Persistency Pays

by Ginny Speaks

I caught the sales bug when I was 17.  I took a job selling books door to door to put myself through college and realized at a young age that being in sales one did not have an income ceiling.  How cool is that, right?  Until you hit the proverbial sales slump.  As with everything in life, one cannot have or experience good without having experienced bad.   A beautiful rose is adorned with thorns.  Light becomes darkness and the cycle continues. Ying comes with Yang.  The ocean ebbs and flows. You get the picture.  So, what to do when you find yourself in a sales slump and you feel defeated?  Stay the course.

I have found myself using this phrase a lot lately conducting pep talks, not only with sales executives that I coach, but with friends in the sales space as well.  We all know deep down as professional sales executives that this is part of the sales experience and that these so called sales slumps soon shall pass.  All successful business people share a common trait … they are persistent and never give up.  They stay the course and soon discover that around the bend the valleys turn into mountain highs.  To inspire us to stay the course and remind us that the journey to success does include failures and usually many, take a look at these stories of persistence.

Henry Ford – the pioneer of modern business entrepreneurs and the founder of the Ford Motor Company failed a number of times on his route to success. His first venture to build a motor car got dissolved a year and a half after it was started because the stockholders lost confidence in Henry Ford.  He was able to gather enough capital to start again but a year later pressure from the financiers forced him out of the company again. Despite the fact that the entire motor industry had lost faith in him, he managed to find another investor to start the Ford Motor Company – and the rest is history.

Walt Disney – one of the greatest business leaders who created the global Disney Empire of film studios, theme parks and consumer products didn’t start off successful. Before the great success came a number of failures. Believe it or not, Walt was fired from an early job at the Kansas City Star Newspaper because he was not creative enough! In 1922 he started his first company called Laugh-O-Gram. The Kansas based business would produce cartoons and short advertising films. In 1923, the business went bankrupt. Walt didn’t give up; he packed up, went to Hollywood and started The Walt Disney Company.

Oprah Winfrey – who ranks No 1 in the Forbes celebrity list and is recognized as the queen of entertainment based on an amazing career as iconic talk show host, media proprietor, actress and producer. In her earlier career she had numerous set-backs, which included getting fired from her job as a reporter because she was ‘unfit for television’, getting fired as co-anchor for the 6 O’clock weekday news on WJZ-TV and being demoted to morning TV.

J.K. Rowling – who wrote the Harry Potter books selling over 400 million copies and making it one of the most successful and lucrative book and film series ever. However, like so many writers she received endless rejections from publishers. Many rejected her manuscript outright for reasons like ‘it was far too long for a children’s book’ or because ‘children books never make any money’. J.K. Rowling’s story is even more inspiring because when she started she was a divorced single mom on welfare.

Bill Gates -co-founder and chairman of Microsoft dropped out of Harvard and set up a business called Traf-O-Data. The partnership between him, Paul Allen and Paul Gilbert was based on a good idea (to read data from roadway traffic counters and create automated reports on traffic flows) but a flawed business model left the company with few customers. The company ran up losses between 1974 and 1980 before it was closed. However, Bill Gates and Paul Allen took what they learned and avoided those mistakes whey they created the Microsoft Empire.

Are you feeling inspired now to stay the course?  Greatness is waiting on you!

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