Just How Do I Reach My Goals?

February 12, 1809, was a day that changed the world forever. Not just because a child born on this day went go from being a dirt-poor farm boy to being the President of the United States, but also for so many other amazing things he accomplished. Just the mere mention of this man’s name brings numerous images into one’s head: He freed the slaves, he kept this country together through its most destructive war, and he taught himself to write with a piece of charcoal on the back of a shovel in a log cabin. If you ask 10 people what they remember about his life story, you could get 10 different things. As for me, the thing I remember most is what this man said and stood for: “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” And “Honest Abe” knew how to hustle.

Abe certainly believed that “all men are created equal,” but he also showed that just because we are created equal doesn’t mean we have to remain that way. He understood that opportunity is everywhere and what sets people apart are attitude and effort. How else can you explain how a man with 11 major defeats in his life — everything from losing his first job, failing in business, and losing his first sweetheart to having a nervous breakdown and losing several elections — kept persevering to win the presidential election in 1860?

As you can see, this man never settled for just enough. He kept pushing the limits. I imagine him as being a terrific salesperson, for I am sure he would say, “Sales is a numbers game; if you want to sell more, bring me more opportunities.” After all, he knew a great deal about persuasion, saying: “When the conduct of men is designed to be influenced, persuasion, kind, unassuming persuasion, should ever be adopted. It is an old and a true maxim that a ‘drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.'” What he understood was that people you are trying to sell to are really hoping to buy something from you; you just have to make sure you don’t disappoint them. The same is true with the numerous opportunities that occur in your day-to-day business. Are your prospects leaving disappointed?

Your conversion rate is a measure of your ability to persuade your prospects to take the action you want them to take. It is a reflection of your marketing and sales effectiveness and your customers’ satisfaction. For you to achieve your goals, your prospects must achieve their goals first. Are you settling for complacency, or do you have a system in place to test, measure, and optimize your efforts — focusing on strategy, creativity, and results?

I won’t bore you with details of how my company, Future Now, got started just before the dot-com bust, how we were just about to be funded, and how lucky we were that we weren’t — because that forced us to hustle. We had to take small jobs just so we could pay the bills, carrying out tasks that we really didn’t want to do. But today, more than 190 years after Lincoln’s birth, we have persevered and the market is starting to really open its eyes to “conversion rate marketing.”

Clients we work with today can make just a few tweaks to optimize their sites, transforming themselves from struggling dot-com retailers into profit-making machines bringing in multimillions of dollars in revenue. Other clients send out tens of millions of emails a month, and they want us to help bring in just a percentage more income from the people they currently reach. I think Abe would be proud.

Abraham Lincoln said: “There is more involved in this contest than is realized by every one.” A long list of failed companies waited for “things to come.” Will you join the ranks of that army, or will you march united with “those who hustle”?

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