The most common challenges holding virtual sellers back from crushing their goals aren’t talking too much, an inability to overcome objections, poor prospecting skills, or fear of closing. Although this lack of hard skills is all too common, I would say the most common challenge is discipline. Sales success requires the discipline to stick to routines and employ daily success habits whether you feel like it or not. Here are 5 ways you can put sales discipline into action right now.
Example of Discipline
An example of someone with discipline is Jerry Seinfeld. He is regarded as one of the “Top 100 Comedians of All–Time” by Comedy Central. According to Forbes magazine, Seinfeld reached his peak in earnings when he made $267 million in 1998. In 2008, Seinfeld was still pulling in $85 million per year.
Seinfeld is among his generation’s most successful comedians, writers, and actors by almost any measure of wealth, popularity, and critical acclaim. However, what is most impressive about Seinfeld’s career is his remarkable discipline and consistency. Show after show, year after year, he performs, creates, and entertains at an incredibly high standard. Seinfeld produces entertainment with a level of discipline that we should bring to our virtual sales.
How does he do it? Seinfeld explains you must do the work to be a better comic. You must write every day. He recommends hanging a big calendar on the wall. Next, find a big red magic marker. Each day after you complete your most important task, put a red X over that day.
“After a few days, you’ll have a chain.” The chain will grow longer every day. Says Seinfeld, “You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is not to break the chain.”
Putting Sales Discipline into Action
1. Covet Your Mornings
For most, morning is when energy is highest, and decision-making is best. Refrain from checking social media posts or reading emails first thing. Instead, ask yourself, what activity will produce the greatest outcome? Prospecting? Researching customers? Creating a Pre-Call Plan?
Focus on activities that are goal-achieving rather than stress-relieving. And don’t break the chain.
2. Structure Your Time
Structure saves us from asking questions like: Should I prospect this morning? Should I skip the rapport-building step because my prospect is in a hurry? Which discovery questions do I ask? Having a structure means you stop asking whether you feel like doing your job today or not: you just do it.
You need to know your product, technology, and methods backward and forward so that the mechanics become effortless and your passion becomes contagious. Process frees your mind so you can open your heart to the person in front of you.
3. Work Scarier
Muster the discipline to not only make more calls but to make the scarier calls. Don’t simply send emails and texts. Pick up the phone, schedule a meeting, and engage in dialogue. The call you’re afraid to make is the call you must make!
Make a list of the ten people you’re most scared to call who would change your trajectory if they said yes. Then structure your time to call one each day for the next ten days. Record a BIG RED X
4. Just say No
When you ask someone how they are, 95% of the time, they will answer with some version of “busy,” “good, but busy,” or even, sometimes, “crazy busy .” Busy has become a badge of honor, a signifier of success – a humble brag that implies we are important and in demand. But if you really are “too busy,” chances are, you are not saying no enough.
Create a NOT To-Do List. To make time to get what you want, you must have the discipline to ask yourself, what am I willing to say no to?
5. Do the Work
As Eric Greitens says in the book, Resilience, “Part of the joy of entertainment is that we can appreciate the fruits of someone’s labor without having to do the work ourselves. We watch the dance, but we don’t have to sweat. We watch the game but don’t have to practice through injury. We watch the play but don’t have to write, direct, adjust the light or rehearse.”
Discipline, above all, is not something others do to you. It is something you do for yourself. You can receive instruction or guidance from one or many sources, but the source of discipline is not external. It starts with the will to work.