What It Takes To Succeed In Selling – Part 1

Welcome to the first post in a series about what it takes to succeed in selling.  Having studied a wide range of successful people intensively for more than 25 years I have recognised that they all have certain traits in common, and that more importantly, by using these traits, anyone can be more successful at whatever they want to be. Over 6 blogs in this series I will share with you details of the traits in order that you may act upon them and be more successful.


The traits themselves are easily applied, they key thing is that you decide to act upon them and then make sure you do it. As research has often demonstrated the optimum time frame for action is within 24 – 72 hours of reading this blog when you must take action upon all of these items, no matter how small.


The traits themselves are present to various degrees in all of the people I have researched and worked with, except where circumstances dictated that certain elements were not necessary.  As you read through them I would recommend you ask yourself two questions:

a) How much of this do I currently do in my day-to-day activities

b) Am I prepared to change this and commit to doing it every day?  Where you identify something needs to be done, then simply all you need to do is take action.


In no particular order the first 4 traits are:


  • DESIRE AND DETERMINATION – successful people have tremendous desire and determineddetermination to succeed. They want whatever they strive for so badly it hurts and they will not let anything or anybody stand in their way. Where current obstacles exist they find ways to adapt, innovate and overcome them. What do you desire to do or be and how badly do you want it? It is said that 95% of us don’t really know. We just go about our day-to-day life doing what we think we should, not what we really want to. How determined are you to succeed? Do you just say it, or do you really mean it? Ask yourself these questions:


  1. What are you prepared to do in order to achieve what you desire?
  2. How many times are you prepared to face the ‘nay-sayers’, those who say, “It can’t be done”? How many times are you prepared to deal with an unsatisfactory result, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep having another go until you succeed? To truly succeed where so many fail, your answers to the above need to be:


  1. I consider no other outcome
  2. As many times as it takes; whatever that is.


  • goalsGOALS – successful people set goals. It is claimed that 95% of us don’t do this, due to a fear of failure, of not achieving what we could and because we don’t really know what we desire (because we don’t ever take the time to decide upon it). So set yourself some time aside; an hour, an evening, maybe a weekend and set some goals. These can include; life, career, financial and family to name but a few. The key to this exercise is to write them down. And not just what you want to achieve (i.e. to be financially well-off), describe in every detail possible what achieving it will look, feel, smell and taste like. Go into as much detail as you can do and in doing so, your subconscious mind will imagine it to be true. This in itself is said to initiate the law of attraction, which naturally brings into our grasp those very things. As the saying says, “If you can believe it, you can achieve it!” Most people simply day-dream and then proceed to identify all of the reasons why things can’t be done whereas successful people focus on why it can. For goals to be effective they need to follow the often used acronym: SMART. They need to be:


  • Specific (described in absolute detail)
  • Measurable (so you can measure your progress, recognise you are on your way and change / improve / persist with whatever you need to, when you need to)
  • Achievable (you need a plan of how to get from where you are to where you want to be broken down into manageable steps)
  • Realistic (resources need to be identified and in place – at least we need to be aware of them so we can bring them into place if they are not already available)
  • Timed (with everything having a deadline to drive us to take action and continue our momentum). If you don’t have goals yet or if they aren’t defined to the degree mentioned above, make time to set them and then refer to them every single day, and take action towards achieving them on a daily basis).


  • PLAN – successful people take their goals, break them down into manageable stepsplan and this now forms the basis of their plan. They identify what they need to do and how they are going to do it, developing a step-by-step guide for themselves with everything considered, identified and evaluated so they can tackle it efficiently and effectively. Once the plan is set they use it as the method of measuring progress and as a ‘bible’ for the way they conduct themselves. They know though that even the best laid plans often can, and do have to change, that nothing is written in stone and so they remain open minded enough that when things need to change, they do so without dwelling on what they had previously thought. Often, the best plans are developed backwards, with the goal identified (and the start point of where they are now in relation to it obviously known), they work backwards. i.e. In order to achieve the final goal of X, I need to have done Y already, in order to achieve Y, I need to have already done, Z, and so on until the last step says in order to achieve G, I need to start doing (whatever it is) now. Develop your plans for your goals and identify the steps you will need to take, and then ensure you work them accordingly.


  • DISCIPLINE – having the goal and the plan set, having the desire and determination disciplinedto succeed already successful people simply now do whatever it takes. Irrespective whether it is a natural activity for them or something different, something they have had experience at before or something new; comfortable or uncomfortable they just get on with it. And they make this practice a new habit, something they do no matter what. Many of us get bored, frustrated and lose interest and as a result things fall by the wayside; not successful people though. Having identified what needs doing they simply just do it and ensure things get done to the best of their ability. Ask yourself: what do you need to be more disciplined about? What does discipline mean to you in relation to the task? Consider how frequently you need to do it, how much of it you need to do and what more you need to do with regards to this.

Work on these 4 traits between now and the next blog in this series and we’ll continue with 4 additional traits guaranteed to make you more successful.


To read the 2nd blog in this series click here.


About trenthamwhitmore

Salesperson, trainer, author, speaker, student and forever curious about what makes top performing salespeople so much more successful than their contempories.
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