It’s Supposed to be Hard
First, some background on me so that you know something about the guy on the other end of this Blog...
Background: I was born to sell. That’s what I was told my entire life by countless people. I sold life insurance for Northwestern Mutual Life and instantly hated it. My first sales job out of college was to sell for UARCO Business Forms. Great company. Great opportunity. I lasted four years before setting out on my own at age 25 after determining that the burning feeling in my stomach was entrepreneurial and not indigestion.
Connecting the business and personal dots between then and now looks like this: forms distributor (success!); marriage (failure); father (success x 3!); print broker, sales trainer, writer, entrepreneur, coach, speaker (success x 6). Okay, you are caught up. Oh, wait, there is one more thing you need to know: Wiseass (success!). There. NOW you are caught up.
The Sales Challenge: It’s supposed to be hard…
Now that’s we’ve been introduced, let me tell you about my Sales philosophy in the anecdotal fashion that you will come to understand is my all-time favorite communication method...
I love movies. Always have. To this day, I speak in movie one-liners—“I love the smell of Napalm in the morning*…” and “Are you talking to ME?**” and “Are you suggesting that coconuts migrate?***”—you know, the important stuff in life...
I favor the old black-and-whites and some of the new stuff (the more original, the better), but not all. My all-time favorite actor is Jimmy Stewart and my all-time favorite movie is “It’s a Wonderful Life.” These days, I am a big Tom Hanks fan. He is the Jimmy Stewart of our time and other than “Joe vs. The Volcano” he cranks out great movies.
One of those movies was “A League of Their Own” with Geena Davis. Do you recall it? At the end of the movie, Geena Davis’ character, who is the star of the all woman’s softball team, decides to quit due to the fact that her husband has returned from the war. While the rest of the team is walking onto the bus, Davis is glumly walking towards her car. Tom Hanks, the surly manager of the team, confronts her and asks where she is going. Davis replies, “I quit. It just got too hard.” Hanks delivers three lines that serve as the perfect commentary to the challenge of Sales these days. He says, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The ‘Hard’ is what makes it great.”
The ‘Hard’ is what makes it great. God, I LOVE that line.
Why do people climb a mountain? Why do people run marathons and participate in triathlons? Why does any kind of self-improvement happen? Do people do these things because it is easy? No. They do it because of the challenge. They do it because its hard. It supposed to be hard.
Sales in the '80s, '90s and even into ThatDecadeThatWouldNotBeNamed (The Oughts? The Double 0’s? The 2000s?) was easy. It was like Jedd Clampett shooting for oil. But then, depression set in**** and the going got tough. There are those who think the end is near and that it’s almost over for our industry. I disagree. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?*****
Hey, if you’ve had enough and you are going to try something else, that’s cool. I hear WalMart is hiring. Like Abraham Lincoln said, “Whatever you are, be the best at it.”
But if you are going to stick around and fight the good fight; if you want it bad enough; if you are willing to put in the effort, battle the negative, and overcome the daily thoughts of “What was I thinking?” then this Blog is for you.
Sales is hard. Life is hard. Success is hard.
But it’s the hard that makes it great!
Let’s take the challenge together.
PS-I’m going to help you with the movie references this time, but after that you are on your own:
***Monty Python and the Holy Grail