To quote Albert E. N. Gray, “The common denominator of success --- the secret of success of every man who has ever been successful --- lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing things that failures don't like to do.”
This speech given to a group of insurance sales people nearly sixty years ago, has forever changed my life. For some reason, I believed successful people were successful because they worked hard, were lucky enough to have the stars align in their favor, and had a pre-disposition to thoroughly enjoy doing the things failures didn’t want to do. Truth be known, successful sales people don’t necessarily like to do the things unsuccessful sales people are unwilling to do. However, they know that by doing certain things they will have success. They have also identified a strong purpose in their lives to drive them to do the things that failures don’t like to do.
Several years ago, when my children were teenagers, I had given one of my sons a list of chores, allowing him an opportunity to help around the home and to earn an allowance. At the end of the week, we reviewed his performance. Several of the jobs that were on the list were not completed. I asked him why, and the answer was, “Dad, I did all the things I like to do, and didn’t do the jobs I didn’t want to do.” I reminded him that in life, we find ourselves compelled to do things we don’t want to do, and we better get into the habit of doing those things if we are going to have any degree of success. That degree of success we seek, transcends personal, family and employment objectives. I believe that lesson learned by my son, was foundational in forming his character and making him the wonderful father, husband, neighbor, employee and leader he has become.
Years ago, when I started my sales training company, I found myself making more than a hundred cold calls each day to business owners along the Wasatch front. It was difficult and discouraging work. It was not something I would have chosen to do, but I knew by suffering through the calls, I would eventually find those clients who would allow me to be successful. There were several things that drove me to do the things I didn’t like to do. The mortgage needed to be paid and I didn’t want my wife and children to suffer. I also wanted my business to be successful. I had a passion and a dream that I was unwilling to let die. I had a purpose so profound in my life, I was willing to do all I could to achieve it. Difficult, unpleasant, tiring, or boring are just adjectives that get in the way of achieving our own identified success.
Here are three steps you can take to apply the common denominator of success in your life and to dramatically improve your sales:
- Identify a purpose in your life so strong and so compelling, that you will be willing to put forth an extraordinary effort in your sales activity to satisfy that purpose.
- Identify those activities, even the ones you don’t enjoy, that are necessary for sales success.
- Create the habit of doing those activities on a regular basis, with your eyes clearly focused on your purpose.
Making the intentional effort to do those things that need to be done, even, and especially if we don’t want to do them, gives us an edge up on our competition. Doing things we don’t want to, but need to be done in order to be successful, also builds character and discipline. Most importantly, doing those activities other sales people don’t do, will set you apart because you will be successful in your sales efforts.