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Sales tip 101: Never give up

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Peter is a financial advisor with annual earnings nearing seven figures. He’s a consummate professional devoted to his target market: the average American looking for the advice that’s usually reserved for high-net-worth clients.

There’s nothing about Peter that says “salesman.” He’s a regular guy. He dresses in off-the-rack blazers. He drives his Altima to appointments, saving his Mercedes for weekend outings with his wife. He speaks with authority—but plainly and with only gentle nudging for his clients to do the right thing. He helps clients make important life decisions over coffee and cake.

I asked Peter to visit a workshop I was running for young financial professionals.

“How have you become so successful?” one starry-eyed advisor asked.

Peter’s one-word response? Persistence. “I know it sounds too simple, but that’s it. I’m not smarter than anyone else, I just persist. In the beginning, I had the same problems you’re having. You just can’t give up when things aren’t going right. Each person you talk with has connections to other people who could use your help. And if you treat them right, they’ll want those people to work with you, too. You can’t give up just because you have setbacks.”

Last year, I worked briefly with Ken, an attorney whose target market is small businesses. Among other marketing strategies, I suggested he try hosting seminars.

“I tried seminars awhile ago,” he said. “They just don’t seem to work for me.”

“How many times did you try them?” I asked.

“Just once. It was terrible.”

“And you never tried again?” I asked.

“No. Why would I?” he responded.

Like Ken, many of us give up on a solid plan or strategy way too soon. Choose a path you believe will work and try multiple times—hundreds, if necessary. If you choose seminars, do at least a few. Learn what works and what doesn’t. If what you’re doing isn’t working, try to figure out why. Tweak it and try again.

Once you find something that works, make it part of your regular activities. Build it into a system. If you can’t make an activity work after several tries, then you can move on to something else.

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Sandy Schussel is a speaker, business trainer and coach who helps sales teams develop systems to win clients. He is the author of The High Diving Board and Become a Client Magnet. For more information, go to


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