So this, as they say, is ‘it’.
Today’s the day. The final call is imminent and then we’ll know.
This is “a big deal”.
I cast my mind back over the last 6 months of working with Malcolm and Jane and my thoughts stray to my first meeting with them.
I recall Jane’s frustration with their business and her comment that “We can’t compete for that size of business. We’ll always lose out to the big boys”.
I scolded them – a bit like a disappointed and frustrated parent: ‘Nonsense. Of course you can. Why not you!?’
My mind went back to the promise I made them: ‘You can do it because I’ll show you how.’
I’m rather nervous although I mustn’t show it. Now I understand why ex-players who become managers say it’s harder to watch than to play.
We’ve all put so much into this.
I’ve given Malcolm and Jane everything I have. I’ve held nothing back.
I’ve shared with them every tip, tactic and technique that I’ve learnt, tested and used with success over 35 years – a lifetime of being in “sales” and building businesses.
I’ve downloaded the contents of my head and mixed it with my experience and my belief that “thinking differently” is THE ONLY way to success.
And in turn they’ve taken a leap of faith. They’ve embraced new ideas, learnt new skills and how to think differently and grow.
Work, work and more work
We worked through how to identify potential clients and carry out pre-call research. We worked through how to call and what to say to book an appointment then how to handle that initial meeting.
We spent hours preparing and rehearsing presentation skills, and putting together a killer proposal. We spent further hours learning how to deal with the 3 subsequent meetings.
Then more hours on handling the objections, the negotiations and the follow-ups. After that we worked on networking strategy and techniques, and exhibition strategy and techniques.
All that hard work lead us to today.
It’s been exciting. It’s been fulfilling. It’s been energising.
I’ve loved every minute of mentoring and sharing all my knowledge.
But now I feel the heavy responsibility of being their “secret weapon”, of being the one they came to for help to achieve the business they dreamt of.
I feel the weight of being the guy in the shadows who taught, encouraged and pushed them into the light.
The Real Deal
My heart is pounding. I’ve done this countless times before in my businesses but there is no such thing as just another deal.
For Malcolm and Jane and their customer this is THE deal. It matters. And, when it matters for me, it matters a lot. It’s always been that way.
It’s a big step for this customer to go with Jane and Malcolm rather than with the tried and tested option of an established “big player”. But I’ve a good feeling about this – we are so close.
Okay. It’s time. We’re ready. We’ve covered everything and we’re prepared for this final conference call. Quick handshakes and good luck wishes and I retreat to my position out of Jane and Malcolm’s eye line. I’m an observer now.
There’s a lot resting on today.
Jane and Malcolm make the call at the scheduled time and negotiate like seasoned campaigners and then – it’s over. It’s done.
A brief moment of stunned silence comes over Jane and Malcolm as they hang up the call before I reach them with clenched fist pumping the air. “YES! Congratulations, you were fantastic, well done!”
The 3 of us are in a circular hug jumping up and down screaming at the top of our lungs “Yes, yes, yes” until a voice interrupts the joyous mayhem.
“Um, sorry to disturb, but is everything okay?” it says sheepishly. It’s Martin who inhabits the office below our mezzanine floor office – and we’re jumping up and down on his ceiling.
“Yes, I’m sorry Martin, yes everything really is ok” Jane replies joyously.
Ok, business head quickly back on. “Let’s get this thing signed and sealed and then in a few days we’ll meet for dinner and celebrate properly.
But first, I blurt out with some emotion, we must call a florist and arrange flowers as a thank you to Joan who did all the donkey work putting the proposal together.
My mind wanders for a moment to the facts. This is the biggest contract Malcolm and Jane have ever had. It means job security for their current staff. It means new jobs to serve this contract. It means a nice profit for the business.
But that’s all head stuff. It’s so much more than that.
For me – business is about the heart too. It’s also about, the ability that Malcolm and Jane now have to sell their excellent service. It’s about how that ability will enable them to control the destiny of their business, their lives and those who work with them.
How they’ve both grown in confidence through our time together.
How they now believe – really believe that their “good idea” can and will deliver the success they dreamt of way back when they started the business.
And there’s more.
There’s all the lives they can enhance as a consequence of this win. The excellent service Jane & Malcolm will deliver will also make all the difference to their customer.
No time for losers
Sales changes lives on both sides of the deal and are the lifeblood of any business. But it’s a competitive game and it’s about winning. There are no silver medals. The winner gets 100% of the business – the rest get nothing.
I slip out of the building still smiling, get into a cab and head for the station. I put in my headphones and mouth “yes” one more time to myself. Then the phrase I use that’s most quoted back to me flits across my mind,
“Sales equal profits, profit equal freedom and freedom equals the time of your life. Learn how to sell”
I burst into uncontrollable and joyous laughter much to the bemusement of the taxi driver.
Sales often get a bad reputation – mostly because of untrained commission-only people who stretch the truth to get their commission. You know the ones who call you up in the middle of dinner and talk at you.
But I’m immensely proud to be a professional salesperson. I’ve always enjoyed helping people. And that’s why sales and selling is so fulfilling, because at its core it’s about helping people solve problems. Sales and selling builds businesses and lives.
Tomorrow is another day and I start at zero again. I never think anything I accomplished yesterday means anything for tomorrow.
Today we won. Today we made a sale. Today we helped build a business and helped people grow in confidence.
Today we created jobs, income and self-esteem. Today we made a difference.
Today was a good day!
Think differently, generate sales and grow and here’s to the time of your life.
If you’d like to take your destiny into your own hands, grow your business or career then learn how to sell your product, service or idea.
Book a call using this link and together we’ll build the time of your life.