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The Main Factor for Success In Sales: Showing Up

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

This is slightly embarrassing to share. 

I run regularly.  I’m not fast and I’ve never been athletic, but I run 3-4 times a week.  I started 8 years ago and realized I loved it.  It’s become a passion.  The odd thing about my running is that I inevitably find loose change along the road.  Yes, pennies, nickels, dimes, and the occasional quarter.  It’s weird, but in all seriousness, I find change 95% of the time.  The embarrassing part is that I actually stop to pick it up, and then start to pay an unusual amount of attention to the pavement, just in case another lucky penny may show up.  (Like I said – weird and embarrassing.) 

The interesting thing is that when I do start purposely looking at the pavement for change, I NEVER see any.  It’s only when I’m focused on the other scenery that I happen to notice a penny or dime on the road.  Never when I’m looking at the pavement.  I realized during my run today that this is exactly like sales. 

When I worked in sales and times were slow, I always felt like I just needed to get moving. It literally made me feel better. Traditional thinking is that when times are slow, you just need to call or meet with more people to get things going again, so this is what I would do. I would make more appointments and attend more functions so that I could have more business-related conversations in hopes of getting a lead. Similar to what I described in running though, the increase in business never came from exactly where I was looking. I would talk to people either at a function or in an individual meeting, but inevitably the business that came from that specific contact wasn’t high quality, if any business came from it at all. However, business did increase... just from other referrals or individuals that I hadn’t directly approached seeing me at the event. 

So what point am I trying to make by sharing these two scenarios?  While focused effort does pay off in sales, it’s actually not necessarily always from where you are looking.  Frequently the primary factor in sales success is this:  Showing Up. 

Showing up truly is the largest factor in sales success.  What I mean by “showing up” is being present in the marketplace.  In my second example above, it wasn’t that I was contacting prospects that had a high chance of purchasing, it was that I was simply contacting people in the first place.  By being where the prospects were, I greatly increased the chances of being seen by someone, or referred to someone, that actually needed our service.  And on top of that, I was ready for the interaction because my skills were sharp from practice, something that wouldn’t have happened just sitting behind my desk. 

It’s even more obvious in my running example.  While I certainly wasn’t running just to find pennies, the fact that I was covering several miles in my runs increased the chances that I would see something just due to the distance covered.  I was more likely to find something by moving than by simply staying put. 

If you want to find what you are looking for, you must “show up” where it is likely to be.  Even if you don’t feel the effort is as productive as you would like, the mere action of putting in effort has benefits. 

If you need to discuss how you can increase the fruits of your own sales efforts, please reach out to me on our Contact page.  I’m always happy to have a discussion. 

Until next time, I wish you the best in your efforts.


Mark Goldman 


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