I’m sitting on the beach in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It’s a beautiful
bright sunny day. The sky is blue, the sand is warm, the water
is cool and refreshing, and the birds in the trees are singing.
You can taste the salt water on the gentle breezes. While I’m
laying in my chair, enjoying my vacation, the locals are working.
Off in the distance, about a mile offshore, six pelicans are sitting on
the bow of an 18 foot fishing boat as it bobs up and down in the cove.
Seven more pelicans are swimming behind it. Above are swarms of
Onboard the two men are fishing. The pelicans and seagulls are
looking for a free meal. Both man and bird have a love/hate
relationship with each other.
The fishermen want to go where the fish are, so they search the
horizon for the birds because the birds can see the fish
swimming just below the water’s surface.
Once the fishermen start catching fish, the pelicans and gulls hover
overhead hoping to swipe one from the fisherman’s nets or steal
them off the fishing hooks before they can be brought into the boat.
Watching the fisherman, pelicans and seagulls interact reminds me of
a story I heard years ago. An old man is sitting at the end of the dock
with his fishing pole in his hand and his line in the water.
His feet are dangling over the end of the dock as he watches his bobber float back and forth.
A young boy walks up. He looks at the box of fishing tackle. He looks
at the fishing pole. He walks over to the empty bucket, the one that’s
supposed to hold the fish that have been caught, to see what’s inside.
Then he leans over the side of the dock to look at the bobber floating in the water.
He thinks for a moment and asks the old man, “What are you doing?”
The old man turns around, looks at him and replies, “Fishing.”
The youngster asks, “Catch anything?” To which the old man replies,
“Nope! If I caught anything, they wouldn’t call it fishing.”
That’s sort of the way it is with selling. Most of us spend a lot
of time doing all sorts of things every day, but don’t catch much fish – or close many sales.
We do paperwork. Make phone calls. Put proposals together. Have
lots of meetings. Shuffle papers from one corner of the desk to another. Read e-mail. Do research on the Internet. We’re busy. However, that doesn’t mean we’re productive. We’re like the fisherman who spends all day fooling around with his rod and reel, playing with his hooks and lures, but never gets around to putting the line into the water. Then he goes home and tells everybody how bad the fishing was.
To stay with the fishing analogy, I think there’s a much better
way to sell. This is what you do:
*1. Find The Fish
If your job is to sell — and in today’s highly competitive business
environment, everybody in the company should be selling — you
should be looking for business, not sitting at your desk doing paperwork.
But let’s take a fresh look at how we find our business.
Instead of just looking for prospects in a hap-hazard way, create
a systematic and methodological approach to finding prospects. It’s much easier to catch fish when you know where all the fish — large schools of fish – are.
*Go to networking events.
*Join your local chamber of commerce.
*Attend industry seminars and conventions.
*Look for organizations where your “ideal” prospect gather.
*Become active in trade organizations.
Go out and meet people. Look for fish!
When you attend a networking event, your goal should be to meet
as many people as you possibly can in the shortest period of time.
Spend no more than three to five minutes with any one person.
Have short — meaningful — interactions with a large number of people.
And when you speak with a person, always get a business card.
Remember: It’s much more important for you to get the other person’s name, address and phone number than it is for him to have yours. Because it’s your job to call him. He’s not going to call you.
Make it easy to give away business cards.
When I’m at a networking event I always keep my business cards in
my left pant pocket, and the cards that I collect in my right pant
This makes it easy to give away — and collect — business cards. So take your business cards out of your wallet, briefcase, purse, or business card case and make it easy for you to exchange cards with the people you meet.
As the two of you are talking, ask questions about them. It’s more
important that you know who they are and what they do — so you
can determine whether or not they’re a prospect for your products
— than for them to know everything about you, your company. Encourage them to talk.
Ask them at least three questions about what they do and how their
business is going. You’ll be amazed at how much you can learn
in a three minute conversation.
Once you’ve completed your conversation, and you’ve walked
away, write a brief note on the card as a reminder of who
they are and what they do.
When you get back to the office, put the person into your contact
database and schedule a call so the two of you can get together.
The single biggest failure of people who attend networking events is
that they never follow-up with the people who they’ve just met.
And they wonder why business is so bad.
*2. Use Great Bait
Once you’ve located your fish you need to catch them. If you don’t pick up the phone and call them, nothing’s going to happen. They aren’t going to be calling you. So if you want to capture your opportunities, you’ve got to have great telephone techniques. If you’re calling people up and are being told “Thanks for calling, but we’re all taken care of.” or “We don’t need any.” or “My brother-in-law handles it for us.” You need to improve your telephone skills.
If your calls are ending in less than ten seconds you need a better Elevator Speech. If you want to improve your telephone results, you need to have a GREAT Elevator Speech. My best-selling eBook “Opening Doors with a Brilliant Elevator Speech” teaches you how to create more opportunities over the phone.
When you’re speaking with a person on the phone you must give
them a compelling reason to speak with you and keep the conversation going. The best way to do it is to ask questions. Once you get someone talking, they begin to enjoy themselves and are likely to continue. Have you ever had someone end a conversation
when they were the one who was speaking. Doesn’t happen very often.
*3. Get The Fish To Come To You
Now that you’ve collected a group of prospects, you need to have
a simple, easy and effective way to keep your name in front of them.
If you only show up at their offices once every four to six months
— when you’re in the neighborhood — they’ll quickly forget about you.
Use the telephone to keep in touch with your best prospects and
customers. When you call, have a compelling reason for them to talk with — and meet with — you. You’re wasting everybody’s time if you’re calling just to say “Hi.”
In today’s fast-paced world, there aren’t enough hours in the day for
you to keep in touch with everybody when you’re using the phone or
scheduling meetings. There are too many people in the database,
and too much time is spent with people who aren’t in the
market to buy today.
So you’ve got to create a way to get the fish to come to you. I would
recommend you create an e-mail newsletter. Today’s electronic
technology makes it easy to send information to hundreds, or
hundreds-of-thousands of people with the click of a button. The newsletter you’re reading at this moment was sent to 150,000
people — all over the world. It took less than an hour to be delivered. By giving something of value to your customers and prospects, it keeps your name in front of them and is a very gentle reminder of who you are and what you do. They will certainly remember who you are.
*4. Get Your Fish To Jump In The Boat
Once you’ve started sending your newsletter, you want people to
begin calling you. Calling you with questions. Calling you with ideas.
The more people you come in contact with, the better — and stronger — your relationship with them becomes.
With time, your newsletter readers will begin contacting you
asking about your products and services. They’ll want
to know how you can be of help to them.
They’re raising their hands — picking up the phone and calling, or
sending email — saying “I’m ready to do business with you. What does it cost?”
”’Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey Mayer’s Succeeding In Business Newsletter. (Copyright, 2002, Jeffrey J. Mayer, Succeeding In Business, Inc.) To subscribe to Jeff’s free newsletter, visit”’ http://www.SucceedingInBusiness.com