My friend Ted sells marine forklifts. He and his boss recently went to a marina to close a large transaction. Ted looked around the marina and said to the customer “I’m not going to sell you this lift.” Both Ted’s boss and his customer were stunned. He followed up with “You would really grow your business if you had two lifts, one for the front and one for the back.” Ted took a gamble, he embraced risk rather than running from it, and he ended up selling two forklifts that day.

Risk Management is a systematic approach to minimizing an organization's exposure to risk. A risk management system includes various policies, procedures and practices (like insurance) that work in unison to identify, analyze, evaluate, address and monitor risk.

Risk is with us in everything we do. Virtually every decision we make every day weighs up alternatives and their possible consequences. Should we approve this deal? Will this vendor be in business a year from now? What are the consequences of putting off that phone call until tomorrow?

In leasing, as in life, we take risks everyday. However it’s the job of the sales rep to risk getting rejected, failing and being humiliated so that they can get the rewards of success, security, comfort and adventure.

Knowledge, skills and motivation are the three ingredients of a successful salesperson. You could have all the leasing knowledge in the world, but if you don’t take a risk and go out and apply those skills with purposeful actions you’re not helping the customer, yourself or the industry. Salespeople have to talk to strangers and they have ask for what they want. Many salespeople are excited about venturing into the unknown. They are stimulated by the challenge of meeting their goals. When their goals are reached, their self-image is enhanced. However, there is another group of salespeople who want to hide. They are afraid of taking a chance. They don’t want any face time with the customer, they’d rather stay safely behind voicemail and email. This is easy to do in an up economy, just go for the low hanging fruit. But when times are tough, sales people can’t hide. They have to go out of their comfort zone and find opportunities, this is risky business.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Step out of the insanity! If you keep prospecting in the same way and you’re not getting the results you want, it’s time to take a risk and make some changes. Go off the path. Push yourself to encounter the unexpected, meet new people, and get your creative juices flowing. To be clear, I’m not talking about reckless behavior, like texting while driving or unscrupulous or destructive behavior. I’m advocating doing something different that makes your heart beat a little bit faster, and makes you grow as a sales person. I think people have an inborn risk meter that’s set within a certain range. You don’t have to go over your meter’s limit or undertake extraordinary risk to get more sales. Just stretch yourself and tackle a challenge that forces you into unfamiliar territory.
Sometimes we don’t take a chance because we’re afraid of failing - but in order to have more success, you need to be willing to accept more failure. Choose one risk you’ve wanted to take for a while and just do it. Don’t over plan, over think, or over analyze the process. Just take the risk for the sake of risk taking.

When it comes to doing something scary, the end result is less important than doing what it takes to develop the courage muscles that will serve you in all areas of your life. What risk do you need to take to help your sales career? You might want to: Ask a cancelled lessee to meet your for coffee. Set up a meeting with your boss to discuss a promotion or raise. Increase your rates to a level that honors the value you deliver. Set a date for the workshop you want to offer. Share a creative dream with others (supportive people only!). Ask your lessees for referrals. Increase the size of your average transaction. Do a marketing tsunami on your territory. Cold call a whole building (even go in the one that have a no solicitation sign). You are not soliciting, you are gathering information. Join a laughing club. (This is a risk because people could think you’re crazy, but it’s good for your well being.) Take a prospect golfing. Start a blog. Develop a marketing strategy. Make a video on the benefits of leasing. Call on a new industry. Offer a joint incentive with a new vendor. Send a text message to a prospect. Try a new closing question like “Is there anything else we need to cover before you start sending us applications?” “Are you working on any deals right now?” Take a risk and turn a skeptic into a believer. Give them lost of information so that they can doubt their own beliefs and change their minds on their own.

Imagine. Before you get out of bed in the morning think about how you want your day to go. Imagine establishing great relationships with your clients, picture yourself closing big deals. There’s so much power in your imagination. Too many people take that power and use it against themselves by imagining the worst. They say “What if I lose my job?” “What if the economy tanks this year?” “What if we lose the house?” To break that pattern, when ever you find yourself asking a “What If?” question, make it positive. What if I’m the top producing sales rep? What if the economy takes off? What if I do so well that I can pay my mortgage? There is a web site called the “What If Up Club?”

Ask the question “What if it all goes right? It’s a mediocre life that comes from playing it safe. Force yourself to try one of the risks listed above. You may find that you are very attached to your daily routine, that’s normal. A way to get out of your daily routine is to try one little calculated risk. Once that pays off, you’ll feel good about yourself and your job and then be willing to take a tiny bit more of a risk the next time.

Remember, novelty is stimulating and it’s good for you from time to time to do something different. Take a moment to answer the following question: “What one thing have you been thinking about doing for a while, that you keep putting off because you’re afraid?” Then, use this article as a catalyst for taking action. Face your fear head on! If my friend Ted could give one piece of sales advice he’d say that it's okay to go ahead and take a risk. There's no guarantee that everything will turn out exactly the way you want it to, but there IS a guarantee that it cannot possibly do so if you are afraid to even take the chance. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained" is not just a nifty old-time saying. It's wisdom. Listen to it.

Author's Bio: 

Linda has twenty years of experience in leasing sales and marketing management. She is nationally recognized as an outstanding sales trainer and professional speaker. In 1996 she founded the Institute for Personal Development to help leasing sales reps increase volume. She has had a tremendous positive impact on sales for all types of companies – from startup firms to corporate giants. Linda's work has been published in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Monitor, Leasing News and Selling Power Magazine. She has also produced several training CD’s. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and has presented over 279 times to more than 57,000 attendees. Her book 366 Marketing Tips for Equipment Leasing is a top seller for Leasing Power Tools Press. The CD program Prospecting Tips for Equipment Leasing Sales Professionals is a staple training tool for many leasing companies. Linda can be reached at or visit her website at