Archive for July, 2009
by John Passmore
There’s a lot said in this business about priming the pump – just put in the effort, don’t expect to see any results … and then suddenly everything starts to gush. Today was a bit like that.
First the phone rang and I had no idea who was on the other end. This is where technology is so wonderful: While listening to the voice saying I had rung yesterday and the apologies for not getting back to me, I hastily typed the number which was calling me into my wonderful database – and up popped the name. A quick click brought up the fact that this was a man who had just started a new business and somebody I had met at a networking group had recommended I call him.
Indeed I had done just this (and left a message which merely said I had been recommended to call him). This last bit was absolutely true and if you say no more than that, people will always call you back.
So now I knew who he was, I was able to tell him why I had called – and did the first of my 30 seconds presentations for the day.
And guess what he said: “Ah, I know all about this. I met one of your colleagues a couple of weeks ago. I’ve got his card somewhere and I was meaning to call him to sort out my huge electricity bills…”
So I went to see him and we’re not only sorting out his electricity bills but his phone and broadband and his second line and he’s even having an 0800 number.
Then it was off to Ipswich to take advantage of the 10% off with the cashback card at Debenhams – we’re having a week in Southwold soon and you can’t been seen looking shabby there.
“Do you want to save £17 pounds?” asked the sales assistant – they always do this: You get 10% off when you take out a store card.
“No thanks, I already save that much by using this card,” I said, flourishing my piggy card.
She took no notice.
“Would you like to save 10% too… no, you probably get a discount already.”
Yes, she said she did.
“Then would you like to save at Sainsbury’s.”
“Can I save at Sainsbury’s?”
“Do you shop there?”
“All the time.”
“Write yourself down (I slid my little notebook across the counter) and I’ll give you a ring when you’re not working…”
On the strength of this, I then went into the street and handed out two dozen micro cards.
And if you do that, you get half a dozen people saying: “What’s this then?”
In which case it wouldn’t be polite not to tell them – and so you do…
One way and another, I thoroughly deserved what happened when I got home.
I was peeling carrots at the time, so I let the call go to voicemail. When I picked it up, I found it said this: “Hello, my name is Judy R—- and my brother Richard tells me I should call you about my electricity bills. Eon keep charging more and more and I understand you can save me a lot of money. Please would you give me a call.”
by John Passmore
The “ears” are the two little boxes stuck on the sides of the Mini. They are business card boxes and the idea came from America as so many do. It’s so unbelievably simple, I can’t imagine why nobody thought of it before (as they said about sliced bread and Sellotape).
The idea is that you fill them with business cards – there’s a little lid to keep the rain off and to stop them blowing away when you’re blowing down the motorway. But if somebody decides the Mini looks intriguing, it’s far more likely they will take a card than fumble for a pen and a piece of paper to write down the phone number.
I stuck them on the door panels on Saturday night ready for Gerry to borrow the car for a boot sale on Sunday morning.
The first time I used it after that was today to go to the Holiday Inn to sign up a new distributor. When I came out both the lids were open. Did this mean two people had taken cards? Or did someone secretly hope they would all blow away? Was this business card vandalism?
From there I drove to Felixstowe to see another distributor, a letting agent who has not been on training, clearly knows nothing but has still signed up three customers. Coming back from the Pay and Display Machine, I found a man removing a card from the passenger-side box.
Intriguingly, my first reaction was to challenge him – as if he was breaking into my car.
“Is there much work about?” he asked me.
“More than you can possibly imagine, “ I told him.
And by default, I was off on my quest for the six.
They came in here and there – a shop – another appeared from the internet. Two referrals answered the phone and listened politely. I’m sure there was another but I never made a note.
The point is that if the ears continue to do their stuff, I shall only need to find five a day.
Or do you think I should increase the target to seven?
by John Passmore
Listening to the morning conference call has got me onto the Business Development Plan and that gives me two new adjustments to make (I was about to write “causes two new problems!).
1. I have to be up at 6.20 a.m. instead of 7.20 which means I need to go to bed an hour earlier – so when do I get to write the blog?
2. If I’m making three phone calls from my list, handing out ten Independences, three DVDs, sending three texts and doing two martinis. How on earth am I going to do six 30-second presentations?
… and write the blog.
So it’s now Friday morning and I’m telling you what I did on Wednesday – and I can’t remember. What I do know is that I had a meeting fixed with a prospective distributor at 7.30 in the evening and planned to go and put 50 Independences through doors and shift the DVDs before picking up my son from his school play at 9.20.
Well it didn’t quite work out like that. The prospect at the garden centre (see “Mistakes Happen”, June 2nd) decided to join and we ended up doing Meeting One and I only got away with ten minutes to spare. By the time I’d got home and helped Tamsin unload the Sainsbury’s shopping it seemed rather late to go sneaking round people’s front gardens.
But I was rescued by the shopping – not the shopping we’d got but what we hadn’t got. Nobody had put milk on the list and our distributor the milkman only delivers on Mondays and Fridays.
With great self-sacrifice, I volunteered to make a mercy-dash to Tescos.
(actually what I was thinking was that at least I could shift the DVDs in Tescos).
“Here you are, here’s a free gift” I said to the first person.
No, that’s no good. I need their name and phone number.
So the second person got: “Hi you’re just person I’ve been looking for. D’you want to make some extra money?”
That’s great. Just write your name, your phone number and your email address on there and I’ll send you something… Meanwhile have a look at this. When d’you think you’ll be able to watch that?”
And for the last one, I played the helpless old buffer card. Taking my milk (and the half dozen bottles of wine) to the self-service checkout, I bleated to the world in general: “What do I do?” and a lovely motherly assistant bustled up to help me.
“You’re working late,” I said and we fell into conversation – as you do.
“Would you like to get paid without having to go out to work? Write your name, your mobile number and your email address in here and I’ll send you something…”
Well, at least I’d shifted the DVDs.
But then, on the way out of the car park, I spotted an AA man sitting in his van reading the paper – obviously waiting between calls. Pulling up next to him, I hopped out.
“Here you are, here’s something else to read…”
by John Passmore
If something works three times in a row, does that prove it’s a success?
I don’t know but I felt confident enough about my new prospecting system to recommend it to Chris down in the West Country today.
Of course then I had to go out and try it just once more to prove to myself that I was right…
And sure enough the young man behind the counter in the Garden Centre looked up with genuine interest when I said: “While I’m here, do you want to know how to earn some extra money?”
“OK, write your name, your email address and your mobile phone number in there and I’ll send you something.”
And the next person in the queue waited patiently while he did just that – and then I gave him a DVD for good measure.
Encouraged by this I went straight home and rang the guy from the music shop we met yesterday: What did he like best about it?
“Very impressive,” were his exact words.
“OK, have you got a bit of paper. I’ll show you how the money works…”
You need this sort of response to balance the next chap I talked to. He was a “garden groomer”. I had pulled up on in someone’s drive especially so that I could type the mobile number from his van into my phone. While I was doing it he came out of the gate. So I saved myself a text and gave him the 30 second thing in person.
“Does anyone ever moan to you about the credit crunch and the cost of living?”
“Not your customers?”
“I never see them. They’re always out at work.”
“Not your friends?”
“Haven’t got any.”
“They all moved away.”
I was beginning to feel that I wasn’t surprised. We agreed that this was not for him.
Never mind, the delivery man who came with my son’s new desk (from Argos) thought it sounded great – so great, in fact, that he’s now going back to the distributor who signed him up as a customer and left him with a DVD which, of course, he never watched.
Never mind, I was 15 minutes early for my afternoon appointment so I sat outside the house and called three people from the list. If my arithmetic is right, I’ve earned my prawn risotto.
by John Passmore
Everybody will tell you this business is all about priorities. You have to choose how you spend your time and this morning I made the other choice. I had my Clarinet Grade 3 exam at 12.40 and I spent the entire morning practising scales and arpeggios.
And did it do me any good?
No, when it came to the exam I went to pieces. My mind went blank my fingers turned to jelly and if I passed it will be a miracle.
(I should add that I felt pretty much like this over Grade 2 and I passed that – but this was worse.)
Still, following the teachings of The Secret, I went straight round to the music shop and bought the book for Grade 4.
And then I looked at the man behind the counter. He seemed bored and fed up. As he handed me my bit of paper, I said: “I’ve been in before but have I ever told you how you can earn some more money?”
“How’s that, “ he asked.
“Write your name, your mobile number and your email address on there and I’ll send you something.”
And he did. This is the second time this has worked. I’m beginning to think I might have made a discovery.
Next it was off to the opticians to get my glasses fixed (actually I claim the missing nose pad and the wonky glasses were the reason for my complete inability to read the music).
“Have I told you about my business?” I asked brightly.
He was hard going. He lived in an eco-friendly house, he’d just signed a two year electricity contract for the shop and he never shopped in supermarkets. But even so the cashback card got him listening. It turned out he bought everything that wasn’t edible in Argos – and when it came to the prospect of his three children at university being able to pay their way by putting in an extra hour a day, all the lights came on.
I was feeling quite optimistic when I set off to the post office to send a box of business cards to my Brother-in-Law who works for the Royal Bank of Scotland in Edinburgh – where people are being made redundant all around him. Then, as I came out, the heavens opened and there was nothing for it but to take shelter in front of Boots.
And there, with my captive audience, I did the last four in Win a Mini forms. One was an existing customer who never realised he could make money out of it (but who has now taken a DVD home). Another lived in sheltered housing and didn’t pay his own bills (but gave me the number of his son who is always interested in making money).
Of the final two, one wanted a call in January and the other didn’t want a call at all – ever.
And then the sun came out and I concluded that the day hadn’t gone badly after all.
And now the blog is done, it’s back to those ruddy arpeggios …
Don’t you hate televisions in pubs? It was a great disappointment when they installed one in our local but – thank heavens – they never seem to turn it on.
At least not on the first Thursday of the Month – or “Thirsty Thursday” as Philip and I call it.
Philip is an old friend and we meet once a month. We discuss each other’s lives. I never mention my business unless he asks. That would be in bad taste because he was once a distributor in my team but he gave up after a year.
The trouble is he can never resist asking – and if he asks, I tell him. And since friends don’t have secrets, if he asks how much residual income I’m getting I tell him that too.
“Well done you,” he says. But he never mentions giving it another go – and I never suggest it.
And then we turn to other things – like why the barman has switched on the TV.
He was very apologetic but he was an actor and he was appearing in an advert – and sure enough there he was cavorting with a particularly glamorous actress and advertising something that I’m afraid was lost on me in all the excitement.
After that it was Philip’s round and he asked what other acting the barman had done – and the conversation got round to what other part-time work he did.
And I just couldn’t resist it any longer. I didn’t need to talk to him to get my six. I had been to a breakfast meeting and then – because I thought the breakfast meeting might sound like cheating – I’d spoken two other people separately and rounded it off with four Win-a-Mini forms when I went to get a packet of sugar.
But as I say, he brought up the subject of money. So I said: “D’you want to know how you can make some more money?”
“I certainly do,” he said, with quite startling enthusiasm.
Matching his enthusiasm with matter-of-fact tones, I handed over my notebook: “Write your name and mobile number and your email address in there and I’ll send you something.”
Which he did – and which I did when I got home.
Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Philip watching all this. I don’t know what he was thinking.
As I say, I never ask.
by John Passmore
It’s a favourite story and if you’ve come for Meeting One any time over the past couple of years you’ve already heard it. But the old ones are the best and it goes like this.
I’d just come back from holiday – a day early and on my own to let the guests into their rooms, it was seven in the evening on a lovely summer Saturday and I thought: “Well, I’d better do some work – after all I haven’t done anything for a week.” So I got out my list and picked up the telephone.
At the end of the first sheet – that’s 34 names, I didn’t have one appointment. People were out or they were having a barbecue or this wasn’t a good time, could I call back in the week…
At the end of the second sheet I still had no-one. But was I getting despondent? If I was a brand new distributor ringing through my list for the first time, I might have been. I might have concluded this business doesn’t work.
But I’d been in for a couple of years by then. I knew what was about to happen. I was about to strike gold. And at the top of the third page, I did. Someone a mile away had just come in from a day’s gliding. He’d had something to eat, there was nothing on the telly: “Come round now if you like,” was what he said.
So he joined and I said: “Do you know your neighbours? Do you think they’d like to save some money too?”
And he did – and they joined.
And I said to them: “Do you know your neighbours on the other side…”
And they joined – and he became a distributor.
The reason I bring it up now is because I have the same feeling of excitement about tomorrow – when I tell you about today, you’ll see why.
I was having lunch with a distributor who’d come down from Norwich to pick my brains. After a plate of pasta and two pints of Adnams I found I was waxing fairly lyrical about talking to everyone. So as we got up and went to take our glasses back to the bar – and happened to be passing a man standing outside the door smoking a cigarette – I thought: “Why not?”
“Can you do me a favour,” I said. “I’ve just been telling my colleague here about the way I talk to everyone I find myself standing next to – and since I’m standing next to you. May I demonstrate?”
“Well, I’m in the Utilities business…”
This would have been fine if the man had not been an itinerant builder with no fixed address. When I told him about 5% of what people spent going into his bank account he said: “I haven’t got a bank account.”
Later, when I realised I’d left my sunglasses on the table, I went back and found a young couple sitting there. Would they like to hear how they could afford to have lunch out every day?
They would – but what I had to offer would be no good to them, they pointed out. Both of them lived with their parents.
“Ah, but if you could afford it, would you rather have your own place?”
Not really. Their Mums cooked for them, did all their laundry. Why would they want to move out?
Very good point. Still, that meant I’d done three.
Next up was a man who made me groan as soon as he told me his address. It was the street where all the cars are up on bricks… and everyone likes British Gas because it’s ages before they realise you haven’t paid them…
Then there was the man who deliberately gave all the wrong answers to the questions on the Win a Mini form – including saying that he didn’t want to win free utilities for a year (there’s always one).
And finally I had an old man who listened politely and then said, equally politely, “No thank you.”
Never mind, I’d got my six. And what it means is that tomorrow is going to be just great. That’s what the law of averages dictates – and the law of averages never lets you down.