Responsibility Begets Initiative

Thirty-five years ago I called on two service stations across the street from each other; the road they were on was under reconstruction, hardhats and heavy equipment everywhere—it looked like a gravel pit.  I found the owner of the first station sitting dejectedly on a stoop, not another soul in sight.  When I gave him my approach, he laughed bitterly and said, “Advertising?  Are you kidding?  Take a look at what they’ve done to me, man; my business is down to zilch because of all this lousy construction.  I’ll be forced out in about a month; know anybody who needs a good mechanic?”

When I went across the street, the owner came out from a repair bay holding a transmission dipstick, his uniform covered in grease.  His response to my approach was 180º opposite from the guy across the street: “Advertising?  Can’t use any; can’t get all the work done we’ve got now.”  He indicated the slew of cars parked outside awaiting service.  “When I found out about all this construction and that it was gonna take a year-and-a-half to complete, I went around the neighborhood knocking on doors, offering a bunch of specials to get enough business so we could get through this fiasco.”  He grinned like the Cheshire Cat, said, “Like I said, I’ve got more than I can handle.  You can leave your card, though; if things ever slow up I’ll give you a call.”

Two men, two complete opposite levels of responsibility and initiative: one just accepted his fate, the other refused to.  Keep them in mind when you face what seems like inevitable defeat.  Maybe all you’ll need to do is go knock on a few doors.

Who is responsible for all of your choices, decisions, and actions?

You are.

A master salesperson is 100% responsible for everything that happens, every sale or loss.  I don’t care how tempted you are to dump responsibility on some external, there is no blaming or alibiing.  Don’t do it, you’ll only betray yourself.

It’s your choice of vocation: the call was yours to make; you gave the presentation; if the prospect didn’t buy, it’s because you didn’t close the sale.  If you blame your company, manager, “lousy presentation,” weather, recession, or any of a thousand other lame excuses, you’ll be spouting a lot of nonsense.

Harry Truman said, “The buck stops here.”  The responsibility is always yours.

There are no exceptions to this rule.

Don’t just accept responsibility.  Be responsible.