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In Sales, The Obstacle is The Path

Ever wonder if you’re investing your time in the right way when it comes to prospecting?  I remember when I got my first job as a field rep for a publicly traded company.  I started with a pipeline of zero – it was a brand new territory.

I remember wondering how I should best spend my time?  I had come from a application support position (a demo dolly) in my previous position so I had no frame of reference for how I should be allocating my time.  I remember thinking:

  • Should I be learning the product right now or finding new opportunities?
  • Should I be focusing on new business or existing customers?
  • What channels should I be using to prospect?

Study or Sell?

So you’re a brand new rep.  Pipeline of zero.  Knowledge of zero.  Between learning all the ins and outs of your solution or finding new opportunities where should you focus most of your time?

It’s a tough question.  Both are important.  But finding new opportunities deserves more of your focus.  Here’s the main reason:  Success comes faster.

“Success comes faster.”

I know you’re still questioning that statement, so let me prove it to you.

What happens when you get connected to potential customer, either face to face or on the phone?  What happens to your adrenaline and senses?

They get ratcheted way up, don’t they?  When our senses are heightened like that we are in the optimal state for learning.  Scientists call it “hypervigilant mode”.

And how do you feel when you nail it? It’s a rush isn’t it?  Those endorphins reinforce that good behavior don’t they?

Let’s say we miss the mark because we didn’t know something we should have.  How primed are you get and remember the answer after that?

REALLY PRIMED!  You’ll never forget the answer after that will you?

Compare that to looking at a document with a boatload of facts on it.  Which one is going to give you better retention?

No contest.

And, which one will prioritize what you need to know more?

Again, no contest.

The Challenge With This Approach

So what’s the challenge with this approach?  It’s a little uncomfortable isn’t it?

We have to get out of our comfort zone if we’re going to grow.

We have to get out of our comfort zone if we’re going to grow.  And that’s the key point.  Necessity is the crucible of learning.

“Necessity is the crucible of learning”

In fact, necessity is the crucible of success.  Or as the Zen proverb says it, “The Obstacle is Path“.

The Obstacle is Path

This is one of the greatest lessons of growth.

How Much Do I Need to Know?

So how much do I need to know before I jump in?  The answer is – the bare minimum.

I confess that this was a hard lesson for me.  I tend to want to know everything about everything before jumping in.  But trust me, that will kill you.  You’ll die a thousand deaths in hesitation.  Because there’s always something more to learn.

Learn the bare minimum and then jump right in!  The fastest path is to put yourself in the crucible.

Embrace this fact.  Make yourself uncomfortable.  And success will come faster than any other way.  Because the obstacle is the path.

Sales & Life Secret:  Necessity is the crucible of learning.

Until next time!


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