Don’t be the individual who enters the workplace thinking they are the epitome of success simply because they achieved their sales targets or closed significant deals. It’s crucial to recognize that long-term sales success relies on collaboration and support from various individuals, regardless of one’s talent or achievements. In this regard, my fifth UNIVERSAL SALES TRUTH emphasizes the significance of humility over pride. Let’s delve deeper into this concept, drawing from my 30-plus years of sales experience.

  1. Acknowledging Assistance: Successful sales professionals, regardless of their career trajectory, owe their achievements to the help they received along the way. Some may have been in the right place at the right time during their early years, while others found the perfect company that suited their sales style after moving from one organization to another. Additionally, some individuals stayed with the same company and climbed the management ladder to become VP of sales. However, all of these professionals required substantial assistance to attain their goals. While the degree of support may vary, no successful salesperson can reach their full potential alone.
  2. Reflecting on Support: Take a moment to reflect on and express gratitude towards the people who played a role in your current position. Consider four fundamental areas that contribute to long-term success in professional sales:
  1. Opportunity: Show appreciation to the hiring manager who gave you the chance to join the company, whether it was your first sales manager who hired you right out of college or a manager who took a chance on you despite lacking the desired experience. Without the initial opportunity to prove yourself, the other components of sales success would remain out of reach.
  2. Mentoring: Recall the experienced salespeople and sales managers who provided valuable advice and guidance. Learning from mistakes is important, but seeking the wisdom of senior sales executives in your office or region can significantly accelerate your learning curve and overall sales success. As a young sales rep, I benefited from mentors who specialized in various areas, such as territory management, proposal generation, relationship building, account management, financial sales skills, and internal issue management. Taking advantage of their expertise helped me avoid common mistakes and achieve success more efficiently.
  3. Choosing the Right Company: It’s challenging to succeed when representing a product that lacks demand. Conversely, representing a company with sought-after products can make a world of difference. However, be cautious not to mistake order-taking for exceptional sales skills. If you find yourself in such a position, take UNIVERSAL SALES TRUTH #5 to heart.
  4. Support Infrastructure: Long-term sales success heavily relies on effective support from the company you represent. If post-sale support is lacking, it’s likely that you won’t maintain a strong relationship with your clients. This aspect encompasses various components, varying depending on the product. In my experience, with EMC as an example, the sales process didn’t end with closing a deal. The technical team ensured order accuracy, administrative staff entered orders, the manufacturing plant built systems within the specified timeframe, careful shipment and delivery were arranged, and field service technicians installed the product. Our field service organization played a crucial role in maintaining client satisfaction, as any system failures or data loss would jeopardize future business opportunities. Emphasizing the strength of our field service professionals in sales presentations and proposals contributed significantly to my long-term sales success.

Conclusion: To achieve lasting success in professional sales, it’s virtually impossible to rely solely on individual efforts. Opportunities, mentorship, working for a company with desirable products, and robust support infrastructure are all vital components. Reflect on those who contributed to your success and reject the notion that you achieved it single-handedly. In other words, embrace humility over pride.


Be humble, not prideful.

Proverbs 11:2

The stuck-up fall flat on their faces,

but down-to-earth people stand firm.