The Skill and Will to Succeed in Sales … and Life

Success is demanding. It is one part skill and an equal part will. Someone may have the skill to succeed but lack the will to succeed.

Skill includes technical knowledge about one’s profession and the necessary competencies to perform at a high level. Teachers must know their subjects and possess the right mix of communication skills to connect with students. Medical professionals must know their specialties and be proficient in administering care to patients. Salespeople must know their products and companies well enough to communicate their value to customers. Communicating value is one of many skill sets salespeople must possess.

Will is the motivation to succeed. It is the ambition and energy of high achievers, the want-to. Motivation is an internal force that impels action. Since the force is internal, the individual must take the initiative. Initiative, ambition, and want-to are important dynamics in motivation. Another motivational dynamic is perseverance, the tireless persistence of the person who refuses to quit.

Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States, earned the nickname “Silent Cal.” He didn’t talk much, but when he did he said a lot. After his presidency, Coolidge served as the Director of the New York Life Insurance Company. In a pamphlet to his agents, Coolidge printed his famous quote.

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and will always solve the problem of the human race.

Coolidge knew the skill to sell was only half of the formula. He challenged the agents’ will to sell. Sales managers face an ongoing challenge to find the right salesperson for the job. Their questions echo Coolidge’s sentiment. Can this person sell? Will this person sell?

Tom Reilly is literally the guy who wrote the book on Value-Added Selling (McGraw-Hill). You may visit him online at

Next Value-Added Selling public seminar is June 14-15, 2016. It is presented by Tom Reilly and Paul Reilly. Call to reserve your seat. 636-537-3360.


Today I finish
Tomorrow I start anew
And the next again

It’s what I do when I don’t
And nothing is done

More like procrastination
Too neat and too clean
I deceive myself often
That I really get things done

Organizing leads
To what agonizing is
Siren call of OCD

You Were Always The Quiet One … Not!

By Tom Reilly

Pascal wrote, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

I have always had a strained relationship with silence, the paradoxical virtue. It is forever there but always elusive. It is so easy to be silent at the wrong time yet difficult at the right time. It costs nothing but exacts a hefty price.

Like a blank sheet of paper, silence is a patient listener when I want to vent. Like a blank sheet of paper, silence is a tyrant when I want to write.

If music is the silence between the notes, I like the notes more than the music.

Silence conceals and it reveals. It soothes and it stiffens. It’s quiet and it’s loud.

Silence is too noisy for me. I am unaware of the air I breathe but I hear every sound of silence. It requires little effort, but it’s a tough slog for me.

Quiet people. Smooth water. Still air. I am none of these. I was never the quiet one. So, I spoke for a living. Now, I sit quietly in a room.