Persistence: Applying to IBM’s Summit Sales Program A Second Time

If I learned one thing from working in sales, it’s that persistence is key. Sometimes you are the right person, but simply are reaching out at the wrong time. You can’t give up on your first attempt.

I dedicate this photo to everyone who has applied to the same job twice.

Bonus points if the job website still has your old application on file, lol. Second time should be a charm as I am significantly more qualified (8 months of sales/marketing experience) than the last time.

Brian Tracy: A Great Personal Development Author

There are a million personal development books out there these days, so it’s hard to sort the gems from the fluff. A heuristic to solve this is: find authors who were the pioneers of their disciplines, and have written books that stood the test of time.

Brian Tracy (1944-) is like the Jedi Master (grey hair included) of self improvement books  He’s a best selling author who’s wrote over 70 personal development books. Crazy right? But it shows he’s truly dedicated to his craft.

The first book of his that I read was Eat That Frog, which is a 100 page book which distills all the best personal productivity books into a simple paperback.

I prefer his writing over other authors since he is highly pragmatic, and focuses more on action rather than mindset.

Here’s an excerpt from another one of his books, Million Dollar Habits where he shares his inspiring background story.

When I could no longer find a laboring job, I got a job in straight commission sales, cold calling from door to door and office to office. For a long time, I was one sale away from homelessness. If I did not make a sale that day, and get my commission immediately so I could pay for my room at the boarding house, I would have been out on the street. This was not a great way to live.

Then one day I began asking the question, “Why is it that some people are more successful from others?” Especially, “Why is it that some salespeople are more successful than others?”

Looking for an answer to that one question, I did something that changed my life and began the formation of a habit that profoundly affected my future. I went and asked the most successful salesman in my company what he was doing different than I was. And he told me. And I did what he told me to do. And my sales went up.

I soon developed the habit of asking everyone, in every way possible, for the answers I needed to move ahead more rapidly. The Law of Cause and Effect states that every cause has an effect.  If you do what other successful people do, you will eventually get the same results that they do. And if you don’t, you won’t.

Brian Tracy, Million Dollar Habits, 2004.

I relate to this story quite deeply because I remember one day while working last Summer, my roommate asked me if I could cover the grocery bill because he didn’t have enough money. He showed me his bank account statement with less than $10 in it. He had expected to make a sale that week, but didn’t. A week or so later, I also recall us high-fiving each other because we had both made a sale that day. and we went out to go eat Popeyes chicken together.


Brian Tracy tours the world speaking and teaching. I hope to catch him the next time he’s in Toronto!

Door To Door – Day 97: I Completed The Program! A Summary.

I can’t believe I worked for 4 months in door-to-door sales!

I did it! I completed the program. I did not quit. And in the end, I succeeded.

As my coworker Victor drove me home, I stuck my head out the window and screamed ‘I CAN SELL!’. Adrenaline and excitement coursed through my veins.

Here is a summary of my entire Summer on one excel sheet:


Each row represents one work day. There were 97 work days.

Each colour column represents a habit.

Colour Description Beginning of Summer End of Summer
Blue Did I wake up at 8am? Slept in Consistent sleep schedule
Purple Was I happy? I hated myself and my job I learned to be happy regardless of results
Orange Did I talk to at least 20 people? I couldn’t talk to at least 20 before giving up on myself I talked to less than 20 because I would be too busy with appointments
Light Blue Did I work my absolute hardest and push myself to do more when I feel like giving up? I gave up on a regular basis I enjoyed work enough that ‘working hard’ just felt like talking to people
Green Did I make a sale? Average: 3 sales/month Average: 3 sales/week

It is beautiful to see that not only did the sales improve, also the daily habits and attitudes towards the work.

What I am most proud about is this here:


Over the four months I:

  • Knocked on 1817 doors.
  • Talked to 1201 people at their doorsteps.
  • Delivered 112 presentations sitting inside someone’s home
  • Made 25 sales (9 of those made as a team effort)

This is my greatest career achievement.

I look at these numbers and am proud of myself for what I have done. I do not regret this experience one bit.

I was willing to do what others were not willing to do, in order to gain skills that others do not have.

It was hard as heck but I have something I can look back on every single day and tell myself ‘I’m proud I did that’.

  • I found my ‘why’.
  • I learned valuable skills that will help me in the rest of my career.
  • I have a moment to look back at in my life to always feel proud about.

Thank you for joining me on my long journey. I hope that you were able to live through my experiences by reading my posts. This is one chapter completed, until I’m onto my next grind!


Door To Door – Day 96: Building A Team and Passing The Torch.

When we graduate high school, our social circles disperse as everyone travels their own path in pursuit of finding their calling.

From time to time we cross paths with old classmates, but the conversations usually don’t last longer than a quick ‘hi’.

Last month I was struggling – and had two old classmates reach out to offer advice as they were both working in the same field. We rekindled high school memories, exchanged crazy customer stories, compared products, and finally compared commission pay rates.

Fast forward to last week. I get these guys flown out to BC. I give them the best two day training I can, and cook them fried bananas for breakfast. The result?

Chris closes a deal his first day working solo. Drops a 3-bomb in his second week.

Markus drops a 2-bomb in his first week and reaches 6 deals by 2 weeks.

Super proud to watch these guys tackle a new career opportunity and even surpass my abilities.

As I leave this job and return to school, the ‘Toronto underdog’ torch must be passed on – and I couldn’t be happier to pass it on to a couple of old classmates… that I never thought I’d be reunited with.

Door To Door – Day 86: Bouncing Back Up As A Team

PhotoGrid_1471449870911Photo: Customer named Natalie we helped out. She said the security and fire protection would give her peace of mind for when she travels, and the doorbell camera would help her screen the front door for strangers.

Before you even touch a door in BC, you have to get fingerprinted. They have pretty strict licensing out here. Without a license, I couldn’t work the first week. So I was paired up to work with my buddy Nova Mehta, the top rookie in Canada last season.

A Harold and Kumar working together, we had customers laughing out of their pants. Jokes like:

– “I’m here to set you up with a smart home, the asian guy is here to do your dishes”
– “Honestly tell me, which looks cooler, the white hat or the black hat?”
– “When you call for customer service, you get my direct line… you’re not talking to a call centre in India with one of this guy’s cousins”

Best part is, we closed a total of 8 deals in 8 days. There’s amazing consistency when you put great minds together.

Nova’s name made a reappearance, as Top #11 in all of Canada that week.


Now that the week is over and my license is in,  I’m off to work solo for the 11 days I have left here.

Door To Door – Day 62: Resiliency

In the last 10 days I haven’t closed a single deal. I must’ve talked to at least 150 people and had at least 12 in-home presentations.

Statistically speaking I don’t even know how this is possible. Usually at least 1/100 in prospects are a super easy ‘yes I was already looking for this’ type of interaction.

It could just be bad luck – or it could be a sign that I’ve let something in my process slip.

I take this sales slump as a hard lesson about keeping a cool head even when things get tough.

We have a common saying in our company that goes:

“Don’t ride the highs too high, don’t ride the lows to low.”

Never get too excited or get too down on yourself. Long-term sustainable success comes from consistent action each day.

All I need to do is stay focused and I’ll get back on track.

Funny door of the day: I’ve never seen a sticker like this on someone’s door, lol.

What do you think I did? What do you think happened? Take a guess!

… I knocked. He came out. I braced myself to get screamed at. Didn’t happen. I made some joke. We laughed together. Nice guy.

Door To Door – Day 52: Today I Was My Team’s Top Performer


Returning home from work, my team members paraded me with high-fives, cheering:

“Ryan, congrats on dropping a two-bomb!!”

‘Two-bomb’ is slang for landing two sales in a single day.

In that one day, I sold more accounts than my entire my first month! Ridiculous huh?

It’s a crazy feeling to have outperformed your own manager (for once!!!)

With two guys being fired last week (they had 0 sales even after two months), our team is down to 14 members. So I’m very grateful to still be here, and to finally get a hold of things.

Work becomes much more enjoyable once you’re good at it.

From a monthly perspective, I’m still in a relatively low position on my team’s scoreboard, but if I can keep up this pace, I’ll quickly start gaining position.

Three-bombs here I come!

Door To Door – Day 22: Ryan Sitting At The Bottom Of The Scoreboard

On Work Day 06, I made my first sale. Currently I’m at Work Day 22.

Here’s a photo of the current company scoreboard.


See where my name is? Yes, you’re seeing things correctly. It’s sitting at the very bottom. Unfortunately I’m currently #25 in my team, sitting at last place
Continue reading “Door To Door – Day 22: Ryan Sitting At The Bottom Of The Scoreboard”

Door To Door – Day 19: To Quit or To Stay


Our team began with 19 sales reps and now we’re down to 14. Among those original members, 2 quit, 2 had to leave due to family issues, and 1 got fired.

Today’s daily training video featured the CEO telling us ‘You can quit whenever you want, but once a quitter, always a quitter. Don’t give up on yourself or you’ll make a habit of it in the future.‘ I don’t really believe in that. People quit for different reasons. I’m sure he did some research and found that around Day 19 is when most new reps feel like quitting so they placed the video on this day.

Almost every three days I’ve contemplated leaving. It’s just so emotionally demanding. It breaks you down.

Today I sat on a curb feeling defeated once again. I pulled out my iPad, hopped on Evernote, and drew out two columns. On the left, I wrote out an exhaustive list of all my fears and all the reasons I don’t think this job is a good fit for me. On the right, what I could do to solve it.

Here’s what it looked like:


By writing down my fears, I was able to better understand their nature and show myself that I was in control and that I was mentally blowing my fears out of proportion.

The last point at the bottom carried a lot of weight for me. My mind strongly relies on facts and numbers to prove things to myself.. so seeing that these 4 months were less than 0.1% of the time I have to spend in my life.. made this whole thing seem minuscule in the grand scheme of things.

Everyone goes through hardship in their life, but it is in these darkest moments of our lives where we learn the deepest lessons.

It’s kind of like venturing super deep into a dark cave and finding a treasure chest of wisdom at the bottom.
I affirm to not quit no matter what.