Ok, I know what some of you are thinking. “Wow, that’s a pretty abrasive and uncomfortable statement to make Mr. Purvis!” Hang tight, I’m not exactly referring to someone’s physicality in this article. I’m talking about “Sales Fitness” and many of the same rules that apply in physical fitness apply to us as sellers.
Hear me out.
Let’s say you are 300 lbs and want to get in shape. So, you do what most people do - you get a gym membership. You arrive the first day, workout for an hour, then go home and look at yourself in the mirror. What do you look like? You look the EXACT same as you did.
Tomorrow, you wake up and go to the gym again. You get back home, look in the mirror, and what do you see this time? You see the same fat and out of shape person you did yesterday. Wtf!
This is why most people don’t stay in physically fit. In fact, 41.9% of Americans are obese according to the CDC. A major factor to why this is - the results of working out take a long time to notice. It’s why in January, gyms are crowded with overweight people who have a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. However, once March rolls in, the gym is back to normal volume and the inconsistent are back to Cheetos and Netflix. In fact, January 19 has been revealed as the day people are most likely to abandon their New Year’s fitness resolutions, according to new data insights from social fitness network Strava.
Culprit = Lack of motivation & consistency.
Moreover, we live in a “quick fix” world. The alternative to hitting the gym on a daily basis is to have an expensive surgery or gobble up one of the many gimmicky fitness products out there that claim to, “Get results fast.” But they never do which is why a new one comes out every month. I mean, let’s be honest, nobody you know who is “jacked” or “ripped” got it from a Shake Weight, I promise :).
Instead, if you were to stay consistent and work out every day to the gym and eating healthy, positive changes in your body occur within weeks. Resting heart rate can decrease by up to 1 beat/min in sedentary individuals with each week of aerobic training and lowers blood pressure. If you stay consistent and make working out a daily routine, studies show that in three to six months, an individual can see a 25 to 100% improvement in their muscular fitness.
These same rules apply to us as sellers.
Studies show that 40% of sellers don’t hit quota and many of the ones who don't are what I would call the “Sales Obese.” These are the folks that head to the “gym” with no real plan of attack and fall into the trap of inconsistency. They may prospect a day or two in a row but if the results are not there - they start looking for short cuts and start the blame game.
However, for the highly motivated & disciplined – they create a repeatable process and build a system that is set up for the long term which leads them to becoming a “Sales Athlete.” Creating new pipeline (i.e. putting in the reps) every single day is monotonous for anybody but the pros are devoted to this boredom because they're in love with the results, not the tasks itself.
Sales athletes are fanatical about prospecting ("working out") and as the prospecting guru Jeb Blount points out, "...fanatical prospectors are aware of the brutal fact that the number one reason for failure in sales is an empty pipeline which is the direct result of a failure to prospect." Jeb points out what he calls, "The 30-day Rule:"
What you do in a 30-day period will pay off in 90 days.
If you don't prospect today, you will feel the effects within the next 90 days.
If you don't prospect all of next week, you will feel it in your commission check.
If you do not prospect for the next month, your business will collapse.
Like working out, the magic is in the routine. Yea, life happens and there may be a day or two that's unavoidable to miss a workout or a day that involves pipeline generation. But it's critical in both sales & fitness to get right back in the routine so your commission (6-pack abs), your business (your overall health), don't take an irreversible hit.
“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine” — John C. Maxwell
Where You "Work Out" Doesn't Matter
For those who are physically fit, the gym you go to doesn’t really matter. You can go to a different gym one day and a different one the next and you will still stay in shape. Why? It’s not the actual gym that matters. It’s your system.
The same applies in staying “Sales Fit.” Think of going from one gym to the other as going from one job (company) to another. It won’t affect like it will for the Sales Obese. Yea, there might be different gym equipment (i.e. products) but if you stick to your routine, the positive results will still apply.
A real life example of this is a colleague of mine who absolutely crushes it no matter where he works. Kris Phillips.
I worked very closely with Kris during my tenure at Okta. Kris was always near or at the top of the leaderboard every quarter and every he was there. He is the definition of “Sales Fit” and mastered doing big deals. Recently, Kris switched “gyms” and moved over to the startup Wiz.io and is right back at the top of the leaderboard. No surprise.
What’s Kris’s secret? Consistency.
He consistently puts in the work and always does “one more rep.” He consistently sells into the same companies and to the same personas. He sticks to his system and doesn’t deter. He’s relentless.
He can be at 200% of his number and you would think he hadn’t closed anything. He’s like the person who’s already “ripped” at the gym blasting through burpees with sweat pouring down as if they need to lose 10 pounds by the weekend. He just keeps going.
"Motivation gets you going, but discipline keeps you growing."
The Top 3 Ways to Stay “Sales Fit”
Workout every body part: Start with the hardest "body part" first which is prospecting. After your "power hour," reach out to your existing customers and drive additional value for them. End the day's "workout" by reaching out to partners, coworkers, etc.
Stay away from junk food: Avoid activity that doesn’t produce results such as prospecting to the wrong buyer personas or into non-ideal customer profiles. Avoid spending the "golden hours" doing non-revenue generating activity.
Always do one more rep: Imagine if you just called one more customer every day. That’s 5 customers a week, 20 a month, and 220+ a year.