Let me tell you the story.
Imagine this for a moment: your sales coach, instead of holding the usual meeting at his office or yours, picks you up and takes you to Barnes & Noble and once there, tells you something that prompts you to ask “Are we going to be thrown out?”
One day I had a coaching session with a student I’ll call “Sales Sam.” It was his birthday, and I told him “Instead of you coming by my office, I’ll pick you up at your office and we’ll do something special because it’s your birthday.”
I picked him up and, about a block away from his office, I asked “How many business cards do you have?”
“Well, I don’t have any,” Sales Sam answered.
“Don’t you carry any with you?”
Major sales violation!
I turned the car around and went back to his office. He did have some there—about thirty. We left again, and I said “It’s your birthday, and we’re going to have a little bit of fun in our one our session. I’m going to take you to Barnes & Noble. We’re going to work the audience and I’m going to buy you a couple of sales books.”
After a Starbucks stop and saying hello to a few people, we strolled over to Sales Sam’s industry: financial planning.
“Let me share with you a technique that’s not very well known, but great—people always benefit. Take your business cards and drop each one into a financial planning book. You never know when somebody’s going to walk in here, choose a book, and find your card!”
“Are we going to get thrown out?” Sales Sam was terrified.
“Well, if we get thrown out, there’s another Barnes & Noble down the street. We’ll just head over there.” He was still extremely nervous. “C’mon, let’s do it!” I encouraged him. He finally started putting his cards in the books and used them all up. We walked to the sales section, I bought him a couple of books, and I took him back to his office.
That’s not all there was to it.
The bookstore excursion was on a Thursday. The following Monday he had a seminar planned in which he’d invited people to find out about a new financial services product. He invited me and I said I’d come early to help him set up. From all the mailings and telemarketing and planning—$4,000 to $5,000 worth—he had received twenty-to-thirty affirmative RSVPs.
When I arrived at the venue on that Monday afternoon, Sales Sam’s office manager was waiting for me at the door.
“Did you hear what happened? You’re not going to believe this! You know how you made him put his business cards in all those books at Barnes & Noble?”
“He got a call from a guy. This guy has $50,000 to $60,000 to invest but he didn’t know what to do with it. He goes to Barnes & Noble to look at financial planning books and Sales Sam’s card drops out of one of them. This guy said it was an act of God.” I went in and got the rest of the story.
“I wasn’t sure if his guy was the real thing, and I thought you might be faking me out. So I invited him here!” Sales Sam explained. Now remember, Sales Sam had spent $4,000 to $5,000 on this seminar: $4,000 to $5,000 on mailings, telemarketing, venue, and food. Guess how many people showed up? Not including support and other financial planners? Three or four. He spent $750 per person on average to get them there.
Guess who else showed up? Yes. That guy who went to Barnes & Noble and found Sales Sam’s business card.
What does this mean?
This means that you never know how things will go. I don’t know if those three or four other people who showed up ever did any business with Sales Sam. But the guy who’d found his card at Barnes & Noble ended up spending his money with Sales Sam in an investment product he was able to offer.
What do we learn from this?
First, always have your business card with you. You never know when that door of opportunity will open and all you have to do is walk through. Second, have sales belief! Do not think that someone is setting you up or that your sales coach is trying to fake you out!
Know that opportunities exist—if you create the opportunities!
Creating opportunities starts with the first thing we learned: have your business cards on you! Leave them in unexpected places—places people would never think to find a business card. Have fun with your business! You never know what will happen! You never know how you will make an impact on clients and prospects when you have great sales belief and act on it! Make sure people know how wonderful you, your company, and your product are!