Why Enjoying Success Means Never Giving Up
While walking through the +15 yesterday on my way to a client meeting, I ran into a long-time friend who has been enjoying success in the group insurance business.
Whenever the words perseverance and persistence find a way into any conversation, I am reminded of a story he shared with me over lunch several years ago.
He had recently closed a group insurance and benefits sale to a very large company. I asked how that sale had come about and how long the sales cycle had taken.
His answer is a true testament to perseverance and persistence.
He told me he had first called on this company during his first year in the business. He had not been able to obtain a meeting with the person responsible for these types of plans and had diarized a note to himself to try again.
Several months later he tried again with no luck. He was not enjoying success with this particular company.
He kept going back time and time again until finally he secured a meeting and found himself sitting across from the person he needed to talk with. Over the course of several subsequent meetings they negotiated a sale.
This is a story that is repeated every day in cities all over the world: salesperson makes several attempts to reach decision maker, refuses to take no for an answer, finally succeeds in securing the meeting and eventually a deal is made.
This sale however has a slightly different twist to it.
You see, his going back repeatedly to attempt to schedule an initial meeting took place over a span of 26 years.
That’s right! He called on that company four times a year for 26 years and each time he was denied an opportunity for a meeting. During that time the person occupying the VP’s office changed four times.
Finally, the fifth VP in that role agreed to meet with him and over a period of several months he was able to demonstrate that he could offer superior value at a lower cost and consequently closed the sale, enjoying success and earning himself hundreds of thousands of dollars in commission income.
He is a humble man who never brags of his accomplishments and it took quite some time to draw the full story out of him.
Since that day, I have retold the story numerous times to clients and during workshops for the simple reason that it is a message that applies to each of us. Imagine how differently the story would have ended had he decided not to continue reaching out to the company because after 25 years it was glaringly obvious that he would never succeed.
How often have we quit just before enjoying success as we were hoping for?
There is no possible way of ever knowing the answer to the question but what we do know, and cannot refute, is that each time we quit we absolutely, irrevocably, unconditionally and inarguably guarantee that success will remain as elusive as it is always been.
I asked my friend whether, at any time during those fruitless years he had contemplated giving up on calling that company.
He answered my question with one of his own. “How would that have helped?”
Till we read again.