1015: DSR FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION, IT’S A REQUIREMENT FOR GROWTH – The more you fail, the more opportunities you’ll have of reaching your goals!

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If you don’t make the call and attempt to make the sale, you won’t have the opportunity to fail or succeed! The more you fail, the more opportunities you’ll have of reaching your goals!

Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck states in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, that there are two categories, Growth mindset versus Fixed mindset, that can group individuals based on their behavior, specifically their reaction to failure. Those with a fixed mindset believe that abilities are mostly innate and interpret failure as the lack of necessary basic abilities, while those with a growth mindset believe that they can acquire any given ability provided they invest effort or study.

The good news is that your mindset is “your” mindset, and you can change it. By choosing to embrace the new and empowering belief that your sales skills are like a muscle that needs to be continually strengthened, you will inspire the work ethic and training necessary to achieve high levels of sales performance.

Dweck argues that the growth mindset “will allow a person to live a less stressful and more successful life”.

What most DSRs don’t know going into this job as a Greenhorn is that failure is an expected component of the job. In this business where there is so much to learn, you need to understand that IGNORANCE IS NOT FAILURE! But as a matter of fact, ignorance and failure are the basic building blocks and engines that drive foodservice distributor sales reps forward. Without both, business would come to a standstill.

The question might be how much failure is acceptable?

To get some sense of the scale of failure, let’s look at the ranges of tolerance for failure by looking at a few men who were considered famous and successful. They are some of the greatest baseball players of all time, the New York Yankees’ Joe DiMaggio had a lifetime batting average of 325, and the Boston Red Sox’ Ted Williams batted 344 lifetime.

DiMaggio had 6,821 at bats and got a hit 2,214 times, which means Joe failed 4,607 times. Williams had 7,706 at bats and hit it safe 2,654 times, but he failed 5,052 times! Other examples would be, Thomas Edison who failed like 1,000 times before inventing the light bulb and scientists who fail thousands of times while trying to learn about something, yet they still thrive on those failures because each one leads them closer to the answers they are seeking.

When a reporter asked Thomas Edison, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

DSRs not only need to have the stomach for failure, they actually have to be able to enjoy the taste of it.

If you accept the contention that failure is both an inevitable and a desirable part of learning and becoming successful as a foodservice distributor sales rep, then it is sensible to ask how much failure is okay. To even have the chance to succeed, you have to have ongoing attempts, which means lots of failures. Of course, over the long run, you need to have failures in order to learn and grow to get better at your job.

This means that it’s necessary that you learn to adjust or tweak habits, procedures, approaches, products, and systems that don’t work in particular situations. Each failure helps you to learn how to become more resourceful and successful. So as long as you are having enough successes to keep going in the learning process, then keep failing, learning and becoming more successful!

Peers need to inform Greenhorn DSRs that failure is an expected, and indeed, integral requirement for the process of learning the job. When they make mistakes and have failures they’ll understand that those failures are a necessary ingredient for success.

The crucial thing we all learn as we become successful DSRs is these failures lead us down important paths and we have to be ready and able to take risks, many of which we fail. We can’t be disillusioned by them, can’t be disappointed by them, can’t be taken off the track by them, but what we want is to develop a good taste for failure that takes us to a new place and be open to it. 

DSRs, Be a Resource…and Sell Something!