and visualizing myself standing atop the podium receiving the gold medal.
Nothing could stand in my way, except a sub-par performance at the most important track meet of my life. At the National Championship meet, I took 8th place – 2 spots short of an All-American title.
As I look back on that day, what has haunted me for years isn’t the fact that I routinely threw further than the winner. I have always regretted leaving school with one more year of eligibility. I chose to start a career and make money over persevering to see my dream through. I regret that I didn’t leave it all on the field.
I still get a knot in my stomach thinking about that decision but I’ve learned to use it as a reminder anytime I’m faced with the option of taking an easier path.
- When I try to convince myself that a customer isn’t worth the headache of working up an RFP, I consider the feeling of missing quota by the value of that customer.
- When negotiations with a large institution stall, I think about the feeling I’ll have when my competitor sends out the press release announcing the win.
- When I think about quitting on a project because I’m told that “it doesn’t fit our budget”, I consider the impact that project could make on the effectiveness of my team.
In last weeks post, we talked about the importance of a positive attitude in the ideal Healthcare Sales candidate. This week I pick up on our 4 part discussion with the characteristic of persistence.
Perseverance is a non-negotiable trait in every Healthcare Sales candidate because you will deal with a borage of rejection. You will have doors slammed in your face. External forces – competition, payers, and legislation will make it almost impossible to hit your quota. Internal forces – finance, legal, and management will make you feel like you’re fighting yourself more than the competition.
Evidence has proven persistence is essential to the success of sales people:
- The chances of making contact with a lead on the 1st call is 35%
- The chances of making contact with a lead on the 2nd call is 60%
- The chances of making contact with a lead on the 3rd call is 75%
- The chances of making contact with a lead on the 4th call is 83%
- The chances of making contact with a lead on the 5th call is 85%
- The chances of making contact with a lead on the 6th call is 90%
- 38% of reps quit after 1 call
- 24% of reps quit after 2 calls
- 13% of reps quit after 3 calls
- 8% of reps quit after 4 calls
- 5% of reps quit after 5 calls
- 3% of reps quit after 6 calls
The point is that successful sales professionals call a lead at least 6 times.
The ability to keep pushing when it feels like you have no chance to win, no control over the outcome, is the key to success in our industry.
Many have debated if persistence is learned or innate. There are the lucky few born with a persistent character and others that were raised in a hustling and gritty environment. For the rest, scientists have proven that persistence can be learned. Here are 5 ways to develop a persistent disposition:
- Believe in yourself – Believe in yourself so strongly that the people around you believe in you too.
- Identify a goal that resonates with you – Identify a goal that will drive you when times get tough. If the day comes that your goal doesn’t motivate you – that’s when it’s time to move on.
- Create habits that eliminate excuses – Attack the hard tasks first thing in the morning. Chances are the most important drivers of your goal are the ones you procrastinate over.
- Just take another step – Achieving lofty goals is a marathon. Nobody hits the 20th mile with the same pep as the first. When times get tough and you start to question if you want to continue, just take one more step. It doesn’t have to have the same spring as your first, just keep going in the right direction.
- Be cognizant of your patterns – When times get really tough, I tend to downgrade my goal. This is my way of not quitting but settling for less. If you typically tap out at certain points or downgrade your goals like I do, ask yourself if you’re doing it because it’s really difficult or because your original goal has changed?
Let your past experiences be the fuel that keeps you grinding forward when times get tough.
If you don’t have the drive inside, perhaps sales isn’t for you. For those that muster up the determination to keep pushing against all odds, fortune awaits.
Question: What do you use as motivation to keep you going through times of adversity? You can leave a comment by clicking here.