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“As Luck Would Have It…..”

by David Brock on April 7th, 2022

I’ll start with a golf story. For years, I’ve tried to play golf. I’ve gone through lessons, I’ve spent $hundreds on getting the right equipment, and thousands on greens fees. And I suck! Somehow, I forget to do what I know I should be doing. Somehow I just get so focused, not purposefully doing the wrong things, but falling into it, just because it’s easy to do.

I’ve learned my “handicap,” is me.

But what keeps me going?

At least once a round, I get lucky. In spite of how good or bad my swing was, or even though I was aiming in one direction, the ball, accidentally, went in the right direction. Or, rarely, everything comes together, I get lucky and swing correctly, and the ball does what I hoped it would do.

And it’s those lucky few strokes, that keep bringing me back. And I’ve come to realize that I get lucky a couple of times a round, so I keep doing what I do–even though I know I could and should do better.

I think a lot of the same thing happens in selling. Unconsciously, we institutionalize luck.

Too often, regardless of what we do in selling, the customer needs our solutions. They buy, in spite of whether we’ve actually done the things we know we should be doing.

And sometimes, when we do everything the way we should be doing, the customers chooses to do something differently.

And the same thing happens to our peers, they got lucky….

And, our managers probably had the same experiences as when they sold, they got lucky….

Sometimes, we just get lucky, and we get just enough luck, that it reinforces our behaviors. We forget to do what we know we should be doing, and unconsciously cross our fingers and hope we get lucky.

The problem is, luck is neither predictable or sustainable. I suppose that’s why we call it luck!

Just like my abysmal golf, we get just enough luck to keep going, we do the same things that create the luck, they don’t work, but one time, we get lucky again. Or something else happens, we don’t know what or why, but we get lucky again.

We get lucky enough that people buy in spite of what we’ve done or how we sell. Sometimes, it’s just good enough to get buy, but not regularly.

But what if we took the time to understand what really happens and why? Did we do everything wrong and get lucky. Did we do everything right, but were unlucky?

What would happen if we could take this, and start doing more of the right things, more consistently. Would our “luck” change, would we have to rely less on luck?

Could we learn the things that produce more consistent results, not because of luck, but because we connect, genuinely, with our customers? What if we started doing those things more consistently, across all our deals? What if we made those things “habit?”

We see the data, we know that if we do the right things in the right way, we produce better results. We don’t rely on luck, but we win more predictably. Not 100% of the time, but more than if we just act, cross our fingers and make a wish.

Or maybe, when we systematically analyze good and bad luck, we may recognize some patterns, that turn luck into consistent, disciplined execution.

Luck is not a strategy.

Luck diverts us from learning what works, and how we consistently execute it.

We have to be able to discern, what results have we gotten, just because we were lucky and not as a result of what we did.

The quote, “I’d rather be lucky than smart,” is probably the worst advice for driving sustained performance one can think of. It is not predictable, or sustainable. But, unwittingly, perhaps that’s what we are doing.

Afterword: Thanks to Dr. Howard Dover for the brilliant conversation provoking this post!

Book CoverFor a free peek at Sales Manager Survival Guide, click the picture or link.  You’ll get the Table of Contents, Foreword, and 2 free Chapters.  Free Sample
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