The odds of becoming a millionaire by chance are not very good.

The way to expend the least amount of energy to become a millionaire would be to buy a winning lottery ticket. It takes little work, few skills, and only one dollar. But the odds of your guessing the winning combination of numbers are 1 in 3,838,380.

By the same token, the odds of hitting the jackpot on a typical Vegas slot machine are 1 in 32,768. Games of chance require little energy, but the odds are not in our favor.

The odds of becoming a millionaire by design are much better.

Math professor Jeffrey Rosenthal recently figured that one's odds of becoming a millionaire in the next year are about 1 in 115. The big question is HOW?

Many salespeople believe that reaching a higher goal will take a lot more energy, and they assume that earning a million dollars is impossible. That’s why they have made a decision to invest the same amount of energy year after year without getting closer to their goal of earning a million dollars. This seems like a foolish decision, since selling more and earning more are not necessarily the results of investing a lot more energy. Increasing the odds of reaching our goals requires two essential skills: first, the ability to invest our available energy more efficiently, and second, the ability to cut the inevitable waste on our road to success.

Let’s say you have decided to take a 300-mile trip to make a sales presentation to an important client. You need to get back within 24 hours to meet an important deadline at work. You’ve figured that you could make that trip on one tank of gas, but you haven’t studied your map very closely, and you think that you can get there in five hours driving an average speed of 60 mph. After driving three hours, you stop for lunch and realize that you’ve covered only half the distance. As you study the map, you realized that 1) there is a ferry that crosses to the island where the client lives, and 2) the last ferry will cross half an hour before you arrive. In this scenario, you invested a lot of energy without reaching your goal. Here is the winning lesson: To reach a goal we need to have a REALISTIC PLAN and then FOCUS only on that goal. We need to plan for the inevitable OBSTACLES and be prepared to FIND THE BEST SOLUTION for dealing with those obstacles. This simple formula applies to business and life in general.

Let’s assume that you won a sales contest, and you are attending a conference and the hotel prepared a lavish buffet lunch. You notice several indecisive people holding their plates, walking aimlessly around the buffet tables. They walk by many dishes, waiting to see if something better is ahead. When they reach the end, they realize that they haven’t gotten anything, and they start all over again.

Others decide to get a little of everything so they can taste a wide variety of dishes. When their plates are full, they discover one of their favorite foods, but without room left on their plates, they have to pass and go to their tables.

Then there are those who watch what other people are carrying on their plates and wonder where they went to get these items but are afraid to ask. Since you are hungry, and since the food looks very enticing, you give in to your impulses and decide to fill your plate beyond your recommended limits. In the afternoon, you feel sluggish and are unable to follow the conference. In the evening, you decide on a nap and skip your workout routine.

In this scenario, everyone used the same amount of energy to fill their plates. But only those who DECIDED what they wanted, FOCUSED on the best dishes, REALIZED the limits of their plates and stomachs, and have the WILLPOWER to choose only what’s best for their bodies – without wasting time and energy – would achieve their goal: a satisfying and healthy meal without waistline regrets. (Taste makes waist.)

If we want to be successful in reaching our goals, we need to invest our energies differently. Let’s assume that you are a salesperson who has earned $120,000 during the past 12 months on 10 percent straight commission. Your average sale is $6,000, and you’ve completed 200 transactions for a total sales volume of $1,200,000. What would be the impact on your income if you decided to improve two factors by 10 percent? Let’s do the math. First, you up the average sale to $6,600. How? You improve your up-selling skills. Second, you increase the number of transactions to 220. How? You improve your prospecting skills. Now let’s multiply $6,600 by 220 for a total sales volume of $1,452,000. Note that sales increased by 21 percent. Chances are that your sales commission on the extra sales will be 2 percent higher. Your income would jump to $150,240. You would earn $30,240 more, which is a 25 percent increase.

What if you invested a portion of this extra income at a 6.5 percent rate for the next 30 years? According to the Bankrate.com calculator, your extra income would be worth $1,043.112. The odds of that happening are infinitely greater than winning the lottery. And the energy investment is well within your reach.

1. To reach success, we need to invest our available energy (that we wasted in the past) in the pursuit of specific goals. For example, increase up-selling by 10 percent, and increase transaction volume by 10 percent.

2. To reach success, we need to align our internal drive with our external actions. (If your internal drive is to diet, don’t fill your plate. If your internal goal is to make a million dollars, don’t fill your mind with mindless TV watching).

3. To reach success, we need to decide what’s most important and put trivial pursuits on hold.

4. To reach success, we need to move from “I don’t care” and “I don’t know,” to “I care” and “I know.” Personal engagement leads to succeeding on your own terms.

5. To reach success, we need to invest our energy in a few, strategically selected tasks for a sustained period of time. Consistency of purpose and execution are the main tools.

6. To reach success, we must prepare for the inevitable obstacles. When we anticipate obstacles, we deploy plan B, which requires less energy than having to improvise on the spot.

7. To reach success, we must realize that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

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Email this blog to a friend

The way to expend the least amount of energy to become a millionaire would be to buy a winning lottery ticket. It takes little work, few skills, and only one dollar. But the odds of your guessing the winning combination of numbers are 1 in 3,838,380.

By the same token, the odds of hitting the jackpot on a typical Vegas slot machine are 1 in 32,768. Games of chance require little energy, but the odds are not in our favor.

The odds of becoming a millionaire by design are much better.

Math professor Jeffrey Rosenthal recently figured that one's odds of becoming a millionaire in the next year are about 1 in 115. The big question is HOW?

**What can you do to increase your odds of becoming a millionaire?**Many salespeople believe that reaching a higher goal will take a lot more energy, and they assume that earning a million dollars is impossible. That’s why they have made a decision to invest the same amount of energy year after year without getting closer to their goal of earning a million dollars. This seems like a foolish decision, since selling more and earning more are not necessarily the results of investing a lot more energy. Increasing the odds of reaching our goals requires two essential skills: first, the ability to invest our available energy more efficiently, and second, the ability to cut the inevitable waste on our road to success.

**We waste a lot of energy without getting anywhere**Let’s say you have decided to take a 300-mile trip to make a sales presentation to an important client. You need to get back within 24 hours to meet an important deadline at work. You’ve figured that you could make that trip on one tank of gas, but you haven’t studied your map very closely, and you think that you can get there in five hours driving an average speed of 60 mph. After driving three hours, you stop for lunch and realize that you’ve covered only half the distance. As you study the map, you realized that 1) there is a ferry that crosses to the island where the client lives, and 2) the last ferry will cross half an hour before you arrive. In this scenario, you invested a lot of energy without reaching your goal. Here is the winning lesson: To reach a goal we need to have a REALISTIC PLAN and then FOCUS only on that goal. We need to plan for the inevitable OBSTACLES and be prepared to FIND THE BEST SOLUTION for dealing with those obstacles. This simple formula applies to business and life in general.

**We waste a lot of time not getting what’s best for us**Let’s assume that you won a sales contest, and you are attending a conference and the hotel prepared a lavish buffet lunch. You notice several indecisive people holding their plates, walking aimlessly around the buffet tables. They walk by many dishes, waiting to see if something better is ahead. When they reach the end, they realize that they haven’t gotten anything, and they start all over again.

Others decide to get a little of everything so they can taste a wide variety of dishes. When their plates are full, they discover one of their favorite foods, but without room left on their plates, they have to pass and go to their tables.

Then there are those who watch what other people are carrying on their plates and wonder where they went to get these items but are afraid to ask. Since you are hungry, and since the food looks very enticing, you give in to your impulses and decide to fill your plate beyond your recommended limits. In the afternoon, you feel sluggish and are unable to follow the conference. In the evening, you decide on a nap and skip your workout routine.

In this scenario, everyone used the same amount of energy to fill their plates. But only those who DECIDED what they wanted, FOCUSED on the best dishes, REALIZED the limits of their plates and stomachs, and have the WILLPOWER to choose only what’s best for their bodies – without wasting time and energy – would achieve their goal: a satisfying and healthy meal without waistline regrets. (Taste makes waist.)

**You can become a sales millionaire by investing your energy differently**If we want to be successful in reaching our goals, we need to invest our energies differently. Let’s assume that you are a salesperson who has earned $120,000 during the past 12 months on 10 percent straight commission. Your average sale is $6,000, and you’ve completed 200 transactions for a total sales volume of $1,200,000. What would be the impact on your income if you decided to improve two factors by 10 percent? Let’s do the math. First, you up the average sale to $6,600. How? You improve your up-selling skills. Second, you increase the number of transactions to 220. How? You improve your prospecting skills. Now let’s multiply $6,600 by 220 for a total sales volume of $1,452,000. Note that sales increased by 21 percent. Chances are that your sales commission on the extra sales will be 2 percent higher. Your income would jump to $150,240. You would earn $30,240 more, which is a 25 percent increase.

What if you invested a portion of this extra income at a 6.5 percent rate for the next 30 years? According to the Bankrate.com calculator, your extra income would be worth $1,043.112. The odds of that happening are infinitely greater than winning the lottery. And the energy investment is well within your reach.

**The road to success lies in following a few basic rules**1. To reach success, we need to invest our available energy (that we wasted in the past) in the pursuit of specific goals. For example, increase up-selling by 10 percent, and increase transaction volume by 10 percent.

2. To reach success, we need to align our internal drive with our external actions. (If your internal drive is to diet, don’t fill your plate. If your internal goal is to make a million dollars, don’t fill your mind with mindless TV watching).

3. To reach success, we need to decide what’s most important and put trivial pursuits on hold.

4. To reach success, we need to move from “I don’t care” and “I don’t know,” to “I care” and “I know.” Personal engagement leads to succeeding on your own terms.

5. To reach success, we need to invest our energy in a few, strategically selected tasks for a sustained period of time. Consistency of purpose and execution are the main tools.

6. To reach success, we must prepare for the inevitable obstacles. When we anticipate obstacles, we deploy plan B, which requires less energy than having to improvise on the spot.

7. To reach success, we must realize that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

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I agree with Michael. Opening your own business creates many challenges but it does give you the best chance at becoming a millionaire. But whether we are salespeople, marketers, entrepreneurs or anything else, the idea is to focus on the activities that give you the greatest return on your time investment and focus on these, while either letting the others go or outsourcing them to a co-worker or service provider.

The trick is to really understand the difference between time-filling and wealth-producing activiites. Once you know this, it is much easier to make the right choices.

Posted by: Chris Ryan | 05/11/2010 at 11:29 AM

Those are really good points, Gerhard.

My key take away from your article is to consider time as a precious resource that must be wisely invested. We don't want to throw away time any more than we want to throw away hard-earned money.

Regarding your question about what investment in time will move a salesperson toward a million-dollar income the fastest: it is instructive to consider a microeconomic principle, i.e. your income is a measure of your marginal rate of productivity. Most people need a large, quantum leap in productivity to reach a million-dollar level of productivity. The best, if not only way to achieve that is by making a large investment in their professional development and acquiring valuable new skills.

In fact, I'll be provocative and argue that, in general, people's income will grow faster if they use that wasted time you are talking about to invest in new skills, rather than use it to simply apply their current skills harder.

What are your thoughts?

Posted by: Brett Clay | 02/24/2010 at 03:57 PM

Excellent article, Gerhard.

I might add that to increase your odds even more, one may consider opening their own business.

I have met more millionaire business owners than I have millionaire sales people. Ironically, most of the millionaire business owners were one time top sales superstars.

Posted by: Michael Pedone - Online Sales Training | 02/24/2010 at 03:21 PM