“Eighty percent of success is showing up.”—Filmmaker Woody Allen

Last week I took a dance class. My favorite teacher was back in town for a short time, and I was thrilled. This teacher is incredibly talented. She’s an excellent, high-energy dancer and choreographer, and her class is really fun.

I wanted so badly to attend that I rearranged my entire schedule to be there. And so did a number of her other students. One cut short her vacation to get on a plane and fly home. Another rearranged her work schedule, going to work at 4:00 a.m. so that she would be done in time. But the class never happened. The teacher called in “sick” at the last minute.

When she taught a regular class, this teacher had a bad habit of canceling classes at the last minute. She’d been gone for six months and was scheduled to teach only four classes. She taught one class and called in sick for the rest.

After this disappointment, I decided I would never again rearrange my schedule to take one of her classes. And I know several other students who feel the same and even more who vowed never to take another class with her—period.

I was raised on the old show-business adage “the show must go on.” It has served me well. As a young dancer, it was drilled into my head that the audience didn’t care how I felt. They’d paid a lot of money to see me dance, and it was my responsibility to be at my best no matter how I felt. And while that “nobody cares how you feel” message may not have been the best for a child, in business and in sales, it’s the plain truth.

Your prospects and customers want what they want when they want it. It’s your job to deliver. If you don’t, they’ll find another source. The first rule of prospecting and selling is to show up.

Most sales are made between the seventh and twelfth contact with a prospect. Yet most salespeople stop after three or four contacts. All you have to do to sell more is show up a few more times. Want to close a sale? Show up and ask for an order. If you do not get an order that time, show up and ask again.

It doesn’t matter how smart you are. It doesn’t matter how talented you are. It doesn’t matter how great your product is. If you don’t show up, nothing else matters. 

Sign up for The Lead and get a new tip in your inbox every day! More tips:

Want to stand out? Show up

Are you giving up on prospects too soon?

Putting clients first, Part 1