Mark Gillanders: “Hustle” The most important word ever in sales?

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“Your talent is not enough you’ve got to put in the work”

The title of this post is taken from a Gary Vaynerchuk video – and the word in question is ‘hustle’.

You can view the video below, it’s worth a look.

I’ve been consuming some of Gary Vee’s online content after reading one of his books whilst on holiday recently.

His brash, ultra-confident style and New Yorker attitude may not be for everyone but I actually quite like it (in small doses) and, importantly, some of the key messages in his narrative really ring true for me. The one that I want to focus on here is ‘hustle’.

‘Hustle’, ‘Grind’ and ‘Grit’ are terms that seem to be becoming en vogue again – perhaps as something of an antidote to our increasingly quick-win, easy option, no effort & results-now attitudes to both work and personal life. “It’s going to be ____ing hard work” isn’t a sexy message, but in pursuit of our goals and ambitions it’s usually going to be true.

Take selling for example – if you want to be a great sales person, blow away your targets and make loads of commission (…and sustain it) you are going to need to hustle. Sitting around waiting for the phone to ring isn’t hustling, finishing at 5pm on the dot when you are behind target isn’t hustling, blaming the market or competitors for your failures isn’t hustling, meeting the same old friendly contacts for cups of tea and a chat isn’t hustling, talking bollocks to your colleagues in the office all day isn’t hustling… I’m sure you get my drift.

A lot (almost all in fact) of the stuff that we read about sales focusses on the technical aspects – processes, methods, strategies, tactics, etc. When hiring sales people, managers and recruiters usually focus on skills, experience and background. All of these things are important, of course they are. However, they mean absolutely nothing unless you are willing to put in the effort.

For me, as someone who recruits sales people for a living, I’d take grit and the willingness to really hustle over experience every time. Why, because it’s a MUCH better predictor of success than any other factor.

In writing I’m reminded that my greatest successes have come from giving it my all, getting down to it… hustling.

On the flip side, I’ve been working on a side project which has not got off the ground yet – great idea, the team involved have all the skills and talent; but at the time of writing it remains just an idea.

Ideas are ten a penny, execution is what counts. Hustling is what will make it happen. Let’s see if I can practice what I preach!

Mark Gillanders is a director of Kingman Lennox Ltd., consultants in the area of sales talent acquisition and consulting.

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