By Graham Acreman
Earlier in the year I wrote an article, 10 Powerful Business Tips for Owners and Entrepreneurs.
This week we're going to explore the 3rd item – Be persistent and relentless.
I used to manage a large real estate portfolio and would often have salespeople stop by my office to pitch me on their product or service. Typically, they would come in, introduce themselves, and tell me about their offering. I’d chat with them for a couple of minutes and usually advise them that I already had a good supplier. I'd thank them for stopping by and let them know that I would keep them in mind. And then I’d never see them again. This was the pattern 90% of the time.
Among the other 10% there was a paint salesman named Peter. Peter made it a habit to come by every month. He’d stop in, say hello, share something new and then ask if I needed anything. The first ten times the answer was, “No” but on the eleventh visit, it just so happened that I had run into an issue with my current supplier - who I’d never met. Peter's persistence provided him the opportunity to make a sale. In the following years, that initial order turned into dozens of orders. How many sales would he have made if he gave up after the first attempt?
According to Salesforce.com, it takes an average of 6-8 touches to generate a sales lead. What do you think your chances of success are if you simply call once and leave a message?
It’s often been said that obstacles come up to help you determine how badly you want to achieve your goals. I’m a huge believer in this. In fact, one of my favourite quotes of all times is, “Someone who wants to succeed will find a way, someone who doesn’t will find an excuse.”
We all know people who are good at making excuses. Most of us also know others who will look at a challenge or set-back and find a way to overcome it. It's amazing to me that some people will accept a roadblock whereas others will find a way around it.
There have been many times in my life where I’ve shared a goal with someone only to hear, “You can’t do that” or, “You’re dreaming in Techni-color”. You’ve likely heard the same sort of things too.
How did you react? Did you give up or did you double-down?
Personally speaking, from an outward appearance, I’d generally shrug off those type of comments but internally, I’d be fired up and thinking, “Really? Watch me.” I’m going to do my absolute best to prove you wrong!
Let's look at the issue form another angle.
In business, and in life, many great ideas and new systems fail because they didn’t have a champion who was determined to see them come to life. I see this all the time - an owner or manager may truly believe they had set the expectation (”I told them…”) but there’s a lot more to it than that. They need to set expectations, provide training, follow up on expectations, trouble shoot where necessary, and ultimately, hold people accountable for results.
If you’re committed to ensuring that a new idea is implemented, then it’s up to you to do these things. You need to be determined and relentless.
It’s easy to try something once, fail, and come to a conclusion that it didn’t work. Perhaps it was a failure but it doesn’t mean it was a bad idea.
Consider the following statements that I’ve heard from multiple business owners:
“I hired a salesperson once. It was a disaster. I’ll never hire another salesperson again.”
That’s crazy! Think about it – you had a bad experience with a sales rep so you conclude it doesn’t work? What about the millions of sales reps employed by other companies that do work?
“We tried a CRM – nobody used it.”Why not? Who was accountable? What about the millions of companies that are using a CRM?
“We ran a marketing campaign once – it didn’t work.”
So marketing is bad? Not worth it? I wonder why millions of businesses still market every day?...
In all of these cases, it wasn’t that the idea was bad but more so that no one was relentlessly determined to do what was necessary to make it work.
Relentless determination is what you need to harness in order to get things done. When failure is not an option, you'll figure out a way to get through any road blocks.
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