New Year’s, the traditional fresh start, blank-page day, is a close second, but it comes (at least for those of us in the northern hemisphere) in the dead of winter, with the coldest, snowiest two months of the year around the corner. Outlook: a gray, white, nearly monochromatic world. Maybe that’s why on New Year’s we look back at things we should or shouldn’t do and resolve to change our ways.
Baseball’s opening day comes at the beginning of spring with trees budding, songbirds returning, and bulbs beginning to flower all around us. The gentlest weather of the year lies ahead, the world is coming back to vibrant, colorful life, and every team has a perfect record, is tied for first place, and is brimming with hope that 162 games later, it actually could finish on top.
Whether it’s the first day of the year, the opening of baseball (or football, or soccer, or hockey, or…) season, or the first day of school, knowing that you can start over with a clean slate and have a chance to succeed is invigorating, empowering, and just feels good. Now if we could just have that feeling every day.
In truth, we can enjoy that feeling all year round if we just look at each new day as a chance to start anew with a clean slate and unlimited possibilities. This positive-thinking, forward-looking approach is one taken by the most successful salespeople. They leave the rejections of yesterday behind and begin each day with enthusiasm―not a phony, rah rah start to the day that dies out before lunch, but a deeply held belief that they have the skill and savvy to close a deal with every prospect because they know how to solve their prospects’ problems and their company has the service resources to back them up.
At a recent Epicomm New York Chapter meeting, my colleague Bill Farquharson shared his “Ten Best Sales Tips” with an audience of printers and mailers. In his presentation, he pointed out that Dale Carnegie, the apostle of self-improvement and the ability to influence others, noted that you can get what you want when you find out what the other guy wants and help him get it.
In other words, you’ll make the sale when you’re willing to take the time to learn about the prospect’s business, find out what his needs and problems are, and show him that you are the person and the company to meet those needs and solve those problems.
It’s hard for each day to be a fresh start if you begin it with a bundle of preconceived notions or one-size-fits-all presentations, or when you talk more than you listen. But you create clean slate for yourself every day of the year when you focus on asking, listening, and learning. That’s the clear path to a championship season.