Victory comes from a pragmatic blend of small wins and big wins. I have too often seen people shoot for the moon, miss, and end up with nothing. The big wins are possible, but many of them will not happen, and you need a steady diet of small wins to keep things going, both practically and psychologically.
I like to use the analogy of shooting hoops in basketball: get close to the hoop and sink a bunch of easy wins. Occasionally take a long shot, but keep close to the hoop, backing away slowly as you get better. You’ll sink some from across the court, but don’t count on them.
I know a sales rep who got a lot of big deals close to the finish line, but couldn’t get any of them signed. It was almost as if it was a matter of pride: this deal will close big or not at all. It turned out that the answer was “not at all.” Closing zero deals is closing zero dollars. It doesn’t matter if the pipeline is huge.
It’d have been fine if he was closing small deals along the way. Easy wins are still wins. But he had zero.
Additionally, many big wins are built on the back of small wins that make the next move possible. Closing small deals gives you the skill and pipeline to close bigger deals. Repeatedly close easy little ones and you’ll be a fine-tuned machine for the big one when you get a chance at it. The analogy I use for this is mooring a vessel at the dock: throw the small rope, then use it to haul the bigger rope you’ll use to pull the ship against the dock.
Let no victory be too small, and momentum will build until timing, skill, network, reputation, opportunity, and a bit of serendipity line up all at once. Then the moon shot will succeed.
Originally published at Small Wins, Then Big Wins.