The Reality of Risk in Sales

The Reality of Risk In Sales


No risk, no reward. It’s kinda simple. And we’ve heard several different  quotes over the years that talked about risk…there’s another that I liked, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Here’s a quote many of us have heard at some point in our lives.  Let’s be frank, risk is a scary word for many of us…for most of us.  Your comfort zone is really a great thing to risk.  Only those persons or organizations that dare to take risks actually have the potential to reap the rewards, to reap the benefits. As a matter of fact, they only reap the benefits and rewards in direct proportion to the level of risk they are willing or able to take. The greater the risk, the greater reward.

We are going to explore how to understand risk, and how to calculate risk. The definition that I read that I like says risk is, “the possibility that something bad or unpleasant will happen.” So risk involves uncertainty, not knowing the outcome in advance.

Most of us if we don’t know the outcome in advance, will be hesitant to step out. We’re going to be hesitant or withdraw from actually taking a chance. I gave a speech recently, and there were approximately 800 people in the audience. It was a dinner; a fund-raiser.  My audience was from age eight to age eighty, which was an interesting dynamic.  I was asked to talk about how to be successful. They wanted everyone from age eight to age eighty to walk away encouraged, and just give them some tip that they can walk away and actually apply.  I told my audience that I would talk about how to be successful consistently and long term. And I said that I was going to start with an exercise and I said “I’m gonna need one volunteer from the audience, but I just wanna let you know in advance that the volunteer that comes up here, may  be asked to do something that could be risky, potentially embarrassing, and also kinda scary.”

So that’s how I prefaced asking for a volunteer. And then I said, “Any volunteers?”

Out of the 800 people in the room, only one person raised their hands. So I then asked the individual to come up and I asked the person’s name, and he told me his name. And I said, “I’m just curious. I just prefaced asking for you to come up by saying, “What I want you to do could be risky, it could be scary, it could even be embarrassing to you in front of all of these people in here. Yet you raised your hand, you mind if I ask why?” And he said, “I don’t mind taking a risk.”

And at that point, I then reached into my pocket and gave him a large sum of money. And I said to him that the exercise was over and he could now take his seat.   You should have heard the audience. Everyone in the audience was shocked and wanted me to ask for another volunteer. “No. It’s too late,” was my reply.

You see the opportunity presented itself, and just as quickly as it presented itself, the opportunity also left. And my point to my audience that night was and to you is basically this: This person came up not knowing what the outcome was going to be. But because he was willing to take a chance, not knowing the outcome, he got rewarded. And that’s a fact of life.

Those individuals who are willing to take a risk, they’re the exact same ones that end up getting rewarded. And I said to the audience: “Those of us who sit around because we don’t know what the outcome is going to be, and we sit and wait to see what the outcome was, you get what you just got, which is…..” And they all said, “Nothing”. So that is the reality of risk. We have to be willing to take a chance because an opportunity will come quickly, and it leaves just as quickly.


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