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The Salesperson's Path To Extraordinary


"System. Thats the holy whisper in business today, isnt it?

Training program is another sacred cow.

But is it really wise to protect AEs from the hardships that taught us all we know?

Hardship is the undisputed School of the Masters, but very few students seek admission. Rarer still is the employer who will fund your tuition. Patience is the payment required of the employer. Pain, disappointment, and perseverance are the price paid by the employee.

Sales Training: Education begins with memorization. Having learned all the theories, steps, and rules, we parry and thrust against the light in a kind of frantic swordplay with the shadows of possibilities. This is when we learn that steps and rules are only a weak and sad beginning. We still have a lot to learn.

Memorization was our first lesson. Improvisation is the second. Choices and consequences are the lessons that never quit teaching. But do AEs have the freedom to improvise anymore?

Every industry, craft, trade, and profession has its own traditional wisdom that will hide you, safely out of trouble, by keeping you inside the box. And radios box is held tightly together with bands of iron. Job security is spelled C-O-N-F-O-R-M-I-T-Y.

AEs, if youre going to start thinking outside the box, youre going to have to ignore the unwritten rules of traditional wisdom. Do this and youll immediately be told that youre not doing it right. And, sadly, the new thing youre attempting to do probably wont work out the way you had hoped.

You wont have a victory, but you will have an education.
So youll try something else that doesnt work out.
Now youre a screwup.
Most people would crawl back inside the box and quit trying. But not you.
You try again. Fail again.
Now youre a loser, a nonconformist, a problem child, and possibly unemployed.
This, mi amigo, is what they call hardship. Welcome to the School of the Masters.
Try again. Limited success.
Now youre a tinkerer who wont leave well enough alone.
Try again. Limited improvement.
No one calls you anything now because no one is paying attention.
Try again. Major breakthrough.
Now youre an innovator, and everyone wants to swim in your pool.

George Washington was a loyal British subject who decided the king was wrong.

Thomas Jefferson envisioned a form of government that Winston Churchill on the floor of the House of Commons would later call the worst form of government ever created, except for all the others.

Abraham Lincoln violated millennia of traditional wisdom when he won the war but refused the victors spoils, saying instead, With malice toward none, with charity for all ... let us bind up the nations wounds.... in his Second Inaugural Address.

But perhaps Teddy Roosevelt said it best. Speaking of the choices and consequences we face daily as we improvise our way through life, he said, Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

The fact that youre still reading this impresses the hell out of me. Seven in 10 quit when they got to the line that said, Patience is the payment required of the employer. Two of the remaining three got angry when I began talking about improvisation.

I know you. Youre not a screwup. Youre an innovator on the edge of a breakthrough. Trust me. I know whats about to happen for you. Im very familiar with the edge.

And the view from here is magnificent.

Join us.

Roy H. Williams is president of Wizard of Ads Inc. E-mail:

(9/13/2013 4:28:49 PM)
Jw9fsR Major thanks for the blog post.Thanks Again. Great.

- NY
(4/24/2013 7:49:20 PM)
The renegade's or innovator's life is frought with numerous dangers and responsibilities.

One of those responsibilities is the preparation for numerous falls - assisted or otherwise. Softer landings make getting back up a little easier. Hard landings can slow the process down - significantly.

One of my mentors said, "Be sure to have a mattress strapped to your ass."

- Ronald T. Robinson
(4/24/2013 3:17:19 PM)
Living on the edge and being called a screw up simply added up to wisdom and success over time for this a/e. To live inside the box of c-o-n-f-o-r-m-i-t-y is to die for me. Without creativity, life is meaningless.
Thanks Roy for the continued wisdom.

- Jamie Moffat
(4/24/2013 2:52:03 PM)
I read the entire article; and loved it.

- Todd Williams

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