Many sales professionals always seem to be searching for that “secret to success.” These leads many attend “Superstar” events in which the attendees get to hear from those who are very successful and are trying to impart their secrets of success. Unfortunately, at these events the speakers can’t really tell the attendees the secret. Instead, they go over a whole list of marketing activities and scripts they either use or should be using. While these are all good ideas, they don’t come close to addressing why the speakers are so successful and the attendees are not quite as successful.

Why not go out on a limb?
Isn’t that where the fruit is?

…Frank Scully

So the attendees go home and try a few of these things and some get better results and many do not. But the ones who were destined to be “Superstars” are still destined to be Superstars.” And the ones that are destined to struggle are still destined to struggle. So, what is the real difference between these two groups?

Quite simply, those who are successful see and take advantage of the opportunities around them and those who are not either don’t see them or don’t take advantage of what they see. To put it another way, I could put 100’s of leads on one sales person’s desk and they would not close one deal. Another sales person I could put in a grocery store in their underwear with a little sign and they would come back with three deals (if they did not get arrested first!)

So the secret of success is not mimicking what others have done. The secret is actually within each person. The activities are good. The person is even more important. The key is to “open your eyes.”

Many are so focused upon what they do at any one time, they never see opportunities that abound around them. Successful people do not miss these opportunities.

Where are these opportunities? Let me give you an extreme example. Perhaps we get a call from someone who is voicing a complaint. Of course, our goal is to solve that complaint. For many, the goal is to solve it and get the customer “off our backs” so we can continue with the task we started before the call. My question is–how many see this as an opportunity, not only to right a wrong, but put something in place to produce a steady stream of referrals in the long run? It is said that true relationships are never solidified until something goes wrong. In other words, you will never create a loyal advocate without extraordinary action.

There is no doubt about the fact that a complaint call demands extra-ordinary action. Someone who calls is saying that they care. There are many who are disgruntled, but you never hear from them again. You just never get any follow-up business. As a matter of fact, a follow-up call to those you have not heard from represents an opportunity. But many of us are too busy “chasing after the next deal” to make that very important phone call.

The opportunities are around us every day. They are represented by the people we meet and the incidents that happen. It may mean that we elect to run for the board of our homeowners association. It may mean that we decide to attend a particular event. Or we are working on Saturday afternoon when others are relaxing in their backyard.

And these opportunities are not just marketing and sales opportunities– there are also opportunities for improvement. For example, perhaps you meet a person who is also a successful sales person. Perhaps you offer to buy them lunch to pick their brain. Not only might you learn something, you also might find out that this particular sales person has a segment of the business that he/she does not service, but you do–AND that person would be happy to send those opportunities over to you.

So, my question is–how many of you take the everyday opportunities that are available and work them in a way that they deserve to be worked? These represent opportunistic value. When you ignore or are blind to these, you are walking away from this value. Instead, you will be looking for things to do to fill the void. So, I say–Open Your Eyes! AND see the opportunities around you. For myself, I never get tired of teaching others by opening their eyes in such a way that success becomes more attainable.