pump-950235_640Early in my sales career, I spent a lot of time on the road. Thankfully, I had books on cassette tape to keep me company. One of my favorites was by the great Zig Ziglar. I got to thinking about that recently and looked up a transcript of one his stories that’s stuck with me through the years. Enjoy.

Got a couple of good friends down in South Alabama. Their names are Bernard Haygood and Jimmy Glynn. They were out riding through the South Alabama foothills one day and they got a little bit thirsty. They pulled behind this old abandoned farmhouse. Bernard hopped out, he ran over to this old pump and he grabbed the handle and he started to pump. Now just as a matter of curiosity, how many of you good folks up here in the big city have ever used one of these old water pumps? Hey, that’s fantastic.

Okay. Well, it was hot. It was August. Old Bernard wanted to drink the water. After he’s been pumping a couple of minutes he said, “Jimmy, better get that old bucket over there and dip some water out of that creek. “We’re going to have to prime the pump.” How many of you know what I’m talking about when I say you got to prime the pump?

Well, for you non-pumpers, that just means that you got to put something in before you can get something out. See a lot of people stand in front of the stove of life and say “Stove, now give me some heat, then I’ll put some wood in you.” Lot of times the secretary says “Boss, give me a raise, then I’ll start coming to work on time.” So many times a student will say “Teacher, just give me a passing grade this semester. My parent’s going to tear me up if I don’t have a passing grade. Then next semester I’ll guarantee you I’ll study.” Can you imagine the farmer saying “Lord, give me a crop this year and I promise I’ll plant next year.”

No, it doesn’t work that way. First of all, you got to put something in before you can get something out. Well, Old Bernard wanted that drink of water. I mean it gets hot in South Alabama and he was just pumping away and pumping away and I’ll tell you that sweat was beginning to come off. He said “You know, Jimmy, I just don’t believe there is any water down there.” “No!” Jimmy said. “Bernard, you know in South Alabama the wells are deep and we’re glad they are, because you see the deeper the well, the cooler, the cleaner, the sweeter, the purer, the better taste in that water is.”

And isn’t that the story of life? Isn’t it true that that prospect that you really have to work on the most – when you finally do make that sale, isn’t it true that that’s the one that really gives you the most satisfaction?

Isn’t that the one — isn’t it true, ladies and gentlemen, that the boy or the girl who was available to every Tom, Dick and Harry or Mary Sue and Jane come down the pike, those boys and those girls are not the ones that make the kind of husband you want and the kind of wife that you want? Isn’t it true that the things in life that have value that you got to do some pumping?

Well, Oh Bernard, man, he wanted that drink of water. I mean, by then he was really working up the sweat. But you know there’s always that question: just how much pumping are you willing to give just for a drink of water? Finally Oh Bernard just threw up his hands and said “Jimmy, they’re just isn’t any water down there.” Jimmy said “Don’t stop Barnard, don’t stop. If you stop, it goes all the way back down and then you’ll have to start all over.”

And isn’t that true? See, there’s no way you can look at that pump and say “Yeah, just two more strokes and I got it” because you might have to pump another ten minutes. There’s no way you can look in the head of that prospect and say “Yep, just two more closes and I got him” because you know it might really take a lot of pumping. But this we know — we know that if we pump long enough and hard enough and enthusiastically enough, that eventually the effort will always bring forth the reward.

And if you notice that once you get it to pump in, then all you got to do is just keep a little easy steady pressure on it and man, you’re going to get more water than you know what to do with.

Isn’t it true that when things are good, they get better  – and when they’re bad they get worse? And it’s got nothing to do with what’s going on out there; it’s got everything to do with what’s going on between your ears. You see your business is never good or bad out there. Your business is good right here between your own two ears.

And if you’re thinking is stinking, your business is going to be in exactly the same shape.