A few years go, as a recent recruit to a sales effectiveness company, I briefed the powers that be on how I wanted to run my session. I wanted to start with a story on how it was lucky I made it to the US that day at all. I had a new smartphone and set my alarm for 6am on the Saturday, unaware that my alarm was set for weekdays and not weekends. I awoke at 6am anyway, and realised my error. In any event, the thrust of my story, I said, was that you can do all the planning you want, but sometimes you need a bit of luck.

The powers that be looked at me askance. This was not what they wanted to hear. You see, they said, the whole point of sales methodology and planning is that you remove luck from the equation. You leave nothing to chance and you control the eventualities of the sale with your ideally perfect knowledge and assessment of the situation.

That said, loads of us believe in luck, hope for luck, are counting on luck. Luck and hope may not be great strategies, but even with the best planning in the world you get the feeling that luck still has a role. That bluebird deal comes in when you thought the customer gone dark. A change of key personnel plays right into your hands, or takes the deal away from you. Sometimes you feel that stuff happens that you just can’t legislate for.

The concept of luck is an interesting one. Some folks believe in it, some don’t. There was a great Greek tragedy writer called Euripides writing about 2,500 years ago. I reckon he was better than his much vaunted peers Aeschylus – who wrote The Persians – and Sophocles – he of Oedipus the King – and only a handful of his plays like The Medea survive from the 90 or so he wrote. He believed that there was no such thing as good luck. There was either no luck, or bad luck.

I take a different view of luck from my erstwhile planning perfectionist employers. Great planning means you can allow for luck or karma, or you know what to do when the luck rolls in. As Gary Player once said: ‘The more I play, the luckier I get.’

Advertisements