What Makes a Champion?
As a consultant, I am often asked, "what are the characteristics of successful people in the industry?" One interesting note—it has nothing to do with gender, age or tenure in the industry. Instead, it has everything to do with the character and integrity of an individual. I have noticed through discussion and observation several factors that I believe truly make a champion. And by the way, becoming a million dollar salesperson isn’t the Holy Grail barometer of success. Success can be measured and identified on many, many levels.
Know Limitations. Ego, while important in becoming successful, needs to tempered. Successful folks know their strengths and recognize their weaknesses. They are not afraid to admit they need help. This, by the way, is the first step. Always look for improvement in every facet of business and life. People that struggle in business typically are struggling in their personal life as well—one begets the other.
Ask Questions. Champions are very inquisitive and ask a ton of questions. They also are amazing listeners and sponges for information. I, for one, believe that the ability to ask great questions is the No. 1 most underused tool in our sales arsenal. I have asked my clients, "why didn’t you ask me that question?" The most common response is "I didn’t want you to think I was stupid." No question is stupid, but when you get the answer, the next step is to apply the information received.
Seek Assistance. I work with an amazing gal named Theresa Gonzales who asked for my help a year ago. I now work with her weekly. She has never missed a meeting, she is always prepared and our 30 minutes together each week is amazing. She realized that she needed help, had a goal and has surpassed that goal as of my writing this. There is nothing to be ashamed about when seeking help.
Apply Advice. Seeking advice is great, and it’s OK to challenge your mentor about things you don’t agree with and to dig deeper to get a deeper understanding; however, champions are open to the possibilities of trying something different and unique.
Have Goals. Having reasonable goals—ones that are just out of reach—is essential to be a winner. If you do not have any goals, you just wander without purpose. Make sure that you place timelines on your goals and visualize reaching those plateaus—then reach for more.
Have Focus and a Plan. Successful people have a plan and they are laser-focused on working their plan to fruition. They also know that, oftentimes, the best laid out plans can become derailed, so they always keep their eyes on their plan and make adjustments on the fly.
Never Give Up. And never voice excuses. A dear friend of mine has a motto that he lives by, and that’s "failure is not an option." I like that he visualizes his success and is so focused on his goals, his health, his family, friends and his career—in that order.
Believe. Winners believe that they have the solution, they can’t fail, they can always help their clients and they can deliver that belief passionately when they speak with their clients.
Have Accountability. They never point the finger outward, they always look at ways that they can improve taking their failures, and asking themselves "how could I have done that differently?," "where did I fall down?" and "what steps do I need to take to ensure that doesn’t happen again?" Michael Jordan once said, “I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." I really like that—taking the failure and learning what not to do again.
Have Balance. Like my dear friend, I live my life in this way: I come first, my children and wife come second, my friends come third and my job and career comes last. Let me explain. When I am at the top of my game physically, mentally and spiritually, my children, wife, friends and clients benefit greatly.
My friends, there are probably multiple characteristics beyond what are listed here. These are the ones I have identified. Whatever the case, work toward becoming the best you can and believe it all begins with you. Are you a champion?
As always, continued success and a bright future.