Reasons and Excuses to Insure Your Business Fails

Last year at I woke up at 4am with my phone ringing and a slight sound of sirens in the background.  My house was smoky and as I ran into the living room ash was flying inside my house through the skylights.  This was the morning of the 2007 San Diego fires.  At the same time thousands of my neighbors were evacuating from their homes in Rancho Bernardo.  This is a day I will never forget!    One of these neighbors was my friend Jay I mentioned earlier this week.

So why am I bringing up the San Diego fires today?   In my last post I used my friend Jay Riordan as an example of a business having a positive perspective in the current marketplace.  Today I thought I would share with you another part of the story.  Jay’s business, Dream Design Builders is doing really well, at the same time Jay’s competitors are downsizing and closing.  Jay’s positive perspective in the current marketplace is incredible but maybe you are thinking to yourself “I am different” or “this is great for Jay but I have had this happen or that happen this year”.

Jay Riordan, Holding a charred photo rescued from the ashes
Jay Riordan, Holding a charred photo rescued from the ashes

So here is the rest of the story…  After the fires went through Rancho Bernardo my neighbors and I started finding ways back to our homes.  I was one of the lucky ones…  My home was standing with no damage, my friend Jay was not so fortunate…  When Jay was able to get near his street he was seeing smoldering homes everywhere including his own home.

The reason why I mention this is for you to think about your reasons or excuses you might be using right now.  Jay had every reason to buy into the negativity of the media.  Jay could have been fully consumed by the emotions of his recent losses.  Jay could have placed all of his attention on rebuilding his home and letting his business suffer.  All of these reasons would have been completely justified!

Next time you think about the reason why you are not succeeding or why your business is not growing at the rate you would like, think about the reasons you are using to justify your story.  Think about the possibility of just changing your thinking.

Think about my friend Jay, who chose to package the emotional charge around losing his home to a fire, into an amazing energy focused on building an even more beautiful home and a thriving business.  Isn’t that better than anything even small bit of negativity might bring you?  The power of how you handle negativity in your life is truly yours.

Landing the next BIG client: Just a Flip of the Coin?

Today I was thinking about some of my large sales successes. The high of landing a large account can really begin an unstoppable momentum in your sales journey.

I have always been in sales and marketing and have had many great highs. A large amount of my super highs have come from landing large accounts. One I often think about is Bi-Lo, a 220 store grocery chain based in South Carolina.

I remember like it was yesterday… I had been working with the buyer for over 5 months, flying back and forth from San Diego to Greenville, South Carolina too many times to count. At the time we were a relatively small entertainment distributor at about $10 million in sales and I was competing against 5 other vendors ranging in size from $100 million to just shy of $1 billion. Just who did I think I was competing against these goliath companies? Blind to anything that may have been in my way! I had lost count on how many times I had followed up via email, phone calls, letters, and notes trying to close the sale.

One of the last times I followed up I finally had the buyer on the phone. He stated it was between me and two of my largest competitors. I asked him where he was leaning and his exact response was “I don’t know Alan, it’s really a flip of a coin!”… A FLIP OF A COIN?!?! I was so taken back by that comment at first but then quickly started thinking about what I could do… OK, a flip of a coin… I can take care of that!

The following day I sent a coin Next Day Air with our company logo engraved on each side with a note that said “Here is the coin to use when you are ready !” The next week I received the call letting me know our company was awarded the contract! My consistent followup was a major factor in landing the account and I also know the coin pushed my buyer over the edge in my direction. For more creative follow up ideas check out Scott Ginsberg’s article 7 (more) Unforgettable Follow-Up Strategies.

How many times have you been presented with a challenge at some point in the sale? Are you listening for the opportunities to take that one extra step? I find a lot of times in the sales process it comes down to a few companies and the customer goes with the company that feels right… Look for those opportunities to insure you stand out amongst your competitors and realize sometimes it just comes down to a flip of a coin.