We all know that slow and steady wins the race, right? That tortoise story is ingrained in our psyche. The Hare LOOKS like he’s hot stuff, but it’s the Tortoise who crosses the finish line and leaves the Hare looking like a big fat blow-hard fool.
That is all well and good.
Unless you’re the Hare.
What if you are the one who makes big things happen from time-to-time? Like breakthrough things? Things that open new markets? Things that make people say Ooooh and Aaaaah? Where does that leave you?
Or, what if you are more like the Tortoise when it comes to delivering your service, but you are more like the Hare when it comes to selling your service (as many small business owners are) – on again and off again as the mood strikes?
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Maybe, just maybe, you can have both! I am discovering that you absolutely can. And it requires just one little magical thing…
I’m not so sure WHY it works, but I am finding that it absolutely DOES WORK. And, I’m learning over-and-over that it doesn’t just work for me. I am hearing that putting this magical power to use is the key to many professionals’ success.
The Paradox of Consistency
The crazy thing about consistency is that quantity plays almost no role in it and quality plays less of a role than you would think.
In other words, if I want to reach a particular sales goal or business goal or financial goal, putting even a small, consistent practice in place makes a surprising amount of difference.
An Example in Blogging
As an example, when I started blogging, I set a consistent practice in place. I blogged every single-dingle day, five days a week. Come rain or come shine, I would write something on my blog. In the beginning I had a rule: If it took longer than 7 minutes to write my piece, than it lacked authenticity and I would scrap it.
So, you can imagine. The blog posts were short, sweet, made their point, and I was on to the next thing. It wasn’t complicated, but here’s what it did.
It built me a following.
People noticed that I was posting every day and it got me tons of traction and loads of connections – and a recognized brand. It was magical!
I’ve learned from other bloggers, too, that it’s not the amount that they blog, it’s the consistency with which they do it that makes a difference. Be it once a day, once a week, or once a month. When their audience knows what to expect it earns them traction.
The Magic for the Non-Seller
This is fabulous news for the small business owner who hates to sell, but knows he must. Here’s how it works:
Set aside the time of day, or the time of week, or the afternoon of the month that you are going to actually sit down and sell. (Or go out and sell.)
Set a consistent number of calls or meetings you will have. Or a number of cards you will give out. Or a number of referrals you will ask for.
Do this at the same time of the day, the week, or the month.
Whatever time you have allotted, do not cheat. That is the key. Do not cheat. Even if you feel terrible and don’t want to do it and won’t be your best. Do it anyway. Do it badly.
Just do it consistently.
You will be stunned at how opportunities start to blossom and grow right in front of your eyes. You will fill up your dance card. And you will not have to think about selling during the times that are NOT set aside for this activity.
Keep to your consistent schedule. Beware the nasty temptation to sell at times unscheduled.
Not because you won’t attract more business in the extra time you sell – when you weren’t scheduled to – you might! But because you will create a nasty little monster who will creep up and sabotage the whole thing.
When you sell in unscheduled times, you will start to justify not keeping the set “selling-time” appointments with yourself. You will say, “Oh, I did extra, so I don’t have to do this right now.” Or, you will say, “I can do extra later and ‘make it up’!”
NO! You are no longer consistent!
Protect your consistent practice like a superstition. Like if you step on that crack you actually WILL break your mother’s back.
Consistency for the Sellers who are more like Hares
If you are more naturally a Hare, I encourage you to keep many of your methods in place. Chances are that you derive a lot of your energy and big deals from “following the bread crumbs” as they present themselves and acting on sudden flashes of creativity. Keep doing that. Keep trusting your Hare.
But, how about adding a little tortoise, too?
What if once a day for 30 minutes, you call on old customers? Or once a week, you set aside a couple of hours for some good old-fashioned cold-calling? Or once a month, you put a day aside to reach out to decision-makers in one industry that represents a new marketplace?
You don’t have to make it fancy. Just consistent.
Think for yourself now, “What one consistent practice can I add to my work, or business, or financial goals that I will start now?”
How long will you keep this practice before you stop to evaluate results? 90-days, 6 months, a year? Then, keep your consistent practice like a sacred promise. Come back and tell me what you achieved.
Go and love your consistency UP!
The Irreverent Sales Girl