How Great Salespeople Become Great

By Mike Coday •  Updated: 03/29/21 •  4 min read

Massive Action Takers

I’ve known several great roofing salespeople in my lifetime.

As great as they are, and they are amazing, not one of them started out as good as they are today.

They all had to become great…and the way they became great was by taking massive amounts of action.

Great salespeople see a lot of people.

They’ll see more people in a day than average salespeople see in a week…or a month. They’re out trying new things — failing and succeeding — constantly pushing the envelope. They’re continually learning.


Failure teaches us how NOT to do things.

Depending on who you get your information from, Thomas Edison either failed 1,000 times or 10,000 times before inventing the light bulb. That man definitely knew how NOT to do things.

Great salespeople who take massive amounts of action have an immense pool of failing experiences to pull from that allow them to make better, faster, and higher-quality decisions. They see sales problems coming before they get there and cut those problems off in advance. In other words, they know how NOT to do things.

Great salespeople know what works and what doesn’t work because they’ve tried it all before. They can hear the end of a conversation with their prospect in their head long before the conversation takes place based on only a few minutes, a few seconds, of conversation. They know the ending at the beginning.

Learning Too Slow

Average and poor salespeople simply don’t take enough action to learn all of the different ways to fail.

When they get into a situation where a deal can get closed or it could get lost, they don’t have enough failure experience to draw from in order to make the right moves to close the sale. More often than not, they lose those deals…unless they happen to get really lucky.

Average and poor salespeople think they’re still in a deal when that deal has been dead, doorknob dead, from a few moments after they started talking.

Average and poor salespeople lose time, energy, and enthusiasm working deals they never had a chance of closing, but that’s okay…it is better than not working because when you’re not working, you’re not learning.


Education is expensive.

It doesn’t matter if you went to college or you went straight to work because you’ll end up paying for what you know in one way or another. If you want to be great, it will cost you. Education is expensive, but not nearly as expensive as ignorance.

It is far better to go to the School of Hard Knocks than to skip out on your life by skipping out on failure.

Some of the richest, most successful people in America never got a college degree, but I’ll guarantee you they got an education…Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Carnegie, Ansel Adams, Ben Franklin, David Geffen, Kevin Rose, Michael Dell, Rachael Ray, Rush Limbaugh, Simon Cowell (okay, he’s not really American), Steve Madden, Walt Disney…I could go on and on and on and on some more.


Lucky isn’t a bad thing, but there’s a major drawback.

The bad thing about depending on luck to make sales is that you don’t know how to duplicate your success when your luck changes.

When the luck runs out, average or poor salespeople can’t fix the problem because they don’t know what they did right in the first place. Their luck literally runs out on them. It’s game over because they don’t know how to fix the problem!

The best surfers in the world didn’t start out surfing massive waves. They had to surf hundreds and thousands of small waves (while crashing & burning) before they could surf hundreds and thousands of medium-sized waves (while crashing & burning) before they could surf the big waves (while crashing & burning some more).

Once they got the big waves down, they went for the massive waves. Surfers who surf massive waves definitely know how NOT to do things.

If you’re willing to fail, fail faster, and fail again, faster than anybody else you know. There’s no reason why you can’t be successful at whatever you put your mind to doing.

You just have to learn how NOT to do things.


P.S. If you’re struggling to make money selling roofs for a living, make sure you’re subscribed to my 101 Sales Tips. If you’re trying to get to the next level, and can’t figure out why you keep failing, get around people who are already where you want to go.

Mike Coday

Mike started selling roofs in '95 while working as a youth pastor at a small church in North Texas. A decade later he transitioned to speaking at industry conferences and training outside sales teams. Today, he works exclusively as the premier consultant to roofing company owners who are driven for growth.