Archive for August, 2012
Here’s one for the pub quiz:
Which wood is the clarinet made from?
Answer: Grenilla wood.
No, I had never heard of it either. But now I am working towards my Grade Six Clarinet exam, my teacher insists that the trusty Boosey and Hawkes plastic student model has to go – and there are some other changes to be made: Not only do I need more muscles in my right thumb to cope with the extra weight but he sent me off down to the music shop to buy the sheet music for Swinging Shepherd Blues.
I will now be driving everyone mad by playing this incessantly for the next eight months.
Which, in an odd way, was how the summer holidays came to an end. You may have noticed there has not been much activity in this blog during August. So yesterday it was time to get back to work – and since I had to park the car to go to the music shop, it made sense to do a bit of prize draw on the way back.
But getting back into the routine can be hard after a break. Suddenly I found a good deal of sympathy for the struggling distributor who has no appointments but still cannot bear to stand in the street and talk to strangers. the first one said “No”. The next ten walked past without even looking at me. This was hopeless!
I stopped and – possibly to the consternation of anyone passing by – I began to talk to myself: “Come on pull yourself together. This works. You know better than anyone that this works. It’s just numbers. Put in the numbers and the law of averages will take care of the rest.”
And sure enough it did. As you will see below I made my appointment for the day – and an appointment a day means a customer a week.
But you can always add to this: On the way home I stopped at the shower shop to get a new seal for the shower-screen in the guest room. The young man who was manning the shop and the phones and everything else was hassled and apologetic.
Standard question: “Is this your business?”
-No, I wish…
“Would you like to have your own business?”
- Well yes, I always wanted to go into business with my Dad, buying up houses and renovating them. But he had to stop work…
“Well I’ve got something you might like to take a look at….”
|24.08.12||1526 – 1531||Ipswich||8||24||Yes|
|1526 – 1531||5 (13)||5 (29)||Yes|
|1531 – 1537||6 (19)||8 (37)|
|1527 – 1540||3 (22)||2 (39)|
|1540 – 1554||14 (36)||17 (46)||Yes|
There has to be some reason why I’m always the one to get stopped at security. At airports they spend ten minutes checking my bag for explosives – and going to the Olympics on Monday, even though I had unloaded all my pockets into the little tray, the machine went beep.
A very nice soldier ran his hands over me. Then he said: “How do I make money, then?”
This was at the same time as my family were saying: “Oh no, Dad’s been stopped again”…”Come on we’ll miss the first race”…”Keep up, keep up…”
The soldier just kept looking at my badge. It was made of metal. Indeed it had a sharp pin. But he seemed more interested in what it said: ”Save money, Make money. Ask me how”.
At this point the comments from the entrance turned to “He’s talking to the soldier”… “Oh for Heaven’s sake”… “Can’t he stop work for just one day…”
It was true. We were late. But when you’re going to a place like that with all those people, how can you not put the badge on. Irritably, I thrust a notebook at the soldier: “Look I haven’t time to explain right now but if you put your details on there, I’ll send you something. I just need your name, contact number and email address.”
What I got was his name and email address – no contact number. As I’ve learned painfully over the years, you can never have enough information about a prospect. For a long time I didn’t bother with postal addresses – how did I know that one day I would be hosting opportunity meetings all over the country? If I had a list of postcodes, how many more people could I invite to them?
And I was thinking about all this yesterday as I sat on the train across the country to Oxford. I was to spend the day shut up in a Brasenose College – and for someone who has always regretted not going to university, it was worth the trip just for that. A dignified-looking porter conducted me to the correct staircase. They were filming an episode of Lewis in the quad…
“Have you been with the College for long?” I asked as you do – everything else was hundreds of years old.
And we discovered that he used to be a policeman, this was a part-time job. He got paid by the day.
“And how many times do they pay you for the day?”
- I beg your pardon?
“Well, do you do the work and get paid for it once or do you get paid for it over and over again? That’s how I get paid.”
- What? Over and over again?
“Yes, would you like to get paid over and over again?”
- Certainly would.
Now at this point, I could have given him a DVD. I could have given him a DVD and taken his name and phone number. But at some point, like the soldier, he may have baulked at the amount of information I was collecting. So instead I said: “Would you like me to send you some information by email? In fact, tell you what, why don’t we put you in for the prize draw as well. You can win a car or £10,000!”
A minute later I had his name, phone number, email address and postal address – and he thought he was getting something for nothing. In fact it was me who was getting something for nothing because you can pay £2 for that sort of information from a lead-generation company.
In fact I was so pleased with myself that at the end of the day, back at Oxford station, I bought a cup of tea and an almond croissant for the train and said to the young man behind the Upper Crust counter: “You look cheerful, have you just started or are you about to finish? Well I hope they pay you well… is that weekly pay or monthly… and how many times do they pay you… well,do they pay you just once or do they pay you again and again for the same work… because that’s how I get paid…
Don’t you just hate it when a prospect cancels right before the appointment – and there’s no reason for it? They’ve just changed their mind…
I rang back. I said: “Thanks for your call. It saved me a wasted journey – and don’t worry, that’s perfectly normal. In fact there are two main reasons why people change their mind: They don’t believe I can save them any money or they think I’ll come and sit on their sofa and the only way to get rid of me will be to call the police.
“So tell me, which of those two was it for you?”
She said: “The first.”
So I said my script to her again and she responded just as she had the first time but now she said: “But my husband doesn’t want you to come.”
So we agreed that I could give him another call as well – just in case…
Which meant that I now had an hour to kill – just in case…
I popped into Subway for dinner. The man in front of me in the queue was an expert on sandwiches. He was ordering three, foot-long subs: One without olives, one with olives but no peppers and the other with olives and peppers, no onions but a double helping of tomatoes and honey and mustard dressing instead of ranch dressing.
“You certainly know what you want,” I said.
He explained that sometimes he orders olives for his wife anyway and then picks them off her plate.
I said: “Tell you what. I’m always looking for people who know what they want. How about a new car or £10,000? I’ve got a prize draw here…”
But he said “No”. I could hardly blame him. His sandwiches were getting cold.
Anyway, for the first time, I ordered a foot-long Sub as well (I’m rather pleased to be able to tell you that I didn’t finish it) but once I’d ordered everything except peppers, I said to the young man who was so carefully pushing all the bits into the bun: “You’re very good at this! I hope they pay you well.”
“I wish. But it’s not bad. I work on my own 5.00 – 10.00 p.m – 30 hours a week.”
“Ah yes,” I said. “But I bet they only pay you once for each week’s work. Now in my business they pay you again and again for each week’s work. In fact they pay you forever. And over time that builds up. So if you imagine yourself in five years’s time with an income of £5,000 a month, would that change your life for the better.”
Then he thought for a bit with the sandwich half-wrapped: “In fact there’s a man who comes in for his lunch sometimes, gave me a card about that.”
We established that we were talking about the same company – but no he had never followed it up. Now he has a DVD – and we have a date for the follow-up.
Now, it transpired – by the time I had admitted defeat over the sandwich – that the man who had started all this by changing his mind about the appointment really had changed his mind. As he put it: “We just don’t want to know.”
“That’s fine,” I told him – and I really meant it. Because if you work this business right, every cancellation can have a silver lining…