Friday, March 30, 2007

Patience and Persistence

A few years back William H. Macy starred in a made-for-TV movie called Door To Door. The movie is based on the true story of Bill Porter who was born with cerebral palsy. Bill Porter was a door-to-door salesperson of household goods. Through his hard work and perseverence, he was able to become one of his company's top salespeople, and had a 40-year long career in sales.

When I'm having a tough day, things aren't going well, or I'm just stuck, I often think about a poignant scene in the movie. Bill Porter is on one of his first days at work, and sits down for his brown bag lunch. Inside his lunch bag his mother has written in ketchup "Patience" on one slice of bread, and "Persistence" on the other. As Bill was having a trying day, his mother's encouragement made him stop to to realize, that if he just kept at it and kept trying, he would succeed.

Many times I wish my mom would make me that sandwich. But I've also come to realize that those two words do wonders. Many times in my career I would keep making contacts, following up with my clients, and making that last phone call--even if I thought it might cause my client to slam the phone down in disgust. Funny thing, those calls often turned into the call of the day, and ended up as either new business or a lasting friendship.

As a sales manager, I often would jump in the trenches with my sales staff to try to crack into new accounts. I'd be given the tough to contact manager, or the department that no one could break. After a few days, I'd be on my way out the door to my new sales appointments, and my staff would ask me how I got the appointment. My answer would be, "I called". Did I say something witty on the phone? Did I drop a name of an important person? No, I just called, introduced myself and asked if I could visit with them to learn more about their upcoming needs.

While this isn't new or groundbreaking, it works. I loved the movie Door to Door, and often say to myself, Patience and Persistence. And it works.

Gotta run, making calls!


Viswanathan said...

I have had similar experiences.

The last call I make at the end of a frustrating day,have been the most productive.

Unfortunately, that is the last call I make that day.

Amy said...


It was surprising that most of my best hours were from 4-5 pm back at the old desk job. Seemed like my contacts picked up then more than earlier on in the day. Funny that 4-5 pm was also when I hit the phones the hardest, and couldn't put it off any longer. Now I find that early morning or late afternoon/early evening work best to catch my clients.

Look at it on the positive side--the last call was the one to go out on--but what if you made a couple more calls after that. Maybe I'm sounding too much like Zig Ziglar!

Thanks for the note.