Do you feel lucky?
By Stuart Brunger | Business Development Director | Maxoptra
I have to smile when I see some frustrated salesman circulate the above cartoon or similar. It must have been almost 30 years ago when I first saw it, though it’s probably older than that.
On the one hand, I’m sure that to many hopefuls, I’m that annoying prospect who just does not respond to all the overtures made by potential salesman.
At the same time, our organisation is much like most organisations – we need to be constantly approaching and winning new customers. So we suffer the frustration of prospects who are simply ‘too busy’ doing things the hard way.
But maybe, just maybe, the time to worry is when you’re NOT the quarry of a diligent salesperson. Here’s why.
As a newbie salesperson, I used to get really annoyed with those uncontactable companies who I felt would definitely benefit from my product or service. However, after operating in the UK for a good few years, I learned something new: perhaps those who didn’t want to even entertain a conversation were, in essence, ‘unlucky people’ – a characteristic that will eventually define the failure of their business against the competition.
This correlation first struck me when I was promoted from territory salesperson for the whole of Kent and Sussex to territory salesman for half of the W1 postcode in London. In Kent and Sussex, getting through to the elusive decision maker seemed like a real battle. The cartoon absolutely told my story. In HALF of London W1, it was a completely different story. I was welcomed by, what were to me, highly important company directors – even when door to door cold calling. “Here, have a coffee, tell us about your solution.” The conversation generally ended in one of two ways: either “we’re not interested” or “yes, we’re interested.” Both responses confident and decisive. I never got a time-wasting “we’ll think about it”.
And so the seed was planted. Companies that sustained success, who out-performed their competitors, had some key characteristics from which I was benefitting:
- Being relaxed and confident enough to notice new things (not just my product but everything – how the market was changing/highly sensitive and tuned in to their surroundings).
- Actively pursuing chance opportunities, believing they will lead to something good.
- A willingness to invest the time to find out whether the ‘new thing’ was, in fact, an opportunity or a threat.
Actually, very similar to the characteristics uncovered by psychologist Richard Wiseman in his study of Lucky People http://spdrdng.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/The-Luck-Factor-bu-Richard-Wiseman.pdf.
So what happens next in the cartoon? Well, I guess the salesman sold the machine gun to the competition, with the obvious consequences for the busy soldier who turned him away (or maybe put him off until it had been proven elsewhere!).
Now, the salesman in me says those prospects who show no interest are ‘unlucky’, and thus are unlikely to become good customers; the ‘unlucky’ characteristic will get them in the end. On the other hand, those who are willing to listen are actually ‘lucky’ and will make good customers because they’re listening to everything.
So, let me ask: Do you understand what Maxoptra can do for your business or for your competitors? If not, why not?