So I’ve been thinking lately about what makes a really great sales person. Is it all talent? Can hard work replace talent? I don’t necessarily think so; you do need some talent, but you also need to continually focus on building your success.
As with so many things in life, becoming an award-winning salesperson isn’t something you just “do,” but rather a journey of constant self-improvement. There’s some training, self-discipline, manager direction.
But there’s another critical component that most top salespeople leverage: a mentor. What they know is that being really great isn’t a journey you have to make alone.
Having a mentor to guide you can help you in four significant ways you might never have imagined on your journey to greatness.
- Share experiences. Most of the situations you come across in your sales career – even the toughest and most frustrating ones – aren’t truly unique. A good mentor can tell you how they handled a similar challenge and turned it into an opportunity, or what they learned from the experience. You can take the shortcut to success thanks to your mentor.
- Express a different perspective. Each of us has blind spots in our own performance and execution, strengths and weaknesses of which we may not be fully aware. An experienced mentor can help you to recognize and overcome them in a constructive way. This applies on both a tactical and strategic level. Often a mentor can help you find “the big picture view” of yourself and your career, leading you to the questions and insights that result in significant new directions.
- Provide encouragement and advice. Many of your professional relationships, especially with managers and supervisors, revolve around the company’s interests, not your own. A mentor has your interests at heart and can help you propel your career forward. One who has been successful in his or her own sales career will provide encouragement and advice that fits you.
- Challenge you. Many salespeople think of a mentoring relationship as one that revolves around sage advice, and little more. Certainly, that’s an important part of the mix, but a great mentor won’t just tell you what he or she knows. She’ll push you to get more out of yourself. That’s because your mentor sees your strengths as well as your shortcomings, and will expect you to make the very most of all your talents. In other words, they’re going to be the ones who help you to never settle for “good enough.”
Because of the individual nature of selling, we tend to mistakenly think of it as something you have to do and succeed at alone.
When it comes to reaching a much higher level of performance, though, a good sales mentor can help you gain better perspective and get more from yourself than you ever thought possible.
Who’s your mentor?