“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” ― Abraham Lincoln
Hit the target, lift the bar, hit the target, lift the bar. Live in sales can sometimes resemble ground hog day.
Sales is a constant series of small sprints within a long race. We have targets, KPI’s, deadlines and a myriad of other external drivers to keep us focused on achieving both micro and macro goals.
How many times have you heard, or used, the phrase ‘I’ll be happy when….’? We usually think that we will be happy once we are successful. So we chase success in the hope we’ll then be happy. But does this work? Refer this video by @ShawnAchor:
‘Success’ is a usually a moving feast. We achieve it and recognise it for the briefest of moments before we either reset our expectations or the next ‘race’ begins. An example of this most of us can relate to is a month’s end/beginning. We may have had a fantastic month and recognise this success in a fleeting moment. However, what is laid out in front of us is the next months quota to fill so any happiness garnered from the success of the last month is quickly overtaken by the focus on efforts needed to achieve the coming months targets. And, if we don’t worry about achieving our target, we will worry about something else. Whether it is client satisfaction, margins, retention, etc – we are conditioned to worry about achieving some metric or KPI. As a result, it is difficult for sales people to be happy and, if we are, even more difficult to hold on to.
The weird thing is, we can often manifest this happiness in front of clients – but do we live it in the office?
Stress is counter-productive in sales. Worrying about achieving target can make you do things you shouldn’t.
- It can make you focus on transactions rather than relationships.
- It can make you focus on short term gains rather than long term successes.
- It can make you focus on any client, rather than the right ones.
- It can make you distrust your plan
As sales people and sales leaders, we need to make sure we take the time to honour success and celebrate happiness. The trusim is that if we are looking for our happiness to be driven by our success and our measurement for success is constantly lifting – how are we ever going to be happy? We actually have to focus on being happy first.
If you’ve hired the correct sales people/team – as a sales leader, you shouldn’t have to bang on to them about their targets and other metrics. You should be focused on providing the environment & motivation for them to be successful. Maybe that focus is on making sure they’re happy first? There is little argument in sales circles that happy staff will lead to happy clients.
If succeeding is something we do to be happy as a sales person, maybe we have the equation around the wrong way as Shawn Achor suggests. Maybe success is actually driven from happiness? Maybe a fun work place is a key to success?
Rather than driving happiness from success – maybe happiness is a key skill to being a successful sales person and creating it to successful sales leadership?
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