Archive for October, 2009
by John Passmore
This really is getting out of hand. Once again I prepared 100 cards.
Given the list of things to do today, there was no real prospect of handing out anything more than the usual 50 but it just shows you how habits are formed…
And once you have that weight of cards in your pocket, they seem to draw attention to themselves.
So I made a small detour to the playground: “I see you have children. I’m going to give you one of these. We have four and we found it was brilliant…”
I had one person ask me what it was all about before the dog found a gap in the fence and we had to leave…
Back home our wonderful handyman turned up to trim the bottom of the bathroom door. He works for £10 an hour and he’s my constant reminder of Chris Williams’ dictum: “Poor people spend time to save money. Rich people spend money to save time.”
And no, the handyman doesn’t want to be a rich person. Thank heavens for that – if it wasn’t for guys like him the whole system would fall apart.
While all this was going on, the Parcel Force delivery man arrived with the new consignment of DVDs. Was he interested in an extra income to bolt onto what he was doing already? Quite honestly I doubted it but I told him anyway because telling people makes you rich and famous. He, on the other hand, would rather deliver parcels.
And thank heavens for him too – otherwise how would we get our DVD’s?
But the way this system works is that eventually you will run into someone who would like to make the transition from being a poor person to being a rich person. Someone, for instance, like the young man handing out chocolates in Ipswich Town centre. I had dashed in after my clarinet lesson to go to Debenhams and there he was dressed up in a chefs outfit and doing a roaring trade (well you do if the chocolates are free).
Oddly enough it was his friend I started talking to. He had seemed to show more interest. But then young Dean chipped in: “I’d go for that. You mean you get paid every month – again and again?”
You could almost see the lightbulb clicking on. Some people just get it right away.
I’d have liked to have stayed chatting for longer. I’d have liked to pop into Burger King for a Martini (don’t you love that sentence?) But I had to deliver my son’s application for the school concert band tour of Tuscany before 4.15.
It meant that at the end of the day I had said my piece to six people but I still had about 40 cards left. Ah well…
And then, at six O’clock, I looked around the house and found it was empty.
This never happens. But Tamsin is organised and there’s always an explanation on the kitchen calendar: Sure enough Owen was at a party in the middle of nowhere and I didn’t have to go and find him until nine O’clock – and the others had gone to a drumming workshop and a show called “Cacophony” at the theatre.
Allowing an hour to fix myself dinner, I had 45 minutes with nothing to do! I grabbed the cards and headed for people.
In fact I lost ten minutes running into a friend at the bowling alley. She was a long-time customer and this was her mother – how do you do – and mother was already a customer in Hampshire…
By the time I hit Tesco’s I had only 30 minutes left. There was a slight urge to go berserk but that would draw attention.
So I wandered aimlessly, looking for likely people: “Hi, I see you have children…” and “Look, we seem to be the same sort of age, I’m going to give you one of these…” and even “Um, this is a complete whim but you never know. Have a look at this…”
And there were a couple of men in suits, so they got: “You look successful. I’m always looking for successful people…”
By the time I ended up at the exit I’d given out all but half a dozen of the cards and four DVDs.
And then, as I headed for the exit, past all those people at the end of the checkouts, I had a brainwave: Every two paces, there was someone with a trolley full of bags. So I popped cards into bags: “One for you… one for you… one for you.”
“Oh thank you…yes thanks…oh, right…”
by John Passmore
The trouble with a part-time business is that things can get out of hand.
Yesterday, you may have seen that I gave out 100 cards in one day: 50 in the morning – and then went mad and gave out another 50 in the evening – and it didn’t seem very hard at all.
Today I posed the question to myself: “If it’s not hard to give out 50 in no time at all, how long does it take to give out 100 – and how many people would I get to talk to?
A key condition was that this had to be bolted onto something I was doing as part of my other life. Today this happened to be driving up to Southwold to empty the beach hut. All those seaside bits and pieces which might break when they move the hut or rust while it spends the winter in Southwold Pier car park – they all had to come home.
It took about five trips with my arms full of stuff – but of course, walking back with my hands empty, I could give a card to everyone I passed. And they all said: “Thank you.”
Then I stopped in town and walked round the little market. This did not go brilliantly to begin with. Talking to the woman behind the farm shop butcher’s stall, I got as far as: “Does anyone ever moan to you about the cost of living and the credit crunch?”
And she said: “No, we’re all cheerful here. You’ve got to make the best of things…”
Clearly she was set for a lecture on positive thinking and while I heartily agree with her, she was interfering with my 1 minute 45 seconds. I gave her a card and moved on.
At the Swedish Goods stall, however, matters progressed much better and I’ll be phoning back today to ask “what did you like best?”
In the cafe I had an audience of three for my little piece – two of them teachers (teachers make great distiributors).
The cards flew out of my hands: “This is for you… have one of these…I’m going to give you this… have you had one of these…”
And nobody attacked me, nobody called the police. In fact nobody said anything more offensive than: “Thank you very much.”
Maybe I have a nice smile after all…
I had been at it for about 55 minutes when I came to the vet’s surgery. He was just locking up but he opened the door.
“Are you the vet,” I asked him. “Because I’m looking for business people who might like to make an extra income. I wondered if you might be one of those.”
And he said he was. He got the last card, I got his contact details – and the whole process had taken 55 minutes.
I went home with a full car and a feeling of considerable achievement. And guess what happened when I arrived? I picked up my phone from the little cup holder by the gearstick and saw the light was flashing: An email.
Executive Services wished to report that someone had visited my hosted business opportunity site and left their details to ask for further information. Leaving a decent interval for him to have a good look at his information back, I called him. He was in a meeting and so we’ll talk tomorrow.
And then, in the early evening, a call from a man who said: “You won’t remember me but we talked about your discounted utilities in August last year. I’d like to take the gas and electricity, please.”
So I’m going to see him when I get back from holiday (and he’s paying BT £4.75 a month for free evening and weekend calls which can’t be right…)
So tell me, is this a part-time business?
by John Passmore
The one advantage of thinning hair (we don’t use the ‘b’ word) is that haircuts don’t take long.
This was important because I spent a good part of yesterday trying to persuade one of my colleagues that he could find time in his busy day to give out 50 business cards.
“Impossible,” he was saying. “I start work at 8.00 a.m.”
“Well how about lunchtime.”
“I don’t stop for lunch.”
“After work then?”
We went on like this for some time…
So how long does it really take to give out 50 business cards and talk to six people? I had one hour to get into town, get my hair cut, do my daily activity and get off to my 11.30 appointment.
It was raining – so that was a good excuse to take the Mini. In the car park the next door car contained a businessman with all his papers spread out on the passenger seat while he peered at his mobile gadget. I tapped on the window.
“It looks to me as if you’re in business,” I said. “May I ask what you do?”
He sold watch batteries.
“That’s great. I’m always looking for salespeople. Would you be interested in bolting on an extra income to what to do already?”
I had given him a DVD and swapped details before I realised I hadn’t given him a card. I still had 50 to go!
Never mind, I must have shifted a dozen on the way to the hairdressers: “Have you had one of these? It’s all about money… absolutely brilliant… Have you had one of these? It’s all about money…”
The hairdresser hadn’t watched the DVD I gave her last time. In an attempt to change the subject, she started telling me about how she and her boyfriend wanted to get their own place – which somehow led us right back to the subject of DVDs…
It was raining hard on the way back to the car so I found it necessary to pop into every shop and say: “I only came into get out of the rain. But tell you what – now I’m here, have one of these…”
All the customers got one too.
The Fed Ex man doing his delivery also got one – then we discovered I’d given him a leaflet months ago so I told him all about the business all over again and he gave me his new email address.
All the staff in the Jobcentre got cards – and they all said “thank you very much”. In the TV shop I gave a mini-presentation to the three guys behind the counter and the last few cards disappeared to a gaggle of mums with pushchairs sheltering outside Boots.
I looked at my watch: 55 minutes including the haircut. I still had five minutes to get home.
In fact it all went so well that in the evening I popped out for another half an hour and did another 50 – the bowling alley, Tescos and two very empty pubs.
The silly thing is that the more you do it, the easier it gets.
I think there’s an Emerson quotation about that: “Do the thing and you shall have the power…”
I know exactly what he meant.
Things were not looking so good for the business customer. I’d already established that his electricity company had rolled him into a new contract ending in 2011 – and now BT announced they had him trapped until 2013 for his telephones.
“May I ask which provider you’re thinking of moving to?” asked the nice young man on the other end.
I told him.
“And why would you want to move to them?”
So I told him again: “In order to put all the utility services on one bill – the electricity, the phone, mobiles, and broadband – and to save money on the petrol and shopping as well.”
The young man considered this. After a pause he said: “That sounds amazing.”
So I told him a bit about this company he’d never heard about that was taking so much business from BT.
Then I said: “May I ask you a question. If you sign up someone to a new BT contract, do you get a commission?”
Oh yes, he was very proud of this. He got paid on every new contract.
“And do you get paid again every time they make a phone call?”
“Would you like to?”
And so, on BT’s time we spent ten minutes going through how the money works and now I’ve got his name, his phone number and his email address and he’s looking at the website.
Meanwhile things are not looking so bad for the customer either. It will only cost him £118 to cancel the contracts on his four lines. I reckond we can save him more than that before June 2011…
And some days it just falls into your lap…
Actually I’m still haunted by the memory of Wednesday so I must have been making some effort. But it didn’t seem like that.
In the music shop we’d had a long discussion about how to silence the drum kit my 11-year-old just won on eBay. The owner was one of those knowledgeable enthusiasts. So it was easy for me to say: “Can you do me a favour? I’ve got a part-time business and every day I tell six people about it…”
And now I’ve got an appointment with him and his partner on the 19th.
Meanwhile one of his suggestions was putting the drums on an acoustic mat (available from BQ). I stormed round the aisles leaving a paper trail of piggy cards – always listening out for anyone who took one, peered and it and said: “What’s this.”
“I’ll tell you all about it if you like… takes me precisely one minute and 45 seconds. D’you want to hear it?”
So now a builder called Trevor’s got a DVD – and so has a lovely old boy called Jim who I found heading for the garden section.
In fact I never did get the acoustic mat – neither at BQ nor at Homebase. But on the way back I did get a call from a nice lady called Julie who rang up saying I had once expressed interest in alternative investments.
Obviously these were such good investments that they didn’t need too many customers. I could tell this because she had plenty of time for me to explain why I didn’t need any alternative investments any more – and now she’s promised to look at my way of making money. I had to extract the promise because she didn’t want to give me her phone number – all I’ve got is her email address. Still, we had such a long talk and she seemed so impressed that I’m going to count her as number four – after all, I make the rules…
Number five was a bit of a surprise: At my networking group, I’d asked if anyone knew the owner of the small hotel on the by-pass and sure enough someone did. I phoned at four O’clock as requested and the power of networking worked like a charm.
“We’ve not met but so-and-so suggested I give you a call…”
“Oh yes, she said you were going to ring. Apparently you’re going to save me some money on my bills, is that right?”
How would you like people to say that to you? Join a networking group…
Anyway we were half-way through making an appointment when she said: “It’s a bit difficult because I’ve got another job.”
“Really? What else do you do?”
“I’m a financial advisor.”
DING! On went the lightbulb : “Ah well now, I have many colleagues who are IFA’s. Would you like me to tell you how we can give you another income stream at the same time as benefiting your financial business?
I knew who was going to be the number six – the sixth former who was selling the drum kit. I went to collect it with my excited son reading the map. The drums turned out to be a real eBay bargain – only £130 and as good as new. Best of all, although the vendor was only 17, his big sister was there too and not only did the two of them listen while I told them how they could fund themselves through college but the lad said: “I know I can’t start for another nine months. But I could give out some cards for you…”
We used to be so close to Kim and Paul. Our oldest children were inseparable. When they moved house they came to stay with us for two weeks. But their new home was 40 minutes away and so we drifted apart.
I could tell just how far apart from the fact that Kim rang on my phone rather than Tamsin’s. Having two lines means you can tell when someone has had to look you up in the phone book…
It turned out that Kim wanted to know about childminding – we used to do this in the days when we were desperate for any kind of income. But when OFSTED got involved the paperwork became ridiculous and we joined the hundreds who gave up (which shows you how counter-productive over-regulation can be).
Anyway it turned out that Kim was going back to work.
“Really, what are you going to do?”
She was going to be a part-time teacher.
“Fantastic. I’m always on the look out for teachers for my little part-time business. D’you remember that?”
She had some garbled memory of gas prices but they didn’t have gas where they lived so it would be no good for them.
“No, no,” I said. “That’s not how it works at all. Actually you could do me a great favour: I have a little thing I say to six people a day. It takes precisely one minute and 45 seconds and if you wouldn’t mind, you could be my first today.”
And so I told Kim all about it – and now I’ve got to tell Paul. Besides it will be good to catch up.
So that was one – and after that I called in at our breakfast meeting venue to pay the bill l and asked the receptionist: “Do you know what we do here once a week?”
So I told her and she’s got a DVD – and since her colleague listened too, that counts as three in all.
Then into Ipswich to the dentist (he gave me a schedule of possible treatments culminating in a full implant costing £2,000!)
And since I had all of today’s 50 cards to give out as well as some left over from yesterday, I nipped into the town centre to get rid of them.
It’s amazing how quickly you can do this.
“Hi, you look successful. Are you?” I said to the guy in the suit. So he wants me to call his girlfriend who looks after the services.
And after I had given cards to all the people in the queues for the cash machines at the bank (here, have one of these. It’s about putting more money in the bank) I thought “Why stop there. Why not go into the bank.”
Banks these days are much less formal. They seem to be full of people milling around as if they were in a market. However this time I made the mistake of approaching one of the staff. By the time I saw his little lapel badge it was too late.
But instead of asking me to leave, he said he was always interested in money.
“Well, I could tell you about it. It takes me one minute and 45 seconds. But if you haven’t got a customer who wants help in that time, I could give it a go. They can always interrupt us…”
And so I did – and I roped in his colleague to make up the six. The colleague listened with a glazed expression. But the first guy took a DVD and gave me his mobile number and email address.
We even had time for a joke about how infuriated the HSBC hierarchy get if you refer to it as the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation – I feel an obligation to do this at every opportunity since my wife’s grandfather was a manager of the Midland Bank and he’s still spinning in his grave at the thought of the Chinese getting their hands on it…
We went to see Julie and Julia last night. It is, apparently, the first film based on a blog.
The blog in question was written by a woman in who set herself the challenge of cooking her way through an enormous cookbook in a single year. Inevitably there comes a day when she hasn’t managed to cook a thing.
Her husband says: “Well, can’t you just lie – who’s going to know?”
And I think what she says is “I’ll know.”
And by astonishing coincidence, that’‘s exactly what happened to me today.
Today I did not say my piece to a single person. Not one.
I started off with a breakfast meeting (this is a week of three breakfast meetings which is a mistake). It dragged. I rushed home. The dog got a very fast walk while I made a series of phone calls (which meant I had to hand out cards with an inane smile and encouraging gestures but not actually talk to anyone). Then off to pick up my son’s saxophone from school and take it with my daughter’s clarinet to be repaired (don’t drop wind instruments on the floor).
The plan then was to go into town for a few things and hand out 50 cards which means at least six people are going to say “What’s this?” … which in turn means I can tell them.
But that’s not what happened. Just as I was about to leave, a customer phoned to say she was now out of her BT broadband contract and could she please have our service. Since she has not paid three bills yet, this is not something I can order for her. She would have to sign another form – or call the office herself. I started giving her the number. Then I came to my senses.
“Tell you what,” I said. “Why don’t I pop round now, I’m only five minutes away.”
Think about it: Is that the sort of service she was used to from BT. Is she going to be pleased?
You bet she was. And so after I had got the MAC code off BT and politely fended off their attempts to keep her, I said brightly: “Now, remember the club doesn’t advertise so we rely entirely on our members recommending their friends. So who would you like to recommend today. I can take six names.”
“Oh my goodness,” she said. “I might manage a couple.”
She did. But I had already written down the numbers 1 – 6 in my book and sat there with my pen poised over number three.
So she gave me another.
And then a fourth.
And sure enough, we managed to fill all six spaces.
Of course, if I had dashed home and called all six, I could have claimed to have met my target. But first I have to let my happy customer call to warn them I’ll be in touch – which conveniently turns them from cold calls into warm leads.
So I’m not going to beat myself up too much about it. Still, must do better tomorrow…
After so long with a Win-a-Mini stand and then the Networking event yesterday, it was back to basics today – just find six people to talk to while getting on with the rest of life.
The first one turned up while I was walking the dog: a builder’s van turning into the car park. So I took a small diversion, planning to talk to him as he got out – only to find him swinging round in a wide circle and heading for the exit. I didn’t care for that so I flagged him down.
“I was planning to talk to you as you got out,” I said. “I didn’t reckon on you leaving so soon. ,”
He told me he only wanted the visit the public loo but it was closed.
“Ah… Well the reason I wanted to talk to you is because I’m always on the lookout for small builders…”
In fact the walk turned out to be very productive because next I found myself going through the level crossing gates with a yachtsman heading for the sailing club.
“Are you a yachtsman?” I asked (daft question considering he was wearing the hat, the foul-weather jacket, the boots and toting the bag over his shoulder. “I’m going to give you one of these because I know boats are expensive…”
“Well I’ll tell you all about it if you like.”
Silence while he peered at the card.
“Takes me one minute and 45 seconds precisely. D’you want to hear it?”
Later on the dog met a friend. The dogs greeted each other as only dogs know how. The owners said “Good morning”, remarked on the weather…
One of them said: “Let me give you one of these…”
The other said: “What’s this?”
And the first one thought: “Three down, three to go and it’s only 9.15 in the morning!”
There was then a long gap while I did Meeting One with a new distributor, went for my clarinet lesson (not a huge success) and got to three in the afternoon still with a pocketful of cards and three people to talk to. So on the way home I stopped at a parade of shops – apart from anything else, I had a letter to post.
As I got out I almost collided with a man in a suit.
“You look successful,” I said. “I always give one of these to successful people.”
It was only after I said this that I realised he had a little badge on his lapel. It said “BT”.
Ah well, we mustn’t be prejudiced. He wanted to know all about it and the next minute he was sitting in the car with me for the Martini presentation.
Only two to go so I went round the Co-op, hanging around for a promising-looking couple who seemed to be posting a hundred parcels at the little post office section. I reckoned they must have a small business – or else they were profession eBay traders.
But while I hung around near the post office, an assistant kept having to ask me to move as she went back and forth with a trolley. Now, I don’t usually approach the staff in shops in case they realise what I’m up to and ask me to stop. But this lady was just so cheerful and polite that I had no choice: “Look, I’m always on the lookout for cheerful people. I’m going to give you one of these…”
“What is it?”
“I’ll tell you all about it if you like…”
It was only at that point, when I’d reached five that I remembered that I’d already called someone I’d been referred to by a colleague at my networking club. It’s said my piece to him over the phone without evening counting it!
Last week was boring.
Well, it would have made boring reading. We had a Win-a-Mini stand at Wyevales and so talking to six people a day was easy. In fact I probably talked to 16 a day – and very tiresome reading that would have made.
Today was hardly any different: My networking club staged what they called a “Showcase” at Mercedes Benz world in Weybridge – 200 business people and as many old cars.
I’ve been to these things before and I know that the trick is to “work the room”. There’s no point in standing talking to the same two or three people for the whole time.
On the other hand you don’t want to rush from one to the other so fast that you don’t have time to get to know each other.
By arriving early, sitting down to breakfast, mingling in the break and hanging about afterwards, I came away with 15 business cards. They will all get a “nice to meet you…do drop in if you’re ever this way” email after lunch today.
(I’m told that the best chance of getting a business person to read your email is to send it on Tuesday or Wednesday between 2.00 p.m. and 3.00 p.m.)
Four of those 15 have DVDs and so I must call them on Wednesday – and there’s one who doesn’t have a DVD who is in the diary to call on Thursday. This is a recruitment consultant from Heathrow.
The way it happened was this: I had just finished a conversation and said to my latest new friend: “We’ll, we’d better keep networking” and then, looking round the room I couldn’t see anyone standing on their own.
When this happens the technique is to look for an “open” group – two or more people who have left a space in their group. Then you can go up and say – without waiting for a pause in the conversation – “May I join you?”
But there didn’t seem to be anyone like that. Then I spotted a young man walking quickly across the room. If somebody is walking quickly, you leave them alone. They’re on their way somewhere and going to say hello would be seen as an interruption.
But this guy reminded me of Joger Shoker. He had the same look of the fashionable young entrepreneur. Joger, you may know, is the phenomenal ex-burger-flipper who has taken this business by storm, going from QE to GD in a year.
As soon as I said: “Hello” the young man stopped and smiled in return. It seemed the brisk walk was a cover for the fact that he didn’t have anyone to talk to – I’m sure we’ve all done that.
“You’re David,” I said, peering at his name badge. “And what do you do?”
We’re all there to talk about what we do and so we had two or three minutes about his recruitment consultancy business and why he made himself available to his clients 24 hours a day. We agreed that the personal service and going the extra mile was the key to success. I didn’t tell him what I did but since we agreed so much on the fundamentals he had to ask me.
So I slipped seamlessly into my 1 minute 45 second presentation (with lots of pauses to make it seem like a conversation).
As I went on, I found him looking at me more and more keenly.
Finally he said: “I could do that.”
Later on, as everyone mingled before leaving he sought me out with a whole list of questions – everything from whether he could have a link on his website to how he would get paid when he introduced another distributor.
“D’you want to see how the money works?” I asked him – and we sat down to go through the Martini presentation.
Later on, as the Suffolk contingent drove home he called me with more questions and to assure me that his wife had the most amazing contacts: “Look, I will get back to you. I mean, I’m sure I’m going to do this. I just need to show my wife because we’d do it together and we’d need to decide whether to do it through the business or as individuals. I’ll get back to you. I really will…”
I played it cool. “That’s great,” I said. “Just go on the website and sign yourselves up. When you’ve done that email me your registration number and I’ll send you your business manual as a zip file – only don’t print it all out. It’s huge and you get a paper copy with your starter pack. “
Of course I wasn’t really as cool as I sounded. The idea of another Joger Shoker joining my team was enough to keep me bubbling all the way round the M25 and back down the A12.
The thing is that successful business people already have the energy, the focus and the drive that we try to instil in all new distributors.
So, on the strength of that, when we stopped at the motorway services for a sandwich, I went round giving cards to everyone in a business suit.
“Hi,” I said to each of them. “You look successful. I’m going to give you one of these because I’m always on the lookout for successful people.”
And they all said: “Well, thank you…”