One of my favorite, yet simple and profound quotes dealing with success states: “Success is not found in never falling, but rather, in rising every time you fall.”
There is no such person, as a salesperson, who has never failed in his attempt to make a sale. Several years ago I was working with a group of people new to the world of sales. They had never sold before, yet they were anxious to learn and try their new skills. I told them selling was a process, and through applying the correct principles consistently, they would eventually improve their sales success and become the recipients of an excellent income. I reminded them they would fall, but to just get up, dust your self off and continue. After the first day, one of the young men approached me and told me he was through. He couldn’t take the rejection, and having fallen, was unwilling to pick himself up and move on. He told me, “Sales is not my cup of tea.” I’ve often wondered what became of that young man, and “if falling and not getting up” became a pattern in his life.
If you only knew the trials and failures experienced by some of the greatest men and women of our generation and generations past, who despite troubling circumstances beyond anything we might ever encounter, chose to rise each time they stumbled and fell. Thomas Edison was one of those men.
Thomas Edison devoted ten years and all of his money to developing the nickel alkaline storage battery at a time when he was almost penniless. Through that period of time, his record and film production company was supporting the storage battery effort. Then one night the terrifying cry of "Fire!" echoed through the film plant. Spontaneous combustion had ignited some chemicals. Within moments, all of the packing compounds, celluloid for records, film, and other flammable goods had gone up in flames. Fire companies from eight towns arrived, but the heat was so intense and the water pressure so low that the fire hoses had no effect. Edison was sixty-seven years old, no age to begin anew. His daughter was frantic, wondering if he was safe, if his spirit was broken, how he would handle a crisis such as this at his age. She saw him running toward her. He spoke first. He said, "Where's your mother? Go get her and tell her to get her friends. They'll never see another fire like this as long as they live." At five-thirty the next morning, with the fire barely under control, he called his employees together and announced, "We're rebuilding." One man was told to lease all the machine shops in the area, another to obtain a wrecking crane from the Erie Railroad Company. Then, almost as an afterthought, Edison added, "Oh, by the way. Anybody know where we can get some money?"
Virtually everything we now recognize as a Thomas Edison contribution to our lives came after that disaster. Remember, "success is not found in never falling, but rather, in rising every time you fall.”
The world of selling provides one of the greatest opportunities for building character, while at the same time providing one of the greatest opportunities to create wealth. Selling is not easy; it never was and never will be. However, no career will ever be as rewarding as a career in sales. One of my favorite poems speaks about discouragement, failure, perseverance and ultimately, success.
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill.
When funds are low and the debts are high.
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit.
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns.
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint on the clouds of doubt.
And you never can tell how close you are.
It may be near when it seems so far:
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit
It’s when things seem worst that
YOU MUST NOT QUIT.
Turn failure and discouragement into success by not giving in to falling, but committing yourself to rising every time you fall. In his masterfully written essay, The Greatest Salesman In The World, Og Mandino reveals the sales wisdom of the ages through a set of scrolls. In the scroll marked III he reveals the ancient principle of persistence:
“I will persist until I succeed.” Scroll 3 starts with these important words. We learned growing up that if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. This is especially important in sales. As we all know, it is not easy to close every sales presentation we give. We must understand that every potential sale is a new and exciting opportunity to succeed again. This is important for us to realize so we do not give up if we happen to lose the sale. There is always another opportunity. “If I persist, if I continue to try, if I continue to charge forward, I will succeed.”
The third scroll also says “The prizes of life are at the end of each journey, not near the beginning…success hides behind the next bend in the road. Never will I know how close it lies unless I turn the corner.” This statement lets us know if we give up in the beginning, we may never truly realize success. It is vital we persist through the hard times and we will find the success we have been looking for. We might not always know what exactly lies ahead for us, but we will never know if we don’t keep moving forward.
“I will not allow yesterday’s success to lull me into today’s complacency, for this is the great foundation of failure. I will forget the happenings of the day that is gone, whether they were good or bad, and greet the new sun with confidence that this will be the best day of my life.” Too often, even if we are doing well in life, we get into patterns of behavior that keep us from moving forward toward greater success. We allow ourselves to think we are at a place where we cannot possibly improve, even though we know constant improvement is the only way to truly realize success!