Hemingway wrote these beautiful words in The Sun Also Rises.

“Gradually, then suddenly.” It is how things happen. 

When I first started my consulting business, I struggled for years. Without experience, connections, clients, or financing, I built, I learned, I applied. Critically, I dealt with my mindset and confidence issues. I wrote I spoke, and I attended awful networking meetings. It was incredibly stressful. The gradual part usually is. I wrote and spoke more. I wrote books. I developed my approaches. I evolved them. All this was much slower than I would like. Today, I don’t know another solo consulting practice that does more revenue than mine.

Success is sudden, but the road to it is gradual: Overnight success, 20 years in the making.

Sometimes the gradual portion is so long that you don’t know the sudden part is happening until much later when time brings perspective and an opportunity to look back.

When you build your team, you hire one person at a time, mixing, matching, and developing. That part is gradual. But when the group is in place, clicking on all cylinders, success comes suddenly.

Sales is this way too, my friends.

Each individual sale requires a grinding effort over a period of time. We must develop the relationship, service the customer, jump through hoops, solve problems, demonstrate excellence and an ability to provide tremendous value. We must weather the rejections, the delays, the ghostings.

Seven no’s — gradual.

The three-year sales process. Gradual.

Often, the years-long gradual effort brings none of the money.

But the yes? It occurs once, lightning fast, and then all of the money comes.

Each successful sales effort requires a gradual effort before the sudden sale.

And at the macro level, your year consists of multiple gradual efforts and successes before you hit and exceed your plan.

In our work, very few interesting and significant wins come without significant effort over time.

The growth requires the steady communication to customers and prospects. It requires being present. Being interested. Being helpful.

The wins are sudden, but all that work that comes before is gradual.

Gradually, then suddenly.