Thursday, September 15, 2011

Repost: Mount Everest

Last night, I woke up early because of my jetlag.
Around 3.15 am it occurred to me (the weirdest thoughts come up at night) that getting started in sales has some similarities with climbing the Mount Everest.

A couple of months ago, my good friend Marco Hoogerland (an amazing mental coach for top athletes, including top-notch football players, world and european champions and olympic athletes) hosted an evening event with Robert de Vries.

Robert de Vries is a Dutch climber, and one of few men that has endured the severities of reaching the top of Mount Everest, the highest mountain on earth.
Robert presented his movie to the in-crowd, accompanied by stories and many questions of the dazzled audience. What an unbelievable performance - I was stunned by his humbling and riveting story.

It also occurred to me that you have to be somewhat crazy/selfish to reach the absolute top.
Many things have to be left behind (sometimes even relationships with loved ones) to achieve the goals at hand. I am not saying anyone should.

I am just saying that my observation of the journey and end-line to these unbelievable achievements seem to have some commonly shared factors:

Dedication, focus, taking risk, preparation, training, endurance, persistance, triomph, glory, and hardship. It doesn't come for free...

It seemed to me that getting started in full-commissioned sales is somewhat like climbing (albeit more comfortable perhaps).

Sales isn't easy...
You can see the top, but have no idea (yet) how to get there.

Considering the following:
- No gear when starting (job knowlegde, product knowledge, industry knowlegde)
- Some are already trained when they start, some aren't.
Trained (experienced) people may have an advantage to reach the top sooner, but it may also hinder them in a way, because they might think they know it all and get reckless/careless while climbing is dangerous.
- You earn your climbing gear (product/job/industry knowledge) along the way, as you proceed through the basecamps.
- Some will fall or go back
- Some get stuck in snow storms and have to wait a while and watch weather conditions before they can proceed to the next camp.
- It is hard work, no matter how experienced you are - you will still have to walk the walk.
- You need your co-climbers, so be a good colleague
- It's great at the top, but anything below doesn't satisfy your dreams, so you may have to endure dissatisfaction, or disappointment when things aren't going as smooth as you had hoped for.
- Getting to the top may not be fun, but there's no easy way there. You have to pass through all basecamps
- Sherpa's (mgmt? finance? administrative colleagues?) can do a lot of the work, but you will still have to climb yourself.
- If your goal is to reach the top, you can't stop when others are not making it.

- Prepare (create prospect lists, organize your approach, create a plan, work the plan)
- Train (read, learn, ask, look around, copy, whatever makes you improve)
- Focus on your goal (top of the ranks)
- Be lead by the leader (pick your example)
- Persist (be relentless)

Dream about the impossible becoming possible by putting the first step in the right direction

Don't let yourself down

Be tough when it gets tough

Take the hardships like a man: it comes with the journey

Celebrate the basecamps, so you can enjoy the journey too

Learn from the winners, not the whiners.

If this doesn't make sense to you: it was late ;-)


[ This is a reposted message from 2008 on]