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The 7 Lessons I Learned After Failing Forward for 14 Years in Sales

I graduated in 2007 and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. (Yes, that’s a real pic of me on the left trying to be cool in 2007 )

I had already gone against the grain and didn’t go to school to become a doctor, lawyer, engineer, or accountant..

I stumbled into sales because I saw the potential with the company I chose and the skills I could develop.

When I started though, I struggled. I was no stranger to hard work coming from the restaurant industry and being a child of immigrants.

Despite outworking everyone from number of cold calls, number door knocks, number of emails, number of hours put in, etc..I was still the worst performer.

I grew frustrated and angry as I saw some of my peers who were CLEARLY not even putting close to the same amount of effort have better results.

I wanted to quit daily but the job market was tough and I knew it’d be hard to find a job with basically no experience or proven results..

I second-guessed every call I made and every decision I made regarding sales. My confidence was at an all-time low…

Fortunately I was able to eventually figure it out and I am so thankful I figured it out as learning to master sales completely changed my life.

It impacted me from skills developed, income earned, recognition received, relationships created, customers and clients impacted, the life it has created for my family and me, and so much more.

In my 14 years of B2B selling, sales leadership, and running my own business, I’ve found there are a few key lessons that I’ve realized:

1 ) EVERYONE’S WEAKNESSES CAN BECOME YOUR STRENGTHS
The challenges and struggles you deal with on a daily basis are not easy. This is why sales is not for the faint of heart. But REALIZE that all the insecurities you face..everyone faces.

The hardest territory to manage is always the one between your ears.

If you can learn to take action in spite of that, it becomes a competitive advantage. Remember that struggle is a barrier of entry to success that many are unwilling to push through.

2 ) EVERYTHING YOU WANT LAYS OUTSIDE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
This ties to number 1 – it is UNCOMFORTABLE to..

Cold call, ask tough questions, ask for the business, take action regardless how you feel, etc.

But growth happens when you are uncomfortable. It’s like working out – if you don’t feel the burn or strain, you won’t lose weight or gain the muscles you seek.

3 ) THE MORE YOU LEARN, THE MORE YOU EARN
Those who have an ego will always get capped in what they achieve in life and their income. We can ALWAYS learn.

If you meet someone that you do NOT think you can learn from BUT they have achieved more success than you have..I guarantee you that you can learn from them still.

BUT you must be open to learning or else you will sell yourself on why you can’t learn from them.

This is why I still periodically read sales books and keep up to-date on the marketplace.

This is why I still test different outbound messages for effectiveness.

The more you learn and execute, the more you will earn. And regardless of how much success you have, keep LEARNING as there is always someone out there who you can learn from.

4 ) EVERY OUTPUT IS TIED TO AN INPUT
Success leaves clues. Those who are consistently successful leave a lot of clues.

Example: If someone hits President’s Club one time, it means NOTHING to me (sorry if that’s you)

BUT if that person hits President’s Club every single year or comes close, that tells me they have specific INPUTS that are leading to the right OUTPUTS.

If an athlete consistently wins championships, again, they have specific INPUTS they are doing that lead to the right OUTPUTS.

These inputs come in the form of beliefs patterns, values they hold, how they think, how they mentally process, actions they take, their habits, and behaviors.

Find the consistent winners. Learn what those inputs are and execute on them – your chances of success will skyrocket significantly as a result.

5) COMMITMENT + CONSISTENCY WILL MAKE YOU A TOP 1%’ER
Whether it’s sales, fitness, life, relationships, etc., if you want to be at the peak, you must have commitment and consistency.

For example: if you are committed to losing 20 pounds. If you are committed you will lose 20 pounds.

But what happens after?

If you’re not consistent, you’ll gain it back!

This is no different for sales or life.

Commitment helps you hit the goal but consistency is what keeps you there.

6 ) TIME IS YOUR MOST VALUABLE ASSET
Most people just hope that over time they will get better at sales.

This is true to a certain extent especially if you are brand new. However, you’ll reach a point where you simply will hit a plateau.

The point of brand new to plateau could be 6 months or 6 years.

Once they hit the plateau, they essentially just repeat the same average year over and over..going from sales job to sales job every few years.

Average reps just choose to live this life. Time gets wasted from when they start to where they are now as they are banking on time to make them better.

This leads to never truly maximizing their life, income, or potential.

The problem with this is that you can never get time back. Once spent, it’s gone forever.

This is why it’s key to execute the above principles as it’s about getting back to your time. It’s about cutting down the learning curve as fast as possible.

Tomorrow is NEVER promised.

The sooner and faster you learn the right things to do, the faster you’ll get results. The faster you can refine and the more your results compound.

7) MASTERING SALES IS THE FASTEST WAY TO ACHIEVE YOUR LIFE GOALS
One of the greatest realizations I had early on was that a career path is simply a vehicle to your dreams.

I never wanted to be a salesperson.

It wasn’t a dream and I definitely was not a “born salesperson.”

But I wanted financial freedom.

I realized sales was one of the fastest ways to get there.

And I realized that the skills you learned in sales transcends to every part of your life. Being able to influence and persuade to get what you want is one of the most powerful skills in the world.

Once you master sales, you can make money. A lot of it.

And NO – money is not everything but it gives you CHOICES.

Freedom of choice in how you want to spend it whether it’s on creating memories with your family, buying investments, starting a business, etc.

Money is just a tool and how you use it determines where you go in life.

And the SOONER and the MORE you can acquire, the faster you can get to your goals.

This is why I’m obsessive about sales. Learning how to sell changed my life and put me in a position to have a lot of choices.

If it wasn’t for sales, I wouldn’t have the life I have today.

I would not be who I am today if it was not for sales.

So if you’re out there grinding and you’re feeling defeated, just remember that it’s all worth it in the long run.

Learn, execute, master, and refine.

Your future self will thank you.

I hope this article inspired you today.

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