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Sales performance: What’s luck got to do with it?
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Sales performance: What’s luck got to do with it?

It's an age old debate: are sales a matter of skill or luck? Many of the smartest sales gurus focus on strategy and sales performance, downplaying the role of luck, but marketing professor Joël Le Bon would disagree. In this article about Why the Best Salespeople Get So Lucky in Harvard Business Review, he talks about research that he conducted about luck and the important role that it can play in sales success when combined with effort and skill:

"I found that the greater a salesperson’s belief that success is a combination of luck and effort and that good luck will come along sooner or later, the greater his or her sales activities, such as making phone calls, meeting prospects, qualifying prospects, and gathering intelligence about prospects and competitors. The greater the sales activities, the greater the opportunities for luck and the greater the person’s provoked luck. The greater the provoked luck, the higher the performance.

Belief in the power of luck seems to boost self-assurance, thereby helping experienced sales professionals remain optimistic in the face of setbacks and assisting inexperienced salespeople in overcoming uncertainty and fear of failure. These factors are critical in helping salespeople maintain motivation and job satisfaction. They also matter a lot in reducing turnover, especially for rookies."

So while you can't count on luck to seal the deal, it can definitely be a factor in sales success. This brings to mind a quote by author Brian Tracey:

"I've found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances. Be more active. Show up more often."

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