Let’s talk about the A.R.T. of Success and find out what it is that the top performers in any organization do to be successful. Of course, in this situation I’m going to be focusing on you, the salesperson.

What does A.R.T. stand for? A stand for Accountable, R for Responsible, and T for Trustworthy. Anyone who states that they are always 100% Accountable, Responsible, and Trustworthy, 100% of the time, is not telling the truth! This would mean that they are perfect and that they give their word 100% of the time. Life shows up. Things happen. We get busy. People get sick. We cannot be perfect but we can always be 100% responsible if we are willing to own our mistakes without assigning blame.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say I’m supposed to meet you next week for lunch at noon at a certain restaurant, and I’m fifteen or twenty minutes late. Often what happens is that people will (and I’ve even done it myself) show up and say, “Sorry I’m late, the phone rang as I was leaving,” or, “Sorry I’m late I couldn’t find my keys,” or, “Sorry I’m late, the construction was terrible on 9th Avenue.” We fabricate a story and then convince ourselves that it is true. We think a great story makes up for missing a commitment. Instead, we miss out on the opportunity of being trustworthy — not just to ourselves, but to others as well.

When we make it about somebody else or some situation outside ourselves, we are not responsible. If we are at least 80% accountable, when we arrive late we need to take 100% responsibility for the outcome by saying, “I apologize for being late, the truth is obviously I didn’t manage my time well enough.” In this example, we hold ourselves accountable, and do not project blame outside of ourselves.

Now, if we continue to do the math and we say someone is 80% Accountable and 80% Responsible, then that means they are only 80% Trustworthy. The extent to which we give our word and keep it is the extent to which we are trustworthy.

Consider this: You’re a sales rep, one of several that your client works with. Are you just a sales rep that does only what is asked of you, and not even on time? If your clients recognize this (and they will), they will perceive you as having low accountability and low responsibility. They will see you as untrustworthy and not reliable. This means that you will have opened a great big window of opportunity for your competition.

But if you can help your client remedy problems in other areas of business, if you go that extra mile for them, and if you consistently give your word and keep it, you move from sales rep into consultant. Because of you, your client will have more success in their job. Becoming a trusted advisor means you add value above what is normally expected. The height of success for a salesperson is to become their client’s trusted advisor.

A trusted advisor inspires a client to look to them for guidance even when they are not an expert in the client’s area of immediate need. Let’s say you’re using a lawyer and they’re very good at what they do in helping you plan your estate. If you decide to buy another house, you will instinctively want that lawyer to take care of your real estate transaction. This is because you have assigned accountability, responsibility, and trustworthiness to that person, and you are more likely to step in and ask them to solve other problems for you.

When you naturally transition from being a sales rep to being a consultant, it means that you are consistently Accountable, Responsible, and Trustworthy. You hold your timeline and commitments sacred. Being considered as a trusted advisor is the goal in sales.


This article is an excerpt from my upcoming publication:

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Sara Haynes, P. Eng.
President
Sigma Solutions

“I took advantage of Alice Wheaton’s offer for a free 30-minute consultation…but we chatted for almost an hour, during which I had several epiphanies that have inspired and motivated me to move forward. These were ideas that I could immediately start working on to help me get new clients and increase recurring revenues. This is what I call Value on Steroids!”

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