How to Thrive In Sales

Thrive in your b2b sales careerAfter reading Guy Kawasaki’s post about Arianna Huffington’s book, “Thrive – The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-being, Wisdom, and Wonder” it got me thinking about how to correlate it to the sales department in a mid-sized or SMB business.

It sounds easy for Guy or Arianna to talk now about money not being everything because, well – they are both in a different financial bracket than most of us. As leaders and speakers, both of them live a sort of glamorous lifestyle. Yet both have put in tons of work and hours to get there, so perhaps we can learn how to better maximize a sellers’ career.

In the post, Guy lists Arianna’s ten tips for creating a life of well-being, wisdom and wonder. You can see all ten tips here. My first thought is that most sellers do not think of their career in any of those three aspects – at least I never did when I first started out. I was more like a bull in a china shop – know the type?

Sales is focused on growing revenues, and making money while doing it. Just don’t think that money is the only motivator that helps a sales rep perform well.

According to the Harvard Business Review, more progressive companies have found that by focusing on what motivates individual sellers in a sales team, better results happen.

In sales we are all motivated either intrinsically or extrinsically. Intrinsic motivation comes from within. It includes pride of doing a good job, mastery, competing with oneself, and personal satisfaction. Extrinsic motivation is money, public recognition, prizes, and rewards.

Studies show that intrinsic motivation has a longer lasting effect on results, and that sales (as a whole) is not as motivated by money as individuals once were.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m for monetary rewards in selling as much as anyone, but some things get overlooked that should also be thought about within selling teams.

A Sales Rep’s immediate supervisor will have an impact on him or her more than most anything. When your manager is not helpful, responsive, or empathetic it may result in reps leaving for greener pastures. The biggest reason employees in general leave a company is because of their immediate boss.

Thriving, Not Just Surviving

In sales, this is an important concept. Being a successful seller really DOES require

Well-being: Your state of mind must be cleared of personal issues and you need a sense of physical and mental good health. Sellers can’t afford much sick time, so a balanced and healthy state of mind is critical to success.

Wisdom: The old days of simply putting massive hours into a job are over. Today it is about using data you have access to and systems to put into place for successful business building. There are tools like never before and today’s sellers have the opportunity to do some research at home. This gives them the option to be work-obsessed around the clock OR my suggestion of working smarter. I always did a percentage of my sales research at home – even before the internet. Today it is easier than ever to truly work smart, not so hard.

Wonder: This is where the sellers who have a true love of learning are most successful and happy. They don’t try to have all the answers – instead they learn from their experiences and build success as they go forward. They know they’ll never be perfect and they realize they are a human selling to other humans – nothing is ever exactly the same. They look for patterns and they work to win more than they lose. This attitude offers strong self-esteem and new ideas around every corner.

As you build your Huffington fortune, work to enjoy the journey. I can still look back and remember how, with a sales career, I was able to hold my head high, provide for my family, and have a flexible schedule since I was a top producer. Sales is an admirable profession and if you can incorporate true learning, happiness and even fun into your week, the time flies.

IBMThis post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I've been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

Lori Richardson - Score More SalesLori Richardson is recognized on Forbes as one of the "Top 30 Social Sales Influencers" worldwide. Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside sales teams in mid-sized companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips. Increase Opportunities. Expand Your Pipeline. Close More Deals.

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Topics: B2B

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