There’s always a gap.
I’m talking about the space between where you ARE right now, and where you WANT to wind up.
Sometimes the gap seems small; other times the separation seems huge, almost insurmountable, but the truth is, regardless of your age, gender or chosen endeavor, there’s always a gap. Winners, top sales producers, great leaders and successful entrepreneurs all face these gaps, but they figure out how to close them. Many others face these same gaps, but come out on the losing end. They don’t quite get to the other side. They often stall out and/or quit before they figure things out.
By the way, YES, I’m indicating that there are “winners” and “losers” in life. I apologize to those of you that may be offended by that statement and believe that everyone should receive a “participant’s” trophy just for showing up and “trying.” Life (and especially business) doesn’t work that way.
My father understood that.
He knew that life wasn’t “fair.” (Whatever the heck “fair” means anyway) He knew that simply “showing up” didn’t get the job done. He fought in the European theatre in World War II. He then came home to a world where he had to fight for a job and then fight for a better one. He knew that hitting a wall and quickly giving up didn’t cut it. He had to do all of his “fighting” with no college education and no parents or family to help him. (He was effectively orphaned at age eleven)
The difference between winners and losers was clear to my father. Fortunately, at a critical juncture, early in my sales career, he gave me a way of thinking. It happened over one of my mom’s spaghetti dinners and the lesson stuck with me the rest of my life. (Let’s call it a little bit of spaghetti logic)
Here’s the link if you want to read the full back-story. The Greatest Sales Lesson
This story appears in my first book, The CAP Equation, A Foolproof Formula for Unlimited Success in Sales, but I’ll summarize it here.
I was only weeks into my first outside sales (commission-only insurance) position when I sat down to dinner that particular Friday evening. I was failing miserably, enduring a lot of rejection. The more I was rejected, the less I felt like trying and the more menacing the whole business of commission sales seemed. My choice to enter into the insurance industry seemed like a big mistake to me at that juncture. The fear and embarrassment of crashing and burning (and what my friends and family would think) was the worst part of it.
As human nature would have us do, I began to justify all of the various reasons for my lack of success. Of course I began to suggest that the products, the territory and even the training (my manager) were the roots of my problems. My dad, everyone called him Buzz, was one cool cookie. He just puffed on his Camel cigarette and took it all in. When I was done with all of my crappy justifications I told my dad I was going to quit. This is what he said to me:
“Okay sport. You can quit if you want to, but I’ve never quit anything just because I was failing at it. If you want to quit you should go out and have a solid week first…and then tell them you’re quitting. That way you’ll be leaving for the right reasons—because you don’t enjoy the work—not because you’re failing at it. You can walk out the door a winner and you’ll feel better about yourself.”
Buzz challenged me big time, then went on to ask me if I’d really followed their model, their instructions. (I hadn’t) He asked who was making money in the business and if I could emulate their formula. I mentioned a few names of salespeople that were killing it. He asked me if it was possible they had struggled for a while before they made it happen.
His spaghetti and meatball logic was killing my emotional argument.
What I learned from him that night (and have tried to teach anyone that would listen ever since) is that winners have a very different way of handling failure, defeat and/or rejection, than losers do. His words that night helped me to reframe what I was feeling and thinking. In his own unassuming way, he challenged me to stop thinking like a loser and to start thinking and acting like a winner.
Over the years I have done a great deal of study on these gaps we all have, the winners and losers, and how their thoughts and actions contrast. It has become rather clear to me that winners have a three-tier way of thinking about their gaps and challenges.
Here are the 3 ways winners close their gap:
#1 – They REMOVE EMOTION from the process
Winners stay away from the business of emotion. They replace it with a more logical, matter-of-fact way of thinking. This enables them to begin to make the necessary corrections and close the gap. By moving to a more rational place, winners experience less fear and trepidation. With those wasted emotions set aside, winners have the clarity and capacity to embrace the challenge and work in front of them. They channel their energy into figuring things out, not worrying about what others may think.
My father sent me down a different mental path that evening. I immediately began thinking about how to structure a workweek that looked exactly like a top producer’s calendar. I’d focus on the numbers and putting in a quality effort. The monster seemed smaller and less menacing to me as my thinking shifted from emotion based to a more pragmatic one.
#2 – They LET GO and look for a better MODEL
Winners don’t always take the perfect path, but they do recognize when they’re on the wrong one. They also identify when they’re standing in their own way. They don’t fall (permanently) in love with their own ideas. They acknowledge when their practices are flawed and then they let go of what’s not working and become open. Winners look for a formula that IS working and they forge a plan to emulate that model as closely as possible. Surprisingly, when things aren’t working perfectly, the changes are usually small ones, little tweaks that are not very painful at all. Winners identify that they may need to fine-tune something and they create a plan to close the gap a little more.
After my dad dished out his spaghetti logic that night I let go of my flawed ways of thinking and accepted some responsibility. It was no longer everybody else’s fault I was failing, it was mine. I began to picture the salespeople I had met that were top producers. That caused me to jump into an analytical, solution-oriented mode. What were they doing that I wasn’t? Almost at once I felt a rush of renewed energy to craft a calendar plan for the following week. Simply recognizing and letting go of my defective way of thinking about my problem caused an energy shift. Focusing on a better model and better plan caused creativity and a new vitality inside my brain and body.
#3 – They take DEFINITE ACTION on their plan (And assess often)
Creating a plan to close your gap is important, but winners actually execute their plans…losers often vacillate or second-guess themselves even after a plan is in front of them. As a result, losers don’t ever finish what they started out to accomplish. They sabotage themselves, finding new ways to succumb to their crazy emotions or feelings again. Having a plan is good, but without applying definite and massive action to that exact plan you are still standing still.
You must execute.
Winners win because they become skilled at execution, and execution requires choosing the right way and then going that way—following their plan to completion. Now I also have to tell you that no plan is perfect. It’s all very fluid in today’s world. Contrary to what most people believe, winners are actually off their path a lot of the time. Many of them will even tell you they feel off-target MOST of the time. This is because they are very cognizant of what their target is and hyper aware that things are changing around them constantly. People that win identify a revised workable model and/or small modifications and get moving down the road again quickly. They do stop to re-assess and make more small corrections, but they never shut down. They know that shutting down is death.
I finished my spaghetti that night and walked away with a piece of logic that has served me a lifetime. In fact, this spaghetti logic helped me earn millions and millions of dollars in sales commissions over the years.
Here’s an excerpt from the book The CAP Equation, A Foolproof Formula for Unlimited Success in Sales, that recounts the full story: The Greatest Sales Lesson
After my dad’s counsel I removed emotion from my cloudy way of thinking, I became very open to identifying better working models and emulated those, executing my plans to their completion. It all worked out pretty well. Sometimes the best advice is served up with a few meatballs.
Okay. Those are the three steps I’d like you to incorporate into your thought process. I hope this blog article was beneficial to you. Whether it was or not, I LOVE comments!
Please give me a shout out below…an “atta’ boy” or “this sucked.” Also…if you know of somebody in sales or leadership that can use this, PLEASE SHARE it with them!
Go here for ACCESS to all of the good (FREE) resources: http://www.thecapequation.com/access/
CAP 101 AUDIO series is now available…PREVIEW it here: http://www.thecapequation.com/cap101
Read the first two chapters of The CAP Equation (book) for FREE: http://amzn.to/1CdFi2t
The CAP Equation© website offers tons of free resources for commission salespeople and sales leaders such as:
- A library of training articles (Blogs)
- Archived audio training sessions and interviews (Podcasts)
- Invitations to complimentary LIVE tele-seminars
Please click on the link below for FREE INSTANT ACCESS to all of this: http://www.theCAPequation.com/access/
Joe Buzzello is a nationally recognized expert on direct selling and sales leadership. He has built legacy sales teams and experienced unprecedented success in individual and business-to-business markets as well as the network marketing industry. Joe has held executive level positions for Fortune 500 companies, but he has never strayed far from the art and science of selling, which he loves. In early 2014, Joe began writing, speaking, and coaching through his platform, www.joebuzzello.com and The CAP Equation©. Please visit Joe at: http://www.CAPequation.com