Solomon Reich (not his real name) used to travel worldwide to speak to major corporations on how to effectively pitch ideas to prospective clients. An immigrant, he eventually fulfilled the American dream by building a client base that boasted Fortune 500 companies.
Although his lectures were geared at business people, they are helpful for people seeking success in other fields as well. Here are some of his secrets:
Mental Positioning: Reich explains, “It all boils down to two words: mental positioning. Put simply, how you feel about yourself.” Inner confidence encourages you to do uncomfortable things.
Before making a cold call, Solomon would find reason to smile or laugh. Not only did that help him make the call, but the person on the other end sensed his positivity, which fostered a pleasant exchange.
Reich made 300 cold calls a day. When he nailed a client, he felt it compensated for all the rejections he received. “You have to figure out ways to keep motivating yourself,” he said. “I used to calculate how much each phone call was worth. It became a numbers game, where each phone call turned into money. Every time I picked up the phone, rather than worrying about rejection, I thought: I’m about to make money just by picking up the phone.”
You can use this tool in other situations. A friend of mine was expecting twins and called to express her fears given the pandemic and impending jump from three to five children. I told her, “Remember, you have a piece of G-d inside of you – actually, three neshamos inside you – which means infinite power. It won’t be easy, and there will be days you feel you can’t go on. But you will get through this stronger.”
Positively positioning ourselves gives us the courage to move forward with difficult tasks.
Negotiate the Yes: “I was in Luxenberg, Belgium, attempting to secure an account with a major bank. I gave my spiel, and the person responded, ‘Nah I’m not interested.’ I replied, ‘Yeah, that’s what my wife said when I asked her to go out with me for the first time, and we’ve been married 37 years!’ This got the client laughing, and he signed the account.”
Reich added, “When prospecting, you can’t consider the no. Adrenaline pumps when you imagine the yes, and this changes how you interact.”
We can adopt this attitude when we pray. Hashem is capable of doing anything – hakol yechol – and our prayers will be more effective if we make requests with this perspective in mind. Ask knowing that Hashem wants to give and is waiting for us to open our mouths.
It’s All About Rejection: In his lectures, Reich would say, “You are not in the business of prospecting; you are in the business of rejection.”
You must keep going. “Sheva yipol tzaddik v’kam – A righteous person falls seven times and gets up” (Mishlei 24:16).
But bouncing back does not happen magically. A successful fashion designer once said that when she began her career, she had zero education, money, experience, or connections. She only had a dream. When she designed her first shoe, she had to research how to manufacture it. She made thousands of mistakes along the way. Her driving motivation? “I just refused to give up,” she said.
No Inhibition: When Solomon began working as a new immigrant, he sold life insurance. To keep his job, he had to sell at least two policies per week. He would approach people at coffee shops, get contact information, and secure a meeting later in the day. He even managed to sign a client in a McDonald’s!
“The McDonald’s was packed! I saw a guy who was about 35 and well-dressed and asked him, ‘Can I sit down at this table?’ ‘Sure,’ he said. I sat down, extended my hand, and we started chatting. ‘By the way, do you know what I do?’ I asked seriously. ‘I help people. I’m associated with _________ Life Insurance, and many times people die and leave their children without anything to rely on.’
“I pulled out an application and said, ‘Let’s look at the application together.’ I actually signed him up while we were sitting together in the McDonald’s.”
He explained, “Fear cannot control you. Since I wasn’t from this country, I thought K-mart was the name of the owner. You have to be willing to go up to the counter there and ask, ‘Hey! Can I speak to Mr. Mart?’ This business takes courage. You can’t care if people are looking at you. That’s how focused you need to be on your goals. To be honest, because I wasn’t part of the culture, it allowed for no inhibition.”
As Jews, we’re different. We’re not supposed to assimilate fully into non-Jewish culture as it could hinder our service of Hashem.
Sometimes, serving Hashem means davening in an airport or saying a blessing in public. If we worry about other people’s perceptions, we could become paralyzed. Similarly, “Habayshan lo lomed – the one who is embarrassed [to ask] doesn’t learn” (Pirkei Avos 2:6). Worrying about what others think can block growth in all areas of life.
Try Is a Lie: Trying gives our subconscious an out. So just do it! Instead of, “I’m going to try to get up at 7:00 a.m.,” resolve, “I’m getting up at 7:00 a.m.!”
At Har Sinai, we didn’t say we would try to keep the Torah, or “Let’s review it first.” We said, “Naaseh v’nishma – We will do and then we will listen.” We committed, and success followed.
Solomon Reich’s tools may be designed for business success, but they work for any dream. The most important pitches we can make are to ourselves. And these require confidence, positivity, grit, and zero inhibition.