Is it Worth the Wait?


The topic today is “ Delayed Gratification”. In a world overwhelmed with the speed of information, we are almost at the point where the reward will come before the task. Thinking back, I can remember being miffed by the term “A thirty second sound bite”. Originally a marketing tool to find a short, catchy tag line or phrase for selling products, it was adopted by the news media as a way of grabbing the attention of listeners, readers and viewers. This trend to “Instant” gratification has now spawned the ‘Fifteen second sound Bite’ as we race to the goal of faster and faster delivery of the reward.

Problems occur when this technique is applied in business. Wanting results from our efforts immediately leads to impatience and frustration often leading to giving up on our fledgling venture. The need for instant gratification so permeates life today that I’m convinced many people, who start business’s and fail, do so because they look for the reward before the task is complete. They have not given themselves the time needed to reap the harvest from their business.

To illustrate let me tell you a story:

Almost thirty years ago, out of work and searching for a new position, through a chance encounter I was offered the opportunity to sell advertising for a publication. Never having done this type of work before, I was given only six hours to make my decision, then the opportunity would be withdrawn. After hurried discussions with my wife, I accepted the challenge. Two days later I started working.

On Monday morning I was dropped off in a town I knew little about, given a rate card, a low quality copy of the publication and five Daily Sales Calls sheets to record my activities, then told to go and sell. I was also informed that a motel room had been booked for four nights in my name. If I wanted to eat I would be able to offer advertising, in return for the same value of meals, to any restaurants of my choice. Which I of course did immediately

I should tell you that; I had been out of work for some time and the only money I had was enough for the bus fare home, if needed. It was the last week of November and no, at that time, I didn’t drive.

During my first week I averaged 35 calls a day, all of which were ‘NO’, ‘I’ll think about it’ or ‘Maybe’. One major retailer, who I seemed to be communicating well with suddenly jumped up from his desk, went to the door and opened it saying “you can go now Brian, I have other things to do.” By the time Friday came I was totally dejected, I felt that sales were not my forte’, my boss however encouraged me to keep going for another week, suggesting I think about it over the weekend. During the weekend I thought about what to do come Monday morning. With encouragement from my wife I decided to give it a little longer, I still had my bus fare back home.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of my second week were almost the same as my first week, with a few notable exceptions; I converted quite a number of my ‘Maybe’ and ‘I’ll think about it’ contacts …………… into definite no’s! Wednesday night I phoned my wife saying that I would be home the following morning. After some discussion she persuaded me to stay to the end of the week.

Thursday morning was one of those days with heavy wet snow, the kind that quickly accumulates 4” or 5” of wet slush on the sidewalk. By the time Noon came around I felt like a drowned rat, water and melting snow dripped from me as I tried to do a presentation and I felt absolutely miserable. So, ‘ I QUIT ‘. I took myself of to a Chinese restaurant that had a lunch buffet. For the next while I sat there eating copious amounts of food, whilst drying out and commiserating with myself. I decided to walk back to the motel and check out. I walked down a street that I had not walked before,seeing a business that looked like a good prospect, I took one last step into the world of sales. Not only did I close a sale I got a referral to another business that also bought advertising. Feeling confident as I walked away, I turned a corner and five more business’s appeared in front of me. From those five I sold three of them advertising By 4:30pm I was on my way back to the motel with a day of very good sales behind me. But more importantly a feeling of “I can do this.” On Friday morning, with my new found confidence, I closed 3 major accounts, coming out of the week with what could be considered a SUPER sales week. For the next 28 years I made my living solely from sales and marketing.

The point to this story is that I had experienced the rewards of “Delayed Gratification”. I had given my self the incubation period that was needed to hone my new skills. I had been persistent and consistent and I did not quit, I came close to quitting but stayed the course. I look back now and think to myself “What if I had quit too soon?”. “Where would I be now?”

Not every venture will take the same amount of time to go through that incubation period, some could take much longer, but when you delay the gratification, when you delay the reward until the task has reached maturity, then the rewards are so much better and will generally be longer lasting.

It will take patience, persistence, faith, belief, courage and a lot of hard work, but let me tell you …..

                                             It’s Worth The Wait!

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