Mark has an attitude! Mark had worked in an operational capacity in the plant of a mid-western uniform company for over eighteen years. He had held almost every job in the production end of the business, from janitor to purchasing. One morning the owner of the company called Mark into his office to discuss a new job assignment. Mark was floored when the boss asked him to become the company’s sales manager and take over the marketing department, which included the areas of sales and service. Mark had never sold before, nor had he managed more than a couple of people in his operational assignments. Now he was being asked by the owner of the laundry, at my recommendation, to supervise a sales team of three people, a route sales staff of nine and three service managers. My recommendation was primarily based on my observations of Mark as he gave me a plant tour a year earlier, as I started my engagement with this client.
After working for a little over a year in the sales manager’s position, Mark more than doubled the number of sales over the previous year, even though he had let one of his sales representatives go for poor perform-ance. After two years, he tripled yearly sales levels and had to ad several more routes to cover the increased business. His route sales were up significantly over the previous reporting period and customer retention levels were at an all time high as well. With literally no selling back-ground or customer contact and little opportunity to manage a large group of people in the plant, how did Mark achieve the success levels that eluded the previous sales manager, who had nearly twenty years of sales and sales management experience? If you could meet Mark, you would instantly see what makes him a success.
Mark has an attitude! I observed Mark’s positive attitude on my first and several subsequent visits to the plant. His great attitude alone was the reason for my recommendation to his boss to have Mark head up mar-keting for the firm. Mark made some mistakes as he took over the reins of the department before he was trained and coached. But a few mis-takes could be expected from his lack of formal training and promotional experience. However, Mark’s positive attitude quickly helped him to over-come this lack of experience and set an atmosphere in the department that produced unprecedented sales success levels. He is so positive and optimistic that he is contagious.
For most professionals, achieving and then consistently maintaining a high level of success is difficult. For some, it is a frustrating and futile exercise. Like a person on a diet who never seems to find just the right formula for losing weight and then keeping it off permanently, achieving consistent levels of management or sales success eludes most managers and their representatives. All too frequently sales professionals drift in and out of success producing sales and management activities and never achieve the long-term patterns of success they are seeking.
As I have studied the success patterns of top sales professionals from all types of industries and from all parts of the country, I began to make an exciting discovery. I learned that for the 20% of the sales people who sell 80% of the goods and services in the United States, achievement or failure is controlled in large measure by their strong, overpowering will to succeed-an attitude. The top sales producers in this country are driven to succeed, giving them a multiplying factor in generating consistent sales success. This achievement drive, attitude, or “personal motivation, ” is the primary force leaders employ in attaining consistent sales productivity and high closing ratios. From this research, I learned that sales success for any manager or sales professional is possible, if he or she correctly applies achievement drive principles that top sales professionals consis-tently use. Once I learned how achievement drive (attitude) worked for sales people, it became clear that it was also the power in the lives of all successful people (managers, parents, athletes, administrators, volun-teers, etc. ) helping people to achieve higher levels of personal and profes-sional success than their peers.
How could Mark double and then triple sales levels in his laundry, while letting one of his sales representatives go? Why are some people like Mark able to overcome a lack of experience, terrible adversity and obsta-cles to achieve greatness, while others, in spite of every advantage, turn their lives into a disaster? The answer is quite simple. Those that are successful in life have learned how to create an overpowering desire to succeed. They have mastered the art of programming themselves to build the achievement drive necessary to produce consistently high levels of success.
Studies at major universities show that successful people from every field of endeavor have a greater need to achieve success than their peers. No one ever attained a consistent pattern of success that didn't have this burning desire to succeed internalized. This desire, in turn, gives achiev-ers the energy, stamina, enthusiasm and compelling personal motivation to attain their goals in life. Psychologists tell us that when you see your-self succeeding, the very thought of success alone can often make a sig-nificant difference in the outcome of any objective that you might have.
People are motivated and directed by their dominant thought patterns. Successful sales managers and representatives have learned to develop an overall attitude of optimism, expectations of success and a vision of themselves succeeding by regularly programming their biocomputer to be successful. This programming, once in place, is the edge that pulls them toward their dreams and ideal future. You too can apply these same principles and program yourself to attain much greater lev-els of productivity and sales success and produce higher success levels in everything else that you do in life. For a tool to help you develop the multiplying factor, check out the Getting An Edge self directed learning manual at: http://TheSellingEdge.com/manual2.htm .
VIRDEN THORNTON is the founder and President of The $elling Edge®, Inc. a firm specializing in sales, customer relations, tradeshows and management training and development. Clients have included Sears Optical, Eastman Kodak, IBM, Deloitte & Touché, Bank One, Jefferson Wells, and Wal-Mart to name a few. Virden is the author of Prospecting: The Key To Sales Success and the best selling Building & Closing the Sale, Fifty-Minute series books and Close That Sale, a video/audio tape series published by Thompson Learning. He has also authored a Self-Directed Learning series of sales, coaching & team development, telemarketing, and personal productivity training guides. Check them out at:http://www.TheSellingEdge.com/Book1.htm
Virden teaches for the Center For Professional Development, Texas Tech Uni-versity at Lubbock, Texas and in the School Of Entrepreneurship, J. Willard And Alice S. Marriott School Of Management at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. You can contact Virden at: Virden@TheSellingEdge.com , or learn more about him at: http://www.TheSellingEdge.com