Janek Performance Group > Blog > What Sales Can Learn From Elon Musk: 4 Powerful Career Tips

Sales Performance Blog

17 Jan 2018

What Sales Can Learn From Elon Musk: 4 Powerful Career Tips

By: Justin Zappulla

Elon Musk and his companies are in the news practically every week for some reason or another. Musk is admired for his innovative thinking and breakthrough designs. His best-known venture, Tesla, is embraced all over the world for its sleek, energy-efficient cars and the advancements in battery technology the company has achieved. He's also a pioneer in space travel, with his SpaceX venture, and is helping to develop AI technology with Neuralink. When you think about a visionary entrepreneur like Musk, it's easy to feel like he's far removed from the average entrepreneur, business owner or sales manager. However, if you study the principles that drive him, you can find many lessons to apply to your own business and sales career.

Don't Let Setbacks Hold You Back
When you consider Musk's many renowned ventures, it's easy to forget that not everything he's done has been a resounding success. His many failures include being removed from PayPal, multiple rocket launch explosions, and near-bankruptcies of Tesla and SpaceX. As with many of the world's most accomplished people, Musk never lets temporary setbacks discourage him. This is a crucial lesson for everyone, whether you're an employee or starting your own business. Everyone faces problems and delays. If you find yourself getting frustrated when meetings get canceled and sales take a slump, focus on the future and how you can make it better.

Don't Be Motivated By Money Alone
There's no point in downplaying the importance of material well-being. In our society, money is essential to take care of yourself and your family. However, if money is your only or even your primary motivation, you're limiting yourself. Musk has always been driven by a desire to help people and solve real problems. He's exploring space travel to gather practical knowledge that will benefit humankind. He's pushing for AI breakthroughs to help people live longer and achieve their true potential. While his ventures have made him wealthy, this has never been his main goal. Money is certainly a motivating factor for anyone, but it can only take you so far. If you share a passion for what you do and believe in the value you can bring to your job and the customers you serve, you'll be able to achieve more than if you merely chase wealth.

Learn to Manage Risk
It's almost impossible to achieve anything noteworthy in life without taking risks. On the other hand, you can't be too reckless with your assets. The key, which high achievers such as Elon Musk understand, is to find the right balance between caution and risk. Musk has always had a talent for taking calculated risks. In 2009, when Tesla was struggling financially, he used his personal funds to keep it going. This wasn't a mere gamble for him as he had complete faith in the project. Since then, Tesla has become a public company and made Musk extremely wealthy. In sales, we face risks daily. We make decisions that can have a profound impact on the bottom line. When facing challenges, ask yourself how committed you are to the course you're taking. If you believe wholeheartedly in your mission, it's worth risking your time and resources.

Keep Improving Yourself
At 46, Elon Musk has achieved more in his life than most people ever do. Despite this, he continues to push the envelope and look for ways to accomplish even more. This is a quality shared by top performing sales professionals. No matter what your goals are in your sales career, there are always new challenges and ways to make improvements. As Musk once said, "I think it's very important to have a feedback loop, where you're constantly thinking about what you've done and how you could be doing it better..." This is something that's very much applicable to the idea of sales coaching and being open to receiving feedback to improve in our jobs. There's always a way to do something better. However, you'll only find it if you're actively searching for it. 

Elon Musk is certainly a visionary who comes up with unique ideas in a variety of fields. However, part of what makes him so successful is his philosophy of constantly improving, persevering, and taking calculated risks. Many of his early failures would have stopped others, equally brilliant, in their tracks. You can look at his qualities and accomplishments and draw lessons that help you in your own sales career or business. 

Categories: Sales Culture

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