Consistency is more than just a characteristic; it is a life philosophy that should be embraced by all sales professionals.
There is an impossibly long list of vague virtues that we are all encouraged to develop over the course of our time on this planet. From a young age we are taught these virtues by our parents, teachers, religious leaders, coaches, and other heroes. However, the sheer abundance of them makes it hard to identify and stay committed to the most important ones. As a sales professional and an entrepreneur I believe one of the most important virtues is consistency.
On a practical level, consistency is the only way to become the best at what you do.
Before we get into the more abstract reasons behind the important of consistency, how about we start off with the practical. If you are striving to be among the best in your field, then consistency is the only (yes, only) road to get there. Side note: if you aren't the kind of person who wants to be the best at what you do, then you probably shouldn't be pursuing a career in sales.
Studies have shown time and again that the "naturally gifted" individual is eventually surpassed by a less gifted individual who practices his trade with a consistent and sustained effort. In her book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth lays out the relationship between talent, effort, skill and achievement like this:
Talent x Effort = Skill
Skill x Effort = Achievement
If you tear this formula apart, you will quickly see that talent alone is outpaced by sustained effort in every scenario. Did you notice how Talent is nowhere to be found in the Achievement formula? That wasn't an accident. If your goal is to achieve the best, you need to be consistent with your effort.
Consistency is a signal of stability, which makes people trust you.
Who would you rather ask to watch your kids for the weekend: your friend who wakes up every morning at 5:30am to run 3 miles, or your friend who can't keep a job for longer than four months? When we commit to doing things (whatever they might be) on a consistent basis, we present an image of stability to those around us.
This is extremely important for sales people, who rely upon earning the trust of new clients in order to perform their duty of generating new revenue. It is fairly simple to understand that being a stable person makes it much easier to earn the trust of people you have just met.
In order to present this image of stability, start committing to specific daily practices in your personal and professional life. For example, read one new book on sales techniques each month. Even if you don't directly incorporate all of what you've learned, the very act of following through on a commitment eventually becomes a part of who you are, and it manifests its self in all areas of your life.
Consistency eliminates the power of circumstances, which are temporary, and returns the power to you.
This is a lesson that is perhaps best understood by entrepreneurs. It also might be the most abstract benefit of consistency on this list.
As we all know, life throws challenges at us in waves. The problem is, we don't always recognize that they are just waves when we are going through them. The result is that our circumstances often overwhelm us-- and we make rash decisions on the assumption that our current circumstances are permanent. Which they aren't. They never are.
The person who has devoted himself to consistency has an easier time recognizing that circumstances are all temporary. Just like marathon runners are trained to run through their cramps rather than quit at the first instant, a consistent person will likewise persevere through the challenges they face in life.
The key takeaway is to remain consistent in both direction and exertion of effort, rather than making permanent decisions as a reaction to temporary circumstances. Doing so will have a multitude of benefits in career of a sales person.