There’s probably no tougher military training than the U.S. Navy SEAL program. I say this despite the fact that my son served in the U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division.
Even if you don’t plan on parachuting out of a plane into battle or busting through the doors of an enemy compound anytime soon, there’s a lot you can learn from these elite warriors.
Below is the critical Navy SEAL guide to extraordinary success and achievement. Using key advice from this elite force, I’m going to apply these principles to sales. Learn their lessons, follow their lead, and you’ll find you’re more likely to succeed in your sales career.
This information is based in part on ” Navy Seal Training Guide: Mental Toughness” byLars Draeger
- Develop mental strength:Yes, many potential clients and customers are going to say “no.” And there will be times when “no sale goes unpunished.” These are the times to tap into and develop your mental strength. There are four pillars of mental strength: They are goal-setting, mental visualization, positive self-talk, and energy (arousal) control.
- Set (and achieve) micro-goals:Micro-goals lead to macro-goals, which lead to quota retirement. You create your micro-goals by determining the overall outcome, i.e. quota, breaking it down into smaller pieces, and repeating as needed until you get to tiny achievable chunks.
- Mentally rehearse success:Also known as “visualization,” mental rehearsal is using all your senses to create your desired outcome in your mind’s eye. And yes, you’ll rehearse any obstacles that may get in the way and how to overcome them.
- Convince yourself you can do this:How many times have you heard you should fake it until you make it? Well, that’s part of how you get through SEALs training. As you progress in your sales career, you’ll be faced with new challenges that will test you. When these challenges arise, that’s time to “fake it till you make it.”
- Control your energy (arousal):When our bodies feel overwhelmed or in danger, we release cortisol and endorphins. These chemicals cause our palms to sweat, our minds to race, our hearts to pound, and our bodily functions to malfunction and to cut off valuable mental resources. In addition, when we’re bored, we tend to take mental vacations. Finding your optimal energy will allow you to be at the top of your game.
- Be aware:This is called sensory acuity. Basically, you need to be aware of how your prospect or client is responding to your message. This includes actively listening and observing body language.
- Avoid bad situations:This one is obvious, but how many times have we taken on a client that we knew we should have avoided? If your instinct says run….run!
- Practice humility —This one means that you recognize you don’t have all the answers. When a client/prospect asks a question and you’d don’t know the answer, tell them you don’t know. Also tell them when you will have the answer. Fail to recognize this, and you’re likely to flat-out fail.
- Find three mentors/coaches:You should always have three people who are paying attention to your results.
- Someone senior whom you would like to emulate
- A peer who you think is better at the job than you are
- An outsider (coach) who has a unique perspective
You’ll be constantly learning, growing and improving by keeping these three people active in your sales career.
- Do small things right:This should make obvious sense, and this extends beyond sales. There’s a saying, “How do you anything is a reflection of how you do everything.” So take a look outside your customer relationship management entries and customer follow-ups. Are you doing the small things right in other areas of your life?
- Be informed about evaluating others:We’re taking about personality styles. Knowing your own personality style and being able to identify those of your prospects/clients is essential in building rapport and wining the sale.
- Suck it up:We’re all faced with tasks that we don’t want to do, or clients we don’t want to call on. Suck it up and do it anyway. Most individuals behave in accordance with their feelings, especially when they don’t want to do something. Observe the masses and do the opposite.
- Sometimes, be first:Think out of the box for a client solution or how to approach a prospect. Often we get trapped into doing things the same old way. Think out of the box and be first to test an idea; it’s OK, you’ll live.
- Take on the sharks:We all have the one customer, you know, that one that is ever-so-demanding and a real pain in the… well, you get the idea. We often back down and give into his/her demands. Go ahead and challenge them. If you think they’re mistaken about something, tell ‘em!
- Identify the W.I.N.:W.I.N. stands for ‘what’s important now.’’ Often, in sales, we are pulled in multiple directions, and it’s easy to get lost. By keeping W.I.N in mind, you’ll make the correct decision to take the best action possible.
- Be happy — if you can’t — be happy anyway:Let’s face it, no one likes to be around a grumpy person, no less a grumpy sales person. No matter how bad you perceive the situation to be, be happy. If you’re not, find a way to be. Being happy will translate into happy clients/prospects.
- Persevere — don’t ring the bell:One way that SEAL training is a lot like the rest of the world is that there is an easy way to quit. You can simply give up, ring a brass bell in the middle of the compound in front of all of your peers, and walk away.
If your sales are dropping, persevere. If your clients aren’t buying, persevere. If your boss is a maniac, persevere.
Many people enter the profession of sales, but only a few make it a career.
In the words of Winston Churchill: “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”
Contributing Writer Gregg Swanson is a sales performance consultant and business coach. He is founder and owner of Warrior Mind Coach.
Patrick Mellody is a Hire Patriots Ambassador helping veterans own their own energy business – solar / gas & electricity. A franchise like business without the cost. Info at Own your own Energy Business