>Why do we think that “sales” is easier for some people, then for others? Why do we think that sales is natural for some people, and unnatural for others? The truth is, everyone is good at some part of the sales process, and everyone has to work to be good at the total sales process. We all have to work to be good at the diverse set of skills it takes to actually close a sale.

I want to share a secret with you, the secret to sales. Sales is so simple, so simple anyone can do it. Yes it is simple, but it is not easy. So, what is the secret to sales? Bottom line – the secret to sales is hard work. There is no magic bullet. To be good at sales you have to work hard. You have to make a plan, get out there and meet people, stay in touch and follow-up, and you have to deliver quality. Yes, it takes all of that to be good at sales. It takes hard work, consistent behavior and dedication. That is the difference between success and failure.

Now more than ever, we need to understand that with a fast paced and ever changing economy it is going to take work. I worry for some people, this wake up call is coming too slowly. They continue to believe they can avoid doing what makes them uncomfortable, and somehow it will work itself out. Unfortunately, that is wrong. We have had the luxury in the last ten years or so to live in an abundant (albeit somewhat false) economy. You could pretty much do average work and make a decent profit. Everyone was buying, people were not as selective about where and how they spent their money, and people were not afraid to spend money.

Today, that is not the case. Buying has slowed considerably, people are thinking long and hard before they buy, and budgets are much tighter. This means that every single one of us is going to need to get outside of our comfort zone, and add new skills to our list of talents if we want to close sales and continue to be successful.

Take me – I love to meet people. I am outgoing, energetic and very interested in the story of others. Going to an event, or a party and walking right up and introducing myself to other people does not make me nervous in the least. Spending an evening asking other people questions, finding out who they are and what they do – I love it! So, you see that makes me very good – somewhat natural – at the connection part of sales. Yes, I am lucky!

However,I do have a downside, I naturally hate the planning, the detail that leads to quality, and especially dislike the follow-up. None of those skills come naturally to me. My whole life, I rebelled against making a plan. Why would anyone want to do that? Takes the fun out of everything. And quality? I have never understood why people get so bent out of shape about a few typos or missing pieces. Follow-through and stay in touch? In my opinion, just plain boring. I like new things; I like change; I like different. What is wrong with that?

Everything if I want to close a sales. Think about this. Yes I am a natural when it comes to meeting others, but what good is that if I have no focus, no direction, no plan on who I need to meet, why I need to meet them, and how I can add value to their business? Yes, I love to meet people, but what value does that have if I do not follow-up and follow-through on what I promised or that relationship? What are the chances that someone will want to buy from me right then, right there on the spot without any extra effort on my part? Lastly, yes I am a natural at meeting people, but what good is that if I deliver a product or service that is missing information, is riddled with typos, or is not easily implementable?

It took me a few years to figure that my natural outgoing personality was only going to get me so far. That if I wanted to build a business and truly serve my clients, I better start learning how to plan, how to follow-up and how to dedicate myself to the paying attention to detail. People who know me now would find that information surprising (okay maybe not the attention to detail part – that is a continuous work in process) as I am known as a planner who preaches follow-through and follow-up. Here is the surprising part, getting started is the only hard part. The rest is simple, and the payoff for that commitment is huge!

See sales is a complex process, and everyone has a natural gift for some part of it. However, if you do not work hard, if you decide to delegate the parts you are not good at before you first master them, you will never be good at sales. Why does being good at sales matter? Because, there are plenty of people out there with fantastic ideas, incredible products and amazing talents that never make it, because they never learned to sell.

If you want to turn your prospects into customers, you must first commit to push yourself out of your comfort zone and master the art of sales. That includes all the parts of the sales process. Remember, you are not alone, because when it comes to sales everyone has something to learn!