The crisp autumn leaves and the sounds of marching bands means that school – and football season – are once again in full swing. It’s also the biggest selling season of the year for those of us in Direct Sales. In fact, statistics show that over half of the direct selling business for the entire year is conducting during the last quarter. Much like a football game, those final minutes can mean the difference between big gains and big fumbles. Here are the top six tips you can take from the gridiron and take your business to the next level.
1. Direct Sales requires sacrifice.
Like football, you have to give 110% of yourself to be successful. It can be very easy to make a good living in this business, but don’t be fooled into thinking you can just hang up a shingle and watch the leads come pouring in. There’s some work involved. It’s not as hard as digging ditches, but there will be times, especially early in your business, where you’ll have to make choices, sacrificing time energy and money “on the front end” to generate a bigger return on your investment.
Napoleon Hill researched the content for Think and Grow Rich for about 20 years before Andrew Carnegie ever paid him one red cent of the million dollars he promised for the work. But when the project was done, Carnegie paid in full. Hard work at “the front end” will go a long way toward improving your sales consistency over the long haul of your sales game.
2. Direct Sales requires teamwork.
Make no mistake, you can be very successful as a salesperson – a regular consultant on the showroom floor, but when you utilize the power of teamwork, everyone achieves more. It’s the reason for monthly (or weekly) meetings, coaching calls, mentoring and development programs. Each component builds character, skill and ability. And when leaders are training their recruits properly, everyone prospers. Trying to go it alone will only create more work for yourself.
When your leaders say “you’re in business for yourself, but not by yourself” hold them to it! Seek out trainers and leaders that can build your skill level at presentations, host coaching, closing a sale, signing a recruit and more. Don’t sit stagnant just because you’re out of the area. Unless you are the only person in your company, there are others out there ready willing and able to help you grow your business, because when you succeed, THEY succeed.
If you are a leader, take that role seriously. Make contact with your team a regular, ongoing thing. Know your team – their wants needs and goals – even if they are not your direct recruits. The most successful leaders know their team mates, and their team mates know, like and trust their leader!
3. Direct Sales requires discipline.
Even when your calendar is full, you get on the phone to schedule appointments. Even when your shows are successful, you’re making networking connections. Even if you have zero recruits and zero shows on your calendar, you’re practicing the scripts and doing all the things you need to do consistently to bring in the sales. Highs and lows are a fact of life in sales, but all of that can be evened out by remaining consistent.
It’s so easy to get complacent when things are going well (I’ve done it – I’m sure you have too). It’s even easier to give up when things are going bad. Before you do either, check yourself in the mirror. Prepare a weekly audit of the things you must do – and see if you’re really doing them. Consistency – and disciplining yourself to stay consistent – are the most important aspects of building a successful direct sales business.
4. Direct Sales requires participation.
Selling is not a spectator’s sport. In football, no man rides the bench the entire season – there’s practice, training, and games to be won! Are you a fan? Spectators sit on the sidelines letting the pros do all the work. You need to get your hands dirty, do the work and win the game. Like football, selling is not a game for cowards.
5. Direct Sales has opposing teams
Ah! Now we come to it: competition. Every market has competitors – and in direct sales, you can be competing with other consultants within your own company. It can be tough to beat the opposition. You have to develop special skills and abilities to outpace – and outplay your competitors. Develop your personal brand much like a football team develops their own play book. Dig deep into what you’ve been taught and be creative in finding ways to win the sales game.
There are also other competitors: fear, doubt, guilt, anxiety, and even our family and friends can come between us and a successful direct sales business. The key is to recognize these obstacles and again – dig into the knowledge and training you’ve gained from your leaders, coaches and mentors – and whip the competition no matter how stiff!
6. Direct Sales requires ongoing conditioning.
A football player doesn’t attend one session of pre-season training and figure they’re all set to go to the Super Bowl. Heavens no! These guys are in the gym, on the field, and in their own heads on a regular basis, learning, growing, developing, picking up new skills and better ways of being the best they can be on the gridiron. The same holds true for Direct Sales. Sure, you can buy a kit, read the manual and start selling products, but imagine how much better you can become when you take the time to go to training events, invest in personal development materials, and even coaching programs designed to strengthen your best attributes and build on your opportunities!
Ongoing conditioning ensures you always stay at the “top of your game” and that you are the first person that comes to mind when customers think of your products and services. It’s about getting strong in product knowledge, client rapport, and understanding your direction and role in meeting the needs of others.
No one is born a star salesperson, much like no one is really born with a pigskin in their hand. It takes consistency, team work, sacrifice, hard work and focus. With ongoing training and a commitment to participate fully, you will find yourself on the all-star team that is your Direct Sales organization. You can’t beat that!