In this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston explains what impacts your sales that people label as ‘luck’…..but might actually be something else….
You know, I’ve lost count of the amount of times someone has called another person ‘lucky’. And that situation happens just as much in sales, as it does in other aspects of life!
This article was inspired by a business contact asking me ‘Andy, what impact do you think that ‘luck’ has on the sales process, or the salesperson themselves?’
I thought that was a great question, and it deserved longer than just a quick reply – so I’ve put my thoughts below for everyone else to see as well…..
So How Much Of Sales Is About ‘Luck?’
In my opinion? Very little. You’re probably aware of the famous quote from golfer Gary Player ‘the harder I practice, the luckier I get’. It’s normally down to something else, rather than just ‘luck’ or ‘fate’.
It’s very easy for someone to label something as ‘lucky’ – especially if they don’t understand what has occurred to produce that piece of ‘luck’.
It’s very unusual for something to occur just by ‘luck’ – there’s usually some sort of event, or behaviour, that triggers an action – which may be perceived as ‘luck’.
How About An Example For Sales?
Here’s an example. This year, in the first hour, of the first working day we received an email from a new client, saying that they wished to go ahead with a substantial piece of work. This occurred without any phone calls from us this year, or any contact, or anything!
Would you call that luck? Because some people would! Let’s explore the circumstances behind that ‘luck’…
The new client had contacted us looking for someone to speak at their company events and train their sales team. Their approach to us started in the middle of last year. They came to see me speak at a large conference, and then train a smaller group of people twice.
They asked us to come in and present to the board of directors, along with 5 other speakers and training companies. They then asked to speak to a number of people we’d worked with in the past to see what their experience (and results) had been.
They then had to get budget approved for the whole programme, and sent us the email on the first working day, once budget had been approved.
So What Impact Did ‘Luck’ Have In The Process?
PAs you’d expect, I was interested in what impacted the new client’s buying decision to come to us, rather than one of the other companies they were originally talking to.
Their answer was a combination of our approach, my ‘style’ as a speaker and presenter, how we planned to structure the programme, how professional we were to deal with as a company, the proposal we submitted, the presentation we gave, and the results we had got for the clients they spoke to.
That seems like a lot of things influencing the process, just to put it down to ‘luck!’
So How Can YOU Get That Kind Of ‘Luck?’
In this content, I like to describe what other people call ‘luck’ as ‘R.O.P.E’ – which stands for Return-On-Previous-Efforts.
In sales, effort usually comes before results in most cases. In other words, you have to do the activity first, before you can reap the rewards later.
And the more ‘new business’ the activity is, the more pertinent that rule becomes! It applies to cold calling over the phone, cold canvassing face-to-face, networking, following up leads or mailshots, and pretty much every other business development activity!
The difficulty always is that at the time those activities feel as though they were pointless – as you got no reward at time! Those rewards only come later – IF you continue to do those activities!
THE WORST thing that you can do is to stop doing those activities, seeing them as ‘pointless’ or ‘not the best use of my time’ – because then you’re not going to get the rewards that would come from those activities later! This is a common trap that most people fall into. And the longer the sales process is in your organisation, the bigger the gap between your efforts and your results – make sure you don’t give up too soon!
So What Sort Of Activities Should We Be Doing To Have More ‘Luck’?
What sort of activities should we be doing in order to have more luck? Pretty much any business development activity! As long as it’s done in the right way of course.
In order to get the most amount of ‘luck’ on your side, you need to do these activities on a CONSISTENT basis. ‘Occasionally’ or ‘when we’re quiet’ just won’t cut it I’m afraid.
You should be scheduling those ‘new business’ activities in your diary, just like any other appointment! And if you’ve been to any of my seminars or training sessions, you’ll know I often say that they should be the first thing IN your diary, and the last thing to be moved OUT of your diary – they’re critical to your future business, so don’t mess around with them!
Remember, Sometime You Have To Deal With ‘Jealousy’
In sales, sometimes you have to deal with other people’s jealousy.
It could be the jealousy of another member of your sales team that’s annoyed because you got a piece of business in, and they didn’t. It could be the jealousy of a ‘non-sales’ member of staff that knows you’re on commission, and they’re not. Or it could even be jealousy from a family member or friend that knows you’re going to earn more than them.
Whoever it is that may be ‘jealous’ of your success, you need to come to terms with the fact that it’s not necessarily about you, it’s just something that’s reminded them that they’re not performing as well as they could be in some area – and that’s the thing that’s causing them to act in that way, not you.
So, Can Luck Have ANY Impact?
I think there are certain occasions when you can be ‘fortunate’. For example when a competitor does something that rules them out of the sales process. Not sending an email for example, turning up late for their appointment, or delivering an awful presentation.
When it’s something that someone else doesn’t (or doesn’t do) then I can see the argument for that not being solely down to your indivdual efforts. However, I do think there’s some truth in the argument that because you’ve done things well in the process so far, it’s made it easier for the potential new client to remove your competitor from the process!
Now get out there and start doing some new business activity, so In a few months you can look back and smile as you start getting the Return-On-Previous-Efforts!!
You can ask any questions about this article or sales in general, by contacting Andy here
About The Author:
Andy Preston is a leading Sales Expert, Trainer and Motivational Speaker
He runs the Ecademy ‘Sales And Cold Calling Tips Club’ as well as writing for magazines, newspapers and trade journals all around the world on anything related to sales and selling.
You can get Andy’s free cold calling and sales tips HERE