Thomas Edison is credited with inventing the light bulb, though in truth he improved an invention that had been around for 50 years. Perhaps he gets the glory because he failed almost 10,000 times before he found a way that worked. When asked if he felt like a failure, supposedly Edison responded that he had never failed, rather he found 9,000 ways that did not work. True or not, this story has a vital message for anyone striving to succeed.
When I started my real estate company in 1986 I thought success would be a breeze. Two years later, I had found lots of ways not to make money. In one case, I negotiated an agreement so poorly that I lost out on over $20,000 of income I badly needed. So I came up with a philosophy for any time I lost a significant deal: I figured I had bought myself a class or semester at the Wharton School of Business. By learning from my failures I never had to spend what a degree from Wharton would have cost.
Fear of failure means we are losing out on:
- Discovering ways to be more successful in the future
- Knowing when and how to be flexible
- More chances to expand our businesses
If someone tells you he never loses a sale he has found the fountain of youth (very unlikely), he makes few or no sales (you cannot lose something you never try to have), or he never takes a chance on a less than perfect, pre-sold prospect. Which would you rather have: 10% of 1000 prospects buying from you or 100% of 50? Is not the first option twice as good?
Here are five steps to turn failure into success:
- Find out why the person said no
- If the no is valid, move on
- If there is a credible response to the objection, give it
- Use the information on the lost sale to improve your skills
- Ask for referrals from the prospects who turned you down
We do not need to be a genius like Edison to know transforming failure into success is in our hands
How have you used a failure to move you forward?
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© , Kevin S. Bemel, All Rights Reserved
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