Tired of sales droughts? Try the plurality strategies of shared business
By Steve Savant
Ash Brokerage Corporation
I was listening to the oldies station on my way into the studio and an old song by Cream, “Born Under A Bad Sign?” started playing. One of the lines in the song goes, “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all.”
I started thinking about being born under a bad sign, the astrological sign Cancer. From a modern day point of view, it may be the least likable sign of the Zodiac. I mean, after all, who wants to be associated with a disease? And it doesn’t stop there. The logo for Cancer is a crab! Eating crab is great, but nobody wants to be one. Seems like you’re always spitting out sand from between your teeth and clawing your way through life.
Then I started randomly punching the buttons of my radio and stopped when I heard Ol' Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra, crooning “Luck Be A Lady.” I‘ve never met Lady Luck in my life, so I started wondering if it was better to have no luck at all rather than bad luck all the time?
Some say if you’re lucky at cards, you’re unlucky in love. What happens when you’re unlucky at cards? Does that grant you a dispensation from Cupid to be lucky in love? Most of us play the cards we’ve been dealt, even when the cards are so bad that we find ourselves bluffing our way through life.
I mean, haven't you ever felt like you were born behind the eight ball? That you’ve never had a decent shot in your life? Have you ever felt that no matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t catch a break? Does it feel like every time you come to the plate, there’s two strikes against you? Do you feel like the SNL character Debbie Downer? That anything that can go wrong does go wrong? Everyone has a bad week or sales dry spell where you can’t even sell yourself.
I penned a poem, which later became a song, after I went through my own sales dry spell. I used to sing it at conventions back in the day. Here’s a brief excerpt.
I woke up this morning, showered and shaved,
Put on my best pinstripe that matches my shades.
Got down to the office, I was feeling just fine,
But that big case I banked on had just been declined.
And when I think that matters couldn’t get worse,
I read my commission statement and found I’ve been reversed.
And the appointments I’ve scheduled have been canceled and rescheduled again.
But I need a case badly, so I guess I’ll just go sell my friends. First of all, you’re not alone. The great conceit of failure is the self-imposed belief that it’s unique to you. Remember the classic bridge in Frank Sinatra’s song, “That’s Life.” “Each time I find myself flat on my face, I pick myself and get back in the race.”
Once you discover that thousands of financial professionals have experienced the same sales depression you’ve gone through, you can get back in the race — the human race. Remember the old proverb, ”the righteous falls seven times, and rises again.”
Knowing that others have experienced the same sales depression you have can bring some solace to your soul. However, if the sales drought is turning your career into a dust bowl, you may need to move your practice into the plurality strategy of split business. Remember, you’re not condemned to stay in the fraternity of failure forever if you have a niche area of expertise, a sales network you can join, or an uncultivated natural market.
All of us have a general practice, but some of us have areas of planning or product expertise. For those who have such expertise, networking with high-end advisors and fiduciaries is a critical tactic of shared business.
You may have a certain knowledge niche, but you need to market it. Getting the word out on your niche area through online social media and video can position your practice in the limelight for other professionals. They may not grant you an interview, but there’s a high probability that they’ll watch a short video of you selling your wares.
You may have joined a network, but if you’re not generating revenue, you're either disconnected or just in a study group. Study groups are great for gathering knowledge, but sales networks create revenue. Networking with other financial professionals who have proven practices can elevate your business persona on the coattails of successful sales people. You’ll need to bring value to the network. That value could be online social media and video. It’s the edge that may be exactly what you need and what they’re looking for.
We all, to some degree, have one or more natural markets. But that doesn’t mean we know how to penetrate or cultivate it. Even natural markets built upon nepotism can yield little revenue if you don’t know the point of entry or how to break up fallow ground. First contact into a natural market must have a piercing proposition if you’re going to get past the gatekeeper to the decision maker. And equally important is learning how to till the ground with the right preparation. Online social media and video can generate big results with very little cost to you except the time you invest in it.
The plurality strategy of shared business can re-energize your career and minimize unproductive periods. It has the potential to become your business model. Using social media and video on the Internet may put your practice on the map in the same way billboards along the Interstate used to for businesses.