The New Salesman: Control

by James Barton / November 10, 2020

Let’s continue the conversation about the 5 new attributes that elite salespeople need to master in today’s digital first selling environment.

Just to keep them fresh in our memories…

  • Agility – Our ability to process information and make decision based on what is being received
  • Control – Our ability to be impulsive or decisive when it comes to our routines
  • Analytics – Our ability to look at a calculated risk from an instinctive or deliberate perspective
  • Focus – Our ability to avoid distraction and focus on a single task
  • Risk – Our attitude towards risk


Today I want to discuss the second attribute, control.

If you go to the gym, you’ll likely find a few members strolling around with arms the size of legs. If you ask them how they got there, they would tell you it was the result of discipline (after lots of talk about protein powders and calorie bulking).

This mindset is generally the same with any athlete, professional musician or even rather excellent computer programmers. It is all about discipline; the deliberate actions they took on a regular basis that got them to their definition of success.

If a runner’s regular training was based on how they felt, or even the weather, it is very doubtful they would ever truly succeed.

Our ability to achieve consistent high performance hinges on our ability to control ourselves and make deliberate actions, and not being impulsive.


So how does this play out for a salesperson?

Let’s say you need to build your pipeline. You know that the quarter is looking light, and unless you start doing some calling or outbound activity, you are going to end up with nothing.  

Monday morning comes around, you look at your computer and rather than picking up the phone or writing the emails, you end up looking at pictures of cats in trousers (or whatever your poison is), avoiding the work because you are ‘not feeling it today’.

Your colleague, however, spends the first 30 mins of her day ruthlessly sending emails and arranging calls; every day, without fail.


Who do you think is going to be the most likely to hit their target?  

There is something about sales which is more like a gym that any other career. Sales works when you follow the process. When you follow steps proven to work in your field, and repeat them, you will get results.

Just like the chap whose muscles have muscles, doing what we know works on a regular basis, and being disciplined is the only way to get the ‘gains’.

Given that salespeople are often remote (even before the current unpleasantness), discipline is even more important. A salesperson needs to have the resilience and proactiveness to do what needs to be done, without someone telling them.

When assessing our salespeople, and looking for the key attributes, it is therefore essential that control (or discipline) ranks highly, hence its place in our top five attributes.

Those salespeople who can overcome their feelings, know the process and then implement the process will always be the most successful, predictable and reliable. Who could want more from a salesperson?

At Mentor Group, we help sales team sell bigger, sell quicker and sell to more people, and we do this through integrating people, process and technology. For us, discipline is a core part of this and part of any salesperson’s ability to execute (XQ). 

We would love to talk to you if you would like to see a quantifiable increase in your sales performance.

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Next Post The New Salesman Part 5: Focus
James Barton

James Barton

With over 20 years of experience in technology and sales, James is one of the leading voices in leveraging technology to create effective solutions.