I’ll never forget the training I received during my first business-to-business sales job. The company sold over-priced copier machines, and I had the pleasure of learning from Don Schaeffer, a grizzled veteran. Don was in his 40s, but his sun-dried leathery skin and cigarette-stained teeth made him look like a underinflated football with a mustache. When Don spoke he sounded sort of like a cross between Mickey Rooney and a diesel engine. Don’s personality matched his looks. He was sarcastic, aggressive, and arrogant, but for some reason Don could sell anything.
For all of his shortcomings, Don wasn’t a bad teacher. He taught me a number of psychological tactics that made me very successful. I learned to get leverage in a business deal, and became a sales leader in no time.
Don’s greatest lesson was this, “The difference between an amateur and a professional is a dedication to repetition.”
His philosophy goes by many names, but you may know it as “growth mentality”. It’s the idea that we aren’t born with a fixed set of talents and abilities. We can learn and improve. I got rejected more than anyone on my team, but I ultimately went on to close $500,000 deals, and I believe it was because I went through those hard knocks. They were a learning opportunity.
We all have different goals, but Don’s advice can apply to you too. What do you want to achieve? How can you benefit from a dedication to repetition?