Sales and Sales Management Blog

October 9, 2008

Guest Article: “Identify and Overcome the Four Curses of Sales Success!” by Dave Anderson

Filed under: career development,sales,selling,success — Paul McCord @ 5:22 am
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Identify and Overcome the Four Curses of Sales Success!
By Dave Anderson

There are certainly more than four curses of success but these four are perhaps the most devastating. Up until this point you can claim to be unaware of these curses and plead ignorance as a reason for falling prey to one or more of them. But once you are aware of them any future deviation cannot be blamed on ignorance. Instead, you must consider your failure as a confession of stupidity!

1. Abandoning the basics.

Thinking you’ve outgrown the basics or that they somehow don’t apply to you anymore is a surefire way to turn your up times into a sudden descent.

2. Getting cocky.

Cockiness is one of the most reprehensible and alienating traits of successful people. You become cocky when you feel superior to those you work with and look down on them; when you gloat and brag about your success; when your pride blocks your growth and causes you to go into denial when someone suggests a way you could improve. When you’re ready to “write it down; build the manual and document the formula” people will secretly anticipate and cheer your fall. And normally, they won’t have to wait too long.

3. A diminished work ethic.

The Law of Laziness declares that, “As prosperity rises the work ethic diminishes.” Keep in mind that the price you must pay for continued success is never paid in full. It is a lifelong installment plan and once you default, your decline is not far behind.

4. Becoming selfish.

Successful people often catch the “Disease of Me” and start to think that the sales department should revolve around their own ego-driven universe. In their selfishness, they turn increasingly inward rather than stepping up and fulfilling the vital role of a sales leader, which is turn more outward and add more value to the people around you.

Three Tips to Overcome the Four Curses

1. Compete against yourself more than with others.

The truest measure of your success is not whether or not you’re better than everyone else, but if you are better than YOU used to be! You can be better than everyone else and still be WORSE than you used to be, which is no reason to beat your chest in pride!

Remember: Your objective is not to become successful and then let your pat on the back turn into a massage. Rather, your objective should be to strive to reach your maximum potential. As long as you continue to grow, you will never reach your maximum potential. It is an endless journey. But it’s the journey that keeps you moving; stretching; learning; hungry and humble.

2. Don’t financially overreact to the good times.

When you’re making good money, pay yourself first and save a few bucks. Don’t fall into the trap that tells you that you’ll never see another poor day. Overextending yourself during the good times can create an inner stress that distracts you and your fear of loss can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, sending you into a downward spiral.

3. Maintain an attitude of gratitude.

The secret of “never being satisfied” is to always be grateful for what you have while you strive for what you want. It is not an excuse to dismiss or disregard your current blessings. (Remember: the more you’re grateful for, the more you’ll have to be grateful for. But when you’re ungrateful for what you have, you’ll soon have even less to be grateful for.)

Peak performance author, columnist, trainer, speaker and radio show host for sales, management and leadership, Dave Anderson walks the talk as a leader. He has led some of the most successful retail automotive dealership in the country—the most recent dealer group he led had over $300,000,000 in annual sales—and now gives 150 presentations, workshops and speeches annually on sales and leadership development around the globe. Dave is president of the Dave Anderson’s Learn To Lead and, a cutting edge web site providing hundreds of free training resources to thousands of subscribers in over 30 countries.



  1. Dave,

    Based upon our direct work with clients, I think Curse #1 is most prevalent. Early on many (not enough) sales people learn the basics either through formal programs, coaching, or trial and error. Since they don’t have checklists, checkups, recurring certification to keep them on point, they wander.

    Before long they aren’t planning their sales calls, anticipating objections or qualifying vigilantly enough. Then they start looking for new tricks and tips to fill the gaps that those unused basic skills have left. There sales calls aren’t going well anymore, so instead of getting back to basics–planning the call–they seek a silver bullet to get the sales calls to be successful again.

    It’s a vicious cycle that needs a bump on the head to break.

    Comment by Dave Stein — October 9, 2008 @ 11:50 am | Reply

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