As I was getting ready to write this week's piece, I came across my friend Sam McKenna's LinkedIn post from Saturday morning. I have great respect for the work she does, but I've been particularly inspired by the way she runs her business.
You follow me to learn about professional selling and the occasional golf, food, or family reference. I follow friends like Samantha, Todd, Jason, Mike, David, and others to learn about how to run a business like ours. We all do things differently, and we all learn from and root for each other. Any of those folks will tell you they regularly get unsolicited text messages from me rooting them on.
Sam had a killer Q1 and has a lot to celebrate. As I sent her a text to congratulate her, I tried to articulate what inspires me about how #samsales has grown over the past few years. Five words came to mind:
These are intangibles that don't get talked about enough. It takes a trained eye to recognize them, but you certainly miss them when they're gone, and you can't do your best work without them.
Are there more? Of course. And as I thought this concept through, there's another big one I'll mention in a minute, but I want to briefly dig into these concepts because they make such a huge impact on your results.
This concept is often taken for granted because you're so close to the solutions you sell that you forget how simple the problems you solve actually are. You don't need to be clever, you need to be clear.
Do you know what you're good at? Do you know who your talents will benefit? Do you know why they're needed?
Clarity makes it possible to focus. When you can narrow all of your energy and resources in a single direction, you can make much more of an impact. The more you spread it around, the less you'll move the needle in any single area.
No one said it would be easy. Obstacles are everywhere, and they will challenge your clarity, focus, and purpose almost every step of the way.
Do you believe enough in yourself and your purpose to persevere?
It's been said that talent is overrated, and I tend to agree, but it's hard to get very far without it. Develop your skills. Invest time in practice. But beyond a certain level, it's about refinement and nuance more than learning new tactics. I think this is why most traditional sales training fails.
Are you technically proficient? Do you know how to get the job done?
You can call this passion, enthusiasm, belief, or a bunch of other names, but you should embody the spirit of what you're trying to do in sales. There are a lot of non-monetary benefits to solving the problems you do for your customers, and that comes when you're fully aligned with what you do and why you do it.
Are you fulfilled by the work you do and the results you create?
There's one more that I didn't mention to Sam but is worth pointing out here, and she won't be surprised to read it. That's gratitude.
In a way, I think it's an extension of spirit. If you go back to her post about her team's Q1 highlights, she's not bragging. She's wholeheartedly in the moment and reflecting on where she started and where she and her business are right now. I hear a lot of talk about gratitude, but I don't see it in action very often, at least not in a way that's very genuine.
You don't stay at the top very long if you don't recognize what got you there. This kind of reflection is important.
So I guess you'll have to wait until next week for what I was originally planning to publish today, but the weekly column presents the blessing of opportunities like this: to congratulate a friend on a job very well done and hopefully distill a relevant case study into some tangible lessons.
Got a friend who needs to see this? Please pass it along.
Q2 starts tomorrow. We were blessed with a weekend that kind of fell in the gap. I hope it's been restful, and I can't tell you how excited I am for this week.