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Sean Luce

Beyond The Crux


Do you ever feel like quitting? Its natural to feel that way sometimes. Especially in sales. Its the end of the year and maybe you feel like youve run a marathon and youre at mile 19 or 20, which I think is the mile they say you have a real gut-check on stopping or continuing on. Ive never run a marathon, so thats just what Ive been told. Id never done climbing before either until last Friday night. I have a new respect for mountain climbers now.

Its a Friday night after a long, cold, market trip in Kelowna, British Columbia, visiting the properties we consult: and is the world-renowned hyper-local website that's a Canadian media success story. 300,000 unique visitors per week and 8.5 million page views per week. Its highly monetized. You can do the math on the revenue yourself.

During the week with one of our sales reps, we did a CMP on a local business called Beyond The Crux. Its an indoor climbing facility. Top notch too. I wanted to see for myself just how hard or challenging this climbing might be. The story of New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Tenzing Norgay climbing Mt. Everest for the first time has always intrigued me; especially how they used teamwork with the other two climbers in their team, Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans, who turned around when they were almost at the summit of Mt. Everest when the winds became too dangerous to preserve the success of their team mission. Much like a sales team, it requires a total team effort.

Penny and Bob from Beyond the Crux Climbing Gym Inc. were going to show this warm-weather Houston city boy how to climb Friday night, no matter what. It was already minus-5 degrees Celsius outside and I had an early wake-up call for a Saturday morning flight. What the heck, lets go for it. By looking at climbers, I know you have to be in great shape. I didnt know it was so tricky. The mental challenge is half the battle. Figuring out the puzzle on the wall (mountain) is very strategic. When you start out, you better have a good coach. I did last Friday night. Penny was very patient with me too. I went to the top with a lot of help. Now, it was time to get off the belay device and on my own. Not easy. Physically, you are working a greater variety of your muscle groups than in any other strenuous activity. Mentally, its a rush.

My assessment now is that climbing is mental as much as physical. Maybe more mental. How high and far can you go? How far can you fall? Self-talk becomes vital here. What you put into your head determines a great deal of what youre going to do on the wall or mountain. Same with sales, right? Half the battle in sales is what we tell ourselves in our mind as much as what we're actually doing it. We put into our minds 45,000 to 51,000 self-talk impressions every day. Every 11 seconds, we form some new self-talk. It better be good self-talk or we talk ourselves out of the sale more often than the prospect or client does. Technique in climbing is huge, though its huge in sales too. That mental game you play with yourself, I think is the most important though. Whats your crux? Whats your limit?

Last Thursday night in Kelowna, we had our Open House Client Appreciation party for and There was a crux for at one time -- the pivotal point where it was almost shut down. Then they pushed beyond the crux and turned it into the media giant in their market in viewers and revenue.

The parallels of climbing come to mind here. It was a matter of figuring out the puzzle of making money with a local website. By the way, that client appreciation party would rival any media party you would see in Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta, St. Louis, or Toronto. Trust me: this I know. Well, maybe not Toronto if Rob Ford is at the party. No crack pipes. This is media and its meant to be fun. Taking care of clients is vital. They had the video camera rolling and filmed client testimonials on location at the party. Brilliant. It was kind of like Hollywood and something you would see on HBOs Entourage version of a media party. The Castanet/TheTango group is well taught on how to have fun. And remember, focus does follow fun. 

The open house was fun and huge and a great time. I think the highlight of my week was when I was riding with our general manager, Chris Kearney of Castanet, and we were making a client call on a real estate developer with one of our new sales reps. Clicks are important, of course, in your display advertising. Clicks arent everything though. Chris sat the client down at their computer and gave them a lesson on Google Analytics, showing them where their site traffic is coming from. Conversions of their click-throughs are vital in increasing their website traffic.

Now, back to that climbing wall. Hmmm. I need more practice. I need to get over my crux of thinking Im too old to be a climber! Maybe scaling 29,000 feet of Mt. Everest isnt out of the question after all. I think I should start out on a small mountain though and work my way up!

Sean Luce is the Head National Instructor for the Luce Performance Group International and can be reached at or

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