Stick Your Landing

August 2, 2012

Filed under: General — Luis A. Martinez @

McKayla on her way to Gold

Sixteen-year old McKayla Rose Maroney (aka “Air Maroney”) launches into orbit on her way to an Olympic Gold Medal for the USA Gymnastics Team. She is considered the best in the world on the gymnastic vault called the Amanar, the most difficult and dangerous vault in the world. It consists of running full speed, a round-off onto the spring board, then a back handspring onto the vaulting table and 2.5 twisting somersaults before sticking the landing. En route, she will be vertically upside down, midair, with her head about 10 feet from the floor at apogee. She then has to stick her landing – a “blind landing” at that. Her performance at the London Summer Olympics on July 31 left the judges literally agape – as they knew they had just witnessed a “perfect vault.”

As every gymnast knows, all the danger and pirouettes are pointless unless they can stick their landing. It’s the follow through to conclusion that makes all the difference in competition. And so it is in business. Do you follow through with your contacts? Have you circled back to your prospects to nurture the engagement? Did you return those phone calls from your client/boss/mother-in-law?

I meet many people every day, particularly when I conduct a business presentation or workshop. I know when I get back to my hotel room I will have a fistful of business cards – each from a person I just met in the audience. Many of them have indicated to me that they want to continue the conversation. Today, my Rolodex runneth over. I must maintain a discipline for following through. That is the benefit and hardship of speaking engagements. But I must stick my landing.

It amazes me, however, the many opportunities that I see squandered for lack of follow through. Not just those who don’t get back to me but opportunities presented to people that I work with and businesses that I frequent. Here are some data on the importance of following up and sticking your landing, from the National Sales Executive Association. Their data suggests most sales are made from the 5th through the 12th contact:
• 2% of sales are made on the 1st contact
• 3% on the 2nd contact
• 5% on the 3rd
• 10% on the 4th
• 80% of sales are made on the 5th-12th contact!

But wait – why worry? You’re not a salesperson.

Oh, yes, you are. Whether you are vying for a promotion working in a corporate environment, a member of a Board of Trustees, or selling homemade jewelry – you are in sales. Following through on personal or business commitments requires discipline, focus and efficiency. With social media, one can argue both sides of this coin – it exposes us to many more people than ever, but it also makes it much easier to respond and follow up with virtually anyone, at virtually any time.

After all your hard work – can you stick your landing?

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