Being in Sales is a tough gig. Rejection is a guarantee and failure is the pillar in which you stand on. You get hung up on, turned down, and just flat out ignored.
(Oh, and those are the good days. And if you’re in sales, you know exactly what I’m talking about).
But it’s not all bad. There are commission checks, fun conversations, and friends who are down in the trenches right next to you every day.
As a salesman myself, I use whatever I can to inspire myself on the daily. Growing up I loved the Chronicles of Narnia stories and as I got older I fell in love with a few quotes from C.S. Lewis that help me trudge through the rejections and failures that I and many other Salespeople see on a daily basis.
While it may seem strange at first, C.S. Lewis and good fiction in general are my secret weapon as a sales person. I mean think about it: being better at sales is rarely an issue of knowledge. If you’re in sales, you probably already understand the product. You probably already know the process. You probably already know how to pick up a phone and dial a number.
So while everyone else is reading the latest New York Times business bestseller, I’m picking up a well-worn copy of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Why? Because being good at sales isn’t about knowledge. Being good at sales is about courage. It’s about character. It’s about digging deep and doing things that I’m afraid of, picking myself up again and again.
And very few (if any) authors teach courage better than C.S. Lewis
1. We are what we believe we are.
I am sure everyone has heard the phrase, “people only buy from people they like.” I agree, and I take it to another level and say, “people don’t like people who are trying to be something or someone they are not.” Being myself is the only person I can be so I may as well sell as that person too. If I believe I’m a shady salesperson, then I probably will become one. If I believe I can really help the people I’m selling to, then I probably can.
2. It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.
Becoming a top salesperson requires a lot of work, there is no way around that. Many of us see the high producers in our offices and want to be them right away, but we forget that there was a journey to get to that point, and one of the reasons they are so successful is because they fought through that journey.
3. Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.
This reminds me of another C.S. Lewis Quote (I won’t even charge you for the extra one!) where he defines integrity, “doing the right thing when no one is watching.” A characteristic of sales organizations is high employee turnover. A lot of that can be attributed to not having the courage to get back up and stare the daunting tasks in the face, and being willing to put in the extra effort even when the boss isn't looking. Whether it’s picking up the phone to make a cold call or taking the extra time to do the right thing, courage is everything.
4. Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.
Fail fast has become a popular saying in the business world as of late, but that is only because it has strong merit to it. Find out what doesn’t work in your sales process, and continue to iterate you have a robust process designed to sell. Also, think about Thomas Edison, he knew 1000 different ways not to make a lightbulb. But you only have one in your house. Keep moving. Keep failing.
5. We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.
There are also times where you think there are aspects of your sales process that are perfect, but you aren’t getting anywhere with any of your clients. The only time wasted is when you know something is broken and you refuse to fix it.
6.Reasonis the natural order oftruth;but imagination is the organ of meaning.
Having fun is good too. We can often get in ruts where we believe the only way out is putting on the mask of professionalism and powering through. If you can have fun with your clients, they will like you, and must I state the common sales quote about people liking you again? Also, if you are using your imagination and having fun; it makes the job more fun too.
7. I'm tall, fat, rather bald, red-faced, double-chinned, black-haired, have a deep voice, and wear glasses for reading.
Never. Take. Yourself. Too. Seriously.
- Kyle Cole