The 4-letter Word that Will Catapult Your Career: GRIT

The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses — behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.

–Muhammad Ali

The great boxer understood something about life that many of us don’t want to believe.

We like to think that stars are born, not made. But the thing that’s truly required to be “the greatest,” or a long-term success, is grit.

That’s why I’ll be at Brookdale College on June 22nd, to explain “The Power of Grit! 5 Steps to a Fulfilling Career: Whether You Are Just Starting Out or Mid-career.”

How can having grit help you in your career?

Often business owners give up on their goals because everything they try isn’t a roaring success. You cannot lose hope when something isn’t working or when something that worked in the past stops working.

After not getting a response after a sales presentation or email, gritty entrepreneurs don’t say, “Well, I guess they’re just not interested.” They don’t presume to know why they didn’t get a call back and they don’t tell themselves negative stories about what happened. They press on, harder if necessary, or by taking a different tack.

Ali knew that his raw talent alone wasn’t enough to keep him at the top forever. After he had lost some of his legendary speed because of age, he tried something else—he simply wore his opponents down in the ring. It was brutal on his body, but it worked.

Those with grit understand that people are busy and what they offer is probably not the first thing on their prospects’ minds. They realize that a rejection or lack of initial interest may not be related the quality of their offering or anything about them personally. A rejection is only the beginning of a conversation in many sales processes.

Most business owners, like athletes, have enough knowledge and ability to perform well. But most will stop short of excellence. Most will throw in the towel too soon, thinking that is the best they can do. Gritty people are not deterred by failure or the threat of it.

Often it’s when there is no other option that the effect of grit is felt, such as in war. Twenty years ago, I can remember that a strike on the west coast of paper suppliers was hurting my company’s ability to keep the presses running.

We needed to move paper from the east coast to the west, which required concerted pushing, negotiating and constant uncertainty. As head of procurement, this fell to me. Because I did not have a choice—losing was not an option—my goal was clear.

This kind of clarity of goals is needed in your day-to-day life as a business owner, not just in emergencies, because your livelihood is at stake. Grit without goals is just running in circles.

Clear goals are a key component of success. Another key element is to be around others with grit. We become like the people we associate with.

Selling is a long game, and being in business is a long game. Grit will get you through to the end.

At Brookdale, which is open to the public at no charge, I’ll explain what you must do to increase grit, whether you are starting out or mid-career.

I hope to see you there.

Do you want to learn more from an experienced coach and consultant about specific ways you can apply these insights to your particular situation? Contact Claude Blanc for more information at 732-995-3242.

How To Defeat Sales Objections

Anyone who owns or operates a business is in sales.

Sales objections are unavoidable. In fact, regardless of our profession, we all deal with objections in life with co-workers, business partners, spouses, and family.

The good news is that there are ways to get around those objections. All it takes is a little preparation.

The first consideration is that when you sell, whatever you sell, you should never be surprised by objections. In fact, every objection is an opportunity. It is an indication of what your prospect has in mind. Thinking of it this way makes it a positive.

Objections Can Teach You A Lot

When an objection is presented, listen carefully completely; pause, and make sure you understand the situation. When you respond, the most effective responses are generally framed as a question.

  • Objection: “Your price is too high”
     Reply: “I understand your concern, what were you planning to spend?”
  • Objection: “I want to think about it.”
     Reply: “That’s a fair statement, so what are the specific items you want to think about?’

Dig deeper. You want your prospective buyer to open up and tell you more about what is keeping them from making a decision. During this exchange, be real, be sincere, be understanding and be positive. Honest, heartfelt questions will normally get prospects to open up. And, you must answer the objection to the satisfaction of your client, before moving forward in your process.

Never argue or debate with your prospective client: nothing stalls or even kills a negotiation faster. Never speak poorly of your competition. If an objection forces you to compare your product or service against a competitor, use factual information only. Hearsay and rumors do not lead to long-term success.

What’s The Silver Bullet to Eliminate Objections?

Objections are part of the selling process and they will never totally be eliminated. However, they can be greatly reduced.

How? By spending more time qualifying your prospect and finding out his or her needs and expectations are before you do your presentation. You need to ask a lot of questions. And then, listen to the answers. You can defuse many objections by clarifying the expectations before you start your presentation.

Example: At the end of a perfect presentation the potential buyer announces they need to consult with another person before they can make a decision. How could this objection be avoided? Ask up front if all decision makers are present and make sure that everyone who needed to be there would in fact be there for the presentation. If not, abort and reschedule. This issue could have been prevented completely by simply asking the right question up front.

Try this short exercise to improve your handling of objections:

Write your top five most common objections on one side of a piece of paper. On the other side, for each objections list 2-4 clear responses (framed as questions) that will address the objection and keep you engaging with your prospect.

Your top priority in the discussion is to truly understand the needs of your prospect. His or her objections will help you figure those out. Review your list regularly and get comfortable with the concept that every objection is an opportunity.

Remember that every objection is an opportunity.