I was sipping a large frosty glass of beer in the hotel lobby, getting ready to head home after speaking about business growth for a group of entrepreneurs. That's when Chris approached me.

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Lots of people have been sharing their #firstsevenjobs on Twitter recently, so I thought I'd chip in. I initially started with short stints working as a babysitter (not my thing), helping in a bakery (fattening) and selling snow cones at the state fair (fun).

My sales career really kicked off, however, when I landed a job as a server at Uncle John's Pancake House. Three restaurants and seven years later, I capped off my waitressing career at the Ground Round. (Yes, that's me on the left. It was on the front page of our local newspaper when I was 21 years old.)

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Ever lost an important deal that you were sure was going to close? Conversely, have you ever been surprised when you emerged as the winner?

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It's that time of year. You've just been handed a new, higher quota for 2016. Or, you've set your own goal to achieve a personal milestone. 

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If you pay attention, you can find great sales advice right in the middle of an ordinary day — or even your new favorite TV show!

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Sales is a tough job.

Everyone in the company knows how you’re doing - at all times. When you’re new, you see insurmountable hurdles in front of you. When you hit a slump, it’s visible to the entire world.

People who are in marketing, IT or HR have no idea how challenging it is to learn, grow and stumble in full view of everyone else. 

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Whenever I think about sales motivation, I always remember this chance meeting:

Years ago at a networking event, a stranger handed me his business card. When I glanced down at it, I was surprised to see that it didn't have the standard name, company and contact info.

Instead the card said:

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What's the key to long-term sales success? Short-term sales success. Research by DDI shows that it's important to see significant progress within three months - or else you'll get discouraged and start a downward spiral.

That's why I've always focused on quick start strategies. Knowing how to ramp quickly totally changes the game - whether you're in a new sales position, introducing new products, or targeting new buyers.

That’s why I thought I’d share Kyle Smith’s story with you — in his own words. You’ll discover how he used Agile Selling as sales training to significantly shorten his own ramp time.

P.S. His boss says he's doing great -- and in a ridiculously short time!

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I want to get you thinking today, so here’s my question:

If research showed that sales was 100% a learned skill, how would that impact your perception of your own success – or lack of it – today?

I know that sounds strange to ask, but bear with me. If it was true, how would it impact how you reacted to a competitive loss or when your prospect decided to not do anything?

  • Would you be more curious in terms of where you blew it or what went wrong?
  • Would you look at your own culpability in losing the deal?
  • Would you have tried to figure out a better way to help your prospects see the value of changing from the status quo?
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With the year-end push behind him, Matt wasn’t looking forward to rebuilding his pipeline. Yet he knew that his boss would be on him to “pound the phones” as soon as he got into the office.

More, more. Faster, faster. Close, close. It was an endless cycle that sometimes made him question why he stayed in this profession.

At least the traffic was light as he drove into work. Perhaps it was a positive omen, something he desperately needed after that weird dream that had been haunting him for days.

He decided to treat himself to a latte at Starbucks before starting his prospecting marathon. On entering, he saw Danielle, the team’s perennial superstar, tucked away in a corner table. She made selling look easy.

And, he realized with a start, she’d been a key player in that dream. Maybe she’d have some insights into it’s meaning.

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