I was given a brand new “fresh” territory to go out and create a fortune with. My only mission was to open accounts and sell my auto trim services to New and Used Car Dealerships, Auto Body Centers and Car Detailing shops.
This seemed like a “slam dunk”, I was going to get rich! After all, I had a great company and product that everyone would love.
I didn’t realize at the time, being a young, wet behind the ears guppy that I was getting into a shark tank full of hungry sharks!
The company generously gave me, (so I thought), a draw against commissions which meant that I would get a weekly pay cheque which allowed me to survive while I built up the territory. The fact that I would be paying it back from the commissions I was going to earn was not even a concern, (at the time). Every week I fell deeper in debt to this company, needless to say I was motivated to get off their life support and make the fortunes I believed were there just waiting to be harvested.
I quickly realized this was not going to be an easy task. Every place I went was very happy with their current supplier, (competition? I was so naive, the thought never crossed my mind) and they had no interest in changing.
I was in trouble…
Thank fully I’m not a quitter and I developed a routine, a route that I would repeat every day visiting the same prospects and looking for new one’s along the way. After explaining what I had to offer, I would drop in just to say hello. Let them know I was always in the area and ready to serve.
Little did I know the importance at the time, it certainly was not intentional, but I was developing relationships with these people.
Slowly I cracked the armor and started getting a couple of small jobs. Sometimes the existing supplier would screw up and I happen to be there at the right time and become a hero. I stuck it out with my daily routine, on one occasion I brought out my Sales Manager, Robert (Bob) to help me. I felt his experience and knowledge could help me identify what I was doing wrong and give me some mentoring to speed up my progress.
At the end of the day all Bob asked me was “Is what we did today, what you do everyday?”
I told him yes and he said “Just keep on doing it and you will have the most successful territory in the company”.
…it was tough (mentally) but Bob was right!
It took almost a year but at 19 years old I was making more money than my father was working a lifetime of “hard labor” in road construction!
Then came the realization of the four principles I unconsciously used to achieve my success (and my biggest life lesson). A very large Dealership refused to give me the time of day let alone their business. Everyday I would stop in and walk by the managers office and just say “Hello Glen, need anything today?”.
On this one occasion, my appearance so enraged Glen that he blew up. As soon as he seen me, he came flying out of his office shouting, “I am sick and tired of seeing you everyday, get the hell out of here, I have nothing for you! Stop coming around and bothering me!”. It was loud enough to freeze everyone in the showroom, mouths dropped as they watched Glen tear strips off me. I hastily apologized and retreated from the property. Shaking in horror and terrified at what had just happened, I was destroyed for the rest of the day and went home to reflect on the event.
My head ragging with doubt and fear, this event almost destroyed my desire to continue. I never wanted to prospect again. I avoided that Dealership for almost two weeks, sticking only to the ones who welcomed me.
Every day I drove past that dealership agonizing over what I did wrong and what I could do to fix it. I knew I had to patch things up, finally I built up the courage to drop in on Glen …again.
I was extremely apprehensive, not sure what to expect but I knew in my heart I had to get it off my chest. Maybe Glen was just having a bad day. Like a little child looking for forgiveness I sheepishly walked up to Glen’s Office, he looked up at me and broke out in loud boisterous laughter and invited me to come in and sit down. I was caught of guard, confused and in total disbelief! Glen said he had been doing some checking on me with the other dealers in the area. After some small talk and making amends Glen gave me a the biggest order I or my company had ever received. I was told to supply and install body side moldings and pinstripes on every new car they had in stock and there were hundreds! Over night they became not only my biggest account, but the biggest account my company ever had. I was given a open order to walk the lot every day and do every new car that arrives with a pinstripe and body side molding with out asking anyone for permission, just hand them the invoice! I had earned the absolute trust and respect of everyone in this dealership and went on to make truck loads of cash from this one account.
After reflecting on this whole experience, I realized there was four simple principles that paved the way to my success. These same principles have served me well through out my life and have been responsible for making me millions of dollars.
Most People In Business Could Multiply Their Income “10 Fold” If Only They Would Follow Up. Not just once or twice but regularly follow up on those you identify as worthy. Especially customers who’s trust you have earned and have already given you some of their hard earned money. There is a lot more they still have to give you.“The Fortune Is In The Follow Up”.
Persistence In The Right Direction Pays!
I often think about Glen and the $100′s of thousands of dollars I made from that one account. Imagine the huge cost to me if I had given up or showed any disrespect! In hind sight, it was my genuine desire to help others with a product and service that I believed was the best available that kept me going. With my head held high, I never quit and always showed everyone genuine care and kindness. It was my passion to succeed that pushed me through all the doubts and fears that relentlessly crept up daily.
It was one thought (of many) that helped push me into the lions den and call on Glen again was “Maybe he was having a bad day?” I learned to always be mindful that I was interrupting someones day when I showed up. Whenever I was given the cold shoulder or someone was rude I would always be respectful of that person’s time. For all I knew the person in front of me just got a call from their bank calling in a loan or bad news from their investment broker or their marriage is falling apart or a billion others things that can ruin one’s day. I never took their reaction to my presence personally, it was only business.
A little activity generates little results. To accumulate my fortune I had to take action, a lot of action! More importantly, it was the specific action every day, the “a lot” was repeating the same revenue generating action everyday without fail! It’s not rocket science, it was not hard labor, I did not need to solve the mystery of the universe or push a wheel barrel full of rocks 10 miles, but mentally it felt like it.
That is the REAL challenge to success!
This is the only “hard work” that’s required, the rest is easy. Dealing with my own relentless demons of doubt, fear and procrastination is the hardest obstacles I have ever had to face. Master these demons of destruction and the world will be your oyster. Every day I must slay my own negative thoughts to keep moving forward. Especially Procrastination, for it deviously disguises itself in seemingly real but meaningless “excuses”.