20 Seconds of Insane Courage

By Bill Farquharson
In March 16, 2015

I love movies. I quote movies nonstop, especially the classics: Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Caddy Shack, Animal House, and so on.

The other night I watched, We Bought a Zoo. It’s a cute family film starring Matt Damon. For the record, I give it a seven out of 10. But there is one line in that movie that I will score a 10 if the scale is measuring great sales quotes. Here’s the line:

“Twenty seconds of insane courage

What a great line. In the movie, it’s used twice as men or boys summon the courage to speak to a girl. In sales, I see other applications:

  • Asking for an order— Believe it or not, the number one reason why we don’t get an order is that we don’t ask for it. You could use 20 seconds of insane courage to ask a customer for the order and then stop talking.
  • Standing on your price— The next time a customer asks, “Is that your best price?”, use 20 seconds of insane courage to reply, “Yes,” That’s all. Just “”
  • Asking for an appointment— For new salespeople, even requesting 20 minutes to meet with the customer can require 20 seconds of insane courage.
  • Making a presentation— while the sales call itself is sure to last longer, use 20 seconds of insane courage to get it started.

I once had a major decision to make in my life and I mentioned to a friend that it seemed like I was about to jump off a cliff. She said to me, “I think you’ll find that if you jump you will learn that it wasn’t a cliff you are on but rather a ledge. You might land with a ‘thud’ but you will get up, dust yourself off, and realize it wasn’t as bad as you made it out to be in your head.”

And so it is with certain nerve racking sales moments.  It feels like you are standing on a cliff, looking down. Summoning 20 seconds of insane courage and taking action, I think you, too, will learn that it wasn’t nearly as bad as you made it out to be in your head.

Again, what would you do with your 20 seconds of insane courage?

Bill Farquharson is a vice president at Epicomm. More free sales help can be found at sales.epicomm.org. Bill can be reached at 781-934-7036 or bfarquharson@epicomm.org

Bill Farquharson

Epicomm Vice President Bill Farquharson previously served as President of Aspire For, a sales training and consulting firm in Duxbury, MA, and is a 30+ year sales veteran in the print and form industries. He has trained thousands of print sales representative, sales managers, and “selling owners” with a highly successful, no-nonsense “old school” approach. His unique training programs—The Sales Challenge, The Mobile Sales Club, and Tuesday eWorkshops—have become an industry standard for driving new business. Bill has trained and coached sales people from Xerox, Fuji Xerox, HP Indigo, Heidelberg, EFI, Konica-Minolta, and others. An active columnist and blogger for Printing Impressions magazine, PIWorld.com, he also shares two weekly electronic eblasts each week with thousands worldwide: Monday Video Sales Tip and Friday Short Attention Span Webinars. Bill received a B.A. degree in Marketing from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst and worked in sales at UARCO Business Forms, Advanced Form Systems, and Print Tec Network, prior to founding his own firm.

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