Fear of the Bad Idea
“Somebody else has probably already thought of it.”
Quite counter-intuitively for some, this isn’t true simply because the multitude believes it! Most people don’t make the effort to investigate their idea because they figure someone else would have already have thought of it. As such, many great ideas get shelved in the attic our minds because one thinks them impossible. This is exactly why there are so many opportunities for those of us willing to think optimistically and investigate when struck by a moment of inspiration.
Secondly, most people, even when handed a viable opportunity – even one which has been proven to work (which is much more than just an idea that hasn’t yet been tested or even researched) – the average Joe defeats himself before he even starts because of thoughts like this one. He thinks it must be a scam or believes in the age old maxim: “If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.” He finds every possible reason why the odds might be stacked against him: He has an inferior location, he hasn’t the connections of his competitors, etc.
He is stuck in the Matrix. His mind is not free.
Pay him no mind!
Thirdly, the fact that the failure rate of a startup is 90% after 5 to 10 years (translate for your own endeavor) convinces the masses that it’s a chance not worth taking.
Expected Payout (V)
However, they forget to figure the stakes into the equation. Let me give you a little geeky math that sounds harder than it is. However, if you eyes seem to glaze over, this is the hardest part of the entire book, so just skip to Doubting Thomas a few pages up and come back later.
Say there is a 20% chance of an idea being good (P = .20), which means the chance that it is bad is 80% and you lose your money (1-P) = .80.
The money you would expect to make on this idea is:
V = P x G + (1-P) x L
Written out in words this means the
Expected profit (V)
= How often you win (P) X how much you win when you win (Gain) + how often you lose (1-P) X how much you lose when you lose (L)
Let’s say you have an idea to create a product like the Snuggie…
Let’s estimate the good outcome or gain (G) is that a million people buy it and you make 10 million dollars. And that if they don’t, you lose your time and money (L) that you invested – say $100,000 to create the product prototype, infomercial, and buy airtime etc.
If 90% of businesses fail, that means that P = 10%.
So our equation becomes:
V = 10% x 10,000,000 + 90% x -100,000
= 1,000,000 – 90,000
= $910,000 expected payout per infomercial product (on average per product try)
This also means you’d lose 9 times and succeed 1 out of 10 tries.
(90% of the time you get the $100,000 loss.)
So after doing 10 different ideas, 10 different trials, your results could look like this
= profit $9.1 million bucks after all said and done
This would average (divide by 10) to yes, $910,000 profit per try as I’ve mentioned.
But imagine this scenario playing out. It might not be until the last try (as it was in this example) that you hit the winner, and you would be negative 900K with a 90% chance of losing on the 10th try as well – most likely wondering if this infomercial thing was a good risk to take. Most people would consider the first 9 tries as proof that it is a terrible business investment.
It is these odds that seem to dominate the decision making process instead of looking at the numbers and knowing you have an expected average profit per trial of a whopping positive $910,000 gain. IF YOU KEEP PLAYING LONG ENOUGH TO LET THE NUMBERS AVERAGE OUT.
A couple of points:
1. One shouldn’t write off a long shot endeavor simply because you are 90% likely to lose your money. One has to take the stakes (how much you could gain vs. how much you need to risk for that gain) into account too!
2. One should plan for taking twice the number of tries it might take to achieve 1 success. For example, if success rate is 10% plan to take 20 shots. Furthermore, one ought to have the conservative mindset and self-control to only invest 10% or less of one’s total capital allocated for start-up (high risk) investment into a new business.
For instance, if you have $100,000 total, that means the maximum you should be investing into a startup or high risk investment would be $10,000 total, and that $10,000 is divided into 20 shots of $500 each. So, $500 each on different things. Understand? You don’t risk your whole bankroll ($100,000 on a high risk play even if it is a high reward.) Plan for the failures you are likely to experience so you will always have reserves on hand for your next shot.
Fourthly, beware of the Doubting Thomas.
This is a phrase I picked up from Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich. It’s kind of outdated, but I liked the ring to it. I suppose the fact that the name Thomas is so formal that anyone who would go by that name these days would probably be too afraid to do anything remarkable. You know what I mean? Like, “No, please call me Thomas. Tom and Tommy are just too whimsical for me.”
Before you ask anyone for their opinion on your idea, ask yourself:
Have they been successful at something similar to what I am trying to do?
Have they known me a long time?
If the answer to the first is no, and you ask them anything they are going to tell you the answer that validates their own path and their own results: toe the line, get a real job, and climb the ladder like everyone else. You are basically asking for a kick to the gut of your idea and future potential. People who haven’t achieved much are quick to defend their safe, conventional existence despite thousands of counter examples. You can’t blame them. It’s all they know. They in most cases think they are saving you from a life of ruin, disappointment, and heartbreak.
Unfortunately, parents can sometimes fall into this category. We get used to going to our parents for wisdom and advice because they often lead us right in life’s questions, but there comes a point where we need to admit they have no idea what they are talking about when it comes to our business.
WE do. WE have the experience that brought us to our idea, and we must remain steadfast in our convictions until our own research and data prove otherwise. If you must test the idea, go to a group of people you are thinking of selling to and ask if they want a WhizBang (whatever you’d like to make for that niche). Ask how much they’d pay for it, then charge triple and make it the best damn WhizBang they ever had.
PS, I find WhizBang a way cooler term that widget. Why make a widget when you could make a WHIZBANG!? Sounds smarter and like it’d be some sort of cool fun gadget toy robot tank that shoots fireworks or something. Lol. Ok class, let’s all quiet down again, you are so immature!
Fear of the Limited Market
“What if I run out of people?”
This is FEAR, False Expectations Appearing Real
If you are trying to raise capital or make sales…
There are thousands of people that you know or could find through your own hunting and the hundreds that will listen to you out of those will refer you to thousands of others who will be even better and even more receptive. Your supply of prospects is truly infinite. Your lack of knowledge or polish will not inhibit the true champion from liking you and your cause. He or she is waiting to be found by you. They are hoping and thinking in the back of their minds: I wish I could invest in a WhizBang… but I’ll have to look for one of those when I’m less busy down the road. You just have to make the call!
Mean people will reject you straight away no matter how polished you are, no matter what you say or what your cause. You can’t and shouldn’t move through life trying to avoid rejection or embarrassment.
If you are trying to create a product, be an artist, or start a business…
This is also like thinking that you are too unique and there are hardly any people out there that want what you want.
You aren’t a unique snowflake – to take one from my favorite movie Fight Club. It probably will give you confidence to think back to Fear #1: There are hundreds and thousands of people just like you, and everyone in your type of life or who has your type of goal or passion has probably wanted what you are thinking of making.
The difference between success and failure is not in that you have an original idea it is that you decide to EXECUTE the idea despite all your fears and lack of polish.
“But I don’t know how to…”
Oh man, just this one ability is KEY KEY KEY. If you don’t know how to… just ask, ask anyone who to ask, ask GOOGLE! Be the kind of person who is constantly troubleshooting – Google for answers and methods to the things that at first would be a way to stop you.
For example, “But I don’t know the legal jargon of how to write a contract…”
Answer: it doesn’t need to be airtight. Write something, write a lot, make it clear in plain English and this will work with 95% of the people you might need to file suit against. It really will. The judge will read it and understand it as you meant him to, and unless they have some super sweet lawyer, you are 99% sure to win.
For example, “But I don’t know how to sell others on my ideas but still protect the rights to them so others can’t steal them…”
but I don’t know how to contract manufacturing…
but I don’t know how to hire good help…
but I don’t know how to draw…
but I don’t know how to program a computer…
but I don’t know how to… the list goes on forever.
The difference between those who are successful artists, entrepreneurs, salesmen, or capital raisers, and just plain ol’ people and those that never quite make it is that the first group put that item on a task list then at some point went to Google and typed in a query while the others let that stop them in their tracks for good.
You have to think like Michael Jordan.
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over in my life…
And that is why I succeed.”
As I read it again, I think to myself, “What a GREAT quote!”
It’s not how many misses, but how many scores!
–> Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained.
Fear of the Phone
“What if I bug people and burn all my bridges…”
There are thousands of methods, each with their own merit, and if you want to sift through other alternatives I’m willing to bet somewhere down the road some other expert is going to say: pick up the phone and ask people to meet you and listen to your idea (and probably not too far down the road).
My Own Experience
In 2001, I took my 300 or so contacts and called ALL of them, every single one. The ones that liked me, the ones that didn’t, the ones that were super important and busy and might be annoyed (or so my mind worried to me) and the ones that were so close to me they might feel guilty or obligated by my call.
ALL of these fears were felt on my heart. I thought about it for a night or two as I lay in my bed wondering if what I was doing was wrong…
Here is what I thought:
“All I’m doing is calling them up and asking them a question, how much of a pain is that really? They are free to say no thanks I’m busy. And if they do say no are they really going to say, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe he’d even ASK me to see him. Who does he think he is to call me up and ask for my time to listen to him?”…
If they say no, in all likelihood, they will forget about it within a matter of minutes, no – even one (1) minute – proceeding the phone call.
Can you really imagine that person, sitting there contemplating your ask for another 2 or 3 entire minutes? Nah, he is back to his evening paper with a shrug. Aren’t you doing your champion (my what? more on this in a minute) a disservice then by not trying to find him or her due to some small fear of interrupting a few old buzzards reading the evening paper or watching dancing with the stars?
In 2007, I started up my business all over again after finishing college at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. I didn’t know anyone in the good ol’ A2, but I called through a list, got a few appointments, and within 3 weeks of solid calling (20-40 calls a day) I was back in business. I finished in the top 10 in the nation in sales that year (with only ⅔ of the year to sell might I add). Not to brag but… I made it happen, and you can to. That’s why it’s not a brag. I’m not special. I don’t have special abilities you don’t have. I just decided to make the calls. That’s it and that’s all.
What are you PROUD of?
Think back for a moment. Think of the thing you are most proud of…
Got it? You probably cycled a few and debated. As you cycled through different achievements or what have you, did they not all involve a challenge? Some difficulty? Something sacrificed and a degree of self-control exhibited and achieved?
Now think of all the time you spent NOT working on one of those items…
It’s the hard and important things that make you – that make life – meaningful. These are the experiences that make one grow, and these are also the experiences that make one happy as we shall see in the section on Flow.
Why You Should be a Mover and a Shaker
Here is what I know: I know that only I know what I have to show to people, but they don’t. If they did, they’d have me over and buy my investment, product, service, artwork, song, speech, idea, CREATION.
Then they would say what they only say years afterward: Thank you so much for coming over and showing me this with such enthusiasm; it was the one of the best investments I ever made.
If they knew what I know. But they don’t yet. Having me over to listen to me is a necessary contingency in order for them to know and understand!
I am not going to be pushy, so there is nothing wrong with giving it a shot. The idea is to just give them a chance to say yes and see what happens.
Fear of Asking BIG
“What if by asking for a large sum of money I insult or they think I am being greedy.”
This is such a common fear that in fact it’s rampant. You are probably odd if you don’t have this fear, but let’s examine this one for a moment because for me this is the easiest one to get over.
What is your cause?
To change the world you say?
“Yes, to some degree… the bigger the better, but I’m happy to make some kind of difference because hey it’s something.”
Ok. Perfect. You want to make a big difference but you are happy with any kind of positive change. Great.
Are you greedy then?
You want to show your prospect why a bigger change has economies of scale
“Mr. Jones, if you were to fund our water pump construction at the cost of $100,000 we could supply the village with a clean water supply for YEARS to come. This small fixed cost could eliminate future ongoing costs and would be absolutely transformative to the livelihood of the residents. Hundreds of people would owe their lives to your foresight and generosity.”
(People love the word foresight.)
“In the past, we’ve used smaller donations to provide the area with water in less efficient ways because it was all the funding we’ve had available. Well we have found a solution that will end the continuous need for small asks and reliance on treatment instead of cure. How great would it feel to say you solved this problem for hundreds of people, Mr. Jones?”
“I’m sorry, RJ, I don’t have the $100,000 to spare.”
“Oh shucks, well that is our goal. We need to find enough funding to make the project a go. What if several of your friends agreed to pitch in to help? They could make it your club’s private project and you all would feel like you came together to solve something for the world.”
Big Ideas are EASIER to Sell
It takes just as much time to talk about a big idea as it does a small one, and people accept big ideas just as readily, they really do. It’s about the idea, the benefits and the costs and the relative value of those that gives a person a feeling of Yes I Should or No I Don’t Want To.
A note on “Can’t afford to…”
I was at dinner telling close friends about this philosophy of asking big, and like most people who have never done it they said they thought that it might turn people off. They said if someone asked them for a large sum of money they wouldn’t be able to give that much… a $10,000 dollar contribution was out of their range.
I said lightly, “Well you could… if you really wanted to.” <Shrug, and take a bite of food, chew, eyes averted so as not to be confrontational.>
He looked up at me from his plate with a bit of incredulity. No we couldn’t RJ, we aren’t made of money.”
I held his gaze and said, “Of course you could, you would just sell some stock if it was a cause that was important enough to you. People give gifts of stock all the time.”
Do you know what he did?
He said: “Oh yeah… I guess we could do that… I suppose… If we really wanted to. I thought you meant just write a check…”
It can be done for a BIG idea so easily. In fact, to your champion in waiting, it will be easier. He wants to make a BIG difference for someone too. He wants to concentrate his power on something to etch his name into the world just as you do. It is this man or woman that you are seeking.
Can you think of someone you know who might be my champion?
I want to build a camp to empower people’s minds to overcome adversity in the areas of success in physical and financial fitness. A “fat camp” if you will for people who are poor (fat) in 3 areas: health, money, and time. Jot him or her and me a quick email. You can and should also use this for finding your own Champion!
Copy and paste the following:
Hey, I recently read a book that reminded me of you since you are fit and I’ve admired your accomplishments. Just curious, but what would you do with $10 million dollars to make the world a better place?
The author is looking to start a fat camp of sorts: one for people who want to empower themselves in the areas of money, time, and fitness. It’s for aspiring entrepreneurs, artists, and athletes. He wants to give them a mindset of how to think and what to do to overcome all obstacles that stand between them and their dream of being successful in their endeavor.
It sounded like a cause I thought you might be interested in checking it out. Should I send him your contact? Or would you like to contact him directly? If so his email is email@example.com. Simply copy the following email to him:
Hey RJ, a friend told me about your camp. I’m interested in hearing more.
To me from you:
Yo RJ, just sent out an email to a contact of mine who might be up your alley. Let you know how it pans out. What’s up? Liked your book. We should talk.
To you from me:
Thanks bro! Wow owe you a solid! Very nice of you. Love to talk!
Fear of Asking for Names
“What if I put them in a difficult position…”
Underline it. Bold it. Circle it. Tattoo it on your arm.
ALWAYS ASK FOR REFERRALS.
I put a period there for a reason. It’s end of discussion. It’s NEVER right to not ask.
Referrals are the lifeblood of business. They are end all be all. That’s how every single trend, movement, business, product, president, book, artist, you name it, ever was anything. People spread the word to others about them. They said things like “call so and so, check out such and such.” They TOLD their friends to do something. They didn’t call them up and wimpily ask them if they minded if they could tell them about something they loved.
Well, you NEED to speed it along when you are small and you have no radio or TV or record label broadcasting you across the universe. You know this… but…
“I don’t want to offend anyone or be pushy…”
This is the commonality in all difference-makers.
We have realized something.
First of all…
No one ever gets irritated by one ask.
They get irritated by repetitive robot persistence that isn’t listening to them. Don’t be a robot, ask and ask confidently and ask big, ask for 15 names. Ask for 20, but don’t keep telling them why they should change their mind. That’s all you need to do.
Don’t be persistent with the same person. Be persistent with different people.
Be persistent by picking up the phone 100 times a day.
It will only take 3 of the 8 hours you have.
One other thought comforts me here.
A Tale of Two Tribes
Why would you worry about letting the people who don’t share your passion prevent you from meeting the ones who do?
In the one scenario you stay safe and don’t tell people about what is important to you or ask anyone for any introductions, so you don’t offend anyone, and your network stays the same size. On top of that you don’t really develop quality meaningful relationships with as many of those people as you could because you were afraid to reach out and tell them what you care about.
In the other scenario you do venture out and open your mouth and show your heart, and you ask them to connect you to like-minded individuals. Some will be turned off by your passion or your approach, but not if you do it right. By the way, you inevitably won’t do it right with everyone since everyone makes mistakes, but the people you reach out to will get to see the real you and introduce you to a host of others who share your worldview, passion, or mission.
Why would you keep the first tribe when you could meet the second?
You can’t go swimming if you don’t want to get wet.
So, you just have to get over it. Learn to shrug and say, “Nobody wins them all.”
NOBODY WINS THEM ALL.
Some people are going to like you and your idea and some aren’t. Some are going to LOVE it. And those are your champions. Those are the people you are on a quest to find.
Hearing NO can be like hearing the ball bounce at basketball practice. Hearing YES can be that way too, and that’s when the fun begins – see the chapter “How I Made $5,000 in a Week”
How I AVERAGED 10 Referrals per Appointment
Sale or no sale. 10 was my average (not counting zeros, because I purposely kept no record for those). If they gave me names, they gave me 10 (on average). I’ll tell you they gave me names more than they didn’t too. Probably 2 out of 3 referred me to people.
I didn’t push to try to turn the No’s to YES’s.
I pushed to turn the Yes’s to give MORE names.
That’s very important. Why? Because fighting to turn a No into a few (3 or 4 probably) is going to be tough and it’s going to be the WRONG 3 people. It’s going to be the people that they feel most comfortable with referring – their closest friends and family, NOT necessarily who is the best for your goal.
When I say “push” I don’t mean I was pushy. I just asked one more time. One bonus ask.
If they give names, they are already onboard. They want to help your mission, and they want you to help their contacts. They will be less likely to just refer who they feel safe not offending.
1. Nonchalance Need
I asked nonchalantly and normally. It was business as usual, as I said: “So here’s what I need you to do, Bill, just jot down 15 people that I could give a quick call to and say what I said to you when I called you up: ‘I’m working on this project and Bill liked me and said I should give you a quick call and see if you had any interest in hearing about it like he did…’ I promise not to be pushy or ask twice. Just make your own page just like this…”
2. Smush Proof in Their Face
I demonstrated the norm was to refer by showing massive pages of referrals and saying “Everyone does their own page.” <Flip through pages of names filled in your referral book, all of them. Only one book though.> (If you don’t have pages of referrals you will, don’t worry.)
3. Grab Your Address Book
“I’ll tell you what, most people find it easy to get their address book out so they don’t have to rack their brain but just scroll through their phone or facebook, and give a mental yes or no and jot away. So here’s a pen and my book, and as you do that I’ll straighten up.” <Clean up your information off the table and get ready to go.>
4. Distance yourself, don’t hover over.
Stay busy, don’t finish and sit there tapping your foot so to speak. I would polish my knives, or read.
5. Just Do Your Best
If they reject the number and say I don’t know that many or something like that, just say “Oh I know what you mean, it does seem hard at first, but most people are surprised how many they can come up with once they look through their phone or whatever. Just do the best you can.” Just keep shrugging and repeating the phrase “just do the best you can” until they understand you don’t care if they hit the number, you just want them to do their best.
6. ASK For More
Once they hand it back and say they are done, you don’t reach your hand out to take it, just look down and note the number (it doesn’t matter how many they have they will write more names when you ask them to). This IS NOT being pushy. It’s holding them accountable. It’s one simple little ask. Just say the following:
“Oh, you have 6 (or 12, or 17, 23, whatever they have), that’s great! Thank you so much, Mr. Jones, that really helps me. You know what though? If you could just jot down 4 more, it would help me almost DOUBLE.”
“See the whole thing about our success for this cause rides on this one principle: I have to meet as many awesome people just like you as I can. You were great, I don’t have conversations like this with everyone, I bet your friends are the BEST aren’t they?
“As you were going through your address book there were probably some people you almost put down but wanted to see who else was in there before you did. Do you think you could just jot down a few more of those it would really help me a ton. Let’s see if you can make an even __.”
<Any number that feels right.>
If he’s given me 4 I’m going for 10. If 7, I’m going for 10 or maybe 15. If 16 when I asked for 15, I’m saying awesome you even gave me one extra, THANKS. How bout 4 more to make it an even 20?
It doesn’t matter what he gives me first, I’m asking everyone twice. It’s not greed.
It’s just me knowing that for however many people he put down, there are about twice that number he considered putting down but decided to wait and see how the list came out first, then decided it was good enough.
To him, I am as calm as a pool of Japanese Koi swimming ever so gracefully. “Do you think you could just jot down a few more to make an even 20, Mr. Jones? It would help me a ton.”
I’m telling you 80% – no 90% of people will do it. Their thinking goes like this, “Well, I’ve ALREADY given him names so what’s a few more, and he’s a nice guy. I guess I could throw down a few of those names I almost put down but skipped over…” And off they go writing.
I also make it worth their while. I will tell them, “Since your helping me so much I’d like to give you this gift (value equal to 20% of the value of the lead). Show them your averages and numbers, and let it make sense to them.
For example, if you are financial advisor writing financial plans for prospective clients priced between $500 to $1500 per plan, I would show the client exactly how my business works and explain that if they help me grow my business they will also be helping their friends by bringing them to the most honest and straightforward advisor.
The problem is most business owners always want something for nothing. You have to be willing to share the rewards with your clients that refer. Most people will see this is very generous of you, and they won’t take advantage of you. They understand professional people that provide good service are entitled to make money and want to do well for themselves in life by growing their business.
7. High Five
When they hand it back, you say YOU DID IT! Thanks so much! Offer then a hug or a high five and leave it up to them. They usually go for the latter, and it’s less corny than if you just offer them the high five straight away plus it shows them you really care and like them. Give them a high five, no joke, they smile and laugh, and it’s a great feeling on both sides.
How to Warm your Leads
Ask them how to pronounce the names, ask them what the people do. They are totally on your side now, so they want you to be successful and liked by their friends, so they will tell you just about anything you ask. Ask a lot. They get what you are doing, and they are ok with it. If they weren’t they wouldn’t have given you ANY names.
Ask them to put letters next to the names to indicate certain things
For example, put an E next to the ones that value education.
Put a V next to the ones that love to do volunteer work, etc.
Ask for whatever would be best for your goal.
Ask if they can tell you “a little about them.” Listen to every word and take notes.
Ask them to treat their friends names like they are stocks.
“Treat them like they are stocks Mr. Jones – who do you think will give the most? Put a star next to the ones you think I should call first.”
No joke, this seems like too much right? Wrong. It’s ballsy, but they love it. They really do. They do. No, they do. They look at me and smile.
I’ve said this EXACT phrase hundreds of times and it ALWAYS works. I’ve never had anyone complain or be insulted. They have never taken their names back or given me a funny face. EVER.
They laugh, smile, shake their head, and start putting stars down.
They KNOW what I’m doing.
I’m trying to RAISE MONEY. They get it, and they want me to be successful. They want their friends to buy or give because it validates their decision. That and they BELIEVE in my CAUSE.
They want victory for the cause, and I am it’s AGENT. I am the one bringing it into existence, breathing life into the fire of that IDEA they fell in love with.
I’ve spent 30 minutes qualifying 15 leads so many times I can’t even count, and its ALWAYS worth it.
Every mark on that paper, every word they say is another vote of confidence from the person who gave them to me and how much they liked me and how much their friend will like me when I pick up the phone to call them. It’s absolutely fantastic to get a nice 15 pager with full qualified letters and stars. Mmmm gets me feeling all warm and toasty just thinking about it.
Fear of Not Being Cut Out for Sales / Fundraising
“I just don’t have the natural power of persuasion or outgoing personality…”
This one is so normal. They all are, but even the Zig Ziglars, Frank Bettgers, Carl Drews, and Jon Berghoffs of us have had this feeling. Zig Ziglar started his career selling Cutco as did Carl Drew and Jon Berghoff.
Frank Bettger wrote a book on this exact subject, How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling. It is one of the Top 5 books I’ve read on success. I’ve taken a few things from that book and given them to you today. 6:00 club, and Sunday being self-organization day.
Frank Bettger was going to quit before he’d even given himself a chance to really start, which is so common it makes my heart sink. On the day he was packing up his things, a visiting manager was speaking about success and he overheard something that made him decide to stay and give it another go.
That sentence was this:
“Gentlemen, after all, this business of selling narrows down to one thing – just one thing… seeing the people! Show me any man of ordinary ability who will go out and earnestly tell his story to four or five people every day, and I will show you a man who just can’t help making good!”
Why, that turned Frank’s game around. He said, “Why look here Frank Bettger, you’ve go two good legs. You can go out and earnestly tell your story to four or five people every day; so you are going to make good – Mr. Talbot said so!”
He said a feeling of great relief came over him because he just knew he was going to be successful. “It was as though the sun had suddenly burst out from the clouds.”
One of the most important things in effecting CHANGE
And do you know what he DID? He decided he was going to KEEP RECORDS – just to make sure he was in fact seeing 4 or 5 people a day. By tracking his inputs, he realized he could make a great many more calls. He also realized that to average seeing 4 to 5 people a day was a big job. It made him realize just how few people he had been seeing before.
During the next 10 weeks, he sold more than he had sold the preceding 10 months which proved to him he could sell; Mr. Talbot was right. At age 29, Bettger actually met Dale Carnegie by chance at one of the famous public speaking courses. He asked to be signed up right away.
Carnegie said Bettger was a total failure of a salesman when he met him, but would watch his meteoric rise over the next 12 years to buy his own country estate and said that he could have retired at 40. Carnegie was the one who inspired him to write his book. It’s an absolute MUST read for anyone who is in the business of influence.
Carl Drew, one of my favorite people and personal mentors, sold only $2500 on his first 80 appointments. To put that in perspective, the national average for each appointment is over $100 in sales which would put average for 80 appointments at 8 grand. Carl was barely cracking 30% of average, but he got some help and kept trying. He eventually went on to break dozens of records and is in the top sales reps in the history of the company.
When I first started I wondered if the people I wanted to emulate had something I didn’t have – some special power of persuasion that people were born with, and maybe I just wasn’t cut out for this business.
The First Time You Close Someone
Every top salesperson and every great promoter or professional fundraiser didn’t know the ropes when they first started out. We all go through that experience of closing someone for the first time. The feeling of what it’s like to hear “YES.”
If you haven’t yet had that experience, let me tell you it’s one of the greatest feelings in the world. When I made my first real sale (when the client’s perspective is changed and buys or invests the amount you believe they should) it was as if she had said “Yes, that makes sense to me. I agree with you. You’ve convinced me. I can see your product or service is worth it. That meant my pitch and my decision to be a salesman and make that pitch was ethical and right. She was saying “Thank you for pitching me.” That’s what the complete sale represents – that you are right about what you are pitching: people should invest, and you CAN do this!
I drove down the road with my music blasting, bouncing around in my seat, pumping my fist, and slapping the top of the steering wheel to the music. I utterly on cloud nine over the realization that, “Yes, this could work… in fact, it would probably work. I could do that again and again and AGAIN. I just made $70/hr talking to someone about an IDEA.” As a high school student at the time, I’m telling you man, that was pretty exciting stuff.
My Best Piece of Advice
If I could give you one piece of advice about increasing your success with people (on the appointment, selling big, and getting more Y-E-S, building friendships and partnerships, being more entertaining at parties or otherwise) it would be this:
-> Let out your heart.
Let out your true thoughts: your passion, your beliefs, your vision. Tell them in no uncertain terms why you believe what you believe. If you don’t, don’t sell it. Find something you can really get behind with all your conviction. This isn’t being pushy. Let’s go back to our definition of PUSHY.
Fear of Being Pushy
“But I don’t want to be pushy…”
Definition of PUSHY – when a salesperson persists to ask them to do the same thing twice – especially without showing they’ve listened and understood the client’s feelings and objection.
By contrast, what I’m advising you to do is to let your heart out to them upfront, not as a rejoinder. You are already telling them first anyway, tell them harder – BEFORE they say no. Be more sincere. Be more open. Say things like, “Mr. Jones can I tell you what I really think (or how I really feel)?
How I know that letting out your heart works
Upon graduating from U of M, I had an interview with a healthcare consulting firm in Washington, D.C. and upon the ending of the first interview having answered her questions to apparent satisfaction, I asked if I could say something. Like most interviews, it followed the typical format: she asked and I answered. I always tried to answer the questions they asked, and tried to keep my answers short to be respectful to their time to get all their questions in – something I regret wholeheartedly looking back.
The point of the interview is to reveal yourself in the most positive way and make a good impression. Short typical answers don’t do that. Let out your heart man!
So this time I wanted the job quite a bit more, and I really felt her questions hadn’t given me the opportunity to reveal the best parts about me. So when she asked if I had any questions I said I did, but I wanted to kind of give her my sales pitch on myself if she wouldn’t mind because there were a few other things I wanted to say.
She was so pleased I wanted to demonstrate my skills and take the initiative to grab the chance without being served it. I went on to say that what I felt my strengths were and why they would allow me to be more successful than other candidates. I said it off the cuff and from the heart, and it was good. Sure she liked the words, but I could tell she liked the fact that I made the effort even more. It was the energy I let out. I didn’t matter what the strengths were!
A question I really like to ask in order to get on stage
“Can I tell you how I really feel?”
“…Sure…” Curious listening intently.
(Here’s the cutco version, translate it to your own product, service, or vision.)
“I LOVE _____. When I first started, I didn’t know if people would spend (price) on this stuff, but I knew they SHOULD. I took it to everyone I knew and everyone bought. Do you know why? I’m not saying that this is something you NEED, it’s not. You’ve gotten by without it up until now, so you obviously don’t NEED it. I’m telling you what I realized about _____ is that it’s WORTH it. It’s something you can use everyday, and will last forever. It works better than anything else on the market, and it costs half as much as the next best thing. It’s a great value and it’s affordable. Think of all the other things you’ve bought that you didn’t need and didn’t end up using. You aren’t just spending money today. You are making a TRADE. You are trading a small bit of money, you could probably make that in a week or even a day, for something that will give you and your family and your children’s family someday a benefit every day. It comes out to only _______ a month and ______ a day for ONE year then it’s paid off – the next 30 years are FREE. You pay your cable each month and you have to keep paying. (Continue to make analogy after analogy against all other products they spend money on: groceries, stove counters, snow blower, law mower, sewing machine, golf clubs, etc. until you feel you’ve covered your points then ask them a either or question which assumes they are buying it.)
So if you were going to invest in _____ today, which option would you prefer?
The Principle Behind Passion Selling
See the truth is, unfortunately, it took me 7 years to understand that. Fundraising, like sales, is INFLUENCE; it is a battle of ENERGIES. Whoever has the stronger of energy wins, and it crucial to move first.
Be First to Act
Like a man betting in poker (where usually you want to act last), sometimes it pays to bet first. If you bet so big by pushing all of your chips in, those acting after you have to play by your rules.
They can’t raise back at you. You’re already committed. Move first in sales too, because if you let them tell you no first, giving your passion speech is all a big argument instead of a great presentation.
Sales is Art – Influence is Passion: The Art of Speech
Let your passion and conviction out slowly and build your energy until you feel you’ve given them the best speech for buying and believing in you. It will take experience of trying a little more and a little more with your gas pedal before you feel comfortable letting it fly like really want and envision yourself doing.
The Parable of the Boiled Frog
A frog will not stand being put into a pot of water that is already boiling, he will jump out. But if he is placed into a pot of water which is at room temperature and then gradually heated up, he will not notice the rise in temperature or jump out.
My First Big Step: Spectacle or Evidence
I have achieved one of the levels I never thought I could, and in that realization, I built a platform to achieve even bigger things in the future. I realized I was GREAT in the way others had been GREAT to me.
I once heard a speech I would later title “Spectacle or Evidence.” I don’t know what the actual speaker had named his speech, but if it were up to me, I would have named it that. In it, he was talking about sales conferences. He was talking about the natural reaction of newbies when they witness results they previously thought impossible, and witness them as repeatedly as they do at our events.
Our events are the perfect environment for a driven. You have thousands of rookies who are so young and green – brand new and have no idea what is going on and then you have hundreds of every other experience level from starting to grasp it all the way to the experts.
We breed sales champions. We produce year after year more successful sales people than any other company. We have more new recruits every year than the US Army.
My first conference was a mythic energy blast like you’ve never seen. Thousands of teenagers all packed into a 5-star hotel with noisemakers, balloons, streamers, fog horns, confetti, lights, ACTION! They had a full boxing ring set up in the middle of the conference hall where a mic was lowered to the GVP just as if he were calling a fight. The music was blasting and two guys that looked pretty important were called to the center of the ring to the beginning of “Eye of the Tiger.” The lights went out except for a few bright spotlights shining down on each of them like it was Ali vs. Frazier. I’m telling you, it was pretty exciting stuff.
Over the course of the next hour the sales results (or as we call them in the business, “Push Reports”) were called out. It was a Count Up, meaning we started with anyone who sold anything in the last two weeks stands up. Well just about everybody stood up, myself included. I think I remember 2 or 3 thousand in sales being an important cut off for something and I was still up. Then it was 5 thousand and I was the only one in my office still standing, but there were HUNDREDS of people still up all around the audience.
Then 6K, and if you sold over 6K you got to go up on stage and read your report into the microphone. Cool! I was down for that. Some people were saying their number and then saying “at Half Baby,” after it, and I remembered from training that meant they were an FSM, which meant they had hit $25,000 in career sales and were now making 50% commission on everything they sold. Half Baby was a dream and a half. How I wanted to be an FSM! They were champs! Successes, they had made it! If you could sell $25,000 you weren’t worried about leads anymore, you had done the thing man!
Well, I got up there and said, “Hi, I’m RJ DeLong, from the Kalamazoo Wrecking Crew…” and my team yelled our sound effect (a bomb falling noise with an explosion sound – all the teams had some cool name and sound like that – it was awesome) “and I sold Sixty Three Hundo… of KNIVES, baby!”
I was pretty jacked up, I must admit.
…But I was just a peon.
The reports went on and on, 10k, 15k, 20k, 30k, and then there were two guys left… I don’t remember the second place finisher – he was one of the greats as I seem to remember, if I heard his name, I’d know it. He wasn’t some flash in the pan, but the truth is I don’t remember it. Hmmm, funny how that works. Well, the two of them stood there in their sharpest suits and ties standing with their hands held behind their backs in good stature awaiting the telling number to fall. “35 Thousand?” And he stepped. The other man stepped forward to indicate he had to sit down, finally. We had a winner!
So we went on to see how much the winner had sold. 40 Thousand… “HIGHER BABY!!!!” The crowd cheered. “45 thousand?” the GVP asked. Nope he was standing tall and still. The crowd went nuts. This turned out to be no contest. He has smashed his nearest competitor by a whole 10 thousand, more than 80% of us had sold in our entire contest. We were thrilled, I’m telling you that place was going ape. I imagine now if there were some fine dining event in one of the adjoining rooms it would be all heads turned to our wall not a fork or spoon moving, haha. “HIGHER BABY!!!”
“50?” Still standing.
They brought him a chair as a lark because he must be getting tired with all that standing he was doing. He went ahead and sat all by himself on that stage and we all soaked it up with him.
“60 Thousannnd??” Still sitting idly by.
“70 Thousand, 80, 90…” We couldn’t believe it. At every number we kept yelling HIGHER BABY like there was no way we’d get to yell it again. Each time we were given an encore.
“One Hundred Thousand Dollars??” the GVP said with a huge smile.
Yes, he was staying put.
Arms crossed he even put a leg up on his knee… he had made 50K in two weeks.
I was starting to think I had struck an even bigger gold mine than I knew (and I had). The number went all the way up to 120k. 120!!! I’m not kidding. This one guy, John Ruhlin, had sold a 120 thousand dollars of knives in two (2) weeks! He had made 60 grand just selling some little ol’ knives by referral appointment. He was retired for the year if he wanted to be. And it wasn’t just him it was dozens of F-S-M’s – they said it stood for Future Student Millionaires.
It wasn’t a joke though. He’s a millionaire now, and so are many others. Jon Berghoff, Hal Elrod, Carl Drew, and many other Vector greats aren’t just making bank they are living out their dreams.
Carl Drew founded LifeClimb.org and bicycled across the US from LA to Boston speaking in schools along the way. He’s climbed K2, the Matterhorn, Denali, and many others. He’s completed and finished 5 Ironmans and a host of other adventures including kayaking the Everglades solo – a 21 day expedition among 14ft pythons, alligators, and a host of other nasties and didn’t see land for 11 straight days. No toilet, no shower, and no way to cook… trying to sleep in a kayak without falling in the water… On top of that he had to paddle 210 miles, the equivalent of nearly 8 marathons.
Oh yeah, and weeks before the expedition he didn’t own a sea kayak, had never been, nor knew anything about it. He was about to leave Florida when he started reading a book about it and decided to postpone his return home, study for weeks to learn everything there was to know about sea kayaking and open water survival, and spend the next 21 days living out a dream most would never get around to making happen.
The Mystique of the FSM
Anyway, back to spectacle or evidence. There are many who would make John Ruhlin or Carl Drew a spectacle, but there are many others who realize he is EVIDENCE that it is possible and so they can do it too.
Fear of Failure: Fear of Thinking Big
“What if I don’t make it?
I don’t want to set a goal I can’t realistically hit…”
Perhaps one of the biggest differences between those that are successful and those that become GREAT is that the GREATS think BIG, whereas the goods follow the rules. They play it safe, don’t over-commit, and are afraid to see what is possible because they might lose face.
We all have the natural reaction to be “realistic,” but what is realistic anyway?
You really don’t know. YOU DON’T KNOW.
The likely progression then is to say well I’ve done this much so (throw out a nominal percentage gain of your choosing, usually 5 or 10%) is a good next step for improvement. This fear is closely linked to the Fear of Burnout because we don’t want to set a goal that is too big or we might lose out on life…
Losing out on LIFE
As many top sales people will tell you: I don’t know anyone who ever wished they didn’t work as hard for a push. I’ve never heard one person say, “Geez you know what – I wish I would have scheduled less appointments and sold less. I just over committed my reserves.”
We might look like an All-Talker. If we set a big goal and don’t hit it, our own mind punishes us with thoughts like, “See, RJ, you aren’t that good. What makes you think you can claim a goal as big as that as doable. You’re totally living in a dream world.” And on and on it goes.
Also, when you tell others who are not schooled in the area of positivity or goal setting – Matrix Minds – they will think those things about you when you share these goals, but part of their heart will be very afraid you’ll succeed because it will mean you are right and they should have done what you did, not play it safe.
Destroying Others Doubt
Destroying these people’s doubt by following through and having your averages come out or better is one of the greatest feelings in the world. When you say you’ll do something BIG, then do it, you feel like Muhammad Ali. You prove you have so much control over your own fate you can’t help but look at Matrix Minds with pity.
If only they knew what they were capable of…
And this is precisely why I do what I do.
Obstacle Running, The Young Minds Foundation, and Potentialism.com are an effort each in their own way to help athletes, artists, and entrepreneurs free their minds. To stop worrying about what MIGHT be possible and instead focus on knowing that what might be possible, IS possibly possible, and therefore possible. :)
Besides, it’s not about finding happiness on the summit of your figurative mountain, it’s about enjoying the climb in and of itself and also the fact you are making progress. I enjoy the excitement of the possibility of a new plan or idea and the potential that would come from successfully bringing it to fruition.
“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Think big.”
– Daniel Burnham, Chicago architect. (1846-1912)
My Breakthrough Push – Part I
So in 2007, after having building my Cutco referral book up to about 200-300 names, this same conference, SC2, was quickly approaching. We were all setting a goal. How many knives could we sell?
Well, at that time nothing bothered me more than some punk sales rookie saying he was going to sell 10k when he couldn’t even get himself in the office to make calls twice a week on meeting days.
A 10k push was really the hallmark of a breakthrough champ type of a push. 10k was really the number the GREATs banged out like it was nothing. Keynote speakers were introduced by how many 10k pushes they had done.
The Worst Reasoning Ever
To this point, I had sold 3k but never 4k in a week, which would have been an 8k push. 10k was a realistic breakthrough goal for me. It wouldn’t be easy, but was definitely doable and therefore a good solid goal.
Well, my good friend, Leah Hsieh, who was also in our Ann Arbor office, said her goal was a 20k push.
Now, Leah was a talented and solid salesperson, but at the same time I had a higher average order and consistently higher number of sales each week. Not only that, but she had never had a 10k push let alone a 20k.
I am ashamed to say this was my thought process at the time: “Who was she to set a 20k goal? Why not set your goal at 10k then do 15 then do 20? “Well, that was just about the WORST reasoning I ever had used in my life.
If 20k is a number achievable by others, it is achievable by Y-O-U. You just have to complete the inputs and copy their system.
It’s a numbers game
What is her average order?
What is her closing ratio?
How many appointments can she cram into her schedule?
How many minutes on the phone to schedule one meeting on average?
How much phone time does she require?
WILL SHE DO THE PHONE TIME? → That’s all that matters!!!!!!!
A Push is Always Worth It
Now, pushes can go well or they can go poorly. I’ve never had one not go well for me, but that same year our other close friend, Marianna, had a terrible first week of her push. She was shooting for 10k, and only sold 2 her first week. She kept phoning and busted out her 2nd week goal of 5k for a total of 7k for the push.
She had never sold 3k in a week before that, and so seeing a 5k week happen was revolutionary for her, not to mention the mental toughness achieved when you are way behind your goal but don’t just throw in the towel. She and I earned LIMO NIGHT because we each got over 6k… and that LIMO NIGHT was one of the best nights of partying and feasting I’ve ever had. I write it in all caps for a reason, it was that cool.
Let me tell you how I made 5 GRAND in a week.
How I made $5,000 in a week
In a word, momentum.
Momentum: the residual effect of consistent past effort – a build up, if you will. This was the key. In this case effort combined with a bit of luck and a streak was born.
For a salesman, an entrepreneur trying to raise capital, an athlete in training, or an artist of some kind looking to break through anonymity, momentum may come in different forms. However, our definition above serves all of those looking to reach others and acquire an audience.
Well, the most as I’ve said before that I had sold in a week prior to this was 3k but never 4k. Selling 5k would have been a great breakthrough, but in order to earn $5000 I needed to sell $10,000.
Luck is a Fickle Mistress
Selling $10,000 in a week was so high of an idea for me I would have been happy to do that over two weeks. We are talking tripling the best week I’d ever had. So yes, there was some “luck” involved. I didn’t set out to sell $10,000. My goal was $5,000, but my average order was higher than usual. You could call that luck – like I stumbled upon some good prospects, or you could call that skill because I purposely called my best people and momentum helped me do an excellent job on the appointments too…
Either way, I did have things go well for me, so I’ll admit it was partly good luck or good fortune. I have no problem with that. When you work hard, you get lucky more often. Luck and effort go hand in hand. Luck is a fickle mistress. Ignore the effort, and Luck turns her back on you.
So here’s how it happened.
Typically, I tried to make phone calls from 7-9 at night Mon-Thurs, from 9-11 on Saturday mornings, and 6-9pm on Sundays. I didn’t call every night, would aim to, but would miss several due to appointments in the evenings, lack of follow through out of laziness or weakness of mind, or deciding I had sold enough that day that it warranted a “break” – how convenient, that break came during the most important time in my schedule!!
So, for this push, I decided to commit to hitting every single phone time I could. 8-9:30am every weekday plus 7-9pm every night for 12 days. (In hindsight this was not the best plan, it was actually fairly difficult energy and decision management for reasons I will enumerate later.)
That’s it. I wanted to see how many appointments I could book up and do, and my goal was to sell $10,000 over the two-week period.
Pink = No show or Cancel
Orange Circle = Sales
Green Circle = No Sale
Pink Highlight = No Show / Cancel
I called on my best leads. One page in particular I had saved to call during this push. I knew that page would be particularly good because of the time I spent qualifying them (getting to know them through asking questions about them from the person who referred them to me as I taught you to do earlier.)
I started calling the day before the push started (also not optimal). In the chapter 8 to 8 for 108 we’ll see starting your calling a week before is a crucial key to putting together a 20k to 30K push.
The yellow line at the top of my schedule was for our 10K alliance. It was for any of the reps who had a goal of 10K or greater for the push. Our manager, Ken, had us sign a contract agreement with him to promise we would be in the office every morning at 7am for a morning meeting to listen to some motivation and report our previous day’s results and then make some calls. It held us accountable and kept us consistent which was a big reason I was successful in hitting my goal.
There was definitely one morning at the very beginning (I would say day 2 or 3) that I was lying in bed and my mind said to me, “Aww, why am I doing this? Who really cares that much if I have a 15K push and win a dagger. I have enough money. Trophies don’t mean anything, and years from now none of this will matter…”
Ha! And here it is years from now and I am writing about that very day that was THE day I flipped the switch and jumped out of bed right that very second!
I shook my head violently, and leaped to my feet! I said to myself, “NO! Oh no! I’m not letting you even take ahold of me for one more second! I’m doing this! I can’t even let that thought into my mind I got to get to the office!”
I was proud of that day. I still am. I didn’t do anything special to get motivated. There was no trick, no secret. It was just a decision, but I could make it because of the following desire:
I wanted to see what I was capable of.
I wanted to answer a question:
If I hit every phone session, what could happen?
And if I missed even one day, one phone session, I wouldn’t know. I wouldn’t be able to say I had done everything – and that was in a sense the victory I wanted more than the $10,000 push result.
There is a difference between reading 2 or 3 pages and not opening the book at all, between making 10 calls and not even getting off the couch to pick up the phone, and between running 1 mile and running zero.
Sure 3 pages, 10 calls, and 1 mile is hardly anything, but the act of willpower to get yourself up and start is the biggest hurdle. Once you clear that, 90% of the time you can continue on with your normal workout and complete your goal.
So let me tell you what gave my whole push a boost!
The 2 Appointments that Transformed My Game
If you look at the schedule for July 11, the very first day, you will see two names on there. Sanford and Larsen. Those were my momentum sales.
I was so lucky, yes lucky, to have scheduled them for the first day of the push instead of the last. If I had to fight the whole 12 days with all the no sales and no shows up front followed by a big streak of sales second it would have been much tougher. That is what happens to some reps though. They start out and luck goes against them first, but they don’t think it’s luck. They think it’s their fault, and that they are no good or can’t sell and they quit before the averages even out.
Averages aren’t luck.
But the ordering of the numbers that make up the averages can be just dumb luck. And that is what I got on day 1. Just good ol’ fashioned dumb luck. Mrs. Sanford loved cutco and owned almost everything the company made.
Some reps would look at this the wrong way thinking they couldn’t find anything new to sell her. I knew immediately this was a HUGE advantage. Why? You mean, besides the fact that she told me when I called her that I had “struck the mother lode?” She actually said that on the phone!
Having a lot of the product meant she knew and loved it and was already sold on the value. All I needed to do was get her to like me and have a good time and then propose she do all her Christmas shopping and birthday shopping that day too – with me of course! :)
Why not, Mary? You know this is the best gift you could buy anyone who cooks. They use it every day and it will last forever, guaranteed. Every time they cut with it they will think of you and be like, wow Mary really hooked me up with a nice SET of knives. Every day they will think of you and think that.
She bought her daughter the Homemaker Set and the Gourmet Extension set.
So that was about 1.5K down on my first appointment. Not too shabby, not at all! She also promised to give me 50 referrals over email. And very sweetly told me not to worry it was ok to bug her to remind her – she needed reminders to get things done.
I still have yet to see one referral from her. I’ve bugged her a few times, but I could have bugged her more.
Let that be a lesson to you! No matter how big the sale or how nice the promise, I’ve only had one deliver names at a later point. It just doesn’t work that way.
Say how ‘bout I trade you, Mrs. Jones: you quickly jot down 3 right now, and we’ll talk about the other 47 later! Once they write 3, ask for another quick 7 and you’ll be on your way you PROMISE! They’ll smile and laugh – after all it is later Mrs. Jones!
On with the story, my next appointment was a no sale, and then I almost got lost.
I had written down the wrong address in my book. I actually thought I might be close, since the numbers were just off a bit. It was like 9008 or something and there was a 9006 then 9010 so I just knocked at 9006 and asked if they knew the Larsens.
They did know them. It was them. Ha, go figure.
I don’t know why it was off, but it was. So we sat down and the Larsens and I became friends in about 20 to 30 minutes of chatting while I sharpened up their “complete” (so they said) set of cutco knives they’d had for a very long time.
I remember the feeling I had. I was relaxed and happy. I was relaxed and pleasant, and I just asked them about their kids as I sharpened their knives and got to know them.
I think that was the most important thing about the appointment. The feeling that Sanford had given me. I let that feeling and vibe out as I of course I couldn’t help but do while I was with the Larsens and that is what you call momentum. It wouldn’t be a bad practice to go into every appointment pretending you had just sold the Ultimate of whatever product you sell. Just walk in without a care in the world and live in that reality and it will come true.
I asked if while I was sharpening they would write me a nice letter I could show to people and their friends and explained to them about the referrals.
Asking before the presentation was uncommon practice, but I felt they liked me already, and I wanted to save time since they did have quite a few knives I needed to sharpen. They gave me a full list of 20 names and wrote an excellent letter I could show their friends.
If you are comfortable asking or saying something oftentimes the other person is as well. It’s ok to go on your instinct. One should in fact most of the time go on instinct.
During our conversation they said they had one son and one daughter. When I was finished sharpening their Homemaker +8 table knives, I told them how because of the competition, I had some upgrade specials I could show them a really great deal on an awesome set I loved and would go perfect with their homemaker. It would complement it well because a lot of the tools they had were basic tools, but some of the best tools were the ones in the extension set (also known as the gourmet set). I showed them the cleaver, vegetable knife, hardy slicer, and santoku knife and explained why I loved them and why they were better than the basic tools.
Then I asked when they first bought their set, and when they told me I asked if they wished they had always had cutco and didn’t have to have dealt with the other knives had for so long before that.
They said yes, and so I asked if they would like to give that gift to their kids – the gift of never having to have dealt with other shoddy knives.
If they wanted to look at buying one of them a starter set I could give the other set for free if they wanted to get the extension set for themselves. After all, a cutco person doesn’t come by every day or every year, it’s only every like 5 years someone may contact you. With it being part of my competition this would be a great time to get this done, and putting it off would just mean more days your kids would have to deal with those old knives you loved avoiding so much.
They were interested, and I proposed they buy the galley +6 for the daughter who cooked a bit more and the essentials for the son who didn’t do as much in the kitchen.
They looked at the total and then asked if by giving the set to them for free would hurt my points for my contest. I said well, to be honest yes, it does cost me the points I give to you free, but it is something I’m willing to do to make this deal happen. They said oh no, you don’t have to do that! We’ll just pay for the whole thing.
I said, “Are you sure???”
“Oh yes, don’t do that. We want you to do really well for the contest.”
I couldn’t believe my ears! These people were the nicest couple ever.
I said, “Oh my gosh, I feel like I should throw you guys a party or something!” They both laughed and said they had the money and they wanted to see me do well. What great people!
Can you imagine??
I had never sold more than one set in an appointment before and here I had just sold 3!!
It was a major breakthrough in my thinking. From that moment on, every cutco owner who had kids was the best prospect I could find. I was proposing multiple sets on every appointment that it made sense, and Homemaker owners were better than people who only had a few pieces. I sold a ton more gourmet sets too, referring to them as extension sets and upgrade specials and explaining how they were better knives than the basics.
It wasn’t a line. They are better. I always grab the gourmet pieces if they aren’t dirty. That’s why chefs use them – they aren’t scared of them and they work better!
A few phrases that seemed to work well:
But I should at least tell you…
Once I had explained the reasoning for the upgrade to the gourmet set I used this to intro the addition of the gifting of the starter sets for the kids.
“Well there is a deal we have going on right now, and I really appreciate your time and having me over so if you don’t want to do it it’s fine, <shrug> but I should at least tell you about it because I think <start nodding, raise eyebrows, widen your eyes, and tip your head a little sideways and back like you are motioning them to follow you> you might be interested in this <nod>.“
This seems to be a nice way to broach a topic without being pushy. I see a lot of good facial expressions when I say this to people. Usually they tip their head to the side and say, “Ok, yeah what is it?” I think it relaxes them and strengthens their trust in me and in the fact I’m not just trying to sell them as much as I possibly can.
A Note on Conviction and Pushing to Sell Big
For most of my appointment I’m pretty laid back. I just talk casually and explain the facts and reasons to clients. When I’m cutting I smile a lot and excitedly show them how awesome it is. I lower to a whisper and say things like, “Check this out, Lisa,” then bounce over to her with a particular food to cut. “You’ll love this.” When I get to my conclusion and they know the price I let out my heart about why they should buy. What I propose is what I truly believe is best for the client.
I don’t try to sell everyone the same thing.
It’s always customized to people based on what they say they do and would use and like. I believe in acting as a steward for the client and advising him in his best interests just as I do as a fiduciary now that I am in the financial advising industry. I would never pitch any proposal that I didn’t feel very confident I was “right” about.
The way I try to increase sales is to get the client to think bigger. For example, they are going to do Christmas shopping and birthday shopping for each of their loved ones in a matter of months. The kids are going to need sets someday eventually too. Why not take care of some of that now so it all doesn’t pile up in December and you aren’t out just randomly walking down aisles looking for something to jump out at you? It’s not costing you any extra to buy it early.
I finished out the day with my 4th appointment which was a smaller sale – $200 on a garden set. Not too shabby, not too shabby at all. That brought in a record day and probably close to a record week in one day!!
Over $3,700 in sales!! I had almost made 2,000 that day. Wow, now that was something. When I called my manager and told him even he was excited. Later in the week he would also remark he was waiting for me to hit a bad day, but the sales just kept coming. Each day was over $1,000 in sales. The first week I sold over $10,000! Double what my averages said I would, and the second week my averages came through just about perfect for another $5,000.
I remember I made every phone time. I finished strong and felt great knowing that I did everything I had set out to do. I won a dagger for completing a 15K push, and took 3rd place at the conference for the entire Midwest region.
When I went up on stage to receive my trophy and give my sales report, our Region VP, Jeff Bry, asked me how many appointments I had done. 42, although I think I reported how many I had booked, 55.
The Most Calls Wins
Both guys that beat me had done more appointments than I had. They did more appointments because they had made more calls. They simply outworked me. I had a higher average order probably. I was the “better” salesman, but really all that matters is the total sales in the end. So they were both actually better than me because they out-planned and out-called me. It didn’t matter if I out-averaged them. It wasn’t a competition of averages. It was a sales quest.
55 appointments set
42 appointments completed
13 cancelled (24%)
13 didn’t buy
$15,800 in sales
$7,900 in income
69% closing ratio (29 out of 42)
$545 average order for the competition
My Typical Average Order = $449
*National Average Order = $180
*National Average Closing Ratio = 60%
*The National Average Closing Ratio is tracked based on Qualified Presentation Reports submitted by reps which is required for base pay, and are therefore fairly accurate, not based on someone’s general guess. National Average Order is exact. They simply take total sales and divide by the number of orders processed at the factory.
On my schedules above I had written down 174 reaches, meaning I had spoken with 174 people on the phone. If they hung up before I even said my pitch I didn’t count them because I didn’t really reach them.
So the complete funnel looked like this:
32% of the people I talked to agreed to set a meeting
76% of them kept the meeting
69% of those that saw me bought, and bought on average $544 each
So 17% of the people I talked to (29 sales out of 174 reaches) resulted in ALL of my sales.
Of all these stats the one that is most significant to me was that only ¾ of the people kept their commitments to see me. This is pretty terrible. I’m not going to blame it on the American psychology of flakiness though. I could probably have easily cut this in half or kept it to under a 10% cancel rate.
How to Reduce Your Cancellation Rate
At the end of the getting directions to their place after they ask you for your number in case something comes up, say the following:
Ok great, thanks so much for having me over. Mr. Jones, where do you keep track of your appointments?
Is it on your phone, your computer, or your wall?
Have you ever forgotten to look at it and missed an appointment?
No or Yes.
Last week I drove all the way out to ______. It took me 30 minutes and a lady had forgotten about me, can you believe that? My burning desire is to see what I am capable of. My goal is to see 100 people in the next 12 days which means I won’t have long to spend with you because I’m doing 9 appointments a day. I’m waking up at 6am, starting work at 8am and not finishing until 8pm. I am going to spend over 50 hours on the phone and writing letters setting up these meetings. Can you imagine if when the day came for their appointment everyone cancelled because they just didn’t feel like doing a little meeting that day?
Oh I wouldn’t do that, RJ.
Ok, thanks so much I appreciate being able to count on you. When I see you I’ll give you a chance to win $1,000 shopping spree.
What this does is give the client a whole new understanding of what this appointment means and they will remember every word you said when they wake up and look at the calendar and see that ONE appointment on their schedule which otherwise would seem kind of optional to them since they are in their mind volunteering their time to help you out. Since it’s an extra to them, they feel ok about canceling it, but when they hear your goal and know how long you spend setting up your meetings they reason if you are working all day, they can do the one little thing on their calendar.
People are never as busy as they say. Everyone has time to squeeze in an appointment if they have to. They all see the person who cuts their hair once a month.
Also, this is not too much info or coming on too strong. It is just stating plainly the facts of how busy you are and how hard you work to set up your meetings. You aren’t even asking the client to promise to be there directly. You don’t say, “Can you promise me you’ll be there?”
Think about posted rule signs. Keep Out. Don’t walk on the grass. Etc.
Aren’t those sometimes annoying? Don’t you wonder why you can’t? The why is important. It’s more important than the rule. A sign that that said Walking on the Grass Kills It, or better yet would be We Just Watered the Grass, Would You Please Not Kill It By Walking On It, Thank you :) would be way more effective. (Ok, 3 smaller signs then! :)
In Asian cultures they don’t yell “No” to young children. They don’t yell Stop That. Why? Because they save those hard words for real occasions of danger. They instead instill the understanding that the child requires in order to make the connection between cause and effect. Instead of relying on fear and punishment to motivate actions (something requiring your future presence to monitor and punish bad behavior), they set up a self-regulating system. If you do X (bad action), Y (bad outcome) happens. For example, if you smack your toys on the ground they get little cracks in them and then after time they will break and not work anymore and you won’t have toys to play with. :( There, problem solved!
Other interesting income breakdowns:
1. Income per appointment set
$7,900 / 55 = $143
2. Income per appointment completed
$7,900 / 42 = $188
3. Income per person I reached on the phone
$7,900 / 174 = $45
4. Income per hour
$7,900 / 153 = $51.63 per hour
(which would be $107,398 per year at 40 hours per week), and I worked 80 hours per week.
Now, that brings up an interesting idea and our final FEAR. “I couldn’t work that much. I wouldn’t want to. I’d have no life.”
Fear of Burnout / Having No Life
“I don’t want to trade my life away or be a workaholic…”
This fear is warranted in some ways, and that is why I have saved it for last and devote a large part of the remainder of this book to teaching you the way to overcome this FEAR and provide a system you can implement for solving the REAL problem of energy.
It involves examining where energy comes from and what activities cost energy.
We discuss what I refer to as the 3 Power Cycles and some powerful habits and mindsets to increase your mental and physical ability to work longer, but not more over the long run, just more in a given push cycle.
Life is a series of sprints, not a marathon, and the most productive people batch their projects to save time and mental energy. Synergies and economies of scale happen when you do all of a certain process at one time, then do all of another process at another time. It means lumping activities together.
Lessons from Henry Ford
For example, think of Henry Ford. Good ol’ HF was a pretty smart guy. He revolutionized production by deciding to have workers specialize in one area so they’d get efficient at doing something simple by doing it over and over again. That’s what you need to do, but you still need to be every work on your assembly line.
Where most people lose the horse’s tail is they want to take one car all the way from start to finish in one go then make the next car. They don’t like having 10 or 100 unfinished cars lying around.
This is where genius comes in.
Instead of building one car from start to finish, you need to build 10 cars at once but do one step in the process 10 times in a row then move to the next step, and repeat. That way you start to gain these efficiencies by the 2nd car you do, and at each of cars 2-10 you get faster and faster at that particular skill. These time savings build up because when you only do something once you might not think how to invent a faster way, and you just do it inefficiently. You don’t give it much thought and fail to innovate.
Henry Ford Washing Dishes
For instance, here is an example of how you are being inefficient right now in washing your dishes. When you wash one dish, you don’t like to get your hands wet since it’s only one dish you turn the faucet on and wait while the power of the water gets all the sticky stuff off. Then only if it doesn’t work do you grab a sponge and scrub add some soap possibly depending if you have a dishwasher, and finally it’s time to rinse. How do you rinse? Do you turn the faucet back on? Did you ever turn it off? That running water is energy. You are using up additional water and soap since your sponge isn’t soapy because no one was likely doing dishes right before you. If you waited to do all your dishes at once you must deal with a mess, yes, but you also learn ways to save time.
1. You wear rubber gloves because they protect your hands from excessive heat of the water. Should you be turning on and off the faucet several times and the temp might be too hot.
2. You plug the drains and make two rinsing tubs – if you have a dual sink – limiting your water to a fixed amount. You don’t make a wash and one a rinse. One sink rinses the soap off and eventually becomes soapy and dirty. The other is the second rinse which stays fairly clean throughout the entire process.
3. The soap stays on your sponge, you don’t put it on the items you are washing. You don’t have to re-soap each plate, and this saves time and soap.
4. You start to see certain motions are more effective for rinsing and washing, and begin to speed up your process.
This saves time by batching and learning these innovations. You will save the time you usually waste between projects. In my appointment system, you will actually work less than half the year – less than a Nine-to-Fiver, but 2 weeks out of 6 you work 7am to 10pm. That’s 15 hours a day. These are in short timed bursts though: 3 days on, 1 off, 2 days on, and then 1 off.
Burnout is a MYTH
It’s actually a myth… in a sense. You can burn out, it’s true, but most of us haven’t burnt out we only question the balance of work and play and so force ourselves to say we are burnt out or would be burnt out if we keep working so as to justify some time off.
There is nothing wrong with taking a break and having some fun, but…
PLAN IT BEFORE YOU DO IT
That way you can discover how far you really can go without burnout. It’s much further than you think, and what you will do for fun will be much more fun since you’ve given some time and thought to it, and won’t waste time trying to find something on the fly and then settling for some crappy tv or something.
What we Think Causes Burnout
What causes real burn out is not lack of time off or too much work, but:
1. improper care for the body,
2. improper sleep,
3. inadequate water, food, and exercise
4. lack of meaningful human contact.
It’s not that we aren’t watching enough of the tube, or that we are going out to the bar drinking enough, or that we haven’t had time to stay up late and party. Many times it’s that we ARE doing these things.
Have you ever finished a vacation and said to yourself,
“Man I need a vacation after that vacation?”
It’s because we are often…
What actually causes Burnout?
Skipping steps which would preserve the body and mind because of the harried nature of working under a deadline or with some feeling that we are behind and trying to catch up or save time or get the most done, etc. This is self-sabotage. We are only setting up the need to take time off and slowly robbing our momentum. Picture a snowball slowly unraveling instead of getting ever bigger.
Energy Karma and Warren Buffett’s Snowball
For example, during my 2007 push I skipped lunch and wouldn’t eat dinner until I was a ravenous Tasmanian devil at 10 o’clock at night. I’d binge on food, fill my stomach to capacity, and pass out on food coma to awake to indigestion and other unpleasantness, not to mention poor energy karma, all without realizing it of course. That was standard fare back then. It was normal to be tired. So many of us are zombies and don’t even know it because we have never experienced what a body that is exercised, slept, nourished, and stretched actually feels like.
Yes, energy karma! It is soooo real.
We have never made the crusade to conquer the self and harness the willpower that would result from such a quest.
In his book Snowball, my ol’ friend Warren speaks of life with this simple analogy. Just like the white pebbles that grow into giant boulders, our money and energy can amass into great storehouses this very same way. He says, “Life is like a snowball. All you need is wet snow and a really long hill.”
The Legend of Zelda: Building your Energy Capacity
Energy is a bit more perishable. It must be safeguarded and kept full to achieve peak performance. But when you are building your energy you are also building the storehouse for that energy. That storehouse may empty, but the storehouse will not be torn down. Your capacity to amass energy will not reduce over a weekend of poor energy choices.
Think of Link from the Legend of Zelda. When you start playing the game Link has a measly 3-heart life bar. Every time you complete an important part of the quest, he gains a piece of heart and enlarges his capacity to survive in battle. You are just like Link. You need to build your pieces of heart.
Let’s make that quest together! Here and NOW!
How to have MORE FUN
What is the best way to make sure we are having the maximum amount of fun?
Let me ask you this…
Which party do you think would attract more guests?
1. One that was thrown together with venue and guests available on zero notice or…
2. One that’s been planned and invites sent out months in advance?
My point exactly.
Not that you don’t sometimes stumble onto a great party or have an opportunity arise to partake in something really fun, but planning your free time a bit by thinking ahead ensures the leisure time you spend provides the maximum fun per hour that you’re off the clock from work.
If you only had 10 hours of vacation a month instead of every weekend, wouldn’t you want to make sure you got to do something really fun with that time?
Oftentimes, we find ourselves clicking through TV channels in an impromptu search for something…
What are we searching for?
Want more fun?
Plan more. Put planning in your calendar as a repeating 2 hour event every Sunday morning.
Don’t be an Ostrich
We are so depleted by our lives and work in one way or another we have our natural response is to numb ourselves from the world as often as possible. Ask yourself if you planned those nightly hours each week in advance, would you put “Channel Surfing” as an everyday thing?
Wouldn’t you at least want to Tivo your favorite shows and skip the commercials? Next time you turn on the TV and start surfing for something a little alarm should go off and you should think of the ostrich hiding with his head in the sand.
Something to Look Forward To
The other reason to plan fun activities for our free time is that it gives us something to look forward to and a reason to work. We are working for that trip to Europe, that day at the beach next weekend, etc. If you can’t think of fun things you want to do on your free time maybe that should tell you that you aren’t losing out on much by working a bit more until you find something you really want to do.
Learn from Hindsight
What times do you cherish? When you are reflecting on how you’ve spent your time do you look back on your life and say, “Man I am so glad I watched those TV shows.”??? Do you ever think back on your life and feel gratitude for the movies and the video games?
Or isn’t it the travel and the time spent with friends and family at special occasions and events that form the fondest memories? If offered the choice (because you are being offered the choice every day) between traveling the world or watching it on TV which do you choose?
Standard American Schedule
Do as little work as possible 9-5 Monday to Friday
Avoid work and thinking about work 5-9 Monday to Thurs
Friday and Saturday party, drink, escape.
Sunday rest, work, clean, and get caught up for dreaded Monday…
Work 8 to 8 Monday to Saturday for Weeks 1-3 with timed breaks, exercise, and healthy meals
for fuel. Focus on planning and rejuvenating from 8pm-10pm every day. Get to sleep early and be rested for the entire push, then take Weeks 4 and 5 completely off for a global vacation rewarding yourself and really living.
Here is what I think is sustainable for a year:
8 to 8 for 108: 6 Week Cycle for World Travel
This is a 50/50 work rest cycle that I think maximizes life value.
For 3 weeks you work, then you take a global vacation for weeks 4, 5, and 6.
You do 8 cycles per year of push weeks where you work 8am-8pm doing 108 appointments in 12 “on-day” pushes.
Week 1: Phone Jamming
8 hours of calling per day. 8am-12am, break, then again from 5-9. During the break you exercise, shower, and make dinner.
8 hours of calling yields 16 appointments
7 days of calling yields 112 appointments
1 day off to rest and prepare for a TON of driving and demos.
Weeks 2 & 3: The Push
Demo scheduled every hour and a half starting at 8am ending at 8pm for a total of…
8, 9:30, 11, 12:30, 2, 3:30, 5:00, 6:30, 8
9 appointments per day
9 x 12 days = 108 appointments
(one day off at beginning after phone week and one off in middle of push)
108 appointments set
25% cancel (this is when you eat and exercise etc.)
$400 average order (typical for most good sales people)
= $22,680 sales
= $11,340 income
Income per week in cycle
$11,340 / 6 = $1890
Income per year
52 / 6 = 8.6 so 8 cycles per year
8 x 11,340 = $90,720 income
Now you don’t have to take a 3 week vacation. But I wouldn’t mess with the basic concept. Booking up your day as much as possible is the easiest way to sell because it doesn’t require you to make phone calls on days you also have to be out driving around.
This is key! KEY!
Your day is dedicated to phoning when you need to phone, and you don’t have to then leave and go sell, and that is the better way of saying it. You don’t let your appointments interrupt your phoning. And it’s easier mentally to get on the phone when you can laze around all day in pajama pants at home with the TV on mute and your favorite drink in hand just dialing peacefully away!
The phone calls are done and done all up front. So, the push is relatively stress free. Also, by the time you get to your 5th and higher appointment in the day you have sold so much you feel almost indifferent if they buy, which is a good thing. Remember my story of the Larsens?
Every day you bring home a fat paycheck, no matter how bad of a day it was. 7-9/day is the only way to fly. Doing an appointment every 90 minutes also forces you to not waste time on bad people or get bogged down with good people either. You don’t have time to waste.
Of course what will happen is you fail to perfectly book up 108 appointments. It
After it’s all said and done, you could take a 3 day vacation, and get back on the phone. We’ve build energy maximization into the push, so it is physically possible. But most people want something more to life and need to feel they are working for something.
Finding the Oasis
You could also schedule more off days during your pushes. You might want one off day for every 3 on days. So 12 work days would require an additional 3 days bumping your push stretch to 15 days instead of 12. Then there is the 7 days of calling beforehand, so that would take you to 22 days from 21.
P = Phone
A = Appointments
Mon Tues Wed Th Fri Sat Sun
P P Off P P P P
Off A A A Off A A
Off A A A Off A A
A A Off Off Off Off Off
Off Off Off Off Off Off Off
Off Off Off Off Off Off P
And the Cycle Repeats…
This looks very easy indeed. In fact, as you can see, I added an off day in the middle of your 7-day phone marathon. You could use one probably, and why not? It only shortens your vacation stint by one day leaving you at a nice 18-day streak.
You have a total of 23 days off and 19 days on.
7 Phone days x 8 hours = 56 hours
12 Appointment days x 9 appointments x 1.5 hours each = 162 hours
56 + 162 = 218 total hours
218/6 = 37 hours per week
So with this plan you make $90,000 per year and have to work less than half the year. The other half you can spend as you please. I would take several global vacations, but that’s just me :). The plan comes with 8, but of course they are optional!
The beauty to this plan is that it’s turning those frequently wasted hours between 5-9pm into extra whole days of vacation time! Time you can plan to use for more fun than watching TV!
Time you can actually spend living!!
You might want to learn to play the piano or guitar?
Or write that book you always wanted?
Jot out 3 things you have always wanted time to do:
Leah had inspired me to raise my goal out of my comfort zone even though I hate to lose – at least I did back then.
Now, I seek to fail in everything I do. Yes, I know that sounds odd. What I mean is this: