When I was in my twenties, I
called on a client in Memphis named Mr. Willard.
tried not to stare at his nicotine stained teeth as he opened his second pack of Marlboros that day.
We began talking about Joe, a
sales rep who hadn't exceeded his quota for eight of the
years he'd worked there.
When I asked if he was getting rid
of Joe, Mr. Willard said, "Absolutely not! He's my all time sales
He explained that
while Joe was far from the “Turbo Joe” he wanted him to be, he
was consistent. He'd been with the company from Day
One, and never had a month gone by without him bringing in new
It was never as much as he hoped
for, but always substantial enough to be profitable and make Joe
an asset to the company.
In between coughs, Mr. Willard told me
he'd employed more than 100 sales reps over the 20 years he'd
been in business.
Some shattered sales records, but
many were flash-in-the-pans that were on fire
one month, would slouch off the next, and usually didn't stay
He said that after I'd been in business for 20 years, I'd realize that
how important consistency is in growing a business, even when
isn't as fast as desired. I didn’t agree, but he got me to promise I'd
come back in 20 years and let him know if I still felt the same
I hit my 20 year mark in 2008, but
Mr. Willard didn't live that long. He was right about his
As Tom Petty sang, “Even the losers
get lucky sometimes”. Consistency really is the most
important component of success.
This is our 500th issue of Work Is
Not for Sissies. Every week for the past 500 consecutive weeks, this
newsletter has gone out - without fail.
If Mr. Willard could
hear me now, I'd say "Thank you! You were so right. Your
sage advice paid off handsomely and I'm glad I listened to you".
No matter what you do in life, success is a habit, not an event.
Happy New Year from Nashville,
P.S. I'd also say to
Mr. Willard "I was right about you needing
to lose the two-pack a day habit. Wish you had listened to me on
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