In her groundbreaking Ted talk, Angela Duckworth defines grit as passion and perseverance over a long period of time for meaningful goals. She goes on to explain that grit, more than talent or IQ, plays the determining role in achieving sustained success. Top tier sales people exhibit grit in virtually everything they do. The 5 tool sales consultant is, by nature or nurture, a gritty sales consultant.
Grit – Nature or Nurture
Some people come out of the womb focused, determined, unflinching in the face of setbacks and persistent in going after big goals. Their grit is hardwired. Many, however, build and strengthen grit over time.
Time and teachings can build grit. A track record of successes and failures in selling over time, shapes the mindset of the gritty sales consultant into knowing that her biggest wins usually take time and perseverance. It gives her reassurance that even her biggest losses can be rebounded from and used like a slingshot to fuel her momentum forward. A lost deal early in her career would have frustrated her. After years of developing grit, the losses are taken as learnings. Like a dead car, she strips a dead deal for its valuable parts, learns what she can from it and moves on.
Small Goal Grit
The gritty sales consultant shows her perseverance repeatedly in every deal she works. In the B-to-B sales world, business is rarely won quickly or easily. Prospects need to be engaged and conversations nurtured. Information needs to be gathered, stakeholders need to be educated, obstacles need to be met and overcome.
Most deals are won after an on-going siege of question and answer. A repeated process of understand, present, confirm, realign and re-present. This process takes stamina. To see it all the way through and a focus on the small wins needed to achieve the big win of a client’s business can take weeks, months, sometimes years. The gritty sales rep sticks with the winnable deals through the hard work required. She keeps on working. She takes temporary Nos to Maybes and Maybes to Yeses, detail by detail, stakeholder by stakeholder. This is why she wins more deals over time compared to her less patient, less persistent, less gritty peers.
Moderate Goal Grit
Grit is an internal, not external force. The gritty sales consultant is constantly looking inward and improving her craft. She is gritty about her own personal development month to month, quarter to quarter and year to year. She not only sticks with her deals, but she sticks with herself. Through the hard times and the good she focuses on what she can control and the improvements she can make in her own game.
As a top performer on her team, she sets more meaningful goals than just the monthly or quarterly sales target. The gritty sales consultant aims for promotion and President’s Club. She thinks big, then acts out each step one at a time to get to the long term goal that may be years away. She focuses on the top of the mountain, then points her nose at the cliff face in front of her and puts one foot in front of the other.
Big Goal Grit
Most know Abraham Lincoln as America’s 16th president and the man who dealt the final blow to abolishing slavery in the Unites States. Less well-known is Lincoln’s long track record of failure hardship that preceded his presidential milestones. Check it out.
1816: At age 7 his family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them.
1818: His mother died.
1831: Failed in business.
1832: Ran for state legislature – lost.
1832: Lost his job – wanted to go to law school but couldn’t get in.
1833: Borrowed money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the year was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off the debt.
1835: Was engaged to be married, fiancée died and his heart was broken.
1836: Had a nervous breakdown and was in bead for 6 months.
1838: Sought to become speaker of the state legislature – defeated.
1840: Sought to become elector – lost.
1843: Ran for Congress – lost.
1848: After winning a seat in 1846, ran for re-election to Congress – lost
1849: Sought the job of land officer in his home state – rejected.
1854: Ran for U.S. Senate – lost.
1856: Sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party’s national convention – got less than 100 votes.
1858: Ran for U.S. Senate again – lost again.
The gritty sales consultant is the Abraham Lincoln of your sales team.
For most, failure is an end point. To the gritty sales consultant, failure is a temporary state. She sees failure as bump in the long road to eventual success in achieving big goals. She is a career sales professional, not an interloper. In sales we lose more often than we win and the gritty sales consultant is mentally bulletproof to the fact that in sales we lose more often than we win.
The gritty sales consultant is in it for the long run and is your future sales manager and V.P. She gets to these long-term leadership roles, often not by outselling everyone else, but by outlasting everyone else. She is mentally tough and this carries her across the finish line of sales marathons while others run out of steam. To quote Lincoln, “I am a slow walker, but I never walk back.’’