I recently came across a terrific description of a salesperson ... and it's from the 1940s. Aside from the sexist language, a sign of the times, I think it's still right on.
During a convention of Chrysler sales managers in Los Angeles, Harry G. Moock, a company vice president, issued this description of a salesman:
"He has the curiosity of a cat, the tenacity of a bulldog, the friendship of a little child, the diplomacy of a wayward husband, the patience of a self-sacrificing wife, the passion of a Sinatra fan, the assurance of a Harvard man, the good humor of a comedian, the simplicity of a jackass, and the tireless energy of a bill collector."
What can I say ... I've always been a Sinatra fan.
Passion is at the top of the list of the skills you need to excel whether you're in sales or any other profession. A salesperson without passion is just an order taker.
If you're in sales, you can have a great product, a tremendous territory and a fabulous marketing campaign, but if you don't have passion, it's hard to make a sale. When you have passion, you speak with conviction, act with authority and present with zeal. When you are excited and passionate about a product—or anything for that matter—people notice. They want in on the action. They want to know what can be so good.
There is no substitute for passion. If you don't have an intense, burning desire for what you are doing, there's no way you'll be able to work the long, hard hours it takes to become successful.
"Make sure that the career you choose is one you enjoy," said Kathy Whitworth, who won 88 LPGA tournaments, more than anyone on the men's or women's professional circuit. I was lucky enough to be in attendance when she won four of them. "If you don't enjoy what you are doing, it will be difficult to give the extra time, effort and devotion it takes to be a success. If it is a career that you find fun and enjoyable, then you will do whatever it takes. You will give freely of your time and effort, and you will not feel that you are making sacrifices in order to be a success."
President Harry Truman once said: "Good work is never done in cold blood; heat is needed to forge anything. Every great achievement is the story of a flaming heart."
Mark Twain was once asked the reason for his success. He said, "I was born excited."
My readers have heard me say many times, "When you love what you do, you will never have to work another day in your life." In fact, the subtitle to one of my books is "Do what you love. Love what you do. Deliver more than you promise."
Socrates was approached by a man who asked the great teacher to help him learn. The master took the would-be student into the water and suddenly pushed him under and held him there. Surging to the surface, out of breath, the young man gasped, "Why did you do that?"
Socrates answered, "When you want to learn as badly as you wanted to breathe, you will."
Hopefully you're happy and passionate about your work every day. If you aren't, think back to the times when you were and what you can do or need to do to get that feeling back.
J. Paul Getty, the wealthy oil tycoon, actually ranked passion ahead of imagination, business acumen and ambition as necessary ingredients of business success.
Surround yourself with people who are passionate about their jobs. You'll catch their passion. And remember that you can't be passionate when you feel like it. You have to be passionate about your job, product or cause all the time. There's no off switch on a tiger.
Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-mart, had 10 "Rules for Success." Rule number one was "Commit to your business. Believe in it more than anything else. If you love your work, you'll be out there every day trying to do the best you can, and pretty soon everybody around will catch the passion from you—like a fever."
So set an example for your co-workers or teammates to be passionate. There's nothing more powerful and more contagious than passion.
Mackay's Moral: The biggest challenge is not to add years to your life—but passion to your years.
Reprinted with permission from nationally syndicated columnist Harvey MacKay, author of the New York Times #1 bestseller "Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive." Visit his site at www.harveymackay.com