Here's a riddle: Say you're in the middle of a forest and you come on a cabin and everyone in the cabin is dead. Not to be be morbid, but how would you suspect they died?

Ask people sometime — I do — and what you get are responses that include starvation, food poisoning, carbon monoxide poisoning, and bear attacks. Actually, these are all incorrect assumptions. But ask a flight attendant or a pilot, and you get a different answer — the one I had in mind: a plane crash. The plane came down in the forest and everyone in the cabin, of the plane, died on impact.

Self-Fulfilling Rejection

We all project personal experiences, beliefs, and values onto whatever life presents us with. Given a new opportunity, we can't help but draw from our finite or limited perspective. That's why it's so important to keep an open mind and to try to see the big picture.

Take salespeople or marketers, for example. Caught up in the day-to-day grind, it's easy to be so far in the forest that they can barely see a tree. The never-ending rejection that we face in the field can cause us to feel as if we're doomed to fail. For door-to-door canvassers who may interrupt a phone call or a family dinner, telemarketers whose calls are often not welcome, or retail promoters attempting to engage a shopper on the run, it can be easy to fall into the trap of seeing small, that is, to feel like a pest or a nuisance.

When you do that, what happens is that you tend to adopt the inaccurate perception that if the homeowner/phone answerer/retail shopper actually had an interest, they would have already acted on that interest. This becomes a form of built-in discouragement.

Big-picture thinking, on the other hand, goes something like this: When I, the door-to-door canvasser, telemarketer, or store promoter, generate an appointment that results in a sale, I start the chain of events that results in a positive impact on the lives of many. This sale not only puts money in the marketer's pocket, it also generates a commission for the salesperson, a profit for the company, an order for the factory, a delivery for the truck driver, a project for the installer, a permit fee for the city, lower energy bills for the customer, and on and on. When we actually stop to think about how many people benefit, that inspires and encourages.

Front-Door Approach

I will never forget the day that I mistakenly apologized for interrupting a wise old war veteran who was working in his garage. He said: "I would much rather have an honest man come to my front door and try to sell me something than a dishonest one at my back trying to separate me from something." After all, isn't that the proper paradigm to have when considering what we do? An honest, hard-working profession promoting products and services that improve the quality of our customers' lives while at the same time spinning the wheels of the economy by providing work for countless unrelated industries.

—Sales and marketing consultant Tony Hoty has been a home improvement company salesperson and owner. Visit his website or reach him at or 888.447.3969.