I was failing miserably. Then came the dreaded PIP: a performance improvement plan that stated if I didn’t hit certain targets, I would be fired. Ouch.

I was working hard but not getting the results the company required. And then everything changed. The top sales guy in the office, Glenn, offered to help me. I went on calls with Glenn and I got to see him in action. It was eye opening. More importantly, Glenn watched how I ran a sales call. He made some suggestions, I made adjustments and I was off and running and never looked back.

Lessons learned:

Effort alone won’t get it done. I was working my ass off. I was motivated to succeed but the truth is, I didn’t know what I was doing. I thought I did but my results said otherwise. That’s the funny thing: results don’t lie. Effort, especially when in a new industry, job or type of sales, is a key part of a successful game plan, however, hard work alone won’t get it done.

Going it alone is stupid. I thought I could figure it out on my own. My pride and ego were getting in the way. I studied sales, read all the books, but didn’t ask for help.

If you want to go fast, have a coach/mentor. Everything changed when Glenn stepped in to help me. I got lucky. Glenn approached me and took me under his wing and my results improved quickly. Having a mentor or coach provides outside eyes on you and your business. They see your blind spots. Glenn also helped immensely by providing encouragement. At a tough time in my professional life he helped me believe I could do it. As Jim Rohn put it, “We could all use a little coaching. When you’re playing the game, it’s hard to think of everything.”

Skills matter. Capability breeds confidence and confidence leads to better results. Working with Glenn, I acquired some key skills. The great thing about skills is that they can be learned. You can always get better, no matter how poorly or well you are doing.

Willingness is a key differentiator. Successful people are willing to do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. I was willing to do the work, to do whatever it took to have success in what I was doing. Work ethic matters. I was willing to accept help when offered. I was willing to implement what Glenn told me to do. If I had been willing to ask for help early on, to put my ego aside, I never would have been on a PIP in the first place. The only thing between you and your goal is what you’re not willing to do.

What lessons have you learned from your sales struggles?