Is Success Guaranteed with Hard Work?

3-Coats_NcL_One I’ve been pondering the sales profession for many years and trying to determine what makes some sales people wildly successful and others just so-so. From reading sales books and researching, the answers are as widely varied as the authors experience.

What’s my take? What make a successful salesman? I think it has nothing to do with relationships, methods, techniques, or personality, although each of these are important in their place.

I believe the one thing that separates the pack is PREPARATION.

The prepared sales person has a much greater chance to succeed than the one that is not.

What preparation is best suited for success? That depends on the type of sales you’re in.

Sometimes it’s research on the company.

  • Checking the P&Ls
  • Reading the annual reports
  • Market segment
  • Market share
  • Competitors
  • Synergies
  • Partners

Maybe the people

  • Position (logical or creative)
  • Motivation (cutting costs, increasing sales, family time)
  • Bonus structure
  • Awards/Recognitions within the industry
  • Business background

Business background is an interesting on in my business. Frequently I deal with the position of Custodial Manager, Custodial Supervisor, or Director of Custodial Services. From the titles, the assumption is that they know something about a custodians work, but this is not the case.

In the last year, I have met new people in one of these positions with the following background.

  • Painter for school district
  • Construction foreman in the private sector
  • HVAC worker for the school district
  • Business owner
  • Plumber for school district

When I talk to one of these people, I have to watch my language. No, not bad language … trade language. These people usually don’t know about chemicals and their ingredients. They usually don’t know the critical differences in phosphoric acid and hydrochloric acid. They don’t understand the difference between floor finish percent of solids and finish hardness. I could go on and on, but you get the point.

Before having a detailed discussion about our profession, I need to find out this persons profession, which is not necessarily custodial.

Is this happening in other industries? I’d be fascinated to hear your stories.

4 thoughts on “Is Success Guaranteed with Hard Work?

  1. Dave J.

    As to point one, I would answer tenaciousness. They have a hardy desire to connect product and user in a win-win-win deal. Not ‘helpful’ to a fault, but helping get the deal done.

    As to point two, our industry shifted from test lab people who knew the equipment and procedures, to test lab users, usually the product engineers. This seems smart because they oversee first-hand the testing … but they often don’t know much about the capabilities of the equipment and can royally screw things up. We’ve got an ‘high-altitude’ test unit that someone tried to open while running … the walls caved in. Ugh!!!

    1. Larry Hendrick Post author

      Dave, I love tenacious salesmen. I have always thought it was what helped me be successful in most of my endeavors. Of course, the flip side is to not know when to leave well enough alone. I sometimes hang on to a thought, project, or job way past the point of intelligence.

      On two, at least the product engineers know what the name of the device is, even if they tear them up. OK, that’s not much help, but I’m dealing with people that have no experience except seeing a commode in a men’s room. I can’t even have a discussion about cleaning and disinfecting with them because they don’t have a basic understanding of the proper process.

      However, what it proves is that several industries are in the middle of changing things, even if not for the best. It seems a working knowledge of the job hired for isn’t a requirement any longer.


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