Some people ask, “Why do sales people fail?” With 35 years in this field as a sales professional and trainer of sales representatives, I recognize that sales people do NOT fail: They simply quit before they become successful. That’s why I encourage sales newbies to commit to the “10,000 Hour Rule.”
Research has shown that 10,000 hours is the threshold, the “magic” point at which a person goes from being okay to being a super success. Nothing to do with talent; just persistence.
A good example comes from the field of music. Studies have shown that music teachers, on average, practiced and studied an average of 4,000 hours before achieving their goal. Moderately successful performers and bands – the ones who achieve regional fame, perhaps make a so-so living playing at the state fair each year, or become lifelong opening acts – have put in, on average, 7,000 hours total before achieving their level of success. Super stars, however – Cher, James Taylor, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, etc. – generally work and practice and keep on growing for no less than 10,000 hours. That’s the difference.
That can take anywhere from three years for those who are focused and borderline maniacal to five years for people who have a family and a life.
The Beatles were a great example of that. In the late 1950s, the Beatles were a so-so, knock about band in England, going nowhere. A fellow from Germany showed up looking for British bands to play in the seedy strip joints of Hamburg. He didn’t care if they were good, just cheap and willing to work long hours.
The Beatles decided to accept the offer. Over the course of three years, they went to Hamburg and played … and played. During some of their gigs, they performed ten hours a day, seven days a week. As one of their biographers pointed out, when they left England the first time, they were lousy, a third-rate band. However, when they returned from Hamburg after their final contract, they were THE BEATLES.
It wasn’t a matter of talent. Yes, they were talented, but there are an awful lot of talented failures in this world. It was their determination to work and work and work. As a result, by the time they became overnight successes in the early 1960s, they had already put in well over 10,000 hours, more than most groups play during the entire course of their careers.
The point: If you’re in sales (or any field, for that matter), I don’t care how smart or talented you are. You could be the biggest dullard in the world. However, if you commit to working and learning and practicing, to trying and trying (and yes, failing), for 10,000 hours, you will become ranked among the best in your field. Go for it!
So, work hard, and keep working hard … and you’ll make it! Period!
The Freestyle Entrepreneur – winner of the 2010 Top 35 Entrepreneur Blog awards from OnLine MBA.John Ingrisano The Freestyle Entrepreneur 204 Lakeview Drive Algoma, WI 54201 (920) 559-3722 www.TheFreestyleEntreprenuer.com
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