I often see sales reps and sales managers in search of a magic bullet or super epiphany that will get them the success they seek. Even more often I get emails, online videos and pitches for some “100x solution” to achieve marketing success, or instant success. In other words, both the supply and demand side of the “success” market show a continuing appetite for a “Shawshank” like solution to achieving sales success.

You know the movie, right? The Shawshank Redemption. An epic film about an innocent man who spends 20 years in prison before escaping from a corrupt and oppressive warden. The most memorable scene is Tim Robbins at the moment he succeeds in his escape from the prison, standing in the rain arms out in a moment of divine redemption.

Sadly, many see this as the model for success. A sudden realization. A secret trick or tool that provides the shortcut to success. The brutal truth is that it doesn’t work that way. Success is a consequence of hundreds, even thousands of small decisions and actions over a period of time. More than anything, success is the consequence of how we react to many failures, some small and some big, along the way. Even the movie gets that right. Andy (the character played by Tim Robbins) escapes after 20 years of chipping away at his prison, one small stone at a time. During those 20 years he suffers setbacks, failures, and sometimes brutally difficult challenges. He keeps learning, working, adjusting his approach, working all the angles available to him.

There is no shortcut. 

Don’t trust any “sales expert” who offers to sell you a silver bullet. Sales results come from sales activity. Sales activity comes from a mix of confidence and preparedness. Confidence and preparedness are a consequence of relentless and repeated effort, even and especially when facing setbacks or failure. 

There is no escaping from the consequences of doing the wrong things, or not doing anything at all. If you’re not building your pitch scripts, emails and other sales materials based on sound psychology, there are consequences to that. If you don’t have a calling conversion plan (how many appointments = how many demos = how many proposals etc.) there are consequences. If you don’t hold yourself or your team accountable for activity, week in, week out, there are consequences.  If you approach cold calls with an “all about me” agenda, there are consequences to that. It’s OK to make mistakes. It’s not OK to keep making the same mistakes over and over again. It’s not OK to revert to inaction out of fear of rejection or failure.

Actions have consequences. Small repeated actions over a long period of time have monumental consequences. 
Are your repeated sales actions a deliberate choice? Are they rooted in solid human behavioral science? Are you modeling after people who have had success in sales? What you do everyday is the single greatest contributor to your sales success. Second is what you DON”T do.

If you had a good day, won a big sale, feel free to take your shirt off and stand out in the rain, arms open and doing a primal scream of joy at the heavens. Enjoy your moment, by all means. Just don’t believe the fallacy that moments like that come from anything else but lots and lots of small actions.