If you observe how top sellers achieve top outcomes you will notice their actions, habits, and results…but these don’t tell the whole story….these observations don’t show the initiative the top sellers have to act, build those habits, and achieve those results.

For example, I just completed refinishing a small wood cabinet for our vacation condo. As I worked on it each evening in the “Art Studio” in the building, people observed my coming and going. Several commented on how much work refinishing furniture is; how they tried it once and decided it wasn’t worth the effort, and how I must love doing something like that to take the time to work on it.

Interesting observations for sure…but not very acccurate –  if they asked me they would have found that I don’t love the process of refinishing furniture – what I love is the outcome! I would have preferred to buy a kitschy nightstand but couldn’t find just the right thing – so when I saw this cabinet and knew I could transform it to exactly what I wanted – it was worth the hard work. I took the initiative to get what I wanted, whether I loved the efforts needed… or not.

With a clear outcome in mind – a goal for the ‘right’ cabinet – I initiated a long-term search and figured out how to achieve it.

It’s the same in sales. I hear sellers make excuses about why they don’t do some of the actions that we all know will yield them higher sales (prospecting, preparation, more effective follow-up). They point to the top producers and say, “Kim does pre-call planning because she likes it.” I have to laugh.

Seriously? Does top producer Kim really like to prepare for her calls more than others? Probably not as much as it might look from the outside. A more likely reality is that Kim’s initiative to achieve her desired outcomes (being a top producer) has led to her preparing for calls and her results prove it works so she continues to do it.

I sum up the importance of initiative into one statement about top sellers (its backed by talking with and observing hundreds of successful salespeople):

 Successful sellers take action when others don’t and take actions that others won’t.

The initiative to take these actions each day – day in and out – quickly and consistently separate the top of the pack from the rest. Top sellers do what is necessary and when they are really successful and want to reach new levels of success, they find ways to continue to get those actions taken care of (in more efficient ways or with assistance) while they spend more and more of their time on what they do love.

I feel the need to dispel the belief that success comes from ‘luck.’ But as Samuel Goldwyn, film producer said: “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” Top producers take this further with the initiative to work hard on the actions that others don’t or won’t do – which makes them seem lucky – I see them as wise.