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Keeping My Promise to a Dying Man


by Glenn Shepard
November 22, 2016
Category: Success



Jonesboro, GA  Nov 29 
Dalton, GA  Nov 30 
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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 thanked them.


When I was 25, I made a sales call on a client named Mr. Willard, who owned a large telephone equipment company.

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.

He responded, "Absolutely not! He's my all-time sales leader".

I was 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.

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 Mr. Willard hoped for, but always enough to be profitable and to make Turbo an asset to the company.

In 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.

However, I honor him by sharing his story each time we hit a milestone in my business.

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.

To Your Success,

Happy Thanksgiving from Nashville, Tennessee!

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