As we begin a brand-new year, I’d like to share a story I’ve told many times before about a cab ride I took years ago in Chicago. The driver was wearing a Chicago Bulls basketball jersey with player Derrick Rose’s #1 on the back. When I asked him about the jersey, he told me, “I’ve got something in common with Derrick Rose. We were both raised in Englewood, a rough neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side.” The cab driver told me that he, too, wanted to be wealthy and famous.
I noticed a book on the front seat: Friedrich Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future. At first I thought that the cab driver was also a philosophy student, perhaps taking courses at night; but, rather than jump to conclusions, I asked. He told me that philosophy was a source of inspiration for the rap songs he writes, and that opened a floodgate of information way too long to share in this space. He shared with me that he actually felt pressured to become a superstar rapper, but he hadn’t written a good song in a long time.
As we were driving down the highway, he confessed that he had no idea how to create his brand, sell his work, or compete with rappers who capture the spirit of our times in the edgiest ways. He said, “I’ve been stuck in a rut for the past two years. I want to take three months off and do nothing but write new songs.”
Then he asked me what I thought, so I made a suggestion, drawing from what I know: the art of selling. “Take baby steps; don’t try to boil the ocean. Why don’t you set smaller goals every day? Think about what you can do today. Perhaps write three good lines and call it a day. Tomorrow, you’ll add three more, and within a month you’ve got 90 lines.”
His face lit up, and he said, “I can do that. I really can’t afford to take off from work anyway. I can write three lines over and over until they’re perfect – that takes less than an hour a day.”
That conversation brings me back to the rut in which many sales organizations find themselves. Sales leaders delay decisions until they have a chance to consult their advisors. They wait for new technology, data, or buy-in from C-level executives. As a result, they don’t think about what they can successfully do today. But the time to get things done is now. Start with small things you can do today. You’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish.
For more leadership insights and strategies, join me at a Sales 3.0 Conference in 2018.