Saturday, July 9, 2011

How to Create a List of 1,000 Names

If you are just getting started in a sales career, or restarting one, one of the first things you need to do is make a list. The purpose of a list is to get as many names written down as possible, this will accomplish many things for you. One it gives you confidence to see all the people who might need your services.

There are many schools of thought on the contact list. Some say the more the merrier, others say to only put enough names that you can really invest the time to cultivate the relationships. Personally I say both, make a huge list, get as many with contact information as possible, then score them into "A", "B", and "C" names depending on the level of activity you choose to give them. You only will be investing money on mail or marketing for them maybe once before you choose which ones you invest in, and which ones you market electronically only.

Let's start showing you how to build a big list. Anyone can create a list of a thousand names with enough effort. Keep in mind that there are many names who are not going to be the meat of your list. In this exercise the most important thing is not to prequalify the names, don't decide for them if they should or shouldn't be on your list, don't leave off those who you would be intimidated to call, if you are too intimidated you won't call them anyway so there is nothing to be afraid of putting them down on your list.

Today it is so much easier to build a big list than it used to be due to the Social Media phenomenon. If they are on your Facebook, Myspace, Linked in, or any other Social media site, put them on your list.

Who went to your wedding? The average wedding has two hundred guests, put them down. Your Christmas card list, you Church Directory, who do you work with, have you worked with at each place you have worked, your bowling league, your high school friends, your civic organizations, your clubs, your extended family, put them down. Go through your address books as well on paper, and in your phone and computers.

Some tricks, don't just try to think of people, think of them in groups. If you sit down and try to think of people you will draw a blank, if you think who was in our softball team all their faces appear in your mind. Think of them in context of places and groups and you will find them popping into your head.

Once you exhaust the lists above now is the fun part. Sit down with someone who will help lead you through this part. This is kind of a free association type of exercise. Have your partner take a Yellow Pages and you sit opposite them at the table with a pad of paper and pen. Have them start with the A's like Accountants and you write down everyone you know who is an accountant, or are reminded of by the word. Then one by one, go through every listing of jobs and businesses types from A to Z. So you should have Ambassadors to Zoo Keepers. Again don't prejudge these names, just write them down. Keep in mind, the names on your list may never be a client for you, but might know someone who would.

Once you have your list start working on putting contact information with them. Those from your social media and from your address books should have it already, put it down as you are filling those out. However, on the free association part, don't stop to get the contact information until you have finished the process of creating the names on the list. You don't want the distraction at that point. Fill in the blanks later.

Now that you have the list, you will start looking at it with a more critical eye as to who you want to start contacting and start adjusting the grading on the names. However, it is wise to get word out to as many as you have contact information on to let them know that you are in business, and how they can get with you. I would request an email in hopes at least some would return your outreach with an email to you. You can then capture theirs as well.

When you have a list, it is time to start contacting them. That will be the topic for another blog. However, one of the most important reasons you need a big list is that if you only have a list in your head, or a list of say a dozen people, you will become frozen if you get a handful of noes in a row when you start calling your list. You will naturally start looking at your list and see it half gone and fear if you call more you will be out of business before you start. If however, you get a handful of noes in a row and see hundreds of names still on it you don't care as much. With that said, if you get a handful of noes in a row, I would call a mentor to see if you are saying something wrong and tweak it.

So, get started on a BIG list.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Spirit Of 1776

July Fourth Seventeen Seventy Six was the publish date of the book on free market capitalism in Scotland. This book became the core of the thinking of our own founders who too were busy rewriting the world that same week in America. This book was "The Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith. Today we find ourselves in dire need of returning to the wisdom of Smith and cast aside the mistakes of John Maynard Keynes.

Rather than trying to do a deep dive into the mind of Smith let's take a look at the core belief that the rest was built around. Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand" that guides business in a free market has been misunderstood, and misrepresented for now more than two centuries from those who are against a free market system.

What is the Invisible Hand? In a word greed. It's a burning desire for gain, and a fear of loss that ultimately guides human nature in a free market. There are many people who will try to tell you that if not for government regulations or unions protecting us from business people we will be treated unfairly and oppressed. However, that simply isn't true.

The examples they will use is the abuses in the factories of the industrial revolution. If there wasn't a crony system with the local governments at the time, they wouldn't have been needed. If someone tried to strong arm, do bodily harm, or even kill anyone who resisted laws would have been broken and if not condoned by local politicians and police it would have ended.

The Invisible Hand is based on personal self-interest and desire for profit. Here is how it would work in a true free market system. If I was a tyrant of an employer and treated my employees horribly, underpaid them, abused them, and was a bad guy, someone would start a company to compete with me and would take away my best employees, leaving me with the most unproductive ones, dooming me to failure.

If I, as a businessman, abused my customers, treated them badly, sold them an over priced, poor quality product and wouldn't stand by it when it failed, someone would compete with me. When they sold a better product at a better price and stood behind it they would cause me to lose my business. I would only have two choices with either story above. One is to keep doing what I was doing and go broke, or to change, improve how I treat my employees and customers to try to compete.

So in my own selfish best interest, I would be forced to be fair, forced to treat customers and employees well for the simple motive that I want to profit. If you read Ayn Rand's book "Atlas Shrugged" that is the core of it's message as well.

When anything interferes with the free market with government regulations or union meddling, or crony capitalism at the local, state, or federal level, it ties the Invisible Hand and takes away it's power to guide the process. When it is tied, the results are always less than it should be, higher prices, lower service. If you want to see how bad it can get look at our health care system in America. It has been so highly regulated for so long there is no way it could be affordable. Rather than a government take over, we would be wise to let the Invisible Hand control it to see what would happen.

Two recent examples of the destroying effect of government intervention are happening right now. One is in Arizona where the state of Arizona is protecting those who pay them dues in the Cosmetology Board to shut down eyebrow threading businesses. They are demanding that these businesses take 600 hours of courses on Cosmetology School for about ten thousand dollars to get a license to practice. However, if you consider that not one minute of those six hundred hours will teach eyebrow threading, it appears that they are simply stopping competition from coming into the market.

In Louisiana right now there is a battle going on with Florists. The State is requiring a four and a half hour test to get a florist license. The judges who test the candidates are competing florists, the results are that the failure rate on the Florist test is twice as high as the bar exam for Louisiana. Once again allowing the competition to use the power of government to keep others from entering the market.

We see crony capitalism from the smallest to largest government entity. Maybe it is time we go back to the Spirit of 76 in both small government Republic and the Invisible Hand.