Susan's Blog

Use Teamwork to Reach the Top

In sales, it’s important to realize that being a part of a team is a major benefit and can lead you a more successful career path; in order to achieve your full potential as a top sales performer, you must grasp the strength that comes with being a part of a dependable group and take full advantage of it.

For most climbers, going it alone is neither the safest nor the most efficient way to reach the summit. Inevitably, soloists run smack up against the limits of what they can achieve on their own. Without the support and experience of a team, they can expose themselves to extreme risks that reduce their chances of a successful outcome.

In sales, too, lone wolves can leave themselves vulnerable when they fail to forge the long-term relationships, teams, and networks they need to achieve at the highest levels throughout their careers. They may find intermittent success thanks to their great instincts, confidence, and drive to achieve. But these attributes will only serve them well for a while. Inevitably they will experience a major setback, such as a lost sale caused by their failure to consult with colleagues to confirm the technical feasibility of a proposed solution.

Top sales performers refuse to be stymied by their personal limitations. They set lofty goals and find ways to achieve them on an ongoing basis. Because they recognize that they must rely on others, they establish partnerships with influential members of their civic and business communities to acquire industry knowledge and client access. They invest in building strong relationships with their company’s leaders to secure the organizational resources they need to mount successful sales campaigns. Then they leverage these relationships to recruit and lead cross-functional teams to the summit of sales success.

On Everest, climbers rely on Sherpas to help them reach the summit. In Conquering the Seven Summits of Sales, Susan Ershler shows you how to build and lead your own “Sherpa Team.”

Remember to follow these tips and invest in your relationship with your colleagues and team; this will inevitably help you advance in your career as a top performing salesman or saleswoman down the line.


Become a Trusted Guide for Your Clients

When you work in Sales, you must act as a “guide” to your clients and ensure you’re demonstrating the skills and attitude they require to trust you. Developing the foundation for a long-lasting, solid relationship is crucial and sets the tone for the interactions you have with your clients; these simple tips will help you grow a strong connection with the people you do business with.

When you meet with clients, encourage them to speak openly about their challenges, needs, and concerns. Ask leading, open-ended questions that tease out every detail of every problem as well as their perceived implications. You can’t earn your client’s trust and serve as their guide without first knowing where they think they need to go. Listen and be patient. You’ll soon get your chance to shine!

On the mountain, guides are masters of planning and preparation. The same is true in sales. Carefully map out all of your questions well in advance of the meeting. Make sure they address every individual’s specific concerns, roles, and responsibilities. But don’t stop there. Practice your questions so you can focus on listening, not speaking. Take careful notes. Make the meeting count.

In Conquering the Seven Summits of Sales, Susan Ershler recommends you spend time acknowledging your client’s perceptions and initially show restraint in expressing your own ideas, although you may be nearly ready to explode with proposed solutions! In doing so, you’re establishing the groundwork for a sturdy relationship based on mutual trust.

No Short Cuts to Success

No Short Cuts to Success

This video finds the Everest climbers at the base of Lhotse, which is part of the Everest Massif. Here, Phil, the group’s guide, speaks about climbers’ desire to take short-cuts up the mountain—whether it’s by skipping acclimatization, or by taking a dangerous path up the mountainside rather than zigging and zagging to keep it safe and manageable.

Leadership speaker Susan Ershler, who has climbed the Seven Summits—the world’s highest mountains—has also reached peak performance in the business world. During her keynote speeches to Fortune 500 companies, Susan describes the importance of creating a plan for success that allows you to practice and optimize your habits—and the importance of not trying to take “short-cuts” to the top, leaving yourself vulnerable for costly missteps.

Successful climbers know they must “approach the trek with Intention.” They carry sufficient weight to prepare for the physical demands ahead and make sure to acclimatize their bodies gradually to the changing altitude. Most importantly, they begin the mental transition from trekker to climber that prepares them to summit the highest mountains in the world. Sue and her partner John arrived at Base Camp healthy, fit, and prepared for the challenges ahead. Thanks to their yearlong process of projection and preparation, they were ready to execute climbing Everest.

You must get to a mountain before you can climb it. In sales, prospecting is the trek that takes you to an opportunity. Traditional prospecting methods, such as cold calls, mailings, and special events, should be considered, depending on the types of products and services you’re selling. It’s also helpful to devote time each day to developing new client relationships. But, don’t forget to reach out to your existing clients too! You’ve invested a great deal of time and energy into developing these relationships and these clients are your best source of new business. Yet too often, sales reps overlook this simple fact, focusing almost exclusively on finding new clients while neglecting existing ones.

A little excerpt from Conquering the Seven Summits of Sales: “Top performers work hard to strengthen their relationships, connecting with their clients on an ongoing basis to ensure they understand their emerging needs. They update their Account Plans so they can anticipate and pursue new sales opportunities. They know that maintaining a high level of customer touch is a surefire way to meet and exceed their quota.”

3 Cards that Can Make or Break Your Success

Make or Break Success

Are you ready to take the first step toward your own summit of achievement?

If so, take out two blank three-by-five inch cards. Stop and think for a moment. What would be the greatest personal achievement you could possibly imagine for yourself? What would be the greatest professional achievement? Write down both of them on one of the cards. This is your Vision Card. Think big and get ready to live your dream. Continue reading “3 Cards that Can Make or Break Your Success”

9 Tips for Young People in Business to Start Strong and Achieve Success!

Susan Ershler (1)

You recently graduated with your BA or MBA, you’ve applied for your dream job (or any job), and—hurrah—you’re hired! Congratulations. Now what?

When you’re starting out in business, the world is your oyster. But an oyster is no good without know-how: You must learn the rules of how, when and where to eat your oyster, you must have the tools to open the shell, the good sense to season it properly, and the leadership ability to show others where to find their own oysters. Continue reading “9 Tips for Young People in Business to Start Strong and Achieve Success!”

The truth behind the afternoon slump. Understanding THIS principle can reenergize you.

The truth behind the 3pm slump

Don’t fool yourself. Afternoon fatigue is not necessarily caused by a lack of caffeine. It’s caused by the debilitating load that’s been on your back since you first scribbled down your “to do” list that morning. You’ve been hauling around an anchor all day. Your heaviest, most difficult tasks are still right there, lying at the bottom of your pack.

In climbing, there’s no ambiguity about the need to travel light. The more weight you carry, the harder your journey will be. In business, this takes on another meaning. Continue reading “The truth behind the afternoon slump. Understanding THIS principle can reenergize you.”

How to get the business results you want—every single time.

Susan Ershler, How to get the results you want—every single time.

Once you have the vision, the drive, and you understand what you need to do in order to meet your goals, you need to assess where you are and create a plan to get where you want to go.

Self-assessment can be a tricky business. We discovered this when—in the early stages of planning our Seven Summits campaign—Phil turned to us and said, “you don’t even know if you can physically go that high.” What did that mean? Of course we could go high! We worked out every day. We had climbed smaller mountains. We would work really, really hard! Continue reading “How to get the business results you want—every single time.”

Four key lessons that equal business success

Susan Ershler, Four key lessons that equal business success.

When you are working toward a new venture or a new goal, the principles of early success are straightforward and easily grasped.

These principles apply when you are training to summit one of the highest peaks in the world, or leading a new team, or trying to achieve a new goal in your workplace. As a leadership speaker, I teach these principles to managers and sales teams in Fortune 500 companies across the nation—and when they work, believe me, success is inevitable. Continue reading “Four key lessons that equal business success”