| Never have a back-up plan! Although on the surface this seems counter intuitive, having a Plan B sucks valuable time, energy, and resources from your ultimate goal, Plan A, thereby making it less likely that your original goals and intentions will come to fruition.|
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison
You flip a switch. A light goes on. The room is illuminated.
So what? How many times a day do you do this?
Well, it wasn’t always so easy.
Just 150 years ago, lighting was dangerous. People used gas lamps or candles to brighten the night. Most had open flames. Plenty of homes and buildings burned to the ground … often with their occupants inside.
Thomas A. Edison changed everything.
His 1880 patent filing for an incandescent light bulb made safe lighting a reality. He famously said, “We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.” The rest, as they say … is history.
Edison didn’t nail his invention on the first try. Not even close. He conducted thousands of experiments. Thousands came up short. He kept going.
In other words – a man who changed the world failed thousands of times.
Michael Jordan said he missed more than 9,000 shots in his storied career. Abraham Lincoln suffered election losses and business letdowns before becoming one of America’s greatest presidents.
None gave up. None said “OK, this isn’t working. I’ll just go do THIS instead.”
“This” is what’s often called “Plan B.” It’s a fallback, a safety net, for missing big goals. Sometimes it’s waving the white flag to a long-held dream.
Due to their job’s challenges, salespeople are often told “You need to have a Plan B.”
Maybe it’s a less lofty sales target, in case The Big Prospect doesn’t pan out. Or, given the profession’s attrition rate, it’s another career path with a safe paycheck (and probably a really boring 40 hours per week, coupled with greatly reduced income potential).
Well, here’s where we punch conventional wisdom in the mouth again. Yes, it’s my second installment of “The Top 10 Sales Myths!” (if you missed it, catch the first article here).
Here’s the newest myth buster: If you’re in sales, you should never have a Plan B.
There you go. I said it.
You see, Plan B plants itself in the back of your mind. It lingers around the fringes. It’s always reminding you that, hey, don’t worry, there’s a way out if you’re not successful.
Plan B subtly undermines your success. It allows you to miss goals. Rationalize falling short. Make excuses for not achieving objectives.
Quietly, under the radar, Plan B saps energy from Plan A: your mission to be a great salesperson, one who perseveres, delivers value, and succeeds on knowledge and hustle.
Here’s an idea: Ditch Plan B. Toss it out. Burn it, if need be.
Doing so will change your mentality. Sharpen your focus. Create an edge. If you don’t think Michael Jordan had an edge … you don’t know Michael Jordan.
What if all your sales colleagues kissed Plan B goodbye? People would research deeper. Make more calls. Prepare better. Show up to every meeting on time, ready for serious engagement.
In short, they’d be preparing for success … because it’s the only end game that matters.
I understand the rationale behind Plan B. It offers safety. The two most motivation-sucking words in the English language are “what if?”
People fear failure. They’ve been told, over and over, it’s unacceptable.
This perception is completely, unequivocally wrong. It’s OK to fail. No one succeeds at everything. History is littered with the missteps of famous people who changed the world, i.e. Thomas Edison.
Failure imbues lessons that are absorbed far deeper than any classroom teaching. Learn them. Embrace them. Understand what does and doesn’t work … especially in sales.
Put that hard-earned knowledge to work. Now that you’re rid of Plan B, you can light up the sales charts like never before.