After my slightly self-pitying post of yesterday, guess what happened? My work colleague, Luis, approached me with encouraging news.
Luis was the first person I approached as a possible customer. It took months for me to a) be specific enough and b) assertive enough to set a time and date for me to present my sales pitch to him. He reacted very well.
But the timing wasn’t right. For reasons that will become clear in time, we’re waiting for the right opportunity for him. That’s cryptic, I know, but the point is that he both wants to be a customer and join me in selling my company. That’s what he told me last night, that the clock is gradually working for us.
His plan, to let his people come to him, is gradually showing fresh springtime buds.
That’s enormously encouraging for me, and a step towards a better life for him, and his folks.
Sometimes progress feels like regress. The media make it plain that unless you’re zooming to the top, a billionaire at 30, you’re really quite the loser.
That’s both ridiculous and unhealthy. In a world where EVERYTHING is vying for EVERYONE’s attention, finding a way to someone’s mind is as difficult as ever…unless we go back to basics.
In my case, here and in real life, I figure that connecting with people is a process, not an event. There’s a memory I have of someone once saying that the average sale requires an average of seven contacts. Thesedays it might be double that number, because we’re contacted – Tweets, blogs, Facebook, Pinterest, emails, texts – for very short periods more often.
The process will hopefully mean more face-to-face time than electronic time, but both have their place. You don’t want to change much about your life, and why would you? Change is awkward. But it’s my job to firstly open you up to the idea, and then help you make that change and keep you happy with your decision once it’s made.
All of that takes time. And all the while the outcome is uncertain, feeling that there’s no progress is an easy frame of mind to fall into. I say no. Every little action, every small understanding, every phone call, every conversation, every testimonial moves the universe in the right direction.
In my night-time job, a flashlight is essential. Duh, obviously. The (somewhat boring and unremarkable) photo above, shows my Mini-Maglite after its adventure last week. Let me describe what happened.
I drive cars for money. The problem is that there is a protocol preventing us doing certain things – things like disclosing where I work, or doing anything that might connect the car I’m in with were I begin and end my evening. If this sounds weird and cryptic, it is. I’m limited by contract to what I can write.
Which preamble explains why I just couldn’t stop and pick up my flashlight. I’d left it sitting atop the car from where it rolled off onto the road as I made the first turn. I heard the…
…as it rolled off the trunk and departed, probably never to be seen again. I was momentarily annoyed at my foolishness. Firstly, I would be without a flashlight for my entire night shift. That’s not a disaster in its own right, but I didn’t particularly want to go out the next day and buy another one.
Because I’m shifting my thinking to being in the moment, I had the following thought. You know, if it’s there in the morning, it’s good. If not, that’s also fine.
From that moment on, it didn’t bother me for the rest of my shift. And wouldn’t you know it, when I arrived back in the morning, (retracing my route) there was the flashlight, sitting right in the middle of the eastbound. Again, we’re not allowed to stop out front, so I had to wait until I left for home, in my own car. The flashlight had, in the eleven hours it had been sitting in the roadway, been bashed up pretty well. You can see the damage. Amazingly, it had been neither smushed, punted off the side of the road, nor destroyed. And it still worked.
How’s that for resilience? I’ll leave you to draw the conclusion I made about my own life.
Sales and marketing magazines, in-house journals, online schools, books, DVD courses, Twitter feeds, blogs and all the rest of them focus on success – how to find it, how others have found it, how YOU can find it, and what to do with it when I find it.
I’m not really interested in writing about what is already an overcrowded market. More useful is a place where the mechanics of learning to be sales-savvy are revealed, day by day. It’s the architecture of sales you’ll find here, my story of how ignorance and inaction can resolve into understanding and production.
At the moment, right at the point of starting, the most effort will give the least apparent reward. It’s the way all these things work. Rockets, for example, expend almost all their energy in the first couple of minutes of the ten or so it takes to reach orbit. You know that inch-by-inch climb past the launch tower, engines at full throttle, roaring flame pushing the machine ever-so-slowly higher – the wonder is that it’s moving at all.
But after a while we can see that the whole thing really is getting a move-on. Suddenly the entire complex edifice resolves itself into the clear-cut victory of man and his technology over gravity and doubt. No wonder we’re left in awe.
So I think much of human enterprise goes. When we begin something, nothing looks to happen. We go a little further, and still nothing much seems to happen. That’s the nature of things. The important lesson here, the lesson of rocketry, is to keep adding the right kind of fuel, and use the right kind of thinking. Unlike sending a vehicle into space, we’re dealing with people and emotions, so the certainty of mathematics and physics are missing. However, we have time and adaptability at our disposal, far more valuable assets.