Failure Essay Example

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Failure: Its Effects and Lessons Learnt

Like most young high school graduates, I was eager to make my own money independent of my parents as I waited to be admitted to college. I always thought that making money shouldn’t be a hard task at all. With much enthusiasm therefore, I took a marketing job with a local magazine that needed to sell magazine subscription to the local population. I was offered a weekly retainer salary that covered my transport costs, my job-related calls, and perhaps a few lunches but nothing more. If I really needed to make money, I needed to sell in order to earn a commission. I started off with as much enthusiasm as I could muster. In my head, I knew all about marketing: if the product was priced, packaged, promoted, and delivered to customers, they would most likely buy it. If they liked it after purchase, they would most likely become repeat customers hence earning me more commission.

The reality on the ground was however more sobering. Most of my targeted customers seemed to have an aversion for door-to-door marketers. Most could not even open their doors; those who spared some time to listen to me did not purchase the magazine subscription. One was even curt enough to tell me never to knock on his door again. “I know what I need to buy and where to buy it, so never again knock on my door!!!” He angrily told me off. On the third day of my new job, I was really exasperated because I had not even made a single sale. As a matter of fact, I was ready to give up. My mother however convinced me that giving up would not be an ideal solution; rather, she encouraged me to find out different ways of pitching my product to my target customers. Saturday marked the end of our work week, and as others went home with a pay check, I went home with nothing. I felt like a failure, and there was proof to that effect: of all the five salespeople that my new employer had, I was the only one who had not turned in a sale. Even the guy who got the job the same day as I did had turned in one sale. “Not good enough, but a sale all together”, the sales manager commented.

Not one to run away from challenges, I contemplated my work the entire weekend. I locked myself up in my room and did as much research about door-to-door marketing as I could. I learnt that despite using a pitch that was human and engaging, successful door-to-door salespeople use emotional appeal to endear their potential customers to a product. I also learnt that successful salespeople take time to listen to and connect with their customers before rambling about the benefits of the products they are trying to sell. All the foregoing were critical lessons.

For starters, I understood that I needed to hone my communication skills. During my first week in the job, I had made the mistake of introducing myself and immediately delving into the issue of magazine subscription and why it was important to the customer. From my research, I also understood that customers just do not want to be bombarded with information; rather, they prefer to be treated as human beings whose welfare the salesperson is interested in. “I deserved to fail”, I thought to myself; after all, why hadn’t I taken time to prepare myself for my new job?

I had so much enthusiasm when I started my job the following week. I got a morale boost when I sealed two subscription sales on the first day. “Not good, but a good start”, I whispered to no one in particular. By Friday of that week, I had sold 15 subscriptions and was rated as the third best performing salesperson of the week. My sales got better in the weeks and months that followed.

From the above experience, I learnt the importance of planning and acquiring knowledge before trying to tackle something. I also learnt that ignorance or assumptions can lead to failure. The biggest lesson however was that one failure does not necessarily have to mark the end of something; rather, one can learn from the experience and improve his or her skills in order to perform better in future.