Keep Testing the Fence

I remember trying to land my first sales job in the pharma industry. At the time I had already accumulated what I thought was a lot of experience as a sales person. I had already successfully worked in retail and direct sales and had received promotions to management in both fields.

But that’s not how the pharma sales recruiters saw it. I remember saying to myself I would contact a combination of 5 recruiters, human resource departments or job postings a day until I landed the job.

What blew my mind was how many times I heard people say; “you don’t have any experience and no one is going to hire you!” (click being the sound of them hanging up on me!)

It was unbelievable. So, whenever I got the chance I would counter with “no I’ve sold door to door, I’ve sold in retail and I’ve been a sales manager”. Then, they would say, “sorry, you don’t have any pharma experience…CLICK”


Needless to say I kept trying and I kept getting turned down. This went on for months.

However, there is a beauty in being turned down. (And no, I’m not trying to give you some positive thinking B.S.)

Quick question, did you ever see the movie Jurassic Park? You know, the Steven Spielberg movie about the theme park with dinosaurs. Anyways, there’s a scene in that film where the park ranger is discussing the raptors. The raptors hated to be kept in an electrified cage and they were always trying to get out but they were always unsuccessful. One of the visiting scientists overheard the ranger’s discussion and asked the ranger what was going on. He replied “they’re working things out…they’re testing the fence”. SPOILER ALERT, if you’ve seen the movie…you know what happens next.

The beauty in no, is like testing the fence. Keeping testing the fence to find out where the opening is because sooner than later you’re going to find that opening and breakthrough.

The trouble with most people is, once they feel the sting of the fence…they stop. They need to keep testing! Keep learning! Keep adjusting! Keep working things out! It takes creativity and tenacity to win

It took me months of hearing no and listening to people hang up on me but I was tenacious enough to keep going. Then one day I sat down with a recruiter and he said “I think I have something for ya”

The point is all the no’s, all the rejection, all the disappointment…all the fence testing was training me for the opportunity I was about to receive. Going through all the adversity taught me what to say, when to say it and how to say it. The fence testing gave me the clues I needed to win!

Just 90 days after I set out to get my first pharma role I landed the job.

Keep testing the fence

Calvin Strachan made the Find a Way to Win programs after becoming a leader in several multi-million dollar sales organizations ranging from: direct sales to pharmaceutical sales to personal development.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram