Have you ever followed a formula for success and done exactly what it said to do? I have, only one time in my life that I can recall. I was a young advertising account executive, three months into a my first sales job, for which I had been begging for a year. And I was failing miserably.
Then, my radio station acquired some training tapes by Jason Jennings teaching the consultant sell. His formula was called the “Tell Me – Sell Me,” and I followed it exactly. So much so, that my co-workers began calling me “Little Jason” (I was 24). My sales tripled in three months, saving me from going back to the lowly life of a copywriter and production director. With that experience, you would think I would be constantly searching for my next success formula. But I’m not, for a very good reason.
Formulas don’t always work. They sometimes work for some people. As I experimented with more formulas I found that parts of them would work, while other parts wouldn’t, …and some were just plain useless. This became crystal clear to me when I read Tom Hopkins’ How to Master the Art of Selling. I wanted to take my Jason Jennings experience to the next level, however, using some of Hopkins’ closes didn’t work for me. So I began to pick and choose and create my own formula. But my formula didn’t always work. Argh!
From Success Formula to Equation in Progress
So really it was an equation, not a formula. The variables kept changing because the results I wanted were unique to me, and they evolved over time. As a result, I had an equation that kept unfolding. Why can’t the answers just stay the same? It is very frustrating.
When we read books we want case studies. Before we try things we want to see a case study. Why? We want proof before we launch into something we haven’t tried before. We want a guarantee.
Usually the case studies come attached to some formula for success. Do you notice how most of the books with success formulas use several case studies; a different one for each part of their formula? But if they are formulas for success, why doesn’t everyone exposed, just follow the formula and become successful? Haven’t you wondered that? I have, and also asked “Why wouldn’t their be several case studies of businesses that followed the formula exactly?” It’s a formula for success isn’t it?
The Usefulness of Case Studies
But as we read these success formula books, we know in our hearts that formula might not work for us, even when we see the evidence of case studies. This is because we know the business in the case study is not exactly like our business. It’s like saying you should use the same formula for growing apples in Washington to grow oranges in Florida.
Rather than looking for external proof, what we really have to say to ourselves is, we will be the case study. Instead of a formula, we will create an equation that is unique to our business and fill in the variables. Then we will record the results, and as we do, we will find that some parts of our equation need a different variable. We change that variable and record the new answer. Eventually we get something that’s best for us. It’s like we’re writing our own book.
So the big question to you is: Do you have an equation?
Here are some of mine you might want to adapt:
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