The foundational attribute all successful people share is self-discipline. It is their self-discipline that allows them to keep the commitments that they make to themselves. Successful people know that their good intentions don’t add up to a hill of beans. It’s their actions that make a difference in their results.

You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating: successful people do what unsuccessful people aren’t willing to do (Note: It’s not that the unsuccessful are unable. They are unwilling.)

The following five areas require a thoughtful, disciplined approach.

The Discipline of Prospecting

There is one area of sales where self-discipline makes a tremendous difference and is rarely found. That area is prospecting.

You can immediately produce better sales results by applying your self-discipline to prospecting. Salespeople with no real sales abilities or skills often outperform those with greater skills or abilities simply through disciplined prospecting.

You give yourself more opportunities through the discipline of prospecting. Long term, your results are going to be the product of your prospecting. Make prospecting a discipline.

The Discipline of Nurturing

Your dream clients already have a supplier. Maybe even a partner. Ignoring and neglecting your dream clients doesn’t do anything to move you closer to the relationships that you need.

The discipline of nurturing is what eventually opens the relationships that open opportunities. Your effort to create value for your dream clients before claiming any is what will eventually bear fruit. But only if you exercise the self-discipline to create and share new ideas with your dream clients.

Who you are as a professional salesperson is visible in your client list. If you want to add marquee clients to that list, you have to have the discipline of nurturing.

The Discipline of Following Up

Your clients and dream clients are judging you. They are watching to see if you keep your commitments. This is as true for your commitments great or small.

The discipline of following up is more than just sending the email you promised to send. It’s also the discipline of doing high quality follow-up work. You make it easier for your client to say “yes” when you observe the discipline of follow-up, keeping your word and doing quality work.

Practice the discipline of follow up and be someone who can always be counted on.

The Discipline of Improvement

You can’t afford to rest on your laurels. You did the work to turn your dream client into a paying client, but becoming complacent can cost you their business.

From quarter to quarter, you have to improve what you do for your clients. You have to share with them the value that you are creating, as well as your plans for creating even more value together in the future.

Practice the discipline of improvement and bring clients ideas that help to create new value.

The Discipline of Personal Development

The environment that we live and sell in is like nothing we’ve ever seen. The forces of globalization, commoditization, and disintermediation make for some tough sledding. Success means that you have to become the very best possible version of yourself. You need to become You 2.0.

The self-discipline of personal development begins with your ability to eliminate distractions. Instead of filling down time with distractions and novelties, you have to use some of that time to improve yourself through reading, studying, taking a class, or attending action-oriented webinars. You have to invest both time and money in improving the only real asset you will ever have: You!

Practice the discipline of personal development and continue to grow so you can make a greater contribution.


Is prospecting a discipline for you? Or is it something you approach sporadically?

How do you practice the discipline of nurturing your dream clients? What actions do you take and on what frequency?

Do you capture and keep all of the commitments you make, regardless of how small the commitment might be?

Do you have a disciplined approach to improving the value you create for your clients from quarter to quarter?

What is your discipline for improving yourself over time? What are the main components of your personal development plan?

Sales 2012
Post by Anthony Iannarino on August 19, 2012
Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.
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