This one is a doozy! Never – Never – Ever – Give up! I love to tell this story to sales people and trainees. They drop their jaws in disbelief and look at me in dismay. When the old man started his day he always did so with his trusty yellow lined legal pad. He saved the darn things, had stacks of them on his desk.
He used to call it his KISS system. Keep It Simple Stupid. Love that! So every night we’d pull out our legal pads, by the time we got to the last pages of those pads of paper the corners of the pages were rolled and frayed, the top pages were covered in scribbles blurred by spilled coffee stains, but, these pads were gold mines of lead generation history and information.
The trick was to write our ‘to do’ list for the next day. We’d track who we needed to follow up with, what tasks we needed to finalize and identify new prospects to attack … that’s right, we attacked the market! It’s war out there! We attacked every day, all our competition and every client. A take no prisoners, no holds barred, all out cold calling machine! That was my dad. It was crazy, it was scary and he never got discouraged.
He would put little tick marks up in the corner of the page. You know like you do when you’re counting off something. One, two, three, four vertical lines and the fifth one was a diagonal slash through the other four.
Side Thought: I was talking to my mother the other day about a deal that didn’t close and a huge commission that didn’t come through. She mentioned I didn’t sound to upset about it then she started talking about my highly positive, glass half full mentality. She said I must have gotten that from my father. She stated that her glass was half empty every time Tom (my dad) informed her that a deal fell apart but that he’d go on and on about the next big opportunity. …she said that doesn’t pay the bills! I told her I was really a two halves type of guy. I realize that the deal has to close and fill the glass up half way, but just in case it didn’t there was an opportunity filling the other half of the glass so no matter what, it was always half full! …To my way of thinking, it’s easier to get to ALL full when you always start from the halfway point! LOL
One day old pop’s got off the phone after making a particularly tough cold call. He got the appointment … heck, he got the sale! I was ecstatic! Great job old man, we’d been trying to breakthrough to the guy for a long time. It was going to be a big account and he placed the first order right over the phone, even prior to the usual meet-n-greet that most clients wanted prior to placing an order.
But dear ole dad was almost despondent then I noticed what he was doing. With a grimace on his face and pencil in his hand he was slowly tapping those little tick marks. I swear he counted them three or four times, occasionally sighing … uh, humph, hu, uh.
Me: “Great job dad you got it! you got it!”
Dad: “Nope, didn’t do it good enough, didn’t make enough calls.”
Me: “Huh? But we got the client right AND he placed an order! Good job right?”
Dad: “Yes, kind of … You see, there’s only 76 calls here … only 76 ‘no’s’. I could have made 24 more calls and probably had another deal. Oh well, we’ll do better next time.”
Then with a smile and a nod; “right son?”
Me: “Ummm?? Yes sir?”
I’ve read a lot of books on success, on sales and even a few on cold calling. There are a lot schemes and tactics out there. There are a lot of strategies about research and approach, but at the end of the day cold calling is about the ‘calling’. It’s about picking up the phone and making the call and to my dad, the greatest cold caller I’ve ever met it was about his rule.
The rule of 100. That’s right … 100 cold calls. That’s 99 no’s leading to a yes! He never got discouraged. He understood the simple fact that eventually all those people saying ‘no’ were going to lead to the one who said yes!
Are their easier ways to do sales? Sure there are, but that’s not what this part of the story is about. It’s about having a never-never-ever-give up! mindset. It’s about understanding that even negative things can and often do lead to positive things, or as a colleague once said to me about a particularly difficult business predicament that I was in … Mike, you’ll turn those lemons into lemonade and it’ll be the best tart/sweet lemonade anyone ever sipped on, because that’s just who you are! (Thanks Audrey, you are the best!) And who I am starts with what my father taught me about never – never – ever – giving up!
The bottom line here is that negative things can be positive and that positive things can create success. Let’s look at this a different way. My father taught me that I should use the word ‘no’ as limited as possible. Why? Because the word no is a cop-out. When a client ask for something and we say NO, we’ve avoided commitment and we open ourselves up the competition. However, the word ‘yes’ is positive and powerful. It’s also the toughest word you’ll ever say. When you say YES, you just committed. ‘Yes’ requires something of you, it requires action, commitment, belief. When you try to say yes and you try to avoid saying no you begin to set up a positive pattern. These positive patterns lead to success and that success becomes a solid foundation for the never-never-ever-give up attitude.
The rule of 100 is the real thing. Avoiding saying NO and trying hard to say YES sets up a positive mindset and that positive pattern can lead you to a solid Never-Never-Ever-Give Up attitude. The positive attitude is infectious and bleeds into everything you do, it creates success and everyone wants to do business with someone that is successful!
Want to infuse your business with better clients that are easier to work with and that are as committed to you as you are to them? Want to generate referrals and a network that is unstoppable? Then use the rule of 100 and remove the word ‘NO’ from your vocabulary and watch the can-do Yes! attitude grow your sales and your customer base while making them become raving fans!