When I started reading business books, one of the genre I picked up was biographies/life stories/success stories of successful people. Gates! Jobs! Buffet! But not all of us can be those people; nor will our circumstances be the same as theirs when they were able to achieve phenomenal success.

There is yet another category of people, ordinary people, who have achieved career success. They may not have made billions, but their success and growth in career is noteworthy and worth learning from. For they come from the same kind of backgrounds and face circumstances that a majority of people are dealt with. People we can identify with every day.

This is the story of Raman (*name changed, but not the story). Raman got hired into a mid-sized IT company right out of school. He had completed his MBA and had the characteristics that make a good sales person. He was selected from campus for a sales role, along with a dozen other such people.

These people joined the company, and after a few days of settling in and transitioning from ‘college environment’ to a professional one, started undergoing training sessions. These were meant to immerse them into sales - everything from making cold calls, to handling objections, to writing emails.

Soon, it would become clear who the high performers in this lot were. Since none of them had stated actual selling yet, it all boiled down to attitude. The performers were willing to work a little bit extra, ask questions when they didn't know something, show initiative and curiosity. The crowd started to thin: some realized on their own that they were not cut out for the job. Some were shown the mirror…and the door.

The non-performers started complaining about ‘office environment’, low morale, not enough office parties, why come to work in formals, why work a couple of hours extra - the list was long. Surprisingly, in that same environment, Raman and a few others continued to thrive.

Some of their attributes that led to their performance started to emerge: these people welcomed feedback, even if it was in the form of criticism. They took it as an opportunity to improve.

They didn't suck up to the boss. But if the pantry ran out of cookies, or the air conditioning conked for a day, or they were asked to repeat a boring task, they did suck it up. None of these were critical to their growth, and so, they remained unaffected by such trivia.

They were never afraid to call a spade a spade. They openly and yet diplomatically spoke their mind, made sure there voice was heard by the management - not as a complaint, but as constructive feedback.

Raman in particular never shied away from work. When the time came to make their first cold calls to customers, several of them clammed up. They wished and prayed that the other end would be a voicemail box.Raman, on the other hand, would record his conversations, hear them over and over. Even go over it with his boss in order to learn from them.

Soon Raman got a shot at making his first business trip abroad and then an opportunity to move to the US for a sales position within the company. He did not stop learning. He had not ‘arrived’: he had just got started.

Some others who also got that opportunity made the best of the company’s expense account - making the best of the ‘joy ride’ abroad. They retuned soon - empty handed.

Raman, on the other hand, took it upon himself to ‘own’ the customer on behalf of he company. He could rally a whole team of service delivery people, administrators and even the management to support him when he went after a deal. He formed strong personal bonds with people within the company, especially those whose support he would always need. Not the management, but the service delivery people on the ground. People he could count on when it came to serving the customer.

He also understood that personal success cannot be achieved on its own - the company, his projects and his team would have to be successful in order for him to achieve that success.

As a sales person, Raman became more and more customer focused. He made sure he followed through on his promises to the customer. He also made sure he followed through on his promises internally. He has never said “its not my job” - if anything affected his customer, it became his job. This is what has made his customer happy; and his close relationships with the service delivery teams have helped avoid any conflicts between sales and sales fulfillment teams.

While others around him jumped jobs repeatedly for the sake of salary increases, they achieved nothing worthwhile, Raman on the other hand, not only got the desired salary increases, but also earns his sales commissions. All without having to change employers every few months. He has not changed a job - ever. He has always had good performance reviews. He is liked by everyone, but no one dares give him a half-baked cookie.

This attitude and attributes have been key to his success, early in his career. Some simple things that have helped him are:

Focus: focus on a goal, focus on the customer and focus on keeping promises. This has also helped him avoid getting entangled with trivial concerns.
Its a 24x7 job: not literally, but he seems to be always thinking about how to do things better, how to grab that next opportunity, to foresee and plan for contingencies.
A “get it done” attitude: A lot of people have ambition and talk about “can do”. To get it done takes humility, willingness to roll up your sleeves and work with your team to get the desired result. He didn't have to be a leader to do it - he has just the will to do it - without a sense of entitlement or an attitude of “not my job”.
Always “close the loop”: not leaving loose ends is important to him. Even with small things like making sure the fonts on all pages of a proposal match! Check and double check.
Don’t take “no” for an answer: persistence and enough humility to ask again if he ever gets a ‘no’ the first time around.
Never be shy of asking for help: Even after several years ‘in the business’, if he does not know, or cannot do something - he openly seeks help. Sometimes, all it takes is just asking someone to help.
Old fashioned values: honesty, sincerity, hard work - they all matter.
Success need not always be a billion dollar idea coming through. Those are the much publicized stories. There are also stories of everyday people like Raman, achieving everyday success - and those achievements need very simple ingredients: sincere hard work, focus, and the right attitude towards work, customer and team.

This content is written and shared on behalf of RockON. RockON is a platform designed to help individuals with career success by giving the access to the most effective career coaching, learning, and employment and freelance opportunities. Visit https://rockon.me for more details.

Author's Bio: 

Co-Founder of Rockon.me