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  • Writer's picturebdkjenner

Rocket Fuel -How's your 'stickwithit'ness?

In today’s Rocket Fuel, Bob Stephens, aka Rocketman, from my book TOP Seller, is speaking to his peers about a lesson he learned from his mentor, John Andrews, about handling the highs and lows of the sales career:

I am going to wrap up by telling you a valuable lesson I learned early in my career: I had just come back from an appointment, and I was on top of the world. This wasn't any appointment though… At this appointment, my new client had just signed the largest contract I had placed so far in my career.

When I ran into my manager, John Andrews, I must have been floating about six inches off the floor. John spotted my excitement right away and quizzed me for details. After I told him the whole story, John looked me straight in eye and shook my hand enthusiastically, and said, "Welcome to sales!" and then he walked away down the hall.

A couple of days later, I arrived at work to see my newest client featured on the front page of the business section. The article disclosed how they had lost their biggest customer to their competition, and now there was fear of layoffs and possibly even bankruptcy. Within an hour of reading the article, I got a call from the controller confirming my worst nightmare… they were canceling the contract with me. In a heartbeat, my big sale had evaporated into thin air.

Later that day, I was shuffling down the hallway with my head hung and my shoulders slumped in defeat when I ran into John again. I told him every painful detail and when I was done, he looked me straight in the eye, shook my hand enthusiastically, and said, "Welcome to sales!", and then he walked off down the hall. I stood there dumbfounded and confused, but later the picture came clear.

The highest highs and the lowest lows are familiar territory for salespeople; to survive, a good salesperson has to be able to live through both.

I have worked with many salespeople who have had a wide range of inherent talent. In some cases their talent was their ability to find prospects, or 'close the sale'. Or maybe their strength was their ability to ask great questions, build credibility quickly with a wide range of people, or communicate their value proposition in a way that motivated people to act. The irony was that regardless of how much natural talent some of these people possessed, they still failed. What was the missing ingredient you ask? The ultimate secret weapon for many salespeople who have gone on to become leaders in their industries is simple; it's their ability to stick with it through the tough times!

So how is your stick-with-it ness? Have you stuck with it through the tough times? Has your 'stick-with-it' ness been the secret weapon that has allowed you to become successful? Because it's not your smile, your firm handshake or your ability to carry a conversation that ultimately will determine your success. In many cases, it's simply a matter of having the intestinal fortitude to live through the tough times so that you can be there to enjoy the fruits of your labor long term.

Written by Brian Kjenner

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