Selling and Breathing Underwater

When I was a little kid (we’ll say six) I remember telling my dad that I’d figured out how to breathe underwater. I don’t remember where we were or what we were doing, but I remember him looking at me and saying “oh yeah?”

I proceeded to go into this long explanation about how water has oxygen in it, and all I had to do is shake the water up in my mouth, spit the “water part” out and keep the “oxygen part” in and I could breathe using that (even at six, I was brilliant).

Well my dad just looked down at me and said “I’m not sure that’s how it works” to which I replied “Just wait; someday I’ll breathe underwater.”

Now, obviously, my plan to shake things up to make oxygen didn’t work out too well, but, ten years later, I was learning how to SCUBA dive…and breathe underwater.

While I was thinking earlier tonight about what to write today, I was swimming laps and thinking about sales and that story popped into my head (I was doing underwater drills and running out of oxygen) and I started thinking about the need for persistence in sales and how important it is to keep pushing through every challenge you come across (and there are always plenty) to get the job done.

During my brief hiatus from Score Consulting, I took a job at a San Diego Internet marketing company, and, although they claimed to be consultants, it was a purely sales driven job. This was the first time that I had to be down in the trenches in a long time, and it wasn’t easy. I had become so used to structuring large extended deals and teaching sales teams how to do the same that I thought this job was so far beneath me.

I was wrong.

As it turned out, I learned more about persistence and the importance of resolve during my time as a “cold caller” at this San Diego company than I ever did structuring $250k deals back in Rochester.

What do you love to do? What is your business? For your sake, I really hope that the two are the same, and if not very similar, because it makes things a lot easier. For me, I love three things: music, business and the environment. The one that happens to be paying the bills right now is, obviously, my business (I mean you don’t see me on the Billboard Top 100 list…yet…), and I love it. I love consulting. I love helping small businesses grow and get to the next level. And I love teaching people what I know.

I can’t do any of that if I don’t sell, and you can’t do what you love to do if you don’t.

Now when I talk about sales, I don’t necessarily mean cold calling all day, every day, although that can certainly be an effective method. But there is always some manner of selling that is going to be involved in your business; and the sooner you come to grips with that, the sooner you’ll be prepared to grow.

There’s a terrific organization out there called Just Sell (, that I highly recommend taking a look at. Subscribe to their newsletter, read through their website and take their advice. Or find some other way of making it happen for yourself. Who knows, you might just  find that you’re actually breathing  under water.

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Posted in Thoughts.

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