Prospect Your Way to Selling Success – Step 5: Persistence

Persistence pays.

I love Cinderella stories – when someone overcomes impossible odds to do something great. It doesn’t matter if it’s an athlete, teacher, rockstar, mom, politician, or accountant, the story always moves me.  This weekend I heard a new one.

As Josh Allen, the quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, was about to take his first snap in the NFL playoffs, the commentator shared his background story. He was an average high school quarterback who wasn’t recruited by a single college. The scouts sent a clear message: you aren’t good enough to play at the next level.

He didn’t quit. Allen enrolled in a junior college.

After completing two seasons at Reedley College, he was snubbed again. Not one single college invited him to play at the next level.  

He didn’t quit. He sent one thousand letters, got one response: Wyoming. Allen was finally able to realize his dream and led the Cowboys to a Mountain West Conference title and two bowl games. He was then drafted first round by the Buffalo Bills. Talk about a big commission check.

If you’re tired of the sports analogies, here’s one about a comedian. I recently heard Jeff Foxworthy say,

“In my first year, I did 406 shows. I made $8,003.”

He didn’t quit. He went on to produce several television series, record six albums – 2 multi-platinum, and author 35 books.

What do these stories have to do with prospecting? It has everything to do with what we want to achieve in life and in successful prospecting. Regardless of ability, nothing will happen without persistence.  

Step Five: Persistence

Steps one, two, three and four were about what to do. The last step is simple: keep doing it. Don’t give up. Keep “writing letters.”

According to my experience, as well as a ton of research, it takes 6 to 8 attempts to engage a prospect.

This means you can craft the perfect Other-Centered® message, but if you only send that message a few times, you will fail to engage many prospects.

Prospecting is about quality and quantity.

Here’s what I love about sales. Success in sales is just a choice. Unlike most professions, if you want to make six figures (or whatever your goal might be), do the work and you will see the results and reap the rewards. Granted, with more talent and skill the results will be greater and happen quicker, but in sales, the person who is willing to do the work will get the prize.

One of my favorite quotes is from a highly successful songwriter. When asked about his key to success, he simply said,

“The people who had more talent quit.”

Don’t quit. In sales, success is your choice. Create a plan, follow the plan, hit your number. Repeat.


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As Co-founder and CEO, Tom’s primary role is to create content that helps people live, sell, and serve more effectively. Find him on LinkedIn

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