Colonel Sanders

One of the most popular tales of perseverance is that of Colonel Sanders. You may have heard it. At the age of 65, Colonel Sanders found himself broke and living on social security checks. He decided to hit the road and sell his recipe for chicken to restaurants. Legend has it that he was turned down 1009 times before he sold anything. The 1010th became KFC.

Yes, you did read that correctly…one thousand and nine “no’s” before a “yes”.

This story has been told countless times and while it is remarkable that Colonel Sanders never gave up, every time I hear this story my mind wanders in a direction opposite of most.

Colonel Sanders must have been a TERRIBLE salesman.

Don’t get me wrong, perseverance is important. But many times we confuse our situation. Resilience is not what we need. What we need is a stronger presentation.

Think about it this way. By 1964, Colonel Sanders had over 600 franchises and sold the company for 2 million dollars. That means the product was pretty good. At the time, he was voted one of the most recognizable celebrities around the world. So how does someone with that good of a product FAIL 1009 times? My guess is he refused to sharpen his axe.

"Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Abe Lincoln (another man known for perseverance).

We as a society glorify people who make it on their own and congratulate them on their steadfastness and perseverance.  While those are great attributes, how much more efficient would these people be if they would work on their presentation?  The ability to sell yourself and your product are too important to be so under-developed.  In a competition between two products, I will bet you that the better salesman with the lesser product will win more than not. 

No disrespect to the Colonel. Maybe he just had bigger fish to fry…or chicken for that matter.


Article by Remington Ramsey, National Sales Director, Real Producers