By Jason Felts
Advanced Merchant Services Inc.
Editor's Note: The following is excerpted from Jason Felts' Street SmartsSM column published in The Green Sheet July 14, 2008, issue 08:07:01. To read the full article, please visit www.greensheet.com/emagazine.php?story_id=837&search_string=.
Do you remember hearing the story of Chicken Little when you were a child? He was walking down the street when an acorn fell from a tree and hit him on the head. Alarmed by the acorn, which he thought was part of the sky, Chicken Little grew agitated and began to spread panic among everyone who heard him shouting, "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!"
Before long, many believed Chicken Little was right. Sound familiar?
What you believe your reality to be is what will appear. I've talked with hundreds of salespeople who have rolled up their tents and blamed the economy, personal circumstances, competition or management for not taking necessary steps to help them in tough times. But I believe we all have the ability to turn lemons into lemonade.
Don't wait for opportunity to knock on your door, as the saying goes. If you are not happy with your circumstances, production, volume, team and so forth ‒ create an opportunity. Shining stars exist at every level of success and leadership. I recently spoke to a merchant level salesperson (MLS) who grew his business by over 1,200 percent last year, while many of his colleagues found themselves down or at a plateau.
There are many MLSs, like him, who are winning new business today. What's their secret? The rollout of a new service or product? Value added offers? Giving away the farm? No. Their secret is not a secret at all. They just haven't bought into the idea of doom and gloom.
That's right. They are successful because they planned for success, and then executed their plans. Success, my friends, is no accident. Let's put to rest the fallacy that prosperity ‒ in sales or any profession ‒ is due to luck, chance or even hard work alone. Nothing is further from the truth.
We all know people who work incredibly hard, putting in long hours. They may have two and sometimes even three jobs. But they are not consistently (if ever) successful. Hard work contributes to success, but hard work alone will not make you top-flight.
Remember, effort is multifaceted and includes work ethic, prospecting, building more relationships, securing more referrals and thinking of creative ways to serve your merchants well. Assuming you embrace the challenge and you add extra effort even in a slowing economy, you will not only experience success, but you will also experience highly positive growth in your portfolio, residual income and bottom line.
I read once that the Great Depression was caused by speculation more than reality. A little bad news, carried to the extreme, became really bad news. If everyone had just taken a step back and looked at the reality of the situation, perhaps our parents and grandparents would not have had to suffer as significantly through that abysmal time.
Did it become very bad? Absolutely. But I theorize that much of the problem was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Negative news was reported for so long that, not only was it believed, it was embraced.
Your attitude can determine your future circumstances. Before a young salesman of a large manufacturer made his first two sales calls, his boss met with him to acquaint him with the clients' histories.
The boss told him the first client was a very tough cookie. His sales force had failed to sell the client anything ‒ but the salesman should try anyway. He said the second client was a real pushover, and the salesman would surely get a sale every time he called on that prospect. The next day, the salesman returned from a sales call with a very large order. He said the boss was right about the first customer; he was a real pushover. The boss replied that it was the second customer who was the easy-sell, not the first.
The salesman, thinking the first client was the easy-sell, had actually sold the hard-sell ‒ someone who had never before placed a significant order with the firm. Indeed, this young salesman's perception of the circumstance became his reality.
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