“This looks like it’s going to be a really tough one,” said Nick turning to Gail. “I bet five bucks that if the sale ever happens, it will take some poor salesperson months to close it.”
“I don’t know,” said Gail, “Look at the commission. Close to $40,000 if it goes . . . that’s one hell of a vacation.”
“You used the danger word, ‘if’ . . . no guarantee it will. Man, I sure don’t want to spend months working on this one and not have it go.”
“Got a point there,” she said. “Wonder what you eat during the meantime?”
“Put you right into the draw hell. I’ll pass on this one.”
“Me, too,” replied Gail.
“Hey,” said Nick, “remember Steve, that sales guy who used to work in this office before he moved to the big-time office in the city?”
“Kind of, I was only here about two weeks before he left. What about him?”
“This is exactly the type of deal he always went looking for . . . you know the one where you are set for the rest of the year if you make it. Man, did he ever live on the edge.”
“We both started about the same time, and he used to juggle a half dozen of these monsters at the same time. Don’t know how he did it. Every year he was here, he doubled his income. Never knew when to kick back and enjoy his luck. Luckiest bastard I ever saw. He even closed some guy sitting next to him on a plane ride.”
“Wish some of his luck would rub off on me,” said Gail. “I just found out that my kid is going to buy her orthodontist his new Mercedes with her mouth.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean. Two more years and little Nick is going to be heading to college. You have any idea what that costs, even at a state school?”
“Doesn’t get cheaper.”
“Hey, when the time comes, I’ll rev up the motor and go make the nut. Done it before, can do it again.”
“I’m sure you will,” responded Gail.
Nick has reached a point where he can pay his bills and have a few bucks left over. As you heard him say, when he absolutely has to earn more, he can. But he never asks himself, why not now?
Every salesperson has a comfort zone. Their comfort zone is that earning level at which not much more than the bills are paid. Many salespeople, unfortunately, get stuck here for the rest of their careers.
The reason they remain stuck is nothing more than the fear of failure. Here’s their thinking process.
I’ve struggled to get this good, and now I know I can pay my bills. When I didn’t know as much as I know today, I failed to make enough sales, and there were days when I wondered if I made the right decision. To be honest, there are sales I still don’t make today, but those are not my fault. Somebody or something else I can’t control caused them to slip away. I also don’t need to learn anything else because I’m perfectly content with where I am. Besides, I’ve seen all the supposedly new sales techniques, and they are just like all of the others. If you have been in sales long enough, you’ve seen it all. Same thing, new label. At least I’m not starting out now. I don’t know how the new salespeople survive.
Risking failure is how a salesperson gets out of his comfort zone. It’s the next step in becoming more professional. Some will take it, some won’t.
Recognizing that you failed to make the sale is easy. The first step is disbelief that the prospect would ever consider someone else. “What an idiot she was!”
The second step is fear. “I hope that doesn’t happen again. It would be like starting over.”
The third step is anger. Anger at the prospect, the company you work for, the economy or whatever for the prospect not buying. “Ain’t my fault it didn’t happen.”
The fourth step, and most difficult to take, is acceptance that the sale was not made because you did not handle it correctly. “Must have missed something.”
The fifth step, and the one that gets you out of your comfort zone, is taking action to see that when you are in front of the next prospect, you don’t make the same mistake again. “I’ll try it this way next time.”
Staying in your comfort zone means only one thing: you have decided to stop increasing your earnings. You may also find your earnings going down because you start getting sloppy and start cutting corners.