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Salespeople - Give Hope a Chance

by having the courage to make something happen.

Are you hopeful? Hope is described as an optimistic mindset that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes. Being hopeful is regarded as a positive human trait and is often identified as a desirable characteristic for salespeople to possess. So, how can hope potentially be bad for us? When we use hope, in place of courage.

  • Hope is wishing something will happen.

  • Faith is believing something will happen.

  • Courage is making something happen.

As sales professionals, it is essential that we give hope a chance by having the courage to make something happen. We should not use hope as a crutch which is what we do when we hope that the scarce few potential opportunities in our sales funnel will close so we miraculously achieve our quota. This is giving hope little chance.

I have never felt good about the idea of prospecting, it conveys that our purpose is to extract value rather than create it. Instead, I believe we have the responsibility (vs. obligation) to continuously engaging with the goal of offering hope to others, and being responsible takes courage. Here are a few additional tips to develop a courageous selling approach:

  • Stand for Something Worthy. There is a significant difference between having good product knowledge and feeling good about selling something. To feel good, most of us need to move well beyond how our products and service work to believing that what we are selling will result in a positive outcome for the customer. If we try to do otherwise, we become at odds with our self-worth, the sense of our value as a person. Courage comes from standing up for what we believe in.

  • Own It. Practicing a consultative approach to sales requires more effort than just proclaiming it or having “consultant” printed on our business cards. We can demonstrate our value as a person who provides expert advice (consultant) by having the courage to relentlessly hone our skills and deepen our understanding of our industry. To "own it," means that we are constantly developing our knowledge and also demonstrate wisdom by applying our knowledge to create value for the customer. Courage comes from living a purposeful life.

  • Get Gritty. Contrary to popular belief, success in sales often results from dogged perseverance and sweat, not swagger. Participation trophies do not exist in sales, and only winners win contracts. So, it is easy to understand why so many salespeople become discouraged if they are only selling to get a contract. Zig Ziglar taught us "you can have everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want." When you feel like quitting it is time to get gritty and ask why you started in the first place, was it for selfish reasons or are you driven to provide positive outcomes for others. Courage comes from never, never, never giving up, on ourselves or on helping others.

While being hopeful is an admirable human characteristic, it has no chance unless we have the courage to make something happen. In sales we should stop relying on hope and instead offer hope to others by having the courage to stand for something worthy, owning it and getting gritty. I really hope this helps you.

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