As sales leaders, we want to know: What is that “one thing” that will increase sales wins?
The short answer … is that there are a lot of answers.
We know, probably not what you were looking for. But we’re still going to hit you with some knowledge.
We made a short list of noteworthy people you wouldn’t expect to get sales advice from and explained how you can use their No. 1 key for success to increase sales performance.
Your No. 1 Key to More Sales Wins
1. Tony Robbins
Claim to fame: Motivational speaker, personal finance instructor, self-help author
Key to success: Personal Power
What it means: “Personal power means the ability to take action, to follow through, to take the steps that are necessary. To take an idea and translate it to reality.”
Tell me more: Tony says this is the number one tool that most people in life never exercise, but it’s the gift that everyone has. All you need to do to use it is make a decision and follow through. If it doesn’t work out? No worries, Tony says, because you’ll learn something.
How to use in sales: If you want to make 50 calls this week, then just do it. If you want to have a one-on-one coaching session with each rep this week, find a way to make it happen. If you can’t do it alone, solicit some help. Turn your idea into an action.
Claim to fame: Talk show host, media proprietor, actress, philanthropist
Key to success: Reading
What it means: “When you are a great reader, you can articulate and speak and command the English language in ways that other people cannot, and people think you’re a lot smarter than you are a lot of the time.”
Tell me more: When Oprah was a child, she heard Jesse Jackson say that excellence is the best deterrent to racism and sexism. It became her motto. She got her first job in radio when she was 16 because she was a great reader, and she thinks it’s both the greatest foundation and strongest signal for success in the future.
How to use in sales: Read everything. Read books about sales, blogs, case studies and eBooks. Read anything you can find about industries and your buyers. The more you master language, the better you’ll be at communicating with prospects.
3. Steve Jobs
Claim to fame: Apple CEO, Pixar CEO, entrepreneur, inventor
Key to success: Passion
What it means: “People say you have to have a lot of passion for what you’re doing, and it’s totally true. The reason is because it’s so hard that if you don’t [have passion], any rational person would give up.”
Tell me more: If you don’t love what you’re doing, and you’re not having fun doing it, Steve says you’re probably going to give up (what happens to most people). If you look at people who end up being successful, Steve adds, they loved what they did, so they could persevere when it got really tough. The one’s who didn’t love it? They quit, he says, because they’re sane.
How to use in sales: Be passionate in your role at the sales organization. Find ways to gain enjoyment from your day-to-day activities.
4. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Claim to fame: Actor, filmmaker, investor, philanthropist, activist, former politician
Key to success: Mind over matter
What it means: “The body is very important, but the mind is more important. You have to visualize winning, because that’s what gives you the will when you’re doing 500 lb squats and you can’t do another rep, and your body is shaking — it’s the will that makes you go down one more time and struggle up one more time.”
Tell me more: When you’re a competitive athlete, there can always be people who are as strong as you are, as muscular, perform just as well. Arnold says what puts you over the top is your mind, which makes you work out 4-5 hours a day and visualizes what the body should look like as a finished product.
How to use in sales: Even if you feel like you’ve done enough for the day, just do one more thing. Make one more for phone call. Send one more email. Book one more appointment. You never know what that last one could do for you.
5. Sheryl Sandberg
Claim to fame: Facebook COO, activist, author
Key to success: Prioritize
What it means: “[I] have a list of things I’m proactively trying to get done … I even have [it in] a notebook or my Blackberry — but I’ll write down the 5 things that matter this month, and make sure I’m spending time each and every day on those things to the extent I can.”
Tell me more: Sheryl says everyone gets so many emails, messages and other incoming requests in a day that you could spend your entire day — every day, every week — being completely reactive. Then at the end of the week, it feels like you’ve taken care of nothing that really matters. That’s why she makes lists to keep her priorities top of mind.
How to use in sales: Sales is a hectic profession. Use key performance indicators to keep people focused on the activities that matter. Things like scorecards and leaderboards keep these metrics front and center.
6. Bill Gates
Claim to fame: Microsoft Co-Founder, computer programmer, investor, philanthropist
Key to Success: Support
What it means: “My best business decisions really have to do with picking people — Having somebody who you totally trust, who’s totally committed, who shares your vision and yet has a little bit different set of skills and also acts as a check on you.”
Tell me more: Bill credits a lot of his business success to partnering with smart people like Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer. He says the benefits of sparking off of somebody who’s brilliant has also made the journey fun. So picking a great partner and team is crucial.
How to use in sales: Build a team that fosters collaborative culture, and that will support you and each other in hitting your goals.
7. Will Smith
Claim to fame: Actor, producer, songwriter, rapper
Key to success: Hustle
What it means: “The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is that I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be outworked. Period.”
Tell me more: Will says that most people who don’t get to places they want or aren’t achieving the things they want because of a lack of hustle — being outworked or missing out on crucial opportunities. “If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready” is one of Will’s mantras.
How to use in sales: Don’t overwork or micromanage your reps, but do encourage them to work their hardest. Remember that reps respond to different types of motivation in different ways, so you’ll need to find the incentive that works best for them.
8. Angela Lee Duckworth
Claim to fame: Psychologist, MacArthur Fellowship winner, former consultant
Key to success: Grit
What it means: “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future day in and day out — not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
Tell me more: Angela studied children and adults in various settings to determine who was successful and why they were successful. She visited military academies, spelling bees, private companies and more to see which cadets, students and salespeople (respectively) would perform the best. In all those different contexts, one characteristic emerged as a significant predictor of success: grit.
How to use in sales: Basically, keep and calm and carry on. When you celebrate the wins, keep in mind that more work needs to be done. When you’re feeling discouraged by lost deals, reflect on the things that you’ve accomplished. Keep your eye on the long-term prize, then work on getting there.