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Building Successful Salespeople

By Rick Grosso, CSP

I have always advocated that to be successful in our business you must perfect a masterful presentation. Making that presentation involves mastering relationship skills, listening skills, and the art of don’t tell them – ask them – in other words, the art of selling with questions. Yet, these advanced skills by themselves are not enough. There are many people in our business with sales skills who plateau and never reach the ultimate heights they are capable of. Why? Because they lack the magic ingredient – motivation.

Success is a personal standard. It’s what you do with what you have. As Charles Schwab said, “The man who has done his best has done everything.” Doing your best involves attitude. Attitude is the foundation for success and the key to motivation.

A behavioral study done by the Harvard School of Business determined that there are four ingredients needed to be a top achiever in sales. Attitude they found was 84% of the total formula. Attitude is the desire to win, the ability to bounce back after setbacks and not quit. As the saying goes, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.”

As owners and managers we need to ask ourselves if we are part of the solution – or are we part of the problem. To motivate others, we must be motivated. We must lead from the front and set the example. We must remember that our attitude, our motivation is not determined by circumstances, but by how we respond to circumstances. Our minds determine our attitudes. We can respond positively or negatively. It’s how we react to events, not the events themselves that determine our attitudes. Mike Todd once said, “I’ve never been poor, only broke. Being poor is a frame of mind. Being broke is only a temporary solution.”

Author Tom Peters wrote in his book Search of Excellence, “the number one job of management is to be the cheerleader.” We must always be positive in public. We must be energized. There is a direct link between positive feelings, high energy and productivity. How much more can we accomplish if we make everyday a positive high-energy day? How much more could our salespeople accomplish?

The secret to being positive is to control our mind. We can make every day a fantastic day. Make a decision to take control of your attitude and energy level. Peak performance requires that you be energized and positive.

One of the best ways of staying positive is to focus on the positive. Shakespeare said: “There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” When you wake up in the morning, focus on how lucky you are to have the things and opportunities in life that you presently have. It’s been said that if all the people in the world were asked to wrap up their problems into bundles and then we were given the opportunity to select any bundle from this enormous group, we most probably would all pick up our own bundle. Let’s face it, when we realize that many of those bundles of problems contain disease, war, famine, pestilence, oppression, lack of opportunity and more, we should thank our lucky stars for being who we are and for the opportunities to achieve comfort, happiness and success in our lives.

When people ask you, how you are, you should respond by saying “I’m fantastic.” Always remember, it’s how we react to events themselves that determine our attitude. Things only become good or bad in our minds. Control your thoughts and you control your life.

Always act energized. By acting energized you will be energized. If you must – fake it until you make it. Lift your chin. Put a bounce in you step. Put a smile on you face. Your mind listens to your body and your body listens to your mind.

When you become energized and positive, your people will become energized and positive too. Emotions are contagious. They’re like the flu. They spread on contact. When you add energy, attitude and motivation with sales training techniques, you will develop a great sales force. Overcoming negativity is the price of achievement. The price of greatness.


As published in print:
Insurance Insight Magazine – Published By The Professional Independent Insurance Agents of Illinois (PIIAI) – July 2001
Commercial Real Estate – Published By Blue Pencil Creative Group – August 2001