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How Great Salespeople Become Great

By Mike Coday •  Updated: 10/21/23 •  6 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.

Quick Summary

  1. Continuous Effort: Successful roofing salespeople are distinguished by their relentless effort. They interact with more people in a day than average salespeople might in a week or month, constantly pushing boundaries and learning from both failures and successes.
  2. Learning from Failure: Embracing failure as a learning tool is a common trait among successful salespeople. They accumulate a wealth of experiences, understanding what to avoid and how to anticipate and tackle sales challenges effectively.
  3. Proactive Experience: By taking massive action, successful salespeople build a repertoire of experiences that allow them to predict outcomes and make informed decisions quickly. They can foresee the end of a sales conversation from the initial moments, guiding it based on their extensive background.
  4. The Pitfall of Inaction: Average or unsuccessful salespeople often fail because they haven’t experienced enough rejection or failure, lacking the insights needed to navigate complex sales scenarios effectively. They often miss cues that a deal is not viable, wasting time and energy.
  5. The Cost of Education: Whether through formal schooling or the ‘School of Hard Knocks,’ education is expensive but necessary. The article stresses that practical learning, often gained through direct experience and failure, is invaluable and that many successful individuals have thrived without formal education.
  6. The Limitation of Luck: Relying on luck is unsustainable because it provides no foundation for replicating success. When fortunate circumstances change, individuals who depended on luck don’t have the knowledge or skills required to adapt and overcome.
  7. Building Resilience through Challenges: The analogy of surfers tackling increasingly larger waves illustrates the journey of growth through consistent practice, learning, and facing challenges head-on. Each failure is a stepping stone to mastering more significant challenges.
  8. Accelerated Failure for Faster Growth: The article encourages embracing and seeking out failure as a pathway to rapid learning and improvement. The more one fails and learns, the quicker they can advance towards their goals.
  9. Networking and Community: For individuals struggling in sales, the author recommends subscribing to educational resources like “101 Sales Tips” and emphasizes the importance of surrounding oneself with successful individuals to learn and find encouragement.
  10. Success through Perseverance: The overarching theme is that success isn’t accidental. It’s a result of taking massive action, learning from failures, and persistently working towards one’s goals with the understanding that each setback is a learning opportunity leading to personal and professional growth.

Failure

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

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

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.

Peace,
Mike

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.