Stumbling doesn’t matter

Picking yourself back up is what counts!

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”  ~ Thomas Edison

It sounds so easy when Tomas Edison says it, but today – in our own lives – sometimes it isn’t so fun to think about. Being an avid skier I can’t help but use a few fun winter time metaphors. In a Go Big or Go Home way I’m  starting with one that most people would call an epic fail not a stumble:

Yard Sale
On the mountain this is when you fall so hard you lose all your equipment – polls, skis, goggles… your hat (if you’re not wearing a helmet). I’ll share that there are actually home movies of me somewhere (from the early ‘70s) going from graceful to yard sale in seconds!

© Alexander Ishchenko

In sales this can happen quickly too, regardless of how skilled we are.

  • Not addressing the prospects needs and concerns in your presentation.
  • Sending out a letter that you didn’t change the ‘dear’ salutation to the right name (yes I actually saw that recently).
  • Giving a verbal quote instead of a ballparking number and losing the deal.

These hurt! It is when you are going fast enough that the impact of your fall knocks the wind out of you. Although you haven’t scattered your equipment all over the mountain, you can’t get up and people you don’t know stop to check on you with genuine concern.

© Rares Pulbere

In sales, crashes equate to the times that:

  • You fail to meet a critical customer deadline
  • The first order is a total screw up
  • Something (it feels like everything) you do seems to make the prospect angry

These are a little easier to take, you fall down & go boom – no one feels the need to stop and make sure you’re ok. You pick yourself up, brush off the snow, and keep going.

© Monner

You might recognize a couple of these sales falls:

  • Having to say “I’m sorry I missed that” on the phone
  • Not meeting one of those little commitments that leads to trust
  • Messing up on a quote, but getting a chance to fix it.

Well in skiing I’ve never heard someone call it a stumble, because if you’re not down on the ground it doesn’t count. BUT when you’re skiing under a lift with everyone watching you – looking uncoordinated and like a fool isn’t much fun even if you catch yourself before you fall.

© Brenda Villarreal

As a salesperson this might be:

  • Blowing a voicemail completely and not having a delete option
  • Calling without a good reason (from the prospect/customer perspective)
  • Asking a question, that the customer already answered – and they say that

Whether you stumble, fall, crash, or have a yard sale; the important thing is to not lay there in the snow. Eventually you have to pick yourself up, so don’t lay there getting cold GET UP. Plus when you’re skiing, you have to at least make it to the bottom of the mountain so you can go home.

If we translate that into goals – instead of

  • Deciding to NEVER call an account again, because you feel stupid.
  • Not calling anyone for the rest of the day because the phone weighs 10,000lbs.
  • Calling YOURSELF mean names in the car on the way home.

Take a moment to remember that stumbling, falling, crashing, and yard sales don’t mean you will NEVER achieve your goal…. unless you give up. What matters is learning a lesson so you don’t make the same mistake again,  continuing on, and having fun – it’s your day on the mountain!

Action and Expertise combine to create Success – on Expertise

Action & Expertise combine to create Success… be sure you’re taking one, building the second, and defining the third for yourself! @upyourtelesales

Yesterday was all about Action – today lets talk about


  • building the second,

This is where we make sure our actions will move us in the right direction! That the steps we’re taking move us forward. That what we do every day makes us BETTER at finding opportunities, defining & qualifying them, then earning their business.

Malcolm Gladwell talks a lot about expertise in his book The Outliers, mentioning time and time again that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert – regardless of your field. I don’t disagree at all, but would like to add that you have to be practicing the RIGHT things.

Practice makes permanent ~ David Dolbear

Imagine if a ballerina practiced ‘en pointe’ incorrectly – not only would it not be graceful, she would probably hurt herself. The more incorrect practice the worse the injury would be PLUS it certainly isn’t making her into a prima ballerina.

Now that we’ve determined that we need to practice the right stuff – here is a breakdown of what 10,000 of practice AT WORK might look like:

  • 40 hours x 50 weeks (see I’m giving you vacation time) = 2000 hours/year
  • minus the 2 hrs/day we aren’t really working… leaves us with 1500 hours/year
  • of that 1500 hours – we might be focusing 1/2 the time = 750 hours/year
  • rounding DOWN – it will take us 13 YEARS to become an expert

Have you ever looked at it that way? Even if you add an extra hour each week of working toward expertise it nocks off a chunk of time to achieve expert status.

An extra 24 MINUTES each day will bring that time to 12 years instead of 13 (if you really do the math it is 11.76 yrs vs. 13.33 but who’s keeping track). For some people that would mean popping in an educational CD instead of listening to talk radio on their commute each day.

Add to that reading a sales book or *gasp* two, each year and there you are an expert!

Every single day if we are working to be a little better at what we do. Taking tiny steps forward toward expertise, you’ll be amazed at how quickly mastery will come.

Give yourself a leg up on the competition – spend 24 minutes today getting better at your craft, then come back tomorrow for Success.