1. Never be afraid of failure
I’ve consistently taken on deals that are 10 times bigger than we appeared to be ready for at the time. My philosophy is simple – bite off more than you can chew and then find a way to swallow it. When we won the Tesco Club Card deal every member of the management team worked through Christmas Day. If you’re only ever looking for work that you’re already set up to deliver, then at best you’re going to tread water. Progress is not meant to be comfortable.
2. Think and talk as if you’re already in the big league
You’ve got to make big but honest statements like “We intend to be the world leader” – the fact that right now you might be 495th is entirely academic.
3. Look the part
We all make judgements in the first few seconds and that determines everything that follows. Turn up well presented, punctual and in control. Otherwise, you’ll be on the back foot before you’ve even started.
4. Don’t pre-judge others
This may seem to contradict the previous point but just because others may pre-judge you, doesn’t mean you should allow yourself to pre-judge others. Sometimes the least imposing guy in the room is actually the most powerful, so keep an open mind and make the same enthusiastic effort with everyone.
5. Learn your pitch word for word
The delivery needs to be on virtual autopilot so you can focus on the signals of the buyer rather than getting the right words out. That’s the single most important lesson to pitching I ever learnt.
6. Don’t lie
Sure, paint a good picture, but don’t ever cross the line into deceit. You only need to be found out once and that reputation will stay with you forever.
7. Remember that people = business
I’ve done so many deals where our balance sheet had no right to get us through the door, but the people signing it off trusted me. No deal is out of reach if you’re able to build the right relationship.
8. Trust your instinct
It’s corny but true, every time I’ve gone against my gut I’ve regretted it.
9. Stop talking
In negotiation the person sat silent is usually the one in control as they’re the one listening and learning. Learning to handle an awkward silence is one of the most important assets a salesperson can acquire.
10. Remember there’s no such thing as luck
Luck is about exposure so the more you put yourself out there the luckier you become. The hard-working guy will beat the inspirational guy every day of the week!