Professional Sales: Panning For Gold

Professional Sales


I’ve written before about my beliefs on prospecting and the symbiotic relationship between professional sales and the gold miners of the 1800’s. But, this past week while vacationing with my family in Colorado and Arizona, I was again struck by the similarities between what we do and what those miners of yesteryear did day in and day out. Because aren’t we just panning for gold?

This trip was for my 18-year old daughter. It’s her last summer with us before going off to college—leaving my wife and I as empty nesters for the first time since 1987. We wanted to make these last few months special, so she embarked on The Summer of Sid.

I got to tag along on this last and final leg of the tour as we ventured up through the Rocky Mountains and back down to the Grand Canyon. It was breathtaking, exhilarating and extremely refreshing. I pretty much put all my social media on auto-pilot while I was gone and did my best to unplug. For those who know me, you know what a chore that was, but I didn’t do too bad. I got some reading done, a lot of thinking and recorded some audio notes to myself—one of which has become this article.

While rafting through Idaho Springs, Colorado our guide gave us a brief history of the gold rush in the state—which originated there in Idaho Springs. In fact, the Colorado gold rush was bigger than California’s and it’s estimated as much as 80% of the gold is still there—untouched and untapped.

During our trip down Clear Creek I saw a young man panning for gold; just sitting on the bank of the river, pan in hand, sifting through the silt looking for the tiniest nugget. Isn’t that what we do every day as professional salespeople? We sift through the silt looking for the glimmer of a nugget to catch our eye allowing us to polish it into a relationship with a client that we hope will pay dividends for a lifetime.

Are you panning for gold? Are you doing what it takes to build your business? Consider these thoughts:

  • The more silt you sift, the more opportunities you have to strike gold
  • Sitting beside the river alone does you no good—you’ve got to take action.
  • If you’re afraid to put your pan in the water, you’re never going to find anything.
  • The better you become at the sifting process, the more gold you find and the richer your life becomes.
  • There’s a lot of gold left out there—it’s not all gone.

But, when all is said and done the most important thing is to look around you; enjoy the beauty; be thankful for the opportunity and grateful for the chance to pan.

There’s gold in them thar hills!