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week." This gives you time to prepare and visualize your success.
Spontaneous. See an opportunity and go for it. Don't wait around thinking about it or
hoping it will come back another day.

I like to be spontaneous, although I did plan the skydiving. I "Just Did It!" Another suggestion is to
experience mini-stretches to start, slowly building your confidence to stretch. Don't feel you have to
jump out of an airplane tomorrow.

Let me share another real-world example of how the "Just Did It!" attitude coupled with SMART goals
worked in harmony to achieve the desired result of stretching the comfort zone. While facilitating a
customer service seminar, I used the example of bungy cord jumping as a classic comfort-zone stretch
and asked if anyone had experienced it. The only response was from Lawrence, aka "Slim." He said he
intended to do it but was too broke (using the financial angle to procrastinate). A bungy jumping facility
was available only minutes away. My cofacilitator agreed it would be appropriate to take Slim and the
group on a little field trip. The rest of the group and I kicked in the cash required for Slim to make the

Slim jumped willingly. He "Just Did It!" It was great to watch discomfort of discipline in action. Within
two hours of Slim's mentioning he wanted to do it we removed the barrier and he did it. We returned to
the seminar and of course Slim didn't learn a darn thing the rest of the day. He was bug-eyed and as
high as a kite, intoxicated by his new experience. He got the T-shirt (and the video). He couldn't wait to
share his new experience with his wife and friends. He was so proud to say, "I Just Did It!" The same
type of opportunities are open to you.

What makes experiencing a stretch so attractive is that my informal research suggests that
approximately 90% of the time people respond to their new experience by saying, "Wow, that was
great. I'd do it again." Most people do it again because the next time is simply repetition, replacing the
initial fear with enjoyment. What Slim and countless others have learned is this: Fear dissolves by way
of participation. There is no other way. Nonparticipants live with fear, anxiety, stress, and well-rehearsed
excuses. This baggage spills into your career, eroding your enthusiasm, your drive, and your
commitment. There are no limitations to the frequency of stretching and experiencing new things. All
you need is permission from yourself. My next personal comfort-zone goal is scuba diving. I don't feel
particularly comfortable under water but it's something I plan to pursue. My son Stephen is a certified
scuba diver and he tells me, "It's awesome." After all I have a 90% chance of enjoying it.
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Attitude #5: Patient Yet Persistent
Patient yet persistent: an oxymoron? Not necessarily. As a sales entrepreneur, one of the biggest
obstacles to your success is lack of patience. Statistics suggest that less than 5% of sales are made
on the first call and over 80% are made on the fifth call. However, only 10% of sales representatives ever
return for the third call. [11 ] They quit and go back to the adult day care center to hang out with other
frustrated sales representatives.

Look around you and you will see mostly quitters. Maybe there is one in your mirror. Consider this: The
average person who takes up a musical instrument, quits. How many people do you know who play a
"little piano" or "a few chords" on the guitar? They tire of it quickly, as results come too slowly. They go
on to look for something easier. Likewise, many people who start night school, fitness programs, or
sales careers quit. The examples are endless. Many of us are great starters but poor finishers.

This is great news for those of us who truly desire to be successful. It means that if we stick to it, we
will be ahead of the pack. Jack H. McQuaig, a pioneering psychologist, claims that the one defining
factor of success in sales is persistence. There is lots of room at the top. History is alive with classic
examples of persistence. Thank goodness for the likes of Edison (10,000 tries before the light bulb
worked), Einstein, Bell, Michelangelo, the Wright Brothers, and Alan Hobson and Jamie Clarke. They
never gave up. On May 23, 1997, Alan and Jamie finally reached the top of Mount Everest on their third
attempt. Alan said this from the summit, "If there is a lesson in all of this, it is that if we persevere long
enough, we can do the dreams."

If you call a potential customer once a year, are you persistent? What about twice a year? Once a
quarter, once a month, once a week? Are you persistent? The answer to all of the above is yes. Even
by calling once a year you are demonstrating persistence. You are saying to the customer: "I'm still
here, I'm not giving up." Harvey MacKay talks about how he has not met a qualified customer he hasn't
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sold. Some took a while”two to three years”but he sold them. Persistence. When do you give up on
potential customers? When they die! Even then, introduce yourself to the new person!
Silver Platter Syndrome

One of the better sales videos I have seen presents the silver platter syndrome. Although the video is
probably 20 years old, the message remains powerful. The premise of the silver platter is that the
average sales representative gives up after only three or four calls to a potential customer. However, we
know that 80% of sales calls are closed after five calls, but only 10% of representatives ever make the
third call. The silver platter works like this: You make the first call and the second call, generating some
interest from the customer. After the third call the customer may not be sold yet, but is probably
interested. You have piqued their interest to maybe 80%. However, having made your two or three calls
you give up, moving on to the next potential customer. Once again instant gratification prevails and
sabotages the sale. Your competitor shows up shortly after you have abandoned the customer, or you
simply gave up. The customer, still at an 80% level of acceptance, now entertains your competitor's
proposal. How much selling did your competitor have to do? Only 20%. Gottcha! You just handed that
sales opportunity to your competitor on a silver platter. He or she should send you a thank-you note
saying, "Thanks for giving up. I only had to do 20% of the sale. Have a nice day."

My question is this: How many potential accounts are you working on where you may be exposed to
the silver platter syndrome? Better check it out. How often have you given up on a customer relationship
but later discovered that your competitor, who was more persistent, got the sale? It's frustrating and
unnecessary. The attitude of persistence will not eliminate the silver platter syndrome but it will certainly
help minimize it. Stay focused on the accounts that will truly contribute to your business, even if it
takes a year or two to close them.

The problem once again comes back to human frailties. Human beings crave instant gratification and we
pursue it with a passion, seducing us away from the task at hand, compromising our focus and
deviating our energies. Why take six months to possibly close account X when I can probably close
account Y tomorrow?

No one is immune. Our world moves along at breakneck speed as we satisfy our quest for instant
gratification. Businesses compete with cutthroat aggressiveness to deliver their products faster, bigger,
and better. Heck, even the beer companies responded by introducing the "big mouth" beer can. We can
now drink beer 40% faster. We have drive-through coffee, eating, banking, and oil changes. In California,
you can experience drive-through marriages and when you die, friends can pay their respects at a
drive-through funeral home. Inarguably, the antidote to instant gratification is patience and persistence.
We must be persistent to remain competitive but all the while patient enough to work within the
customer's timetable. Even in California, "drive-through" customers do not exist”at least not yet.

Sales representatives and customers are often out of sync during the sales process. Sales
representatives are guided by their agendas whereas the customers are guided by theirs. Don't let the
lure of commissions, bonuses, or quick sales sabotage your patience. Don't close the deal on your
timetable in the interest of a fat paycheck. It's all too common for sales representatives to sell what they
need to sell versus what the customer needs to buy. This is further fuelled by corporate incentives: "One
more sale and I win the TV," or "I might win the parking spot for the month." Sales managers put
additional pressure on representatives by demanding they hit month-end or year-end targets. A huge
gap is created between the sales representative's selling agenda and the customer's buying agenda.
Brooks, William T. Niche Selling: How to Find Your Customer in a Crowded Market. Page 84“85, 1992.
[11 ]

Business One Irwin.
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It Begins with YOU
When you pass away, an autopsy will never reveal your attitudes. They are human qualities that are
very personal, very subjective, and controlled entirely by you. Attitude not only determines your final
destiny in life, it also determines what kind of journey it will be. The bottom line is that you are where
you are in life because of the choices you made. Your job, your income, and your spouse are all a
result of your choices. The only things you can't change are your parents, siblings, taxes, and death.
Take ownership of yourself and start living life to its fullest. We need to stop rehearsing our excuses and
accept total responsibility for ourselves. Life sometimes resembles an iceberg: We only realize maybe
20% of our potential and we shortchange ourselves by 80% of a great life. Our life is so abundant with
opportunity, we just don't realize it. When we nurture these attitudes within ourselves we naturally
increase our capacity for meeting just about any challenge with energy, optimism, and a positive

It's sad to see the number of people who surrender their lives to mediocrity. I recently read on a flower
shop sign, "Treat each day like a gift, that's why it's called the present." It all begins and ends with
YOU: Your Opportunities are Unlimited.
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What I Told My Daughter
When my daughter Lynn turned 18, I wanted to impress her with some fatherly pearls of wisdom,
something she would remember and cherish the rest of her life. This is what I told her. "Honey, now that
you are an adult, from here on in nobody cares about you." She was crestfallen. She said, "Wow, Dad,
that's harsh." My point is this and it applies to all of us: Other than your parents, who really cares about
your personal success or hardships in life? Nobody. Who cares if you are the CEO of ME Inc. or
picking bottles off the street? Nobody. Yes, your manager has a corporate interest in your performance
but if you do not perform, you're fired. Your spouse may love you today but if you do not commit to the
relationship, it erodes and you're divorced. Your coach may support you but if you do not contribute to
the team, you're traded, and so it goes. Nobody cares other than the few people who may express
sadness and sympathy for your plight. It's a rather sobering message to tell a daughter and to share
with readers but, unfortunately, life is not very tolerant of those who do not take ownership and
responsibility for their decisions. Lynn did not particularly appreciate my little gem of advice, but she
understood it. It was a big bite out of the reality sandwich. However, the good news is this: By
practising these five attitudes that lead to success, sales entrepreneurs can expand their confidence in
their abilities. These high achievers will emanate positive energy and display a high level of commitment
to their personal life and to their profession.

The best time to develop a lasting, positive attitude is during the good times. Consciously build on the
five attitudinal pillars and use them as a catalyst to heighten your success. Don't find yourself reacting
to bad times, struggling to combat low self-esteem or low self-worth. Consider this Chinese proverb:
"Dig the well before you get thirsty." Or give this some thought: "The best time to fix a leaky roof is on a
sunny day." Something else to consider: If you think you have it tough, spend an afternoon visiting the
burn unit or the cancer ward at your local hospital. It's a rather sobering, shocking experience. Trust
me, it won't take long before you quickly appreciate how good things really are. Quit taking the good
things for granted. Bad times tend to wake us up to the good things we weren't paying attention to.

Your power exists in the now. Harness it and make decisions today that will positively impact your

Congratulations on completing Step #1 of the Sequential Model of Professional Selling. The Attitude
Step is your springboard into the other nine steps. However, attitude must prevail throughout the
Sequential Model. Attitude is a prerequisite to all other steps. You have now graduated to Step #2,
Planning and Preparation.

I close with this quote from George Bernard Shaw: [12 ]

A master in the art of living knows no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and
his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which.
He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing and leaves others to determine
whether he is working or playing. To himself he always seems to be doing both."
Cloke, Kenneth & Joan Goldsmith. Thank God It's Monday: 14 Values We Need to Humanize the Way We
[12 ]

Work. Page 61, 1997. Irwin Professional Publishing.
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1. Chapman, Elwood N. Life is an Attitude! Staying Positive During Tough Times. Page 5, 1992. Crisp
Publication Inc.

2. Chapman, Elwood N. Life is an Attitude! Staying Positive During Tough Times. Page 23, 1992. Crisp
Publication Inc.

3. Hopkins, Tom. Low Profile Selling: Act Like a Lamb. Sell Like a Lion. Page 200, 1994. Tom Hopkins
International Inc.

4. Nelson, Bob and Peter Economy. Managing for Dummies. Page 124“125, 1996. IDG Books
Worldwide Inc.

5. Boyan, Lee. Successful Cold Call Selling. Second Edition. Page 37, 1989. Amacom

6. Tracy, Brian. Winners Seminar. Calgary, Alberta. 1992.

7. Branden, Nathaniel. The Six Pillars of Self Esteem. Page 5, 1994. Bantam Books.

8. Tracy, Brian. Advanced Selling Strategies: The Proven System of Sales Ideas, Methods, and
Techniques Used by Top Salespeople Everywhere. Page 80, 1995. Simon & Schuster.

9. Hill, Napolean. Think & Grow Rich. Page 75“76, 1960. Ballantine Books.

10. Brooks, William T. Niche Selling: How to Find Your Customer in a Crowded Market. Page 84“85,
1992. Business One Irwin.

11. Cloke, Kenneth & Joan Goldsmith. Thank God It's Monday: 14 Values We Need to Humanize the
Way We Work. Page 61, 1997. Irwin Professional Publishing.
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Congratulations, you have now completed Step #1
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Chapter 3: Planning and Preparation: Measure
Twice, Cut Once
The people at Training Magazine tell us that planning will become one of the most important selling
tools of the future. Planning is probably the most overlooked selling skill and yet it is the cornerstone to
a successful relationship. In proactive selling, salespeople can no longer wing it by developing their plan
on the fly. The reality is that very few sales professionals actually commit the time required to
thoroughly preplan a sales call. It is far too easy to jump in the car, race over to an appointment, then
anxiously await to hear what the first thing out of your mouth will be.

Customers concur that on the top of their list of selling annoyances is a "lack of preparation" by sales
representatives. Buyers are most annoyed by sales representatives (notice I refer to sales
representatives) who show up at an appointment lacking customer knowledge and saying, "So, what do
you guys do here?" or, "Interesting, I didn't know you guys did that." A recent study suggests that 48%
of buyers agree that customer knowledge is a powerful selling tool but is underutilized. Planning and
customer knowledge working in harmony deliver a tremendous sales advantage. Knowledge is a very
powerful differentiator.
It is an accepted truism that humans don't plan to fail, we fail to plan. Why is that? The reason is
simple: We are human. By nature, people tend to be lazy,”searching for the path of least resistance,
looking for a quick solution. For some reason, many sales representatives think they are immune to any
precall planning. Some sales representatives give new meaning to La-Z-Boy. Although most
salespeople have a great capability to "improvise," this ability cannot always carry us through a sales
call. I suppose part of the reason is that we often see ourselves as being productive simply because we
are keeping busy. As long as we are busy we must be doing good things. Wrong. Many salespeople
are doers, action people who prefer to start doing something instead of wasting idle time planning. They
see planning as an activity reserved for engineers, accountants, architects, and so on.

The difference between making or not making a sale depends on several factors, but the amount of
homework done by the salesperson is a major contributing factor. The more information he or she


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