There’s a lot to be said for luck…
And the role it plays in your success in sales. And in your career overall.
Here’s the secret: you can prepare for luck. You can increase your luck.
Detractors will scoff and say that you can’t factor luck into your sales planning.
Actually, yes, you can. And, you should.
A growing body of research has found that to a large extent you make your own luck. It isn’t all about fate and circumstance. (Except when you’re buying lottery tickets…)
Rather, luck is largely a product of the choices you make.
My dad always told me that “The harder you work, the luckier you get.”
I’ve experienced that to be true in my career. However, it wasn’t all about the level of effort I gave.
I found that luck was about putting myself into situations where I could succeed.
Richard Wiseman, of the University of Hertfordshire, in a large study on luck, found that lucky people make the maximum of the opportunities they encounter. They choose to be open to new experiences and they listen to their guts.
Lucky people are always trying new things. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” This makes perfect sense. As the more things you try, or experiments you make, the more opportunities you are creating where you can succeed.
Lucky people are also undaunted by failure. They are optimists who are able to see the positives to be learned from a negative situation. If they try and fail, the lucky try again.
Lucky people are unswayed by process or precedent. They step outside the rules to innovate and solve problems. They put themselves in position to succeed.
By contrast, rigid rule followers rarely get lucky. If you do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always experience the same results.
Einstein is credited with saying “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” He could just as easily have been talking about the “unlucky.”
Erik Barker, in his entertaining book “Barking Up The Wrong Tree (The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success is (Mostly) Wrong” summed luck up this way:
“Lucky people just try stuff. It makes intuitive sense: if you lock yourself in your house, how many exciting, new, cool things are going to happen to you? Not many.”
What can you do to increase your luck?
If luck involves taking advantage of unexpected opportunities then you need to be prepared to act. In a sales context this means mastering your relationship skills, thoroughly understanding your customers’ business and possessing the business acumen that helps you spot and take advantage of a previously unknown opportunity.
Give yourself permission to experiment and experience new things. Learn from your failures and keep moving. Luck rarely hits a stationary target.
Follow Emerson’s advice and constantly try new things. Look at your routine, your sales process, how you present your product, the questions you use in discovery, look at it all. Then start trying new things. This is an important way to continue learning about your craft, growing your capabilities and expanding your opportunities.
Innovate. It’s one thing to experiment. It’s another to make radical changes. Sometimes that’s where the opportunities are. I remember hearing a story once about a soft drink company that was trying to break into a large, rapidly growing hotel chain. What sealed the deal for the soft drink firm had nothing to do with their product. Instead it was that they proposed that they could provide financing for some of the hotel chain’s real estate acquisitions. That’s bold.
Being lucky is hard work. It requires that you consistently apply the effort required to put yourself into situations where you are given the opportunity to succeed. Make the extra call. Proactively build relationships. Look for opportunities to connect with and help other people. Expand your network. Give more than you take.
Bestselling author of Amp Up your Sales and Zero Time Selling, Andy Paul is #8 on LinkedIn’s list of the Top 50 Global Sales Experts to follow. With more than 170,000 followers, Andy is a highly sought-after speaker and sales sage who interviews the world’s foremost sales minds and extraordinarily interesting people to bring you strategies and insights that you can use to generate epic wins and massive value.