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Posted: November 07, 2012

Defining sales discipline

Do you have it?

Gary Harvey

Burning the midnight oil when you would rather sleep?

Taking the extra step when you would rather sit?

Going the extra mile when you would rather stop?

Lifting up your pride when you would rather quit?

We hear a great deal about discipline, but what is it, really? How do you define it? And more importantly, do you follow and adhere to your definition?

In the 33 years I have been in sales and the 20 of those years coaching and training others how to sell effectively, I have heard this word “discipline” a million times. The dictionary defines this word when used as a verb as, “to do something in a controlled and habitual way.”

Every successful person I know has discipline at their core. I recently spoke at a sales conference to about 300 people. Awards were given out at the luncheon. The top 10 percent who received some of the highest awards all had one thing in common: They were disciplined. They were willing to do what the other 90 percent were not.

Every day, they had “controlled habitual behaviors and habits" that put them in the top 10 percent. Those 10 percent would tell you that they are not any more talented than the other 90 percent. They were just willing to be disciplined and do the things necessary to be successful, even when they didn’t feel like it.

So if you are not getting the sales results you say you want, are you doing the necessary behaviors “in a controlled and habitual way?” When it’s a blizzard outside at the end of the day when you would rather go home, do you instead “discipline” yourself to get in that car and go to a networking event to possibly meet a new prospect? When you would rather call a friend or even an existing client, do you “discipline” yourself to make cold calls and prospect for “new” business instead? In other words, are you “disciplined” enough to go do the things you would rather not do, but do them anyway to be successful?

Gary Harvey is the founder and president of Achievement Dynamics, LLC, a high performance sales training, coaching and development company for sales professionals, managers and business owners. His firm is consistently rated by the Sandler Training as one of the top 10 training centers in the world. He can be reached at 303-741-5200, or



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Readers Respond

Gary, this is the second article this morning I've read on that opens the door to a debate on the definition of success. It sounds like you are advocating the behavior of the top 10%. The sales results obviously were successful for them but if discipline means to always go to the networking meeting instead of going home to your family, or burning the midnight oil when my body is craving sleep, or always calling a client to generate another sale when maybe a friend needs encouragement, then I'd say discipline may lead to more sales and awards, but as a person, a human being, you have failed. For those who have read the book Margin, Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives... you know what I mean. By Scott Holzschuh on 2012 11 07
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