Archive for September, 2009
The place was deserted: A sea of empty tables; the slot machine flashing pointlessly to itself;. On the wall a massive screen played Sky sports to nobody at all.
So much for the grand plan.
All evening at the COP people had been talking about whether or not they were on the “100 Day Challenge”. This is the suggestion from Jimmy Chapman that from October 1st we should all give out 50 business cards a day – every day – for 100 days.
Now that includes weekends and Christmas. It’s a marathon and you don’t train for a marathon by running 26 miles. You start on five miles (or five or ten cards) – and I’m in training.
Today I had spoken to my six people on the Win-a-Mini stand but I still had 25 cards left. All evening at the COP I had been fiddling with my remaining stack of cards and telling people I was going to shift them at Dickies Restaurant on the way home.
Dickies is an enormous truck-stop café where lorry drivers bound for Felixstowe docks park up and wait for their delivery slot. It’s open 24 hours a day and it’s full of people with nothing to do.
But not at 11.oo p.m. on a Tuesday night, apparently. Just three blokes sitting at a table outside, smoking: “You lost?” said one.
“Well I was hoping to find lots of people to give these to?”
“What they all about then?”
So I told him – and his two mates listened.
He wasn’t interested – at least not unless he was going to get paid “cash in hand”.
He was very apologetic but banks, taxes, all that… no, I was welcome to it.
And then, with a flash of inspiration, he added: “Tell you what: I’ll give them out for your. We get lots of blokes in here during the day…”
Hey, this is cheating. Today was the first day of our Win-a-Mini event at Wyevales garden centre so speaking to six was a doddle. Being the organiser, I volunteered for the first hour handing out the invitations which I did while making a series of phone calls on the headset.
Then I had to nip home twice so didn’t actually spend a great deal of time getting the forms filled in. But Wyevales is great – nice people with plenty of time to talk. John Breadstill made six appointments in three hours.
I got one – but I also signed up a customer. This was someone I had been to see about three weeks ago. He warned me he wouldn’t sign anything there and then. He wanted to check it out, he said.
“That’s fine,” I told him. “I want you to feel completely comfortable about this… Tell you what, let’s fill in the form and I’ll leave it with you. Then you can sign it and send it to me when you’re ready. Is that OK?”
Of course it was OK. Then, once we’d filled it in, I got him to sign it anyway because: “I once did this with someone and then, when they’d decided to go ahead they sent it to be without remembering to sign it!”
As it turned out this chap wanted to get a debit card on a different account and decided to complete a whole new form so I suggested we meet in Wyevales. After all this trouble I feel confident that I’m going to be getting referrals from him for years.
The only trouble with it being so easy is that I didn’t give out 50 cards. Never mind – I’ve got a dentist’s appointment in Ipswich this afternoon…
Top Tip from the Twitter:
Paul says: When you’re about to make a long car journey, see who you need to talk to and make sure their numbers are in your phone. Then you can call them on the hands-free kit.
(And I’ll add something to this: If you keep one of those tiny digital voice recorders in the car, you can use it to make notes about what’s said – as well as collecting mobile numbers off vans on the road.)
As usual Sunday is a day off – but look what happened: I took Theo and Hugo to Rendlesham Forest with our bikes and as usual there’s something wrong with mine – if ever I wheel it backwards the chain comes off.
This has happened so many times that I put it back almost without thinking. But this time somebody joined me: “Anything I can do to help?”
I looked up: “No, it’s just the chain. It’s always happening.”
What I didn’t tell him was that I’ve promised myself a new bike when I get to Marketing Director and having a dodgy chain is a great incentive…
Maybe it was because of that, that I reached into my pocket and said: “Let me give you one of these. I always give one to helpful people.”
As he looked at it, I added: “If you like, I’ll tell you what it’s about.”
I’d only just got started and asked him if he’d heard of the company and he said: “Yes.”. He’d seen it on the internet. In fact he would have been quite happy to stand there for ten minutes and talk to someone who was actively involved. But as I say it was my day off. The boys were waiting for me. So, taking his details and apologising for having to go, I promised to call him in the morning.
span style=”font-weight:bold;”/spanTop Tip from the Twitter.
Simon Gee from St Albans says: “Get up 15 minutes early and, on your way to work, get off the tube one stop before you need to. Then walk the rest of the way: You’ll pass more people, so you’ll be able to give out more cards.”
I know I don’t have to talk to six at weekends but sometimes the opportunity presents itself…
Once in a while they have a “bygones” market in Woodbridge. It’s put on by an entrepreneurial chap who spends the rest of his life buried in computer programs. But three or four times a hear he fills our Market Hill with stalls selling everything from make-it-yourself draw-string purses to table croquet. It’s unique and great fun.
And if I was going to nip into town to get some dried apricots for our BB guests, then I wasn’t going to miss the market.
And, of course, I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to arm myself with 50 piggy cards and mingle with a crowd.
And if you give out little pink cards shaped like piggies, you get to talk to people – like, for instance, the painter and decorator.
“How long does it take to do a decorating job?”
“Days, weeks… as long as it takes.”
“So they make you cups of tea?”
“And they go out shopping and leave you there, painting away?”
“So they trust you? Look I’d better tell you what I’m thinking because this could make you a lot of money.”
So he’d got a DVD and we’re talking on Monday.
Collect Win-a-Mini stand.
Fill up Mini.
Collect bathroom shelves.
… and , of course, talk to six…
If you’ve got one of these Win-a-Mini exhibition stands, you’ll know they’re murder to put together. Take my advice and get your local engineering company to put longer bolts on the upper rods.
And then, when you pay the bill, ask the receptionist: “Shall I tell you what it’s for?”
And there was the first…
After I’d filled up the Mini at Sainsburys and was just about to drive off a Mazda MX5 pulled up. Now there are certain people I always give a card to – and sports car driver are one category. So, quick as a flash, I flipped off the seatbelt, hopped out and: “Hi, I always give one of these to sports car drivers… if you like I could tell you what it’s about. Takes me one minutes and 45 seconds…”
“All right,” he said. “I’m only standing here while I fill up…”
Then into the store to the homewares department for the shelves. There was some confusion over these. Now that I’m an efficient person who doesn’t waste a second, I had phoned ahead to make sure they were in stock.
“You’ll need to ask someone to get them out from the back. The bathroom section is being re-organised,” said the voice on Customer Service.
“Who told you that,” demanded the man doing the re-organising. “They shouldn’t have told you that. They had no right to tell you that. I’ve got 20 rollers of stuff out the back – how am I supposed to find shelves?”
Now that I am a patient person who smiles in times of difficulty (infuriating, aren’t I?) I smiled patiently and we went and asked Customer Service – who, of course suggested that if the shelves were out the back, they could fetched and brought to the front.
And sure enough my new friend said: “Wait here – er, please wait here… um, if you don’t mind.”
Five minutes later he returned with my shelves and so I was able to say: “Thank you very much, you’ve been very helpful… tell you what, I always give one of these to helpful people – because helpful people can make a lot of money.”
Then I looked at him: In his 50’s, smiling now and not so harassed. I asked him: “This isn’t your first job is it? What did you do before?”
“I was a bank manager for 20 years.”
In the next two minutes I discovered that when he went into banking he thought he would be doing it until he was 65. He had no idea he was going to have to spend the last 15 years of his working life doing a menial job in a supermarket. Also that although Sainsburys pay well, you have to work for it. The hours are long. It was not the way he’d planned his life.”
He now has a DVD and I have his email address and phone number and we’re going to talk again on Monday.
After all this, I almost forgot to pay for the shelves. I’ve a feeling that because they’re “homewares” rather than “grocery” I don’t get 5% back on my Cashback card. But I used it anyway. I like to think that one day the computer will make a mistake.
Maybe the computer understood this because the Card didn’t work. The checkout assistant had to swipe it through her machine.
“I’ve never seen one like this before,” she said.
Now I know I’m not supposed to promote the card inside Sainsburys (why should they want to give a discount to customers they’ve got already?) But she had asked.
“It’s great,” I told her. “I get 5% cashback.”
This time the card worked. She peered at her screen: “It hasn’t given you any cashback.”
“No, I get that later, on my utility bill. Here, have one of these, that explains all about it.”
“Oo, that’s good. I’ll look at that.”
Of course, if you’re going to put up shelves in your new en-suite bathroom, you need “medium weight plasterboard fixings” available, on this occasion not from Homebase with another 5% but from Focus.
And there I met a couple wandering round the bathroom section: “Here, have one of these, it helps pay for your bathroom.”
I suddenly realised I was up to five already. One to go.
Out in the car park a kitchen fitter was getting out of his van.
“Are you a kitchen fitter?” I asked him (of course he was. Was he likely to be an insurance salesman who liked to drive around in a kitchen fitter’s van?) “Tell me, would you like to earn an extra income alongside the kitchen business? It sort of bolts onto what you’re doing already. It takes me about one minutes and 45 seconds to tell you…”
And there you are: Six and job done.
Don’t you just love this business?
Not the money (well maybe the money…) but also the stories?
I know I’m going to be telling this one for years: I’d done my six – a spin around town, someone coming to the door, someone else ringing up to sell me something…
Now I was on my way to the Essex COP to meet a new distributor and his first prospect. Question: How best to use the time on the A12? I could listen to an inspiring CD or I could make some calls.
Well, I still had some spaces in the Win-a-Mini schedule for Wyevales so maybe it was time to ring Tim Douglas in case he didn’t know (or to put it another way to suggest tactfully that he ought to book a couple of slots).
Very slowly and deliberately I spoke to the Blackberry: “Call Tim Douglas.”
“Are you saying ‘Call Tim Douglas?’” said the lady in the Blackberry – at least I presume that’s what she said . I often wonder why she has a sock in her mouth.
The voice that answered was not Tim. I glanced at the screen. It told me I was calling Clint Sanders. Who was Clint Sanders? The fact that his number was in my phone meant that I must have talked to him sometime – but without stopping and investigating, I had no idea when or why.
But I could make an educated guess: “Did we ever talk about you making money with?”
Oh yes, now he remembered. Something to do with telephones and electricity wasn’t it?
And so as the Mini hummed on its way, Clint Sanders took his second look at the business – all the way from “What we’ve got here is a discount club…” to “So, d’you want to give it a go.”
I’d like to be able to report that he went straight onto the website and signed up but this is reality. He does, on the other hand, want me to ring him on Friday morning when he’s checked it out.
And Tim? Must remember to give him a ring…
If you haven’t read this book or listened to the CD, you’re missing something. The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson is the one book that all the top distributors recommend. This is what took Esther Callis from Group Director to Marketing Director while she lay motionless in hospital after breaking her back.
And this is what made me stop and get out of the car after I found myself driving down a cul-de-sac, had to turn round and go all the way back. I was mildly annoyed but I’m pleased to report that I was not so distracted that I stopped looking for opportunities.
Which was why I clocked the guy peeling the graphics off his van. I suppose I noticed it because he’d just peeled off the mobile number so I wouldn’t be able to send him a text.
I was about to keep driving when the slight edge kicked it: “Just do the extra little bit – the tiny 0.1% that makes the difference. ..”
I pulled up and got out.
“Hi, “ I said with a big smile (which I hadn’t been feeling two minutes earlier). “I need to ask you a question.”
He stopped peeling. He smiled. He readied himself to be helpful. There was a huge tank in the back of the van and a hose reel.
“Are you one of those filtered water window cleaners?”
“That’s how I get my windows cleaned. It’s a great system. Tell me could you use an extra income alongside the window cleaning. “
Now isn’t it funny the way everyone always says the same thing to this question: ”I could always use an extra income…”
And so we got talking – which is what this business is all about. It turns out he wasn’t interested. He used to sell gas. He knocked on doors, he stood in the street with a clip board. He’d done it all and now he just got on with his window cleaning and paid his bills and no offence but it wasn’t for him.
And that was fine. But he was a talker. For one thing he wasn’t worried about the future because he was a Jehovah’s Witness and the world was going to end anyway.
I’ve always found this fascinating because I remember a leaflet going round when I was at school. I think in those days the world was going to end in 1960 and everyone went around asking each other if they were going to repent (at the age of 11 we weren’t quite sure what that meant).
And so the window cleaner and I carried on talking: There’s a Jehovas’s Witness in my business. He’s hugely successful*. He does it so he can give his income to the church.
I suppose it must have been after a good ten minutes, while my new friend peeled away, that he suddenly looked at me and understanding dawned: “You mean that if you stopped work today, you’d still carry on getting paid?”
“Yes,” I said (why had it taken so long for the penny to drop?)
“The same amount every month?”
“No, every month it goes up. After a while it’s not what you do that counts. It’s what other people do.”
We then had a rather odd two minutes in which he stopped peeling the letters off the van and stood looking me hard in the eye, saying things like: “This is absolutely genuine? You promise you’re not making this up? Can I trust you?”
It was a bit un-nerving, really. What can it be like when you’re initiated as a Witness?
Then he took the DVD – and we had another minute of “I’ll watch it. I’ll watch it tonight. I promise you I’ll watch it…”
D’you know what? I think he will – and something else: If he does start this business, he’s going to fly!
• Yes, I’m told one of the marketing directors is a Jehovah’s Witness. I’ve a fairly good idea who it is but maybe I shouldn’t publicise people’s beliefs without asking them first.
A lovely story on the morning twitter today: Christine Wise had a sudden phone call yesterday – her son had been rushed to hospital. He’d been with his Dad and broken his collarbone. Nothing too serious, then.
But still, she was in the hospital and naturally preoccupied. For once she wasn’t thinking about her business – not prospecting everyone who came within three feet of her as she usually does.
When suddenly someone else in the waiting room said: “All right then, tell me.”
“What?” said Christine.
It was only then that she realised she was wearing her badge. She wears it all the time – absolutely all the time.
Ask yourself this: If you were going to get paid £50,000 a year for wearing a badge, would you wear it?
I once wore mine when I took the family and the in-laws out to a rather grand restaurant to celebrate my birthday. After all, I reasoned, it was my birthday so I could wear the badge if I wanted to. The waiter asked me: “All right then, how do I save 5% on my shopping and petrol?”
Mind you I didn’t wear it yesterday to our friends’ joint 50th birthday party. But even thereI found there were opportunities: First I met a woman who worked as an accountant at the local public school.
“I used to be full time but I wanted to spend more time at home with the children,” she said. “They were very good; they let me go part time.”
“Ah well then,” I replied as if the thought had just occurred to me, “I ought to tell you about my business. It’s all part time but it pays a full time income. Tell you what: I can’t tell you here because me wife will say I’m talking shop but I’ll give you a ring next week. What’s your number?”
And of course I had my little notebook and pen…
Also, in my other back pocket I had some cards (just in case) and towards the end, when the ceilidh band was packing up, I went and talked to the bass player. He had a fascinating electronic contraption which enabled him to play drums with his feet.
We got talking: “Is this full time for you?”
(Of course it wasn’t: How many musicians playing at private parties are full time?)
He turned out to be a computer hardware engineer.
“Right then, I said. I’m going to give you one of these. I’m always looking for people with two jobs because people with two jobs can always do three – especially if they pay’s good enough.”
“Can I have some more,” he said. I’ve got some friends who might be interested…”
I won’t go into detail because you might be reading this before breakfast but we have a plumbing problem.
We have had a plumbing problem for ten years – ever since we installed the world’s most expensive en-suite bathroom. It’s not particularly wonderful – it’s not a wet-room, for instance.
Although our neighbour whose dining room is underneath does have a wet-room. Every time our Saniflo loo leaks, guess where the water goes?
Obviously mending these gadgets is not a particularly pleasant task and most plumbers refuse to touch them. This means whose who do are able to charge a standard £85 for a call-out.
I don’t hold this against Sam the Saniflo man. We’ve got to know each other very well over the years. Obviously I’ve told him about my Utility business. In fact I’ve suggested it would fit in very well with what he does. He’s had a DVD but he decided against it so now I don’t mention it. I just let him park beside the Mini. I just invite him into my office while I write the cheque. I just have my MD planner on the wall, a stack of piggy cards on the desk…
“How’s your utility business going?” he asks because someone has to break the awkward silence.
Five minutes later we’re sitting down going through the Martini presentation.
He wants to think about it. He wants to watch the DVD again. I can wait. I know I’ll be seeing him again… and again…
If you went to “An Audience with the SMDs” you will have heard about the “Sliding Doors” moment.
This is based on the film of the same name in which Gwyneth Paltrow slides effortlessly between two storylines developing in different directions depending on whether she did or did not get onto a tube train before the doors closed.
I think I might just have had one of those moments today.
For one reason and another the arrangements for MAD did not go smoothly and I ended up without a room at the hotel where Jez Tromans organised his party. It was a great night but I ended up staying at a pub a mile away. This meant that the next morning I had to walk back to pick up the Mini.
Now I’d already been exposed to one MAD in Southport and Jimmy Chapman had talked about a challenge he had set his team – to hand out 50 business cards a day for 90 days. That’s 4,500 in all. What effect do you think that would have on your business? I had decided then and there to do the same.
However at 8.30 a.m. on a Sunday morning when I knew I was going to spend the entire day in a room with 2,000 other distributors, it suddenly didn’t seem so easy.
But everything’s possible if you just think about it for a moment. So I started pushing cards through letter boxes. And of course there were a few people walking home with the Sunday papers under their arm, so they gone one and a cheery word to go with it.
But then, when I came to the paper shop I saw Cheltenham’s most dedicated entrepreneur. He turned out to be a redundant Porsche salesman who had bought himself a van with an Expresso machine in the back and he was parked on the pavement dispensing coffee and muffins to go with the Sunday supplements. What a great idea!
So we got talking and I asked him if people stood around the van drinking their coffee and whether he talked to them … and whether they ever moaned about the credit crunch and the cost of living…
And yes, he’s now looking. And if he does it, how good do you think he’ll be?
The more I think about him the more excited I become.
By the time I emerged from my second MAD of the weekend and embarked on the 170-mile drive home, I wanted more of those sliding doors moments. For instance, what if I pulled into the service station on the M5? Who would I meet there?
It turned out to be a woman with a new baby who had decided that after this one she was not going back to work.
And I found a new line of introduction too. There were a lot of people I wouldn’t go out of my way to talk to . Since I’d rather talk to people who at least look successful, I tried this: “Hi, you look successful. Am I right?”
I’m rather pleased with it – after all it was only a few days ago that I decided to give a pink pig to everyone wearing pink (or purple, or certain shades of blue) so that I could say: “I’m going to give you one of these because it matches your top…”
And you guessed it, without any apparent effort, I had spoken to my six. I can hardly wait to call them back and see what happens.
Isn’t this business exciting?