Remember the Journey

My business partner, Casey Brown and I just returned from hiking in Grand Teton National Park. We aren’t technically climbers and we don’t scale rock walls, however, the hike we took consisted of some decent elevation change.

We didn’t know exactly what was at the end of the trail we had chosen, other than we had been told the farther we went the prettier the views. We hiked past falls then up to a point that looked out over the lake and valley, then onward. I was expecting the trail to come to a specific scenic point. But as we passed other hikers coming back the other way and asked, “Was it worth it?”, we were informed that there was not a scenic endpoint. It was just more of the same beautiful landscape, more incline, and wonderful views.

A Moose Encounter

So, we paused. Was it worth continuing we wondered? We decided to keep going for a defined period and just enjoy the beauty. As we paused to take a rest and drink some water, another of the returning hikers informed us that there was a moose ahead close to the path. Of course, we went to see it.

Sure enough, there it was, a gorgeous bull moose. Casey waved me closer and as she turned toward me the moose got onto the path and walked toward her. We both scurried out of its way, jumped off the path, and just watched as this beautiful beast lumbered by. We were no more than 10 feet away from him as he walked past us down the path, cut over toward a creek, and swam to the other side.

What Really Matters?

At that moment I realized that it really is the journey, not the destination that matters. Had we turned back when we learned that the prize was the hike itself not some end point, we would never have seen the moose, nor enjoyed the hike as much. Just taking in the hike and all its glory, the sounds, the smells, and the stillness of simply being, was truly the destination. And even though there was no promised specific thrill at the end of the trail, we experienced a treasured moment.

The Sales Journey

Of course, I equate this hike to the selling journey. There is no final destination in sales either. There is no end point upon which you will arrive and determine, “That’s it. I have made it.” Just like a hike in a national park, the sales journey is one of constant enlightenment and awe.

Sure, there are many marvelous scenic views and endpoints on hikes, just as there are delightful wins and accomplishments in sales, but nothing compares to the overall journey. If we only focus on making the sale, winning the business, like getting to a specific scenic view on a hike, then we miss all that should be taken in along the way.

As leaders, it is important to push all your salespeople to enjoy the entire journey. Too much focus on the end point, winning the sale, misses the point entirely. Sales is really a process, a slow long hike. It is more than just winning the business, it’s adapting to the constant changes. The ability of salespeople to take it all in and acclimate to their surroundings is the beautiful ongoing journey of sales.

The Thinning Crowd

At the point in the hike when we saw the moose, there were far fewer hikers on the path than when we started. Many had just turned around when they learned there was not another named scenic view ahead.

Something similar can happen in sales. If too much emphasis is placed on winning the sale, and not enough on the growth required along the selling journey, then some salespeople may turn around and go back. Go back to bad habits or even give up entirely.

Awe is for Everyone

The journey can be appreciated by all age and skill levels. On our hike that day there were young children under the age of ten, novice hikers and grizzled trail runners who had likely been along this same path many times. When the moose made his appearance all who experienced it were in equal awe and excitement. It was not commonplace for anyone. I believe all were thankful that they had continued their hike, despite there being no specific “win” at the end of the trail.

On a hike and in sales, one can always check the box that they made it to a certain spot, or they won a piece of business, but the true win is how the journey is made not the destination reached. If we can get salespeople to love the journey as much as the destination, they might find far more enjoyment along their own sales path.