I come across a multitude of salespeople who are stuck. They all seem to want to know why and most want to know the quickest way to get unstuck. Unfortunately, the “easy” way to get unstuck is often the way to just get stuck again. So, we won’t go down that road, we’ll head down the other which is this: the best way to not get stuck is to, are you ready, not get stuck. Wow, deep, right?
On my first ever trip to Italy, or anywhere off the continent, I watched the movie “Free Solo.” Free Solo was the Academy Award winning documentary about climber Alex Honnold and his quest to “free solo” (no ropes, no gear, just Alex) El Capitan, a 3000 foot rock face in Yosemite National Park. This feat had not only never been accomplished, but it was also thought to be nearly impossible. While amazed at Alex the climber, the athlete, I was more drawn to Alex, the incredibly focused individual. What it took for a professional of his magnitude to accomplish this climb is a lesson to every person who has a goal, who wants to be the best they can be.
“I want the goal so much, and I love climbing so much, I can’t imagine not giving 100% of myself to preparing for the attempt,” Alex said in one of the hundreds of post-El Cap interviews. So, an amazingly large part of Free Solo is spent chronicling his prep work for the climb, as opposed to the actual climb. That is, as it is in most things, the way it should be.
When sales is easy, sales is easy. When you’re in that groove where everything just comes to you, it is fabulous. The problem is, it doesn’t last. It’s a great ride, by the way, it just doesn’t last. And it doesn’t last most often because there is nothing behind it other than DAL (dumb ass luck), or RPRT (right place right time). Sales happen, in today’s world, because the sales person creates relationships with their potential clients/customers. The idea is that our relationship is so deep and based on such a myriad of things (mutual trust, expertise, knowledge, staying in touch, likability) that if tomorrow I need whatever it is you do, I will reach out to have you do it. Real Estate, insurance, a car, widgets? All the same.
The problem is that if you look at that list: mutual trust, expertise, knowledge, staying in touch, likability, these are things that take time to develop. They are the preparation for your Free Solo sale. This is the grind work, boring ass, tedious stuff that takes time, energy, and commitment. It’s the nose to the grindstone stuff that separates the great from the good from the poor. And the thing about the grind is that if you don’t “love the goal so much and love ____” you won’t be able to do the long, hard, work and more importantly, you won’t want to.
So, what do you need when you’re stuck? Well, the Beatles said it best, “All you need is love. Love is all you need” For many, love of what they do is illusive. What they feel is more like lust. It’s fun when it’s fun, but when it’s not (and that seems to be often), everything sucks. Your clients/customers suck, your company sucks, the government sucks (well, maybe they do), you suck. In short it all sucks. Funny how, when you love it, it doesn’t suck. Now, will there be bad days? Yep. Will it seem totally uphill at times? Yep.
They say that if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. That, my friends, may be a bit of hyperbole. I have to tell you though, it wouldn’t be a classic old saying if it didn’t have a lot of truth to it. I, luckily, live by this saying and barely remember when I worked for a living.
So, stuck? Well, how did you get there? Are you taking care of the grind? Are you doing the preparation work to insure you don’t fall off the rock face? Are you just a little off track? Is this situational? Only you know. And only you can get yourself unstuck. The next step? Love and maybe some honest self awareness.