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March 1, 2017

A Father’s Advice To His Daughter …… And To Sales People

Two months ago my wife gave birth to our beautiful daughter – Mabel Jane (pictured). Accompanying the exuberant joy and elation of being a father again, was the humbling realization that I now have another daughter that will require me to lead and guide her through life.

And although every parent has certainly encountered my humbling realization, in my case there seems to be a heightened sense of responsibility considering I now have FOUR amazing daughters – who reside on opposite ends of the globe.

You see my first wife and I moved from Australia to Canada in 2010 with our three beautiful daughters where I assumed a sales leadership role in a national finance company. Following our divorce a few years later, the girls all decided to return to their home in Australia however I remained having now established a new relationship with an American woman.

Of course the global separation creates a heavy heart, and although I travel to Australia often and utilize the wonders of modern communication to maintain constant contact with my daughters, I recognized very early on that it was important to lay a foundation of “life principles” that we could agree upon and leverage for our conversations.

I tearfully provided each daughter with a hand written letter as they boarded their flight to permanently return to Australia after 4 years in Canada. The letter was entitled “Dad’s Principles of Life” and it expressly outlined the following three principles:

1. Passionately and confidently pursue something you love

2. Enjoy life and allow yourself to make mistakes

3. Respect yourself and others at all times

The girls framed the letter and have since come to affectionately refer to it as “Dad’s PER Principle”. Fortunately, it has proven to be a great reference device for all our conversations and important decisions.

With the birth of Mabel in recent weeks, I recognized how valuable the PER principle is now going to be as I start this journey again. Of course it will be awhile before she comes of age where she needs to consider the consequences of her choices and decisions, but at least we have a great start and I know three older sisters who will also be able to effectively guide her.

As a sales coach, I have had the pleasure of meeting quite a number of sales people and business entrepreneurs and it has become quite apparent that the PER principle is something they could leverage. In fact, the most successful sales people and entrepreneurs I have met seem to inadvertently embody these principles as intended, providing not only great examples for my daughters but for all sales people across the country.

On that basis, I feel compelled to share the essence of my letter with all sales people to simply highlight three key principles that you should consider when performing your sales activities and making key decisions.

Be passionate about what you do

There is no point being in sales if you are not passionate about helping others. For the most part, sales people solve problems for their clients/customers – or at least make their client’s lives easier and more enjoyable. It’s important you are passionate about your product or service and the value it provides your client otherwise your job can be quite dissatisfying and incredulous.

We always invest more time and energy doing things we love to do – things we are passionate about and would gladly engage someone in conversation with for hours and hours – such as our hobbies and social interests. Our friends and colleagues easily recognize this passion and our output always seems to exceed expectations.

There is no reason why we cannot invest similar time and energy in selling. You pursued this vocation or product/service for a reason and it’s important that you can align your reason to something you are most passionate about, otherwise your dissatisfaction and lack of enthusiasm will also be easily recognizable.

Numerous articles have been written about the importance of understanding our “WHY”. And the most successful sales people understand WHY they pursue this career, WHY they value their product/service and WHY they perform the particular sales activities they do.

Determine your WHY – your driver and motivator. I understand that the driver for many people may be money, but I encourage you to dig deeper than that and consider if you would still actively sell your product/service if money were removed as a driving factor.

Enjoy life by making a plan and developing better skills

Throughout our life we encounter numerous challenges and responsibilities that impact our well-being and create great anxiety. How often are we putting those challenges and responsibilities into perspective and realigning our key priorities in life?

Of course we all have great ambitions and many of our anxieties are caused by the challenges of achieving those ambitions, but it’s important that we regularly put things into perspective and prioritize what we really need to enjoy our life. Once again this conjures up the notion of WHY.

For most sales people, enjoyment is derived from achieving realistic and incremental goals. A sales person will always beam with excitement when they achieve their business (and hopefully, personal) goals. So start by putting your goals into perspective.

For many sales people however, despite setting realistic goals, life can still be very tough or unenjoyable. But it doesn’t need to be. After setting your realistic targets it is important that you then determine a plan of action and develop the skills, behaviors and beliefs that enable you to effectively execute those actions.

The pursuit of sales excellence is essential to enjoying your life. Throughout your pursuit it is okay to make mistakes and go off course, but always maintain a plan and a desire to improve your skills. Working with leaders/coaches to review your action plans and enhance your sales skills will ensure that you overcome your challenges, learn from your mistakes and gain new/alternative business development insights that you can leverage for ease of sale.

Life as a sales person becomes much more enjoyable once you maintain perspective and consistently pursue excellence to eliminate anxiety.

Respect yourself and your client

Look in the mirror and always aim to highly value what you see. Of course we will always notice imperfections and some of us may fear that others will notice them too, but valuing and respecting yourself is another key attribute to achieving great success in sales.

Nothing is more compelling than a confident sales person. Always strive to look confident and be confident. Build confidence by perpetuating positive beliefs and overcoming those limiting beliefs. When selling you will face many objections and it’s important that you do not take them personally and understand how to constructively handle them.

For if you are truly passionate about helping others, firmly believe that your offering is compelling, have an action plan for success and are continually developing your skills to improve your execution THEN you have every reason in the world to feel confident about who you are and what you are doing. So respect yourself at all times and don’t let any setbacks or less than positive outcomes affect that.

Of course it is also vitally important you respect your client/customer. Remember, sales is all about understanding THEIR challenges and servicing THEIR needs. Demonstrate respect by taking the time to genuinely learn about your client’s business, their market and their challenges.

Be respectful of both your client’s time and their business by committing to add specific value at every point of contact. Earn respect and you will improve your chances of earning an audience.

The PER Principle of Sales

I guess it seems naturally inevitable that there would be a convergence of my two greatest passions in life – raising my daughters to be strong, confident women and developing sales people to be confident producers. And ultimately it is this passion that drives me to excel at what I do.

My letters to my daughters were designed to make them reflect upon their actions and decisions. Similarly, this article was designed to make you reflect upon your core beliefs as a sales person and what is fundamentally required to be a success.

How passionate are you about the services you offer clients?

What action plan and skills have you developed to deliver those services?

How confident are you and how do you overcome your limiting beliefs?

How well do you understand and respect your client?

Article written by Joe Micallef – Sales Strategist & Coach – Grow UP Sales. For sales coaching and guidance contact Joe at joe@growupsales.com or visit the webpage www.growupsales.com