Persistence Leads to SuccessJust Ask Gerhard Gschwandtner and Joe Sugarman …

By Lain Ehmann

By Selling Power Editors

Many successful salespeople know that it takes hard work and dogged persistence to get ahead in this world. “Selling Power Live,” Selling Power’s monthly audio magazine, recently talked to sales leaders who shared their stories and techniques for developing persistence. Gerhard Gschwandtner, the founder and publisher of Selling Power, started the magazine in his garage office in 1981.

Gschwandtner, a sales trainer, had been responsible for creating sales materials for sales managers when he decided to put some of his ideas into a small brochure-like direct mail piece and send it out to sales leaders. His ideas were so powerful and useful that subscriptions quickly began to multiply and Selling Power grew into an industry icon.

“When you are at the point where you think it’s not worth it,” says Gschwandtner, “that’s when you need to redouble your efforts.” That way of thinking helped Gschwandtner make Selling Power a success and, he says, will work for salespeople as well. “Customers are looking for someone who is dependable, who is persistent and who will do what it takes to get the best solution implemented within the customer’s organization,” he says. When sales are slow and you feel like every step is an uphill battle, that’s when you shouldn’t quit. Salespeople who redouble their efforts will be rewarded handsomely by the payoff. “The pain goes away the minute you are victorious,” says Gschwandtner, “but if you give up, the pain will persist for the rest of your life.”

Direct mail and marketing legend Joe Sugarman agrees with Gschwandtner that the key to winning is a never-give-up attitude. Sugarman achieved legendary fame in direct marketing by selling more than 20 million Blublocker sunglasses through print and television infomercials. “If I come up with an idea and people tell me it won’t work, that’s my first indication that it will be successful,” says Sugarman. “If I don’t have skeptics, I get concerned,” he says.

In 1971 Sugarman was the first to offer handheld calculators and digital watches through his JS&A Electronics direct mail catalog. Calculators and digital watches were two of the many products skeptics predicted could never be sold through direct mail. Sugarman later replaced the time-honored coupon in his direct mail ads with an 800 telephone number the skeptics said, “Won’t work. Never been done. Bad move.” He proved them all wrong.

Sugarman’s philosophy on persistence is quite simple: “Life is like a bucket of oysters,” he says. There is at least one pearl in every bucket – you just have to find it. The only problem is that most people give up too quickly. Too many people have difficulty prying open their oysters or they stop trying after they open just a few. For those who persist, he says, the reward is a shining jewel.

Hear what all the buzz is about! Click here and click here to listen to a clip from this month’s issue of “Selling Power Live”: The Power of Persistence.

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