Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Don't Quit Too Soon

Determination is the key to success

Most people give up too soon. They give up after only one try, or they make the effort to get 90% of the way towards their goal and get discouraged just as they are about to have their big breakthrough.

I have to admit that this was brought home to me personally this past month, as my business pulled me away from making regular posts to Fun With Networking. It wasn't that I wanted to quit, but my time was demanded elsewhere. I've been working hard on the blog since last July, and it's made a huge difference for me professionally, and yet here I was having problems sustaining the effort. So here I am, ready to pick myself up and start anew.

How many times has something similar happened to you, when the day-to-day demands of your job or your life pull you away from working on your strategic, long-term goals? It does happen, and it will happen. The trick is to refocus and get moving again. Don't quit.

A lesson from the world of sales illustrates how important it is not to give up. Since everybody is in sales (especially if you are networking), I think the lesson is especially relevant to networking:

Number of calls to close a sale:

- 2% close on the 1st call
- 3% close on the 2nd call
- 4% close on the 3rd call
- 10% close on the 4th call
- 81% close on the 5th call

Only 19 percent of the sales were closed by the fourth call! The majority were closed during the fifth call. Think of your own networking. If you are trying to use networking to meet with someone, how many times do you reach out to someone before you give up and move on. I know I'm often feeling pretty discouraged after the second or third call, and I'm not alone.

When salespeople quit:

- 48% quit after the 1st call
- 24% quit after the 2nd call
- 12% quit after the 3rd call
- 6% quit after the 4th call
- 10% quit after the 5th call

If 81% of the sales close on the fifth call, why are 90% of the salespeople quitting before that point? Because they get discouraged, or distracted, or get cold feet.

These quit-too-soon salespeople failed to realize that the breakthrough they wanted was just a few steps further on if only they had kept after it. I will say the same thing to you. If you want something -- meet an important executive, learn a new skill, start a new stage in your career, start a new company, raise money for a great cause, get your novel published -- keep going after it. Don't get discouraged. It is the last 10 to 20% of your effort that is really going to make the difference for you. The world is full of stories of people who succeeded simply because they refused to give up. Make yours one of them.
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