Mark Shonka

Taking Control

In sales, we control almost nothing. Think about it. Regardless of what we do and how we do it, we cannot control so many of the factors that contribute to our success such as: the economy, the industry we work in, our products/solutions, our pricing, our customer's procurement practices, our competition... Remember what Robert Crandle, the former CEO of American Airlines said? He said,

"In our industry, we are only as smart as our dumbest competitor."

Many of us can relate to that quote.

The list of things we can't control goes on and on. If we let it, this could be quite depressing. But this is our reality, so we can't let it get us down. As we have all heard, it's not about what happens to us. It's about how we react to what happens to us.

So we need to get to work - pick up the phone, do a LinkedIn search and network, call a decision maker to schedule a presentation, schedule a research meeting... In other words, go to work. In sales and relationship management (assuming we are good at what we do), the best thing we can do is keep on moving forward. The next new customer, or opportunity, or upgrade may be just around the corner. It could be the next call you make that leads you to the biggest deal you've ever done.

This is certainly true when things are going poorly - the next success could be just around the corner. It's also true when things are going well. The first thing we should do after we have a success in sales is pick up the phone and call someone else. After all, we are on a roll. Keep it rolling!

In an environment where we control so little, we can control our work ethic, and we can control how each customer or prospect feels after each interaction with us. That's what we can control, and that's enough!