Is Disappointment Necessary For Victory?

Thursday, 2007-March-01 at 20:44

Imagine a life so devoid of disappointments that the smallest event caused you emotional pain.  Had an interview for a job, but did not get the job?  Cry and sulk for a few days.  Start your own business and fail to get contracts right away?  Cry and sulk for a few weeks.  We laugh about it when it is phrased in this manner, but think about what I am saying here.

If you are in sales, they tell you that you have to get through a certain number of “no” answers in order to get one “yes” answer.  It turns out that this is true in every area of human endeavor.  For a young adult, fresh out of high school, it is seen in job-hunting.  (As an aside, why do they always seem to go to the local mall so many times when they are applying for work?  There are only so many openings there, and all of their friends are already applying for those openings.  While I do not suggest they ignore the mall, they should try to find somewhere that is not overrun with so many applicants.  It could do wonders for their success at obtaining employment.)

For a fresh college graduate, or even an older person trying to gain a foothold in a new field, getting to “you’re hired” involves passing through several “sorry” and “we want more experience” situations.  In that case, it is more a case of persistence and willing to modify one’s approach to suit the targets than anything else.  If someone decides to give up after five, ten, twenty, or even one hundred “no” answers, that is someone who will never get a “yes.”

And so it is in a newly-started small business.  Many of your potential customers already have a supplier for goods or services similar (in function or appearance) to yours.  They will already have established spending patterns.  Your goal is to get these people to change those patterns and to replace those competitive goods and services with your own.

Any owner or manager that does not understand this will be dissappointed, because many, perhaps even most, potential customers will not change.  Despite the fact that your product is better, your service is given with a smile, your advertising is spot-on with your message, and you being an all-around nice person, some people will not change.  Your task, then, is to continue on through all of the turn-downs to get to the ones that will accept your offer.

In some ways, this is like sports.  Losing is part of the game, as is winning.  For most of us, we will not win every time we go out.  However, we can examine our performance and that of our competitors to help us perform better the next time out.  Could you imagine how full of yourself you would be if you never experienced losses?  In my view, disappoinments are necessary in order to overcome and achieve and accomplish–to win and succeed, in other words.

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