Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to watch the US National Ice Skating Championships. I admit I don’t like it when a skater falls. I want everyone to skate their very best. But I am always amazed when a skater does fall on the ice how quickly the skater can get back up and resume skating in sync with the music. Whether the skater regains composure enough to skate the rest of the program flawless is the mark of a true champion.
While watching the ladies competition on Saturday evening, one of skaters who was expected to finish high in the standings, fell, on a jump that the skater generally excels at. Olympic champion Peggy Fleming, who along with Olympic champion, Scott Hamilton, was providing commentary and play-by-play, pointed out that the skater fell because she allowed herself to get distracted even before she skated onto the ice by listening to the audience call her name.
In contrast, when the men were skating for the title on Sunday afternoon the skater who ultimately won, Peggy Fleming once again pointed out how during his long program when he executed a particular jump exceptionally well that he stayed focused. He didn’t acknowledge the cheers and the claps from the audience. Ms. Fleming once again commented that would be too distracting. Winning the title was too important especially since the year before it had been lost to another skater.
Often what sets apart champion skaters from others isn’t just their physical ability to skate, perform jumps or spins and entertain the audience but to focus. To be in control. Yet, at the same time, to feel the energy of the audience in the arena.
Those who win, as Peggy Fleming spoke it quite eloquently: Transcend the competition.
Watching the skaters got me to thinking about how as business people, we can often allow ourselves to get distracted; to lose focus from what the goal of every business is: Keeping our current customers happy, attracting new customers and running a profitable business.
As business people, we can get distracted from the very moment we walk in the office door. Distraction causes us to lose sight of the goal which is to always be looking for new, profitable business opportunities.
What can distract you or your sales force from looking for new, profitable business opportunities?
Things such as:
– People vying for your attention to ask questions, update you on projects
– Reading your email or checking your mobile phone
– Going on the internet to check latest stock market numbers or latest headlines
– Social media
– Unscheduled meetings
– Putting out “fires”
– Unexpected phone calls
– Thinking something “will only take a minute”
– Stepping out of your office for a refill of coffee or a stop at the water cooler
– And a thousand other things
Most business people would rather go to the dentist than to prospect.
Because nobody likes rejection.But is it really rejection? Or is prospecting an opportunity to find the perfect, profitable business match?
To avoid distraction when prospecting:
– Set aside specific times each day
– Close your door
– Don’t accept phone calls
– Have a glass of water or other favorite beverage on your desk
– Have your call list for that day prepared and ready
– Know the outline of your script
– Set positive outcome intentions
– Tell co-workers you’re unavailable till a certain time
– Have a system in place to take notes on each call and for follow up
– Don’t allow yourself to do anything other than prospecting activities, even for a minute
Be focused on the prospecting goal!
As you make your prospecting calls, when someone wants to talk with you, take your time talking with them. Remember your goal is to qualify them and set an appointment.
If someone doesn’t want to talk with you or they just want to talk to talk and you know there is no opportunity of them becoming a prospect, politely end the call and immediately move on to the next name on the list. Don’t waste time! The time you waste could keep you from making one more phone call that could be the prospect you’re looking for.
Between each call, don’t permit yourself any sort of distraction that keeps you from the goal of identifying potential new business. While you are talking to the potential appointment, take notes. As soon as you hang up from the call go right to the next call without delay.
There are times when you’ll recognize that you will need to follow up with someone several times to make them a prospect. But it’s important to recognize the difference when someone says: ‘Call me next month’; ‘call me in six months’ or ‘can you send me some information’? Are they really a good potential prospect?
Most times, ‘no’ is ‘no’. When people ask you to send information, ask yourself if this is just their way of getting you off the phone, betting you’ll never call again. You need to understand the difference. You never want to put false hope on a prospect that really isn’t a prospect yet salespeople do it all the time.
Every time you get a ‘no’ response be just like the champion ice skaters when they miss jumps and fall – get right back up without hesitation, keep skating to the beat of the music without losing any momentum to finish the performance and win the competition.
Remember, to quote Peggy Fleming: Transcend the competition.
Prospecting with focus and persistence will give you the sales, profit and success you’re looking for.
To your success!
Howard Lewinter guides – focuses – advises CEOs, presidents and business owners to MORE success – MORE profit – less stress. Get MORE from your business! Talk with Howard: 888-738-1855.