How to Think Every Call Is “The Call”

Several weeks ago I had the distinct pleasure of watching the Johnny Cash biopic, Walk the Line, with its memorable crooning by the very believable and acoustically impressive performance of Joaquin Phoenix. Even though I have never been a self-professed country fan or aficionado, I found myself gleefully tapping my foot and singing along to the catchy folksy melodies. Who knows, I may even be able to act as a fill-in if a Johnny Cash sing-along breaks out. It would be quite amusing: me solemnly singing the male part of the duet “Jackson” while waiting for the mid-morning train during an unlikely, spontaneous Johnny Cash-athon.

In the film, a specific dialogue was particularly memorable. During one of the scenes, this exchange happened after Mr. Cash and his band had attempted to wow a record executive with a song to get their big break.

Sam Phillips: You know exactly what I’m telling you. We’ve already heard that song a hundred times. Just like that. Just … like … how … you … sing it.

Johnny Cash: Well you didn’t let us bring it home.

Sam Phillips: Bring … bring it home? All right, let’s bring it home. If you was hit by a truck and you was lying out there in that gutter dying, and you had time to sing one song. Huh? One song that people would remember before you’re dirt. One song that would let God know how you felt about your time here on Earth. One song that would sum you up. You tellin’ me that’s the song you’d sing? That same Jimmy Davis tune we hear on the radio all day, about your peace within, and how it’s real, and how you’re gonna shout it? Or … would you sing somethin’ different. Somethin’ real. Somethin’ you felt. Cause I’m telling you right now, that’s the kind of song people want to hear. That’s the kind of song that truly saves people. It ain’t got nothin to do with believin’ in God, Mr. Cash. It has to do with believin’ in yourself.


So what does this have to do with sales? Let’s be honest dialing the phone, sending emails, leaving voicemails, and even delivering the 30-second “elevator pitch,” can quickly become a drab routine. To be successful, you can’t just go through the motions. How can you continue to believe in yourself and consistently seize opportunities?


“I am another sales call. I am another vendor trying to make quota blah blah blah.”

You think to yourself, “They dread the ‘salesmen.’”

What’s worse is that you dread calling them even more.

Don’t you feel a renewed vigor whenever an inbound request for information comes in? Aren’t you more eager to call those clients first? “Oh that’s a surefire deal,” you tell yourself.

That enthusiasm has to be bottled up duplicated for when you speak with all organizations. Imagine that the next call you knew was the perfect client. Imagine that you know there is a budget. Imagine being confident that this prospect will set the demo or will sign on the dotted line. You simply know the conversation will lead to a close. Every call, every meeting must be “The Call” or “The Meeting.”

Would you go through the motions the way you do if you knew, without a doubt that you have a buyer?


It’s true that taking risks with prospects may lead to a lost opportunity. Yes, if you ask your prospects the hard questions, you could lose the deal. But, if you hold your clients accountable, in the same way you should hold yourself accountable, don’t you become a better advisor?

As a sales professional, you have to risk the safe choice and take risks, such as calling the C-level executive and leaving a total out-of-the-box voicemail. You have to take risks such as not eagerly dropping price at the first inkling of opposition. You have to risk the possibility of the prospect saying no.

Just as Johnny Cash learned that you can’t go with the status quo, as a sales professional, you have to do the same. Because Cash felt his life was average and going nowhere fast, he saw an opportunity that needed seizing. And when he was given a second chance to sing it as if he believed it—sing it as if he believed in himself—he did. That day, he seized the opportunity and the rest was history.

What will happen on your next call or your next opportunity? You don’t know, so take the risk.

Happy selling!