June 29, 2012

The Importance of Persistence & Patience.

Mark Twain reputedly said, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No sense in being a damn fool about it.”

For many of us, it’s hard to accept that we do have to try, fail, learn from our mistakes, try again and so on if we’re ever going to achieve our goals.

Remember when you first got a smart phone and it took you much longer to schedule appointments on the little calendar than it did to write them down in a datebook? To enjoy the benefits of the technology you had to go through a learning curve and that brings the monster “pain of change” out from under the bed. Today you routinely use technology and applications that were all new to you at one time. You endured the learning curve and succeeded. That required persistence.

Similarly, persistence is required to grow your business and achieve your goals. Many of us dread reaching out to potential clients and customers even though we are confident our products and services are high quality and offer good value. We sit down at the phone or the computer and we call a prospect only to get voice mail, no response or a clear “not interested.” Feeling rejected we avoid prospecting again for as long as we can. Then that day comes when we look at our crazy busy week ahead and realize we have nothing scheduled for the week after that. Time to prospect again, but will we be any better at it this time? Will we have greater success? Or is it going to be one more experience that reinforces avoiding this essential task?

Mastering the skills involved, like leading with a business issue or a problem instead of product, asking questions instead of making statements, and preparing ahead of time so your questions and message are aimed at the right level of executive, all require practice. And practice requires persistence. It would be great if we could get it the first time, but few of us are that lucky. We get luckier when we prepare thoroughly.

And what about patience? I have little of it.

I always say that when God passed out patience the line was too long so I skipped to the next virtue.

Being patient with our customers as they go through their buying process is a sign of respect and the opposite of the sales person who pushes for a quick decision. Being patient with ourselves as we experience the pain of change, the bumps in the learning curve and the failures along the way is an even bigger challenge.

Are you willing to give your customer the gift of attention while they make their best decision? Are you willing to give yourself time to become your own best self? If you are, you create a climate for growth. If you aren’t, you’ve just identified a new learning opportunity for yourself: practicing patience and persisting in your efforts to grow and succeed.

My new favorite saying is, “Anything worth doing is worth doing really badly at first.”

Read the other articles in this series:

Using Respect to Create a Mindful Business

The Importance of Empathy in Business

The Importance of Listening.

Editor: Lynn Hasselberger

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