Take a moment to ask yourself why you support some people in business. At the business network people do business with one another either because they have build a strong relationship with them and can trust them or because they have been referred by someone they trust. In order to build a strong relationship with people it’s essential to go to networks so you can be introduced to a new circle of strong contacts.
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‘In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins – not through strength, but through persistence.’ What an extraordinary concept! Yes, you may have to contact 1000 people to solicit 100 responses, of which only ten end in sales, but look at it as follows: look beyond the ten sales, and see the opportunities to learn along the way, and all the practical – and priceless – experience and wisdom that comes with it. George Bernard Shaw once said, ‘A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.’
Whenever I write a new book, I always send about 50 complimentary copies to the press and only about ten ever publish a review. But that’s better than sending out just one copy, and being disappointed. And when I distribute the books, I don’t limit myself to bookshops. I also supply gift shops, beauticians, curio shops, farmstalls, hair salons and stationery outlets. I even approach private people selling gift products.
Salespeople report that the more calls they make, the more sales they make. Looking for sponsorship for his motorbike, Mr Honda sent thousands of handwritten letters – and today Honda seems very content with the response. Edison reportedly failed 10 000 times in his attempt to invent the electric light. How many times are you prepared to try before giving up? How many people are you prepared to contact in order to achieve your goals?
Making it happen
I have written eight books and have distributed 50 000 copies. If I were asked what percentage of sales was self- or effort-generated, I wouldn’t hesitate in claiming 80 per cent. Take the Harry Potter series, for instance. You’d think sales would be automatic, but just look how many promotions the publishers do and how extensive their campaign is. Nearly every magazine and newspaper you open, advertised the launch of the new Harry Potter book.
Following up on sales is just as important as marketing a product.
I have a list of shops I call on weekly in order to check on sales. If I did not call, I simply would not get the sales. If you don’t call, people forget you. Remember how often, after you’ve been introduced to someone, you forget their name in a couple of seconds. You have to constantly make yourself visible. Follow up and look after existing clients.
Many people spend far too much energy looking for new clients, instead of building stronger relationships with existing ones.