Unforgivable: A Lack of Effort

I am furious.

OK, maybe furious is a tad strong. How about just disappointed? No, on second thought, I am Furious! That’s right, initial cap and everything.

I got a call from a company president a couple weeks ago. He had a salesperson who was underperforming and asked for my help. I was traveling at the time and called the sales rep from a noisy airport to talk about what our work together would encompass and what the desired results would be if she only put in the effort.

We talked for 15 or 20 minutes. I listened as she described her current sales challenges, then gave her some quick suggestions before my flight was called. One more thing…

I’m a strong believer in encouragement as a form of motivation. I read in a magazine just this morning that a written note of support is worth more than a $100 gift certificate (but not a $200 gift certificate, according to the article!). So, I made sure to include the fact that her boss had faith in her potential, otherwise he would not have called me. He would’ve simply have fired her.

I added my belief that she could succeed if she worked hard and I told her that I had helped thousands of others in similar situations. I told her that this was going to be difficult. But again, I reminded her that her job was to try as hard as she could. Never fail, I said, because of a lack of effort.

The plan was for her to follow my instructions for a couple weeks after which we would talk on the phone for a coaching call. She was to check in with me each day with her sales activity (the number of calls she made that day), as well as watch the first three webinars in “The Sales Challenge” program.

As a 30 year sales veteran, Bill has the perspective of a been-there, done-that sales rep in the commercial print arena. Following sales fundamentals and giving unapologetically "old school" advice, he writes and speaks in an entertaining fashion to make his points to sales people and owners who sell. "Bill Farquharson will drive your sales momentum."
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  • amazed

    "I added my belief that she could succeed if she worked hard"
    Wow, that’s just amazing! In just a brief conversation with her you managed to tell her that she’s not working hard enough. Good luck with that theory.

  • Xenon Products

    Another inspiration of my day to day life, thanks for pushing me back "WILL NEVER GIVE UP"

  • mebdoss

    i ‘ve read your post and i truly like what you are saying,it’s strong and it motivates me.i am sure that the day she reads this,she ‘ll change her approach to things.As far as i am concerned,your article has boost my appetite for sales and success,i feel like a raging bull,thank you for your advice!

  • Steve Low

    Selling is the most challenging and rewarding part of business.

  • Marc Zazeela


    I believe that many non sales people think of sales as an easy way to big bucks. They think about all the fun we have traveling to hole in the wall places on crowded planes and heavily trafficked highways.

    What they don’t often realize is the amount of time and effort necessary to become successful and the amount of rejection we must deal with.

    They give it a try and when they don’t make a sale in their first few attempts, they give up. I’ve seen it time and again.


  • Chuck

    Interesting delimma. As a career sales guy I can empathize with both the sales person who bailed and the management who was attempting to help him/her improve their skill-set. Over the years I’ve had to bit the bullet and accept that in most cases the actual act of selling is distasteful to many, and especially the younger set who feel more familiar with creating sassy marketing tools and waiting for the phone to ring or that order to arrive via a text message. I’d love to hear more about how this situation works out over time.