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Gold-mining for sales people

I've had a sales career lasting over 30 years, but one summer I worked in a goldmine in northern Canada.

This is what happens in a gold mine, you dig up a lot - a real lot - of gravel and you transport it to a big sieving machine, called a Trommel, which washes and grades the material. Most of what comes out is just big rocks, which are hauled away and discarded. But there's always a quantity of gold-bearing material which is directed down a chute into a device called a sluice box, where the gold particles collect.

How do you know where to dig? You don't really, you just keep trying and panning the samples to see what concentration of gold you are getting.

At night, the trucks stop, the drivers go home. The Trommel is shut down and the boss-man picks through the sluice box taking out nuggets. Nothing more happens until the operations start up again the next day.

It goes on and on like this, for the season. Some days are good, some aren't and a lot of the work isn't fun. But one thing is sure, when the snows start and it's impossible to keep going, there's enough gold for the owner to head off to the sun for the whole winter.

Selling has similarities - you never know who is a good prospect in advance and you can't tell whether tomorrow you will be lucky. But you can be sure that if you do the things that matter to a good standard, every day, you will consistently make above-average money.

I know this now, but years ago I would let myself get into an uncomfortable roller-coaster ride of having a good run and making money, then slacking off which would lead to poor sales - and correspondingly small or no pay checks. When this happened, desperation would follow as I tried frantically to get my performance back up again. Of course, when you are like that, prospects can sense it and it puts them off.

You don't need to make the mistakes I did. Focus on doing the basics well - prospect adequately, develop a good presentation, keep your activity level high and you'll be mining gold too.

If you enjoyed this article, take a look at my book.

The Selling for Engineers manual

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