01/17/2014 04:35 pm ET Updated Mar 19, 2014

Become Calloused in 2014

"But he'd learned long ago that a life lived without risks pretty much wasn't worth living. Life rewarded courage, even when that first step was taken neck-deep in fear."
― Tamera Alexander, Within My Heart

In my book Reignite: How to Rekindle Your Passion for Selling, I introduced readers to an individual from my youth and who is still friend today, Dan Brattland. Dan is currently the CEO of CoCard, a national credit card acquirer. We met over 40 years ago in first grade in the principal's office. We can't remember exactly why we were there, but do remember being threatened with the dreaded paddle and ended up spending a good portion of the afternoon sitting next to the principal's desk as she watched us like a hawk, while still completing her daily paperwork.

Over our school experience, we frequently ended up in the principal visitors club (PVC). But unlike the airlines, there wasn't a real reward structure for our loyalty. In hindsight, I believe in the long run it actually helped both of us in life.

You might ask how this experience helped us? On one occasion, when we were in the fifth grade, some unknown kids had vandalized a homeowner's property. The homeowner was not too pleased and offered a $20.00 reward for the culprits. Dan and I wanted that reward money. Unfortunately, we hadn't a clue as to who the vandals were.

We came up with a simple solution. We had a friend of ours turn us in for the reward. This way we would all split the money and head to the shopping center for a day of fun! The homeowner wanted the vandals and we wanted the reward money. It sounded like a win-win to us.

Now who in their right mind would turn themselves in for something they didn't do? By that time of our lives, the reward outweighed the consequence of being reprimanded (which we were). We had been in enough trouble by then that we were calloused to it.

So what does this have to do with sales and top performance? The more you fail, the more you are rejected, the more failure and rejection doesn't hurt. You need to get to the point in selling, where rejection bounces of you like water off a duck. You become so calloused that you just move on.

Many under performers might feel fear prospecting thus experience call reluctance. They haven't become calloused enough, so they do unproductive tasks during the day. They do email, expenses, "research", plan to plan to plan until the workday is complete. These are "red" light activities instead of "green" light (revenue producing) activities in order to protect their psyche from rejection.

The key point is that the more you embrace risk and rejection, love it, experience it, learn from it, the more you can become calloused to it.

Become calloused and enjoy the risks.

"Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better."
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson, with Annotations - 1841-1844

What fear is holding you back?

What are some strategies you can apply that will help you reduce or eliminate this fear (hint: you may actually have to experience the rejection enough until it doesn't hurt anymore)?