Don’t Give Up – Try One More Time

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” ~ Thomas Edison

I’m a huge fan of Thomas Edison, or at least of his quotes on work and accomplishments. I do wonder what he would have been like on a bad day – you know those gone-ta-pott days when you wish you could crawl back into bed and wait for tomorrow.

In my imagination, Thomas Edison was the type of guy who pushed through those days by generating activities where the doing could overcome the thinking. When bad days come, it is important to have a way to get out of our own heads – the downward spiral of thought is something we can control (that is what I believe) and it is easiest if we STOP THINKING and START DOING.

So what are some activities we can do in our sales jobs that move us forward?

  • 15 minutes of research – what’s new in your industry, geography, or business?
  • how does that help your prospects & customers?
  • follow up: call people who bought something from you in the past 12 months with the new information that will help them.
  • prospect: call people you don’t know and ask them questions to see if your new information fits in with them

Before you know it the end of the day is here and you’ve pushed past the badness… or at least the day is over.

That is what I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE about sales – tomorrow when I wake up, I can completely start over from scratch. It is a brand new day and I can control my own world.

Don’t give up – take Thomas Edison’s advice & try one more time!

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“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”


Sir Edmond Hillary is the author of that quote. Many people don’t realize Hillary tried to pull out of the expedition but was convinced to stay. He also discussed fear in a November 1996 interview when asked about being scared part of his response was “but this is all part of the challenge.”I’m not about to say that sales and climbing Mt. Everest are the same thing. I will say that both involve conquering ourselves.

  • Self-doubt that makes us try and pull out of the expedition
  • The fear we have (what ever it may be of)
  • Even the lethargy that overcomes and we want to do nothing
  • Perhaps the first sunny, warm day of spring when we just want to play

No matter what “inside stuff” you need to conquer – when you are faced with obstacles in your career, with a customer, about a deal – don’t look at the situation, instead investigate how YOU are looking at it. The situation is just the mountain.

(Mount Everest from Kalapatthar. Cropped and scaled down from Image:Everest kalapatthar.jpg. photo: Pavel Novak)

The difference between failure & success

Michael Jordan said “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”

For me the quote indicates – if we don’t push ourselves to the limit of what we know we will never fail BUT we will never move forward and succeed either.

Let’s face it; failure isn’t any fun.  Frustration Bingo is designed to turn your attitude toward failure around and make the things that typically frustrate us into a game.

It isn’t new – I came up with the concept YEARS ago when I was sitting in the gray cubes of love,  thinking about all the things I could do EXCEPT make calls. In TeleSales that heavy feeling of failure translates at times into call reluctance. This week, last year I posted Frustration Bingo on my blog.

Play the game because the difference between failure & success is to not keep going. Be sure to drag your coworkers into the crazy off-kliter world you’ve joined – make prizes for BINGO – enjoy the ride!

Do you have a Plan B?

James Yorke had it right “The most successful people are those who are good at plan B”.

On our way along the success path:

  • we will find forks in the trail
  • blow downs obstructing our way
  • broken boot laces
  • twisted ankles

Some salespeople will be stopped in their tracks by these set backs. Even the ones we face every day, over & over again (like voicemail or objections). If you have already worked out Plan B before the third time the same challenge comes up, you will have:

  • a map showing you the correct fork to take
  • a saw to remove the debris
  • an spare set of laces (and maybe dry socks & rain gear too)
  • built up your muscles and balance to be steady on your feet

A few great TeleSales Plan B examples are:

  1. creative 35 word or less voicemail messages that talk to INCREASING or decreasing something in the prospects business. ppppst – if you’re lazy like me, they will be a great opening statement if a human actually answers the phone (perhaps that is plan C?)
  2. have a target list for days when your scheduled activities are boring you (product based, industry based, “specials”)
  3. list your “top target” people that are your toughest conversations to call on days you’re ON top of your game
  4. know when you’re at your best (early, mid-day, late afternoon) and always schedule that time to call customers

How about your career, have you created a Career Plan B for yourself?

  1. is your resume up to date
  2. have you added your most recent accomplishments to your portfolio
  3. if you lost your job tomorrow, who are your first 10 calls after your “over it”?
  4. what other steps can you take to move you along your journey?

Don’t leave your success fate in the hands of other people – control your own world by having Plan B.

Take the controls: look inward to measure success

Here we are on April Fools Day – I must share the most foolish thing that I believe people do:

Measure Their Success by looking at Outward Appearance of Others

I was at a conference where a speaker shared a fantastic example, as it isn’t my story I’m making it more generic – but the point is still there:

As a woman was being inducted into the Hall of Fame for her profession, tens of thousands of adoring fans came to see her speak. She was beautiful, perfectly dressed, and articulate. The speech went off without a glitch and inspired the entire audience.

She talked of her effort, the struggles and failures, her passion was evident, her compelling style brought people to tears, laughter – and in the end to their feet.

As she was given her well deserved standing ovation, her husband and children joined her on the stage. The crowd went wild.

Once back stage, she looked at her mentor

and asked

“Did I do ok?”

Every person has their own strengths and weaknesses – most of us keep them inside our private self and don’t show them to the world. Instead we pick and choose the skill for any given situation that will work for us… right then.

So when you are looking at what appears to be success from the outside – remember there is a lot hidden underneath.  Like an iceberg – only 1/8 is visible above the surface.

  • Instead: look to your own definition of success and decide if you are who & where you want to be.
  • Instead: of waiting for other people to applaud you, applaud yourself for each win – no matter how small – that moves you forward.
  • Instead: of holding up a person as the “ideal” create a list of ideal characteristics that you would like to work on.
  • Instead: look inward to measure your success