Aids in Developing Good Habits For Assured Success, pt 2

Date Published: 
Original Author: 
James Showalter
Sales Manager
Original Publication: 
NAC Sales Management Binder - Speeches

Many speeches, talks, and sessions such as this one are started with a definition from Webster's dictionary. When asked to serve on the faculty of this Counselor's Training Course, I became nervous when I was referred to as an expert. I looked up the word. In the dictionary "ex" comes directly from Latin and means "from" and "spurt" is defined as a "drip under pressure" so that now I feel right at home.

Aids in developing good habits for assured success. The key words in the title of this session are "Success" and Assured". Success cannot be defined by Webster's dictionary or Encyclopedia Britannia or any other book. The reason is simple.  You have your own definition of success because you have your own goals. Success is the "degree or measure of attaining one's desired end", according to Webster. Yet this is not enough - because even before a goal is attained others are set and life becomes a continual flow rather than starting and stopping at one successive goal after another.

The other key word is “assured”.  No one on this green earth can "assure" you of success. If I had this ability, I would rent the largest office in Philadelphia and have three floors reserved just for the waiting room. People would come from all over the world - if I could assure success, or could just pick out the individuals who would succeed. Yet there is one individual who can do this for you. You shave him every morning and brush his teeth every night. That hint should be enough.  You are your own assurance of success.

To make people well, the medical student studies people who are sick, injured or diseased.  To understand mentally sound individuals the psychologist studies the mentally abnormal and mentally deficient, to develop into a successful cemetery counselor we should study the ones who have failed - find out why they failed -and do the opposite. We should make a habit of doing right what the failure has done wrong. We must assume that his failure had the ability and aptitude.

The prime cause of an individual not succeeding in this business is his failure to get leads. The habit of prospecting is of the utmost importance in developing into a successful counselor. Without prospects, a salesman is unemployed. Without enough prospects, the best presentation is of no value. Having more than enough prospects is impossible. Simply possessing prospects generates excitement - it makes us anxious to get into the field. It gives us confidence. The hope that radiates from an unsold prospects card is enough to drive us into making that "one more call". Getting prospects has been covered this morning, covered well, yet I am so convinced that getting and having prospects is so important that it cannot be emphasized too much. Prospecting is the one phase of selling that appeal least to most salesmen. Getting prospect should be such a habit, such an integral part of our lives that we should feel like sinners if we fail to prospect every working day. The necessity of having prospects in quantity is the most widely known secret in the sales field. It is the key to selling success. It installs confidence, generates enthusiasm, breeds courage, and causes determination and persistence. The salesman should prospect every day - the successful one does.

Another quality that causes failure is the lack of confidence.

A new salesman overcomes this lack of confidence in his ability with his enthusiasm to learn.  Knowledge as it is stored up, strengthens confidence. A new salesman must remember during his first calls that although he has much to learn and is far from being an expert, compared to the prospect that he is talking to, he is authority and knows much more about the cemetery business than the prospect does. I will bet there is not a salesman here that has not driven past a prospect's door without stopping or walked up to it without knocking.  I have.  Until the thought struck me that I was going into their home for their benefit, not mine.  The few dollars I make on any sale are spent in a short time, but their benefits are forever.  Form the habit of service.  This idea alone, serving others, will change your concept of the door – it will become a portal, to enter to serve, and not a barrier with a lock.

Another characteristic of the failure is his inability to generate his own energy – his lack of inner drive.  There is only one thing worse than seeing a man with ability and no drive and that is the pitiful individual with drive and no ability.  Form the habit of making goals – ultimate goals that require years are important – but make short term goals also.  Form the habit of reminding yourself of them.  Write them down.  Tape them to the mirror where you shave.  Carry them with you.  Look at them often.  Make your specific goals a part of your routine thought and not only will the energy to attain them be yours but also the joy of attaining them will be yours.

Many individuals who fail as salesmen lack conviction and dedication of purpose.  Others are so mild mannered that they cannot communicate their beliefs forcefully.  They seem to lack “spine” or “guts”.  They lack what I have heard called the “tiger instinct”.  It does have the qualities of instinct in that they are facets that are basic to some personalities and cannot be changed easily.

Some failures cannot bear up to the “no” answers that every salesman must get.  Form the habit of listening to them without becoming discouraged.  It takes one hundred and seventy-eight “no’s” to make a sale.  Let me illustrate.  It takes one hundred sixty canvass calls to produce sixteen suspects.  That means 144 “no” suspects doors.  If you start with sixteen prospects in the evening, 8 will not be home, 4 more will not have the entire buying unit present, 2 will own elsewhere and two stories will result.  In most presentations we must listen to at least ten rejections before we close so that is 20 or a total of 178 rejections.  It takes an individual with ability to stand rejection and still remain pleasantly persistent.  It takes a man with “tiger instinct”.

All successful men have three characteristics: 1) Ability, 2) Confidence, 3) Determination and 4) persistence. A fifth quality usually is present, a genuine love of what they are doing. A love that has developed because of an inner satisfaction that seems to go beyond financial satisfaction. Do not be afraid to fall in love with your chosen profession.

Another habit that should be continually cultivated is the habit of finding an easier better way. Always strive to become more efficient.

Form the habit of making calls every evening of the week and on Saturday. The golden hours are few - from 6 to 9, five nights a week, is only fifteen effective evening selling hours. It is obvious that Friday is becoming more a part of the weekend - people shop or seek amusement or just jam the streets with their cars, so it seems.

It is equally as obvious that many people are home - just as many sales can be made Friday evening as any other night. Do not try to be successful on only four nights a week.

Not only form the habit of working Friday evening but also search for the daytime presentations. There are countless opportunities to sell during the day. One month we closed a third of our sales before 5 o'clock in the evening - this releases that much more time to call on other people during the Golden Hours.

Another way to increase your efficiency is after calling on a prospect, spend two more minutes to quality the neighbors. It takes only a brief time, yet will bring you many, sales during a year – try it, what can you lose?

The responsibility is really yours.  Others can point the way but you must do the travelling.  You are your own best friend or your own worst enemy.  The decision is always yours.