A study by the Wharton School
at the University of Pennsylvania found that employees who
worked in fund-raising made 50% more calls when their manager
When I was 25, I made a sales call on
a client named Mr. Willard, who owned a large telephone
I was brimming with energy and
enthusiasm, and chomping at the bit to make another quick sale.
He was having a disciplinary conversation with “Turbo
Joe”, one of his salesmen. Turbo moved as slow as molasses, and
was as far from “Turbo” as anyone I’d ever seen in sales.
After he left, Mr. Willard told me that Turbo had not
exceeded his quota for 8 of the years he'd worked there.
While trying not to gag on the acrid stench of smoke and
watching Mr. Willard open his second pack of Marlboros that day,
I asked if he was going to let Turbo go.
"Absolutely not! He's my all-time sales leader".
confused, and asked how that could be.
He explained that
while Turbo was far from the Go-Getter he wanted him to be, he
had one quality that made up for it – CONSISTENCY.
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 Mr. Willard hoped for, but always enough to be
profitable and to make Turbo an asset to the company.
between hacking emphysemic 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 didn’t last.
I’d only owned my small
publishing company for 1 year at the time, and still couldn’t
understand how someone as slow as Turbo could be worth keeping.
Mr. Willard said that after I'd been in business for 20
years, I'd realize 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 to 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.
I honor him by sharing his story each time we hit a milestone in
Today we celebrate the 600th consecutive
issue of Work Is Not for Sissies. Every Tuesday since 2005, this
newsletter has gone out no matter what.
I will always be
grateful to Mr. Willard for giving me the best piece of business
advice I ever got.
I now understand. The most important
element of success isn’t speed, it’s consistency.
Happy Thanksgiving from Nashville,
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