I had a short sale get to approval this morning, which puts us one tiny deal away from a million-dollar September. We haven’t seen many million-dollar months since 2005, and it’s a harder target to hit than it was in those days. I’m loving where our business is going, and I feel like we might be just that close to the glide path. It’s been a hard road since the market turned, but it has been the dedicated — driven — dogged — pursuit of sales fundamentals that has put us back on the road to financial recovery.
Meanwhile, I’m loving the hardy souls who have taken up Jeff Brown’s prospecting challenge. Quoted below is a snip from a Lifehacker post we have talked about privately for a couple of years. The topic? If you want to master something, do it every day and don’t break the chain:
Years ago when Seinfeld was a new television show, Jerry Seinfeld was still a touring comic. At the time, I was hanging around clubs doing open mic nights and trying to learn the ropes. One night I was in the club where Seinfeld was working, and before he went on stage, I saw my chance. I had to ask Seinfeld if he had any tips for a young comic. What he told me was something that would benefit me a lifetime…
He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day. But his advice was better than that. He had a gem of a leverage technique he used on himself and you can use it to motivate yourself—even when you don’t feel like it.
He revealed a unique calendar system he uses to pressure himself to write. Here’s how it works.
He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.
He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”
“Don’t break the chain,” he said again for emphasis.
Over the years I’ve used his technique in many different areas. I’ve used it for exercise, to learn programming, to learn network administration, to build successful websites and build successful businesses.
It works because it isn’t the one-shot pushes that get us where we want to go, it is the consistent daily action that builds extraordinary outcomes. You may have heard “inch by inch anything’s a cinch.” Inch by inch does work if you can move an inch every day.
Daily action builds habits. It gives you practice and will make you an expert in a short time. If you don’t break the chain, you’ll start to spot opportunities you otherwise wouldn’t. Small improvements accumulate into large improvements rapidly because daily action provides “compounding interest.”
Before Teri Lussier became a recovering Twitaholic, she reTweeted a remark to the effect that, once you’ve made a habit of exercise, it’s hard to quit. To this I say: Bullshit. Exercising is the second easiest activity in the world to quit. What’s first? My guess would be prospecting — and getting yelled at and hung up on — every day.
But: Whether it’s exercise or prospecting or some other burdensome chore, if you fall in love with the idea of an unbroken chain of red X’s, you’ll find the time and the determination to get the job done. When you hear that first compliment or cash that first pay-check, things will get easier. But you know you want this job done, and the only obstacle between you and having done it is digging in and doing it.
Good hunting!12 comments