I once heard the story of an international shoe manufacturing company, who had ambitions to expand into new markets. The abolition of apartheid in South Africa, during the early 1990’s, presented new opportunities so they decided to test the market. Initially, the company sent their most experienced sales person, samples in hand, to test the market place and sell what he could. Shortly after arriving in one of the townships, the experienced salesman sent a telegram back to his home office saying, “No one here wears shoes. STOP. Market non-existent. STOP. Returning home a.s.a.p.” Now, although the company had great expectations the fact is, a market has to exist before you can supply it.

The company didn’t give up, however, and a couple of months later they tried again. This time though, instead of sending an experienced salesman, they sent a novice salesman, who lacked experience but more than made up for it with enthusiasm! The same thing happened and shortly after arriving, the head office received another telegram. As before, this one said, “No one here wears shoes. STOP. Market completely untouched. STOP. Send me everything you’ve got a.s.a.p.!” Enthusiasm always outsells experience every time!

R. Ian Seymour

R. Ian Seymour, adapted from Maximize Your Potential