Sales Lessons from a Head Cold
Earlier this month, I was in Berlin visiting my youngest daughter. We ate amazing food, did a ton of walking every day, and visited the historical sites. Shortly after that, we took a train to Prague and repeated the process.
On the night before my wife and I left for home, I started coming down with a cold. Almost 2 weeks later, even as I write these words and record the sales tip, I am still being affected by the lack of voice. As I sat here thinking about what kind of sales tips I wanted to prepare, a funny thought occurred to me: One can learn a lot from a head cold!
As you know, I talked for a living. One thing that occurred to me in the first lesson this head cold gave me was to do more listening. When I got back from Germany, I had three very busy days of coaching calls as I was working to catch up with my clients. With little more than a squeak for a voice, I was forced to use an economy of words and abundance of quiet. Each day, my voice would improve about 10%, tops. It’s been a frustrating time, as my many coaching clients will attest. I can’t remember ever having a cold that held on like this, which brings me to my second lesson…
Persistence! Every day I would wake up expecting and hoping to feel better and every day, I found I was still in its grips. Except for the first 36 hours, I didn’t actually feel sick in the traditional sense. The cold was isolated to my chest and of course, my lack of voice. Most colds don’t stick around as long. As the saying goes, “Treat a cold and it lasts seven days. Ignore it, and it lasts a week.”
Today is day 12. And counting. This past week, client told me he’s had it for three weeks. Since then, two other people said the same thing.
Back to persistence. Diligence is the single most important sales characteristic a rep can have. It can make up for a lot of missing talent. Imagine if this cold was the sales rep making a call on me day after day. Annoying? Absolutely. But, you have to admire someone’s drive. If, indeed, this cold was a sales call, I would’ve bought by now simply to get rid of it!
My hope is I will be back at 100% by tomorrow. That is the 12th straight day I have made that statement.
The only residual effects of this cold will be these two lessons. I hope to be a better listener for my weekly coaching clients. I hope to be in full voice in order to provide advice and direction. And when I am out looking for new business, I can only hope to be half as persistent as this cold.
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