As it turns out, the longer people stay in this field, the more “mistakes” they add to their resume. And that’s not entirely a bad thing. Because mistakes can propel your career, if you approach them the right way.
“Mistakes and failure mark the boundaries of your competence.” -Keenan (Click to Tweet)
Keenan’s advice: Make mistakes, but learn from them.
Experiment, get out of your comfort zone, and, when you make a big mistake, figure out what didn’t work before moving on. Do better next time.
4) Successful sales leaders care about their people
Sales leadership is hard. It takes a lot to balance managing performance metrics with inspiring your reps. What’s that secret ingredient most successful sales leaders share?
As Keenan was interviewing sales leaders, one thing stood out: They prioritize their people.
Keenan’s advice: You have to care about your salespeople.
Once you become a sales leader, you are no longer responsible for turning the screw. You have to motivate and support people to turn the screw for you. And for that you need to take the time to understand and support them. Great leaders put their team first.
“Great leaders get more out of people than people can get out of themselves.” -Keenan (Click to Tweet)
5) You can't stop learning
We wanted to know the best piece of advice salespeople had for their peers. To our surprise, most of the answers pointed to “keep learning.”
Whether it’s choosing the right mentor, researching your clients, or reading books and blogs, stay on top of your game.
Keenan’s advice: Commit to continually educating yourself and leveling up.
Here are some additional suggestions from Keenan:
Do your research.
Know your customers.
And if you’re still not sure, go back to tip #1 and start with what you’re not yet good at.
6) Sales leaders aren’t accountable enough
We’ve all heard the story of the sales rep who got fired for not hitting quota. It happens all the time. But how often do sales leaders take responsibility for their team's performance?
We thought we’d ask them. And guess what? They think most organizations put too much emphasis on the individual contributor and don’t hold leaders accountable enough.
Keenan’s advice: Sales leaders need to take more responsibility on the success and failure of their team. They can do that by:
Admitting their mistakes.
Setting the right expectations.
Being helpful and supporting their team.
Getting specialized leadership training.
"We need way more senior level accountability for the success and failure of the sales teams." -Keenan (Click to Tweet)
7) Crazy things will happen
Last but not least, we learned that craziness comes with the territory.
Everyone who Keenan interviewed had his or her fair share of crazy stories to tell. Some of these stories were funny, some of them were downright insane. But every salesperson said the same thing: Working in sales is never boring.
"Anytime you're working with people, you can expect crazy sh*t to happen." -Keenan (Click to Tweet)
Keenan’s advice: Expect craziness and roll with it.
But having a little craziness in your life isn’t such a bad thing. In fact, it’s exactly why most salespeople simply love this job.
“Peace! I’m out!”
I couldn’t end this list without a final quote from our amazing host, Keenan, the creator of ASalesGuy.com. It’s been a great ride, and we learned a lot about what’s it like to be a real deal in sales.
You think we’ve missed anything? (I’m sure we did.) Tweet us at #TheRealDealOfSales and tell us what’s it like for you to be in sales. We’d love to hear from you.
Originally published Jun 29, 2017 7:30:00 AM, updated October 29 2020