In a new study released in today’s Times, it turns out that the typical NY police officer only hits 34% of the time she fires a gun. Even from a distance of six feet or less, it’s 43%. Obviously, Bruce Willis is the exception.

I wonder how it changes your decision making when you discover that you’re only going to be successful one out of three times. Never mind blasting a weapon out of an assailant’s hand, we’re talking about hitting the target at all… How does a cop have the guts to even pull a weapon knowing that most of the time, it’s not going to have its desired effect (my guess is that the threat and the noise and chaos is as positive an outcome as an actual hit…). I know I would never have the guts to do that job.

Salespeople have a harder time with this than marketers. Marketers have lots of ‘bullets’ and they don’t notice the ones they miss (I usually miss 99.5% of the time online, and more than 99.999% of the time selling books). We just reload and blithely continue on. But salespeople have to deal both with personal rejection and the expectation of the boss.

The poor hit rate of selling explains call resistance. Non-professional salespeople almost aways wash out because they can’t keep at it, day after day, once they realize that most of the time, they fail. I guess my point is that if a policeman can risk his life doing it, we can probably find the nerve to go on one more sales call.