Failure is Part of the Journey

 

I just finished reading a book by Jia Jiang called Rejection Proof, How I beat fear and became invincible through 100 days of rejection. The basic premise was that Jia would put himself in situations where he would get rejected and then discuss what he learned. He did crazy things like borrowing $100 from a stranger or asking the Southwest Airlines flight attendant if he could make the announcements. Each time he got rejected, he learned something and shared his knowledge.

 

Truth be told, I saw Jia speak at a Selling Power Conference in San Francisco. After seeing him talk, I decided to invest in buying his book. I learned one key lesson I want to share with you: I am trying to teach my children as they graduate from College. Here it is:

 

Failure is only part of the journey.

 

Zig Ziglar used to say, “I had the fear of rejection...I didn’t understand that prospects weren’t rejecting me; they were only rejecting the offer I was making them.” You can’t take rejection personally.

 

I have to tell you; I think our nine-year-old is listening to old Zig Ziglar CDs at night. He simply will not get down when he is rejected. He doesn’t go door to door or make cold calls; he works his Mom and me to get most things he wants. So I cannot understand why no one has figured out how to create a sales methodology that uses a 9 - year old as the model salesman. First of all, children are masters of not taking “no” personally. They shrug it off and continue to sell you more. One time we were at the Rain Forrest Café and our nine-year-old wanted this nine-dollar cup. He first approached his Mom; she promptly shot him down by saying, “no, nine dollars is too much for a cup.” Next, he asked his grandmother; she too said, “No, I don’t think so, that is a lot of money for a cup, and besides, your mother said no.” Then he came to me. Remember, a happy wife is a happy life.  I said, “Mom said it is too much; I can’t do it, buddy.” He walked away to look at the cup a little longer and think about a strategy. Keep in mind that we are not rejecting him; we reject the idea of $9 for a cup.

 

He came back with a different deal structure. He offered us the opportunity to invest $3 each for this brand new cup. That way, the cost was only $3, not $9. So basically, he got three departments to pay a little of their budget to finance the purchase.

 

His first failure did not discourage him; he realized failure was part of the journey to get what you want in life.

 

Now let’s talk Persistence. Have you ever in your life met anyone more persistent than a child?  Today they say it takes between 6 and 13 touches just to get someone to call you back. Isn’t that ironic that we send our sales team out to do this work and isolate ourselves from everyday salespeople? For a great lesson in sales, just pay closer attention to your children; they really know how not to take “no” personally.  They realize that “no” doesn’t mean “no”; it means “maybe” and “maybe” means “probably,” and “probably” likely means “definitely.”  In our adult life, we might call this stalking  but actually we should be more persistent as sales professionals and remember the journey is filled with failure and a lot of fun along the way.

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