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The Crazy
Here are some crazy facts that you need to know if you want to survive in sales:

* It takes an average of 12 follow-up calls to close a deal, which is at least 11 more calls than you'll ever feel like making.1

* The best time to cold-call someone is between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m., which is exactly when the rush of your gigantic afternoon energy drink starts to wear off.

* Thursday is considered the best day to prospect, by which point in the week all you can think about is moving to a country with a three-day workweek.

* In 2007, it took an average of less than four phone calls to close a deal, and now it takes eight. At this pace, by 2030, it will probably take 300.

* An average of 50 percent of sales go to the first person to contact a prospect, and zero percent go to the first person to show up at the prospect's house at midnight.

* Only about 11 percent of salespeople ask for referrals, probably because the other 89 percent wouldn't recommend themselves to anyone either.

* Each year in business, you'll lose about 14 percent of your customers and 42 percent of your hair.

* Nearly 13 percent of all the jobs in the United States are full-time sales positions, and the other 87 percent are filled by those who spend their days ignoring salespeople.

* It is estimated that over half of the people making their living in sales should do something else, which is a fact that slightly more than half of us are already well aware of.

* Over 90 percent of all customer sales interactions happen over the phone, which is bad news for any salespeople who have a really high-pitched voice.


By now you have a pretty good idea of what you can expect in sales. You've learned some sales slang and heard about the good and the bad. The last thing to understand before starting your sales journey is how going from a boring life as a salaried employee or college student to the high-paced world of sales is going to affect you.

There is a psychological process that takes place when someone experiences sales for the first time called the five stages of sales grief. Not all salespeople experience all five stages, and some may experience them in different ways than others, but all sales reps go through at least one of these stages in their career.


Denial is the first of the five stages of sales grief. Once you're past your initial training and are given a sales quota, you may try to make yourself believe that this isn't actually happening. Many new salespeople approach sales in an overly casual way, perhaps convincing themselves that they'll either be able to hit their goals without putting in too much effort or that missing a goal isn't really a big deal. But once you've been given an actual quota you're required to hit, you'll quickly discover that denial isn't just a river in Egypt, where the salespeople probably sell miniature pyramids and ancient jewelry.


Anger is a necessary stage in the sales healing process. You may be angry at the quality of the leads your company is giving you or angry with yourself that you're not performing as well as you know you can. Let the anger flow through you, but don't take it out on your family members or on your customers. Harness the anger to motivate yourself to work harder. Make 50 extra calls, follow up more aggressively with prospects you've pitched in the past, or take your biggest competitors at work and sign them up for hundreds of magazine subscriptions to throw off their game.


Once you get to this stage of sales grief, you're halfway home. Bargaining can take many forms as you go through the sales grieving process. Sometimes you will try to bargain with your boss for a better compensation plan, which can be difficult to pull off. Other times you'll bargain with the gatekeeper so you'll be connected to the decision maker. But once you're regularly bargaining with customers, you'll know that you're coming into your own as a salesperson, and you'll start to experience the more normal feelings that veteran salespeople experience regularly: frustration and stress.


After bargaining, our attention moves squarely into the present and manifests itself as a sales depression. A sales depression usually takes the form of a slump: a prolonged period of time where you're performing worse than usual and worse than you can afford to be in order to hit your sales goals. Salespeople can go through many slumps in their career, and when you're in a slump it feels like you're never going to get out. But successful salespeople understand that every slump is temporary and have taught themselves tricks to help them bounce back. Some of these tricks include taking a different route to work, getting back to the basics, or spending an entire night drinking before work in what's often referred to as a slump buster. (See chapter 3, "Prospecting.")





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