It’s easy to get intimidated by the sales star who closed the big account last year. The dude’s been around for a while, so he must be brilliant, right? He must have everything you don’t. Wrong! In sales, as in any other profession, success is all about one key element – effort.

In her Smartbrief post, Lisa Quast cites psychologist Angela Duckworth’s work on outstanding achievement. You don’t need to be at the top of your class to succeed. You also don’t need to have an Ivy League education. You do need to make continuous effort to reach your goals. The two critical factors that feed effort are “persistence and passion.”

If you are completely committed to making the sale to the account that has refused to talk to anyone else at your company, be prepared to persist. The prospect is going to dodge your phone calls. Find another way to connect with him. If he’s active on social media, reach out to him that way. If he’s a big supporter of a charitable organization you’re interested in, considering joining. (A word of caution here – be careful not to act like you’re stalking the prospect.) If he absolutely, positively refuses to buy the standard product your company offers, talk with your boss. Maybe it’s possible to customize your offering to get the prospect interested. Once you get the prospect signed up, you can impress him with fantastic customer service and lead him to buying more from you. The same theme runs through all of these suggestions – persistence means you aren’t going to give up until you succeed at some level.

The contributing factor to successful sales is to feel passionate about what you’re doing. If you’re selling a product or service that you know will make a difference to your prospects, it’s easy to summon excitement and commitment when you talk with them on the phone and when you make presentations. Selling solutions is all about improving your prospects’ businesses and their profits. Remember that detail before you start each conversation. When prospects hear and see your passion, they’ll pay attention.

The next time your colleague boasts about his Mensa membership, ignore him. And when you’re tempted to beat yourself up about a failed presentation or a lost sale, think about how you can improve your persistence and passion, and prepare to keep going.

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