Sunday, October 10, 2010

Get Lost!

Over five centuries ago, Christopher Columbus set sail across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a new trade route to India. The findings of this explorer from Genoa, Italy, would change the map of the world and forever alter the course of human history. Columbus accomplished this great feat by getting lost.

When Columbus's crew came ashore in the Americas, they arrived in a world previously unknown to his contemporaries in Europe. Columbus returned to the Caribbean three more times after his maiden voyage in 1492, convinced of the vast potential of what he had seen. His expeditions foreshadowed the journey across the seas for millions of courageous immigrants who followed.
Interestingly, most people do not realize that America was discovered by a salesman. Christopher Columbus was looking for India when he missed it by about 10,000 miles. Fortunately, he was a better salesman than he was a sailor!

If you question his sales ability, just review the facts: He was an Italian in Spain with only one prospect to call on. If he blew the sale, he would have a long swim home. That is what I call pressure selling. Once aboard his borrowed ship, he really had to "sell" his crew in order to get them to sail for him. After a week or two at sea, the crew was going to throw him overboard, convinced that they were all doomed and that Columbus was crazy. He kept saying, "It's just over the horizon, let's sail one more day!" Then came that fateful day and exciting call from the lookout, "Land ho!" and the most profitable sales call in history came to a close. Talk about a long sales cycle!

Actually, everything is selling and everybody sells. At MTP, I say "Our sales department is not the whole company, but the whole company is the sales department." So, no matter what your title or job description might be, no matter what career path you choose, we are all in sales whether we realize it or not – we are all just like Christopher Columbus.

So, the next time you are feeling lost, just remember that you never know what is just beyond the horizon, or just around the corner. Just keep on sailing (selling) and you too might have a Federal Holiday named after you one day.

Oh, and you might want to pick up a GPS to keep the crew (boss, employees, co-workers, wife, etc.) happy.

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