Why Success Slows Sales People Down

There is an interesting phenomenon that you can observe in sales people. If the morning has proved extraordinarily successful for them, they tend to expend a little less effortConverting-Leads-To-Sales on closing sales in the afternoon. They may call one customer less than they had planned, or show less persistence in securing an order. Remarkable! Normally one would expect sales success to act as a spur, giving greater incentive and motivating the sales person to make more effort not less. So what is happening?

The reason for this strange phenomenon is that most of us tend to rest prematurely on our laurels, our level of motivation is temporarily reduced by the results we have just achieved and our planned sales activity for the immediate future is compromised. I believe there are two reasons why so many sales people are weakened rather than invigorated by their last sales success.

The first reason is that immediately after a sale has been closed the sales person is, understandably, delighted by their particularly successful sales call; they are proud of the result they have achieved and view it as the long-awaited fruit of all their hard-work. Consequently, they feel justified in easing off, relishing a few hours of relaxation. Momentarily the pressure for closing more sales is off.

The second reason is that before the sale was closed, the sales person had subconsciously set themselves a target: their own personal concept of a “reasonable” volume of business. As a result, if they manage to land an above-average order, they approach the next call anticipating that it will result in a below-average sale. Unfortunately, this is often exactly what happens. This is not due to the inevitability of fate but is, in fact, the logical outcome of our own false attitude (and an example of the self-fulfilling prophesy).

All of us are capable of more than we have managed to achieve in the past. Our aim should be to continuously improve because today's great success will prove to be a normal achievement tomorrow. We must, therefore, motivate ourselves to greater efforts, not fewer. We all tend to set our personal targets for closing sales too low. Our moment of personal triumph will come when we no longer view an unusually successful sale as a windfall, but rather as visible evidence of our true capabilities and the opportunity for a break-through to even greater things.