The Quest for My Best Sales Month Ever

Day 1

The 2 emails come earlier than midday on a Monday. One confirms curiosity in a narrative I’ll write a few journey to North Dakota. The opposite gives me an unsolicited project to write down in regards to the relationships that fashioned after a retired soldier affected by post-traumatic stress dysfunction despatched his Purple Coronary heart to a NASCAR driver.

Bought in 2 hours, 14 minutes, these two offers characterize greater than half a month’s typical pay for a contract author like me. After I inform my editor at SUCCESS in regards to the nice morning, he wonders what my finest month ever was. He asks if I need to use at the moment as a springboard to attempt to beat it and write in regards to the ups and downs alongside the best way.

Probably the most profitable month of my solopreneur profession was September 2015. I made $14,772. I haven’t come inside sniffing distance of that since. I take a look at my story thought checklist and tumbleweeds blow by. I don’t see a path to reaching my huge aim of $14,772.01.

I inform the editor I settle for his problem anyway.

Day 2

It’s 4:40 a.m., and I can’t sleep. I’m going to fail, which I don’t thoughts a lot, however I do thoughts that I’ll fail doing one thing I hate. I really feel like I agreed to go to the dentist day-after-day for a month. I really like writing tales, however I hate promoting them.

“To have my finest month ever, I’ve to see myself not because the helpless man on a wire however because the pilot.”

Wait. Scratch that. I really like promoting. I hate attempting to promote.

I vow that I can’t work 80 hours per week or pitch 600 tales. I don’t need to do these issues long run, so I received’t do them brief time period. I would like no matter success I discover pursuing my aim this month to be repeatable. I need to nonetheless be me, solely higher. The one approach to $14,772.01 is to pressure myself to be intentional, to swallow doubts, to take probabilities I don’t usually take and to interrupt guidelines I usually observe.

I open my story concepts checklist and brainstorm.

Day 3

I name Pat, a salesman pal who has been a useful mentor to me. I inform him about this quest, and he tells me to make use of it to fill my pipeline, a variation of recommendation he has given me 57 billion occasions.

When he makes use of the phrase pipeline, I consider the film Air Pressure One. On the finish, Harrison Ford (taking part in the president) dangles from a steel twine behind a jet because it flies by way of the air. He has no management as wind and the pace of the airplane throw him throughout the sky. That’s how I typically really feel as a solopreneur—related, however liable to the forces round me.

To have my finest month ever, I’ve to see myself not because the helpless man on a wire however because the pilot.

Like a pilot, I look to the space. It’s solely April, however I take into consideration when my pipeline at all times runs empty—from mid-December to mid-January. What may I write then? The reply: A narrative for a baseball season preview journal for which I’ve written often. I had an thought final yr, however the pitch deadline was distant, I had different stuff to do and I put it off. After I lastly obtained round to pitching, it was too late.

I received’t repeat that mistake. I ship the pitch. Whether or not the editor buys the story is sort of inappropriate. The intentionality is the purpose. That thought hits me like a thunderclap, the primary of three I’ll have over these 30 days: Intentional promoting provides me management.

Day 8

To this point, so good. No reply on the baseball story but, however I comply with phrases on 4 others. I had two of all of them however offered and a 3rd was an apple ready to be picked. Within the spirit of intentionality, I wrote direct and purposeful emails to finalize them. At $11,500 already, I begin to assume this might occur simply, and I’m wondering how a lot additional I can push my milestone.

Day 17

I don’t know what the heck is occurring proper now, however all people is saying sure to the whole lot. Three days in a row I offered tales price $2,000 every, together with the baseball story. To promote every, I broke or bent guidelines I usually observe.

A bit I offered a few Inexperienced Beret who was shot 4 occasions in Afghanistan, spent three years recovering and found that driving his Porsche on racetracks helps along with his PTSD deserves consideration. The sale violated three pointers I sometimes observe:

  1. Besides in uncommon circumstances, pitching new purchasers is never well worth the effort. A good thought with a longtime consumer is healthier than an incredible thought with an unknown consumer.
  2. Don’t pitch the identical consumer a couple of story at a time. Two “sure”s is unlikely, and it’s higher to save lots of the second thought for later. That is very true for a brand new consumer.
  3. Don’t pitch a couple of publication the identical thought on the identical time. The primary publication acknowledged receipt of the pitch however by no means expressed curiosity in it. After two weeks, I offered it to another person. An hour after I closed that deal, the primary editor mentioned he needed to purchase it. I had lengthy fearful this situation would make me look silly. As an alternative it confirmed my work was desired. That editor advised me to maintain pitching him as a result of he needed to work with me.

The sale of the Inexperienced Beret story pushes me to $17,800—properly previous my aim. I resolve that counting the 2 tales that prompted my aim plus the one you’re studying made issues too simple. So I add the overall from these three to my earlier high-water mark and give you a brand new aim: $20,272.01. Eighteen days in the past, I might have laughed at this as inconceivable.

Right this moment I feel, why not?

Day 24

I’m taking part in with home cash, so I’ll strive something, even addressing one among my greatest fears about gross sales: Being seen as too annoying, too aggressive or possibly even determined.

I’ve lunch as soon as a month with my pal Matt, a salesman who has been crushing it these days. He tells me about ways he makes use of that I by no means would. He confirmed me an image he sends to purchasers who minimize off communication. It’s of a person and girl holding a large log in opposition to a door to knock it in. The textual content says, “I do know you’re in there.”

I might by no means ship that, not even now. After I ask him the place the road is between aggressive and annoying, he responds like he has been ready for me to ask. “Don’t consider it as annoying,” he says. “We name it ‘skilled persistence,’ and there’s an enormous distinction.”

That is thunderclap No. 2. I’m aggressive as a reporter, and I ought to be a minimum of as aggressive attempting to promote tales as I’m reporting them. For causes I can’t clarify, I’ve lengthy thought-about promoting a narrative and making a story as separate. Now I’m shifting towards a extra holistic method.

I concoct a approach to apply Matt’s prodding. I’ve typically needed for purchasers to place me on contract—X quantity of tales per yr for X quantity of {dollars}. No one has agreed to take action, so I ended asking. Would a consumer meet me midway—agree to provide me one other project with out understanding what that project is?

Previous to this month, I might have chickened out on the thought for concern of being advised no. Now I’m enthusiastic about the potential of a sure.

The goal consumer is Southwest Airways’ worker journal. Southwest grew to become the biggest service in America by embracing daring concepts, which I reference in my proposal. Odd final result: Southwest mentioned no, however one other consumer commits to an unknown subsequent project with out me even asking.

Best Month Ever Side Bar

Day 25

It’s 4:22 a.m., and I can’t sleep once more, albeit for a very good purpose: I’ve been working by way of the totally different gross sales methods I’ve tried and all of the others I haven’t had an opportunity to strive but.

I by no means thought I’d say this, however that is enjoyable. Whether or not I’ll maintain that angle past this month, I can’t say. For six years, I’ve seen attempting to promote as an sad consequence of being within the Gig Financial system. Now I see it as a ability to be mastered.

I’m at $20,100. Yet another story will push me previous the brand new aim.

Day 30

Oh, gosh. I can’t consider I’m going to inform this half.

“Keep away from distractions” just isn’t on the checklist of modifications that occurred to me this month. It most likely ought to be, however concepts typically come to me once I’m distracting myself. Final week, I surfed round to see if there was something new about my favourite band, Rush. It was an unimaginable waste of time—they broke up a yr in the past, so there’s nonetheless no information available.

I stumbled throughout Rush Camp, a weekend at a resort in Pennsylvania for followers to get collectively to speak about how a lot they love the nice philosophers from the nice white north—Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart.

I felt like a bear discovering out about Honey Camp. I began daydreaming about going to Rush Camp and writing a narrative. I’m a sucker for a very good subculture story, and I do know an editor who’s on the lookout for one thing like this. But it surely’s far simpler to pitch a subculture I’m an observer of slightly than a member, in the identical manner I can say no matter I would like about my household however you may’t.

Earlier than I may kind the primary sentence of a pitch, doubt kicked in—actual, authentic, 1,000-pound-weight-on-my-chest doubt. My No. 1 inviolate rule for pitching is “don’t pitch something that makes me appear like a idiot.” And “ship me to Rush Camp” sounds… properly, it sounds ridiculous. I can’t pitch that may I?

Final yr, I needed to write down about falconry. I crafted a pitch, fearful I’d look silly pitching it, and wavered on sending it. After I lastly did, the editor mentioned he had simply commissioned another person to write down about falconry. Later, one other publication I thought of pitching however didn’t ran a narrative about falconry, too.

“This grew to become thunderclap No.3: I’m now not afraid of listening to the phrase no.”

Early on this month-long course of, I referred to as Michael Robert Moore, my coach once I first grew to become a solopreneur, to ask for recommendation. He prompt the following time I had a falconry-esque concept that I take advantage of my misgivings within the pitch. I didn’t need to. “Don’t give editors a purpose to say no, they’ll give you sufficient on their very own,” is one other of my “guidelines.”

However this has all been about doing issues in a different way. I despatched my goal editor a borderline pointless e mail so I may (casually) point out I had a nerdy pitch. Her response: “Ha! I like nerdy pitches. Deliver it on.”

I ventured as far outdoors my consolation zone as I’ve ever been with that pitch. I used to be proud that I swallowed a number of causes in opposition to sending it and embraced the singular purpose in its favor—the editor may say sure. This grew to become thunderclap No. 3: I’m now not afraid of listening to the phrase no.

That alone would make this complete ordeal a hit.

A couple of days glided by with no response. I assumed the editor hated Rush (concert events are 99% males) and thought the thought was so silly she was going to revoke the opposite assignments I owed her.

Lastly she responds. Not solely does she purchase the pitch, she hints it could be price twice as a lot as I hoped. We comply with revisit the payment after I attend Rush Camp and set a “placeholder” value at $500 greater than what I hoped for.

The settlement comes on the final day, two hours earlier than the deadline. It pushes my whole to $22,600. Even when I take out the working begin—the 2 tales on Day 1 that prompted the search, plus the payment for this story—I nonetheless set a brand new private document. My longtime pals will assume it’s completely hilarious that Rush Camp pushed me over the sting.

I began the search for my Greatest Month Ever with low expectations. I believed I’d have a very good month and be taught new methods. I wasn’t anticipating to have my total worldview of promoting blown up. I had no thought how a lot I held to guidelines that now appear contrived at finest and counterproductive at worst. I had no thought how liberating ignoring these guidelines can be.

And right here’s the bizarre factor: I’ll by no means break any of them once more.

As a result of they aren’t my guidelines anymore.

This text initially appeared within the September/October 2019 challenge of SUCCESS journal and has been up to date. Picture by mavo/Shutterstock  

Matt Crossman is a author based mostly in St. Louis. He writes about sports activities, journey, journey {and professional} growth. E-mail him at [email protected]

  • Leave Comments