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My Promise to a Hacking Emphysemic with Nicotine Stained Teeth


by Glenn Shepard

December 30, 2014

Category:  Inspiration




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When I was in my twenties, I called on a client in Memphis named Mr. Willard.


I 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 leader".


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 business.


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 very long.


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 way.


I hit my 20 year mark in 2008, but Mr. Willard didn't live that long. He was right  about his advice, however.


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, Tennessee,


Glenn Shepard




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 that one".




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