I recently had the pleasure of speaking with a top regional manager in the US for one of the major life insurance companies. Unlike the usual 100-calls-a-day routine imposed upon insurance salespeople by most managers, this individual has a very different policy.
Any salespeople in his organization who are still cold calling after 3 months are automatically fired!
Interesting. Especially when you consider the fact that he’s the top manager nationwide for a huge insurance company.
When I asked why he does this, the answer was simple. He sees two major problems with any salesperson who is still cold calling after 3 months. First, that person isn’t using his or her time effectively. Second, anyone who still needs to cold call after 3 months has failed to build an effective system of generating leads.
This manager is so on target that I’d quickly be out of business if his ideas were adopted by all other managers! And salespeople would be a lot better off both in terms of happiness and financial success! In fact, I wouldn’t mind being out of business under those circumstances. I really enjoyed selling in those few positions where I had a sensible manager who could actually think for himself.
This person obviously understands some basic principles that I’d now like to explain.
I’m not the biggest fan of literal “time management.” I think most time management systems are overly complicated, and, ironically, people waste too much time managing their “time management.” Time really is our most precious asset and the one most often wasted, so I always tell people to just get to work and stop killing time putting tasks into an endless maze of categories, priorities, and so on.
The study and mastery of time management needs to go far beyond the organizational skills usually taught in time management books and courses. Let me explain what I’m talking about. Here is how the average salesperson’s time is spent:
Those of you who read that mailbag with the letter from the insurance agent should remember my statement that selling is not prospecting and prospecting is not selling.
The fallacy in spending 80% of your time prospecting and only 20% of your time selling is that you’re only paid to make a sale. You are not paid to prospect. You are not paid to cold call. You are not paid for time in your car. You are not paid to network and go to lead groups and mixers.
You are only paid to make a sale.
In other words, 80% of the time, you’re working for free.
What would your results be if you could reverse those numbers and spend 80% of your time selling? That would quadruple your sales. Let’s say you fared poorly at increasing your time management and efficiency and only managed to double your sales. If you doubled your sales, wouldn’t you be able to, say, hire a telemarketing agency to do your prospecting for you? Or put some money into other forms of marketing?
Of course you would.
From there your sales would begin to multiply exponentially. Which brings me to Lesson #2 in this newsletter.
Metcalf’s Law states that the power of a network is equal to the total number of its components squared. In other words, if there’s one component, the square of one is one, so the power of the network is 1. If there are 2 components, then the power is 4. 3, and the power becomes 9. And on and on.
For our purposes, let’s apply Metcalf’s Law to selling. If you and you alone are doing all of your own prospecting, your power is 1. If you implement one lead-generation system to work on your behalf while you continue to prospect on your own, you have two elements at work, and your power is now 4. Enter a third lead-generator and your power is 9. Four, and your power goes to 16. And on and on.
This is why it’s so important to forget the idea that you must be self-sufficient and do it on your own. It’s much better to put systems to work for you. That way you’ll increase your power exponentially and begin to enjoy the fantastic power of leverage.
The biggest mistake most salespeople make is failing to use the power of leverage to their advantage.
This goes back to the mentality of doing everything on your own, or of being self-sufficient. Companies are guilty of this sort of antiquated thinking when they expect salespeople to be self-sufficient and find all of their own leads instead of providing marketing support to generate qualified leads for the sales reps.
A salesperson, or company for that matter, that is using the power of leverage gets ahead exponentially. A few simple systems that cost little or nothing to get started are at work, contacting prospects in a variety of ways. It’s like having three or four people out there prospecting for you. But because all of your time is now free to spend on selling to qualified prospects, rather than waste your time cold calling and chasing unqualified prospects, your power goes up exponentially rather than incrementally.
It really makes no sense at all to have the mentality that you’re going to be the classic rugged individualist and try to go out there and do it all yourself.
Successful managers and owners build teams.
Successful salespeople build lead-generation systems.
If you’re not attaining the sales results you desire, it’s probably because you’re not using systems and the power of leverage and Metcalf’s Law. Stop trying to do it all yourself, and begin building and using systems to do it for you. Then, and only then, can you reverse the 80/20 rule in your favor.
Many of us have read “Walk Like A Giant, Sell Like A Madman” by Ralph Roberts. Ralph devotes most of that book to the effective use of systems. Those of you who have read it will remember that he eventually built his systems to the point where all he does now is close. His systems take care of all the preceding steps. Read that book if you’d like to learn more about the concept of using systems in a sales position.
Speaking of books, in my Never Cold Call Again system, I first lay out all of my various lead-generation strategies that work without cold calling. Then I show you how to put them together into an organized system in order to exponentially increase the leverage of your lead-generation efforts.
You’ll see just how and why the people who are already using it are selling more and working less. You’ll also learn about several different systems that you can begin using right away to generate leads. To get your copy right now, please visit:
Thanks again for reading, and feel free to pass this on to a friend.
Good luck and happy selling!
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Friday, February 24, 2012
One of the greatest freedoms we have lost since 911 is that we have been deprived of the power of no. Instead, we are told we must immediately Submit and Obey – and failure to do so immediately now constitutes “probable cause” in our Brave New World. If one says no to a cop demanding ID, one can expect to be put in cuffs and thrown face down over the hood of a cruiser. If one declines to open the door to one’s home for a cop, it is entirely likely that the cop will force his way in and if you do so much as put your hands up to ward off the blows, you will very likely find yourself charged with “resisting” and possibly “assault upon a police officer.”
http://burndownthefreakingmission.com - keep educating yourself in reality
New Government Initiative Would Circumvent Second Amendment By Targeting Ammunition Not Guns by Mac Slavo
Like New Jersey’s recent attempt to ban ammunition, Illinois is now taking aim at ammo. This latest legislation would add a surtax to every box of ammunition sold, and if allowed, would set an alarming precedent that effectively threatens our ability to utilize a firearm for its intended purpose.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Anarchists usually favor the elimination of all government, which they see as the primal evil that inevitably escapes whatever shackles (such as the Constitution) are placed upon it. While I tend to agree with that, and wish we could exist with no government at all, I also accept that the only way that will ever work in the real world is when everyone is both committed to and practices the doctrine of the non-initiation of force. Which of course, will probably never happen. What I mean is, laws against murder or theft and the need of a system to statutorily define such criminal actions, investigate criminal offenses, pursue, try convict and incarcerate criminals, etc., would not be necessary at all in a hypothetical village comprised of the people who live the principle of no first-use of violence. Anarchy – the absence of any government at all – would work. There would be no crime, hence no need for criminal laws and so on. Everything else could be handled by discussion and mediation.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
- A wonderful infographic based on Why We Get Fat by science writer Gary Taubes, explains exactly why eating fat doesn’t make you fat – but eating carbs can kill you
- Overeating carbohydrate-rich foods can prevent a higher percentage of fats from being used for energy, and lead to an increase in fat storage. It also raises your insulin levels, which in short order can cause insulin resistance, followed by diabetes and other chronic diseases.
- According to experts, carbs should make up only 20 percent of your diet, while 50-70 percent of your diet should be healthy fats.
- Fat is far more satiating than carbs, so if you have cut down on carbs and feel ravenous, this is a sign that you haven't replaced them with sufficient amounts of healthy fat.
And just because we homeschool doesn't mean we stay home like hermits. Even before adopting a travel lifestyle we were on what seemed like a permanent field trip. Hikes, waterfalls, skiing, surf lessons, science centers, museums, and play dates of all kinds, etc. Most homeschoolers use the world as their classroom and spend lots of time exploring and engaging with people. Additionally, our children have taken numerous classes outside of the home from karate to cooking, Spanish to gymnastics where they have met many of their friends.
Finally and most importantly, they learn to respect others because we respect them, not because they are forced to at the threat of detention. We spend everyday out in the world interacting with and observing people of all ages. Our kids have MORE time to interact with people and observe the differences. Being cooped up all day in forced silence with 20-30 similarly-aged kids is not what anyone should call proper socialization that translates into the real world. Homeschooled children typically gain a tolerance, empathy, and understanding of all different age groups including adults. Ultimately, I would argue the socialization that homeschool kids experience is beneficial, while what passes for socialization in school is, well, unnecessary to put it kindly.
Monday, February 20, 2012
Hard-Boiled Is Back!
by Fred Reed
Recently by Fred Reed: The Illegals: Another Angle
OK, so eight years ago I got to Mexico, shortly after having spent another eight years as a freelance police reporter on contract to the Washington Times, riding with the cops in various urban blasted heaths that groaned under the usual despair and injustice. Suddenly having leisure, I figured I'd read some crime fiction. You know, bludgeonings, cityscapes littered with corpses, psychopaths left and right, and a growly hard-eyed detective with the personality of a leather boot. Phillip Marlowe, Mike Hammer, that kind of gumshoe.
It wasn't to be. All I found were tales of white wine and cheese, of sensitive detectives – sensitive? – who obviously had never seen the inside of a police car. It was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
I decided I'd write the stuff myself. Why not? I was unemployed. I was a writer – barely, some would say, but today that's enough. At least I knew the difference between a Remington 870 and a police-rebuild Crown Vic. I had kicked in doors in Chicago and been down a thousand dark alleys full of people your mother wouldn't like at all. I knew that cops didn't drink white wine. What the hell. I'd give it a try.
So I invented a totally imaginary character, Robert Dawson, a freelance police reporter working on contract to the Washington Herald. Dawson was a guy's guy, an ashen-souled news weasel of the old school, before reporters began to come from Princeton. He was an ex-Marine, had seen too much to believe in any of it. Maybe he drank too much. Sometimes he thought maybe he didn't drink enough. Washington will do that to you.
Cover by David St. John of ElderberryPress.com, who is several kinds of genius
As I got to know Dawson, I discovered that he owned a bird named Dipstick who thought he was a microwave, beep-beep-beep – and had a girlfriend, Attila the Liberal, a cute fluffy-haired number with a large brain who worked for one of the secret three-letter spook agencies. He also had a highly altered '57 Chevy, Ruby the Bright Red Teen-age Orgasm Bucket. Ruby dynoed at 450 brake horsepower. A swell lady.
I decided that writing my old cop column (called, not too imaginatively, Police Beat) was actually good training for crime fiction. A column forces you to write lean and tight. It is easy to burn 750 words and find that you haven't said anything. You need a grabby lead. News editors used to give cubs the classic example, “My god,” said the queen. “I'm pregnant again. Who can it be this time?” I couldn't match that, but I came up with things like “The Saturday night we found Giarca with his face peeled, I was walking a foot beat with Mulroney in the glitzy section of Georgetown along M Street."
I hope this infuses you with a desperate longing to know why Giarca's face was peeled.
So I wrote a couple of novels, Killer Kink and Triple Tap, and tried to peddle them in New York. It didn't work. These days God couldn't get an advance for the Bible. Editors told me that hard-boiled was out. The market was for smart female detectives from Swarthmore who knew what fork to eat snails with. Nothing wrong with that, I thought, but it weren't Dawson. He doesn't do snails. I put the books in a drawer and forgot about them.
Meanwhile Jeff Gutenbezos was inventing Amazon, and then the Kindle, and then Kindle Direct Publishing. With KDP you can publish your world-shattering novel on Amazon in about a week. Learning of this, I dragged Dawson out of his drawer and decided I kinda liked him. An incorrigible sardonic wise-ass, but a decent sort, though he would never admit it.
Now, Amazon is one killer outfit. In the book racket it is eliminating the middle men – publishing houses, editors, printing plants, trucks and, alas but eventually, book stores. I picture Random House as a dinosaur uneasily wondering why the water in its swamp is getting cooler.
Money has a lot to do with it. Kindle editions even of best sellers cost half of the print price. While it is not yet true that everybody and his pet goat has a Kindle, things gallop in that direction, thumpety-thump. You probably have noticed more goats reading on the subway. Project Gutenberg, which offers free downloads of huge numbers of books out of copyright, uses the Kindle format, which means that New York can't charge you fifteen bucks to read Mark Twain or Cervantes.
Offsetting the still unstaggering number of Kindles is that on Amazon your book is instantly available to all of them. Getting a physbook on shelves in England, Australia, Battambang and Tasmania is close to impossible in a short life. It's automatic with Kindle. If I were Random House in my chilling swamp, I'd pour in some gin and vermouth and sell myself as a martini. There would be more future.
And with KDP you can get royalties of seventy percent. Do you suppose that Gutenbezos is trying to attract writers?
I knew most of this. What I didn't know about was the new approach to pricing. Today, a physical book goes for twenty-six rapidly withering green ones, the Kindle version for maybe twelve. However, it turns out that books priced way low – $2.99 (Dawson's price; he would understand that any man can be bought) – or lower are making lots of money. The principle is that people will drop a couple of bucks without worrying about it. They won't pony up ten times that amount.
And crime fiction is apparently the hottest selling genre on the net. Science fiction, I'm told, is next.
The fly in this happy ointment is marketing. I had friends who had worked years on a splendid tale of something or other, put it on Amazon, and sold seven copies. You still need New York, they said despondently. But then kids began to write awful misspelled ungrammatical Harry Potter facsimiles, price them at ninety-nine cents, and make bundles.
Apparently the social media like Facebook, all of which I abhor, are useful in flogging ebooks. I would rather have untreatable tuberculosis. I thought of sending a letter to my subscription list, “Buy the book, or else. I know where your children go to school.” A lawyer friend told me that this was extortion and involved prison time. To me this looked like restraint of trade. The government should stay out of free enterprise.
I put both books up on Amazon, and will see what happens. If they sell more than seven copies, I will inform readers of the progress of the thing, and provide any useful hints I may discover to help others similarly prosper. Meanwhile I am working on a drink called the Random House Dinosaur Martini. Shaken, though not yet crushed.
February 20, 2012
Fred Reed is author of Nekkid in Austin: Drop Your Inner Child Down a Well, A Brass Pole in Bangkok: A Thing I Aspire to Bem, Curmudgeing Through Paradise: Reports from a Fractal Dung Beetle, Au Phuc Dup and Nowhere to Go: The Only Really True Book About Viet Nam, and A Grand Adventure: Wisdom's Price-Along with Bits and Pieces about Mexico. Visit his blog.
Copyright © 2012 Fred Reed