Dig A Hole
Tom Peters struck it rich when he co-authored In Search Of Excellence with Bob Waterman. Today, Mr. Peters is a contributing writer for FAST Magazine, an interesting bi-monthly I recommend. Peters has followers and detractors, but who doesn’t? (When I make my first bazillion dollars, I am sure a few of you will turn against me as well. The good news is that probably won’t happen this year.)
I got the idea for this chapter from Tom himself. No need to get permission. (If I’m wrong about that permission thing, my next book could come to you via the Big House.) Tom once said:
“It consistently amazes me how many people in the oil business fail to get the message that in order to strike oil, you have to dig a hole.”
I love this message.
Even in Texas, holes like many other things in life, come in just two varieties: (1) those that produce oil; and (2) those that don’t. The sooner JR Ewing dug a hole, the sooner he learned unequivocally which kind he had going and whether he would cash in . . . or not — in which case he would cheat somebody out of their hole which did produce oil. The intelligent approach for JR, of course, would be to avoid randomly digging in places far removed from known oil deposits. (As a resident, I might observe that the only place you are likely to strike oil in New Jersey is at Jim Stampoulus’s pizzeria.)
This oil well analogy has three important and related messages about building your book of business successfully.
- You have got to sink the old drill bit into the telephone system and prospect if you want to get clients. You have about as much chance of them coming to you as JR has of finding oil by turning on the tap in his bathroom.
- I tell salespeople all the time that there are only two kinds of people in our world: People you can help . . . and the other kind. Your job becomes non- threatening once you begin to view life from this clear point of view. All you need to do is look for people who are receptive to your help.
Likewise, as I have said throughout this book, you have to target your prospecting efforts to maximize you chances for success. “Drilling” for sales of travel services by attending Agorophobics Anonymous Meetings is an exercise in futility. (For those of you who have not been exposed to this sad condition, Agorophobia is the fear of being in open places — i.e. like leaving the safe surroundings of your home.)
(3) You don’t need to pour a lot of psychic energy into why a hole turned up dry. It just was that other kind of hole. Same with prospects. If they don’t want your services or product no need to dwell on it. Just find another promising field and sink your drill again.
Marchev’s Million Dollar Earn-A-Break Strategy
So how do you set up a good drilling program? I gave you some guidelines in Section II: A Basic Sales System That Works. But here’s another strategy for systematically finding oil in your prospecting. If you give this strategy an honest try for four months, you will increase your business by as much as 30%. Guaranteed.
Chances are you enjoy a morning cup of coffee upon arriving at work. A few short hours later, you break for lunch. You find your way back to the shop after lunch, take a ten-minute afternoon break, and again, in a few hours, you head home.
Here is a strategy that is as close to a sure thing as there is. Just like always, I want you to show up at work, hit the java, break for lunch, return from lunch, and at the appropriate time, head for home. But here comes the twist. I want you to “earn” each of these “rights.” To paraphrase old professor Kingsfield on the Smith Barney commercials, “Do it the old fashioned way . . . e-a-r-n it.”
Before pouring your morning cup of coffee, make one prospecting phone call. No phone call? No coffee. Before heading for lunch, make one prospecting phone call. No phone call? No Big Mac. Upon returning from lunch, make one prospecting phone call, otherwise no afternoon break. And before you call it a day, make one more phone call you ordinarily would not have made. No phone call? No slamming the door behind you.
On day one, you will have made four phone calls which you ordinarily would not have made. Watch how the numbers work. With just four calls a day, you will be making twenty new calls per week, and eighty a month. These four daily phone calls will add up to more than nine hundred calls per year. (Multiply nine hundred phone calls by the number of employees in your organization, and the prospecting volume, and profit potential, become dramatic.) I can guarantee that if you make nine hundred extra phone calls within the year, a lot of things will happen that would not have happened if you had not made this effort
To make this strategy work like a fine tuned watch, maintain a list of prospects and clients to contact with a specific purpose . . . literature follow up, request for an annual report, a congratulatory remark, etc.
Try this strategy. You will be happy you did. But don’t just go with programmed prospecting. Besides being pro-active, you also need to be re-active to the next opportunity that is beamed into your vicinity.