1. You must have patience to listen to questions. Seemingly silly ones, pointless ones, endless questions. Remember, there are no bad questions. And yeah, prospects don’t understand things as deeply as you do. If you find yourself saying “How can they not understand this?” — you are a lousy salesman. And, obviously, you must then have the patience to methodically answer each and every question lovingly and caringly.
2. You must have patience to wait for that phone call or email that may never come. You have no idea why they aren’t getting back to you. And chances are, it is a very logical reason why, something you cannot control.
[For example, just heard from a prospect of mine. I submitted a proposal months ago. No feedback. Very frustrating - did I so something wrong? Did I miss something? All of sudden, he rang me just today. Had some personal stuff to deal with, but promised quick action to proceed. All good.
Be patient my friend...]
3. You must have the patience to methodically and painstakingly build a content marketing strategy that educates, inspires, and moves your market to action. This does NOT happen overnight. And this may takes years. So you better get started!
4. Like every snowflake, every opportunity is different. And you must have the patience to understand and recognize that every opportunity will respond differently to your sales process. Every one.
5. You need the patience to understand that you are dealing with people. And people are human. They do stoopid things. If you don’t account for this, you will live a frustrating life.
6. You MUST have the patience to deal with office politics:
6a. Your own office politics, and the sales manager riding your ass to meet your numbers. Right or wrong, remember, he’s just doing his job.
6b. Your prospect’s office politics. There is nothing you can do about this. Just know it is there, very real, and likely deeply impacting your opportunity. Settle in, you will have to ride that wave.
7. Sales requires creativity. And if you have a creative bone in your body (most do even if you refuse to acknowledge it), you know that this takes thoughtfulness, mindfullness, purpose and of course, patience.
8. If you want your prospects to respond to you, you need to treat them like human beings – not an account on a database.
9. Speaking of databases, you will likely be required to key in all your data and activity into some pre-ordained CRM system. Trust me, I know, this is a lousy process. Time consuming, and seemingly pointless. But if you exist in a large sales force, it is reality. So be patient with it. Likely, if you are patient with it, and take some care with it, it can help you…
10. Lastly, you must recognize and understand: good things take time. They just do. Something worthwhile won’t happen overnight. It just won’t. And you better understand this.
Sales will be a miserable, rotten, meaningless, unfulfilling, and ultimately unsuccessful existence if you don’t bring some patience to the game.
Now, take a deep breath, collect your thoughts, and take it one step at a time…
[cartoon by hugh macleod]