Are You in Focus?


I’m no whiz at photography but even I can look through a camera lens and tell if an image is in or out of focus. The reason I can tell is because I am forced into seeing only the image through a tiny lens. One eye is closed and the other is looking into the camera lens. When the image is out-of-focus we can make a small adjustment with the lens to bring the image into focus. Simple; right?

So it is with a sales career, regardless of the industry in which we work. It has been said about many children, because they have a friendly, out-going personality, they will make a good salesperson some day. Personality is helpful in sales but it is not the ingredient that determines ones success. It has been said that a salesperson is born with the abilities to become successful. I totally agree on one hand but strongly disagree on the other. Salespeople aren’t born salespeople. Salespeople are developed through a desire to succeed in the field of sales. We are all born with the abilities to sell. We simply don’t use those abilities.  Most people never have the desire to sell therefore they never hone their skills for selling.

What does a successful sales person look like? I can assure you they come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and ages. If we were to compose a list of the most desirable characteristics for a person desiring to enter the sales arena, it might look something like this. An attractive person with an out-going, very pleasant personality, and well dressed, a very extensive vocabulary and possesses no fear of talking to anyone, at any time, about anything. These are favorable attributes that can enhance a salesperson’s career but I have seen some of the most successful salespeople that didn’t appear to have any of these attributes. Haven’t you known some of these salespeople? So what makes them so successful?

I would say there are two things a person must have in order to attain success in a sales career. One first they must have is a desire or a purpose. Generally people have a purpose for doing everything they do. When asked why they did something, they may say, “Just because I wanted to.” Well, this is not the type purpose I am referring to. The purpose I’m talking about is the desire to become the very best that you can possibly be. Whatever occupation we choose to provide financial support for our family, we should desire to be the best that we can be, but most people don’t. They do just enough to get by, just enough to keep from losing their job. Most people don’t excel at what they do. They may perform their job well, but they don’t excel to the point that they rank among the best of all those who perform the same type work.

Another thing a person must possess if they wish to attain success in sales is focus. With focus I’m referring to the ability to make the necessary adjustments so as to concentrate one’s efforts on doing the things necessary to achieve their short and long term goals. Many times we can’t see the forest for the trees. In a normal work-day we have so many obstacles thrown at us that we don’t know which one to handle first. At the end of the day we look back to find that we solved some of the little issues but didn’t accomplish the most important things. We have a tendency to let people around the coffee pot or copy machine engage us in useless conversation when we should have maintained our focus on performing the duties necessary for us to accomplish the things that are most important to our success. Let me give you an example of what I see happen in the real estate industry. The most important aspect of real estate is having clients to work for. We develop these clients by having conversations with people. Before we can have these conversations, we must generate leads; people that might possibly be interested in buying or selling real estate. Many agents get so caught up in daily activities of handling transactions; they fail to generate new people to work with next week. The busy work hindered them from doing the things that are most important to their success. The agent who maintains focus on doing the important things is the same agent that is at the top of the list for the highest producers for the month. You see, this agent had a purpose; he had a goal; he had the desire to do the things that would make him the best he could be; and he was focused on doing those things and didn’t let anything hinder his performance. Desire and focus are not limited to the real estate industry. Any person, in any industry, that attains real success will possess these two traits.


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