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The motivational sales tip: perfectly formed pearls of wisdom, or superficial twaddle entwined in a barb-wire of pretentiousness? For each delicious nugget of sage wisdom dipped in a fondue of common sense, there’s a plenitude of tired cliché, strung together by a clothes line of vacuity. (A bit like that last sentence).

Behold some of the outrageous guff that passes for wisdom in the world of sales motivation. Whether attributed, or plucked from the anonymous churning ether of meaningless pseudo-philosophy, the people who came up with these should really have known better:

1.   “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

2.   “A sale is not something you pursue; it’s what happens to you while you are immersed in serving your customer.”

3.   “Cold call like you don’t have anything to lose.”

4.   “It is better to wear out than to rust out.”

5.   “In sales, a referral is the key to the door of resistance.”

6.   “Never turn down a breath mint.”

7.   “The best sales presentation is the sales presentation never given.”

8.   “Life is not about waiting on the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

9.   “Don’t spend time to save money. Spend money to buy time.”

10.  “Before you run, check to see if the bulldog has teeth.”

What the deuce does that last one even mean? Aside from nonsense about breath mints and bulldogs, there’s often somebody willing to put his/her name to this hogwash. Cue the naming and shaming, as below:

11.  “Arriving at one point is the starting point to another.” – John Dewey

12.  “Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement.” – Brian Tracy

13.  “You miss 110 percent of all the shots you never take.” – Wayne Gretsky

14.  “Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it.” – Winston Churchill

15.  “A salesman, like the storage battery in your car, is constantly discharging energy. Unless he is recharged at frequent intervals he soon runs dry. This is one of the greatest responsibilities of sales leadership.” – R H Grant

16.  “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” – Will Rogers

17.  “The first one gets the oyster, the second gets the shell.” – Andrew Carnegie

18. “Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.” – Charles Wesley

19.  “Today is always the most productive day of your week.” – Mark Hunter

Not if today’s Sunday, Mark. And:

20.  “Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.” – Richard Branson

That from a man who probably hasn’t seen a bus, let alone waited for one, since the 1960s.

Of course, there are people who get paid enormous amounts for coming up with fluff of this calibre, one such being the late Zig Ziglar. Crazy name, crazy guy:

21.  “Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.”

22.  “Remember that failure is an event, not a person.”

23.  “If you want to reach a goal, you must ‘see the reaching’ in your own mind before you actually arrive at your goal.”

24.  “Timid salesmen have skinny kids.”

25.  “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”

And if that’s not enough to make your brain itch, a few more random quotes to finish off on:

26.  “Sell the crunch not the apple.”

27.  “To succeed in sales, simply talk to lots of people every day. And here’s what’s exciting- there are lots of people!”

28.  “Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.”

29.  “When someone tells me something is impossible, all I hear is that he or she in particular cannot do it. If it can be thought, it can be done.”

30.  “Every well-built house started with a definite plan in the form of a blue print.”

The latter courtesy of the man who thinks badly built houses appear overnight, and are held together with chewing gum and a prayer.

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