Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.
– Bedel Smith
In the waning days of the Roman Empire, a 16-year old Briton was abducted into slavery by Celtic tribes outside the borders of Roman Britain. They took the young man to a remote and mysterious island where he labored under the harshest of conditions.
The boy slave had never been terribly religious, but in desperation he began to pray to God each day that he would be freed from his terrible ordeal. After five years of bondage, he escaped! He traveled over 200 miles to a coastal seaport where he found passage on a ship that carried him back to his motherland, the island of Britannia (modern-day England). He reunited with his parents who begged him to never leave his hometown again. However, night after night he was tormented with thoughts and dreams beckoning him to return to the mysterious island of his pagan captors and bring them the gospel of Christ.
And that’s exactly what he did.
His kidnappers were Celtic tribesman from across the waters—Ireland. This is how a young Briton named Patricius became an Irishman named Patrick . . . St. Patrick, to be exact; the patron saint of Ireland.
Attributes of Great Achievers
St. Patrick is the greatest salesman in the history of Ireland. He single-handedly convinced an entire nation of pagans living under the control of powerful Druids to reject the religion of their forefathers and embrace Christianity. His greatest achievement was the abolition of the Celtic slave trade. Patrick persuaded an entire nation to replace the barbaric and violent practice of slavery with the merciful teachings of the Prince of Peace.
Attributes of great achievers in history, like St. Patrick, are not only motivating to read about, they are also similar to, if not exactly like, the attributes of great achievers today – especially in sales. High-earning salespeople demonstrate consistent personal and professional qualities that are akin to the achievers of the past. These attributes include:
• Hard work
• Overcoming fear
• Implementing the principles of persuasion
The skill that often separates high-achievers from the low-achievers is prospecting—the ability to proactively generate qualified opportunities and fill pipelines with qualified leads. As a former sales executive for multiple high-tech companies, THE skill that our managerial team valued the most was the willingness and ability to effectively prospect.
Prospecting is a mandatory selling skill in most B2B markets. Without effective prospecting skills, sellers often struggle to fill their calendars with qualified appointments and sales funnels with high-probability buyers. With effective prospecting skills, salespeople not only fill their calendars; they also pack their pipelines with qualified leads.
Although the fields of achievement change over time, the characteristics of achievement remain the same. Power prospectors are intelligent prospectors. They think. They plan. They practice. They execute intelligent prospecting methods. They do not rely on luck to win. Instead they deliberately place themselves in a position to be lucky. As Dwight Eisenhower’s chief of staff during WWII, Bedel Smith, said, “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.”