220 Hustling Means Selling: You Gotta Deliver!


The United States Postal Service (USPS) has the motto, “We Deliver For You.”

You can’t outsource results in your career. Nobody can deliver for you. It’s all up to you.

Time is the single biggest component of delivery. Fail to get it there on time and you’re toast. It’s not enough to get it there. It’s not enough to get it there in one piece. Those are assumed outcomes.

But time also involves timing. You’ve got to deliver on time and you’ve got to hit at the right moment.

Hustling Demands Speed, But That’s Not All.

Faster is better. Sooner is better than later. The very term “hustle” denotes speed. But sometimes people feel like they’re hustling when they’re creeping along.

It’s the common malady of confusing motion with meaningful action. There’s only one area of my life where that’s profitable: the treadmill. I can do 4 miles a day on a treadmill and it helps my health. It doesn’t take me 4 miles down any other road though.

Fast doesn’t mean reckless. Or ill-planned. Or knee-jerk. Or seat-of-the-pants.

It means taking the next step now. And it means being comfortable knowing that you don’t have complete knowledge or insight.

The Marines talk about a 70% rule where in the field, armed with 70% information, troops make the best decision possible without delay. They know success is more likely using that formula than it is if they wait for more information.

In fact, Louis C.K. talked about the same thing in an upcoming GQ interview.

These situations where I can’t make a choice because I’m too busy trying to envision the perfect one—that false perfectionism traps you in this painful ambivalence: If I do this, then that other thing I could have done becomes attractive. But if I go and choose the other one, the same thing happens again. It’s part of our consumer culture. People do this trying to get a DVD player or a service provider, but it also bleeds into big decisions. So my rule is that if you have someone or something that gets 70 percent approval, you just do it. ‘Cause here’s what happens. The fact that other options go away immediately brings your choice to 80. Because the pain of deciding is over.

“And,” he continues, “when you get to 80 percent, you work. You apply your knowledge, and that gets you to 85 percent! And the thing itself, especially if it’s a human being, will always reveal itself—100 percent of the time!—to be more than you thought. And that will get you to 90 percent. After that, you’re stuck at 90, but who the (bleep) do you think you are, a god? You got to 90 percent? It’s incredible!”

How often do you find yourself completely stumped about what to do next? Sure, it happens, but most often don’t you know what you should do?

  • Make a phone call. And you know who you should call.
  • Go see somebody. And you know who that is.
  • Write something, read something, research something or do something. And you know what it is.

It’s just one thing, but it’s the next one thing…not the next 10 things.

Hustling Is Selling

Are you a creative? Don’t confuse creating with hustling. You’ve got to be busy creating your art, but that’s not hustling. That’s being creative. Hustling involves money. Whether you need a patron or a customer, you’ve got to hustle.

Are you a business person? Then I don’t have to explain it to you.

We all need people who will fund us. We need money. Without it we can’t keep doing whatever it is we want to do. Paying customers don’t merely provide affirmation that we’re on the right track, they let us stay on the track so we can keep moving.

You gotta hustle! You gotta keep hustling!

For some (maybe for many) selling can be the hardest work possible. After 41 years of doing it, I’ve wrestled with just about every imaginable selling problem.

  • Call reluctance
  • Fear
  • Timidity
  • Not wanting to be “that guy” who always self promotes

People claim these problems stem from our personal history, our point of view, our personal philosophy and our personality quirks. Maybe. Maybe not.

Me? I think they stem from more basic and fundamental problems like idiocy.

I’ve known stellar salespeople who could sell (or attempt to sell) just about anything. I’m not that guy. I’m certainly not a “sell ice to eskimos” kind of sales guy.

And I’m not a master closer. You know the ones, don’t you? They can pitch like nobody’s business, but their real skill in compelling or coercing you to say, “Yes.” Even when you don’t want to. They don’t care if you have remorse after the fact. Too late, they’ve made the sell and extracting a refund is nearly impossible and hardly worth the trouble. But these sales animals are creatures built very differently than the rest of us.

Sadly, you may be tempted to think that there’s only one way to sell – the way you hate most! WRONG.

You have to be true to yourself. Sharks recognize posers. Don’t try to be a shark…unless of course, you are a shark. It’s okay. We’ll all know you by your fin and sharp teeth. And the fact that you’re swimming alone!

Here’s the deal. For every person who says you CAN’T sell like that…I’ll show you somebody wildly successfully doing it exactly like that.

“You can’t pitch all the time.” Sure you can. I know people who do it all day, every day. And make lots of money doing it. They eat, drink and sleep selling themselves and whatever that involves (real estate, insurance, stocks, financial services, etc.).

“You can’t bug people into buying.” Oh yes you can. I also know people who bother the snot out of people until they either hack them off, or make the sale. Either way, they feel like they won. And for them, that’s the point. They just have to work as fast and hard as possible to get a YES or a NO. If YES, they celebrate, but only briefly. If NO, they quickly move on.

“You can’t make it all about yourself.” Yes you can. Plenty of people do. Some don’t even hide it. Others try to feign caring about others, but in time it’s obviously not genuine. Self-centered, ego maniacs are running rampant in sales circles because some of them have figured out how to make it work for them.

Pick the most despicable selling behavior and I bet I know somebody making a handsome living doing it exactly the way you think it cannot possibly be done. And that’s a problem. For all the rest of us, in overcoming our adversities to be more effective in selling.

We’re repulsed by the notion of hustling or selling. It seems sordid, seedy and something we’d just rather not be associated with. But if we ignore it, we’ll fail. If we neglect to figure it out, we’ll join the vast ranks of people whose great idea never saw daylight because nobody funded it, nobody supported it with purchases and it faded into oblivion.

All for the lack of a paying customer!

Today’s show has one big aim – to help you flip your mental switch in favor of the single biggest activity that will drive your financial success, SELLING. This includes career folks who want to move up the ranks. It includes creatives who need patrons and customers to buy their art. It includes attorneys who need to persuade prospects to hire them. It includes doctors who need to establish referral networks. I don’t care who you are or what you do, selling is still critical for your success. If you’re failing, it’s highly possible that a big reason is because you’re neglecting this major daily activity.


  • Laziness
  • Don’t want to sacrifice anything
  • Stupidity

I’ve heard tons of people make this excuse: “I’m just not passionate about selling.” They’re nuts. They’re also wrong!

Oh, I know some people want to chase their passion. Well, behave like a dog chasing a car if you’d like, but that’s not what I do, or what I help clients do.

Doing the work requires doing stuff you don’t always enjoy. And you’d better work hard and be good at it. Else, you won’t find success. You have to hustle as though your livelihood depended on it…because it does.

Stop looking for the elusive definition of “successful” because it changes for all of us. Instead, focus on making yourself a success by doing good work really well.

If Mark Cuban netted $100K a month he’d be suicidal. If he made $1 million a month he’d still be suicidal. At the altitude where he’s now accustomed to flying, financial success is measured in 100’s of million of dollars annually. Anything less is disappointing. Cuban is always hustling because he’s now a whale and it takes a lot to feed a whale. His hustle has to match his needs, ambitions and desires.

The point isn’t to compare yourself to Cuban, or anybody else. The point is you do have to hustle to match your needs, ambitions and desires. The world won’t deliver any of those to you. Stop waiting for the truck to pull up to your office or house.

YOU gotta deliver the results you need to make your enterprise succeed. YOU gotta deliver to get what your family needs to survive and thrive. YOU gotta deliver if you’re going to fulfill your ambitions.

So here’s what you gotta do:

  1. Give up excuses! All of them. Take responsibility.
  2. Stop procrastinating. It’s never worked for you. It never will.
  3. Be more fearful of letting down your family and your potential than in hustling. Don’t your loved ones deserve your best? So do your prospects and customers!
  4. Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice. You can’t have it all, but you don’t want it all anyway. You’ve just been listening to all the noise telling you you do, and that you can. It’s a lie.
  5. Chase what’s important to you. You have to get the things you need first. That’s money. You need paying customers because you need money to live and to make your other dreams come true. Money is a resource you need, so go get what you need and don’t stop until you get it.
  6. Build a bridge over disappointments and setbacks and stay focused on hustling. A closed door, or a rejection is the price you have to pay for winning. Embrace it and get past the losses fast!
  7. Own it. Own your outcome. Own your actions. YOU gotta deliver!

Thanks for listening!


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Grow Great a public sector leadership podcastAbout the hosts: Randy Cantrell brings over 4 decades of experience as a business leader and organization builder. Lisa Norris brings almost 3 decades of experience in HR and all things "people." Their shared passion for leadership and developing high-performing cultures provoked them to focus the Grow Great podcast on city government leadership.

The work is about achieving unprecedented success through accelerated learning in helping leaders and executives "figure it out." 

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