A Scientist’s Blueprint for Success in Sales and Life

Published on November 2, 2004

Recently, I had the privilege of being invited by the Weizmann Institute of Science to visit with their scientists in Rehovot, Israel and got a feel for the projects they are involved in. It was exhilarating listening to all the presentations of advances being worked on that will positively impact humanity.

Pioneering cancer researcher, Professor Moshe Oren, is one of the scientists I had the pleasure of speaking to. I asked him how scientists deal with the issue of working hard on an experiment that sometimes lead to a dead end? How do they cope with this disappointment? Professor Oren explained that a scientist needs to possess three qualities in order to succeed: Optimism, Tenacity and Competitive Spirit.

It is the optimism that allows a scientist to start the journey down a road that has never been paved. A road with no clear ending in sight. Scientists who specialize in basic research are taking their curiosity on certain subjects and digging as far as they can to further understand the issue and hopefully uncover answers to some of today’s challenges.

The tenacity comes into play when some of these roads come to a dead end after a lot of time and energy is spent on the project. Scientists don’t give up. Their tenacity is not fueled so much by the reward, but rather by the driving need to uncover the solution.

One’s competitive spirit takes tenacity to the next level because scientists are also driven to be the first one to reach the peak of the mountain; being the first to make the discovery.

In sales and leadership, these 3 same traits hold true. How can one succeed in sales and leadership if one is not optimistic they can succeed? Name me one time you bought something from a salesperson who was pessimistic about their product or service working for you, or a time you followed the instructions of a pessimistic leader? Okay, maybe you have to if they happen to be your boss. But, ask yourself this question. If your boss is pessimistic about the future, how empowered are you to do your best?

Tenacity also plays a big part in a sales executive’s career. However, many sales executives are tenacious about the wrong things. If your tenacity centers solely on your need to sell more, you may close some deals. However, you will be leaving a lot of money on the table. As Professor Oren states, being driven to find the answers is more powerful than the reward itself. If you are driven to constantly find solutions for your customers versus selling them something, you will discover a remarkable and universal truth….Those who help others achieve their goals tend to get more in return than they ever thought possible.

Finally, the competitive spirit to be number one is crucial to success in sales and leadership. If your desire is to be on top of the world, you are dedicated to enhancing your value proposition and competitive advantage. This means constantly being on the look out for new and innovative ways of servicing your customers. If you don’t do it, don’t worry. Your competition will gladly do it for you.

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