By Jeff Fortney
Marathons have always intrigued me. No, I don't want to run one. My interest is more about the marathon runner's mindset. The first marathon I watched was the women's marathon in the 1984 Olympics. The camera would flash to the leader throughout the race. Her pace never changed, nor did her facial expression - not even as she crossed the finish line. I wondered how she got "into the zone." What drove her to keep going?
One former marathon runner described the race as "ticking off miles." He said his own mindset when running was that he had to make it to the next mile, and then the next mile after that. He added that great marathon runners never considered the total distance – some 26 plus miles – as they ran. This is because if they got tired or suffered a cramp, finishing the race would be overwhelming. By viewing the race one mile at a time, it was easier to work through these challenges.
The term "marathon" has come to mean anything of length that requires a commitment. A baseball manager will call the 162-game season "a marathon," especially after a loss. A long business meeting may be described as a marathon. And many successful merchant level salespeople view selling as a marathon. Their mindset, like that of a marathon runner, is what drives them to their success. It can also provide direction for those just getting started in the business, as well as those who are struggling today.
Regardless of where you are in your career, here are four guidelines that will help you finish the race ahead of the pack.
Most successful MLSs hit a similar wall at some point in their careers. They could fear they aren't reaching their overall goals, or they could feel they took too long to reach a recent milestone. They plan for the situation by outlining strategies to take to overcome this wall.
Strategies include periodic reviews of their sales practices so they can make modifications that will return them to the road to succeed. They also examine their efforts during slower periods so they can take remedial measures if the dry period is affecting them emotionally. They remind themselves they have been successful before and will be again, and that they simply need to push through the wall and on to the next mile.
I have always been impressed by anyone who has finished a marathon, no matter how long it took. I marvel at their perseverance and strong will. The same goes for successful MLSs. Those who follow the marathon runner's mindset will find they have demonstrated that same perseverance – and will reap the same reward and sense of accomplishment when they finally cross the finish line.
Jeff Fortney is Vice President, ISO Channel Management with Clearent LLC. He has more than 17 years' experience in the payments industry. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 972-618-7340. To learn about how Clearent can help you grow faster and go further, visit www.clearent.com.
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