Avoiding 15-billion fallout

What can you talk about when you face the brick wall of prospects saying they don’t need any help.  Especially when you’re cold calling for a meeting or the like.  In the specific instance they say things like:

  • “We’re doing fine as it is thanks”
  • “We’re doing so well maybe we can teach you something”
  • “We’ve no problems all is good”
  • “We don’t want to change or add to what we do at the moment because it’s working well for us”

I have a friend called Adrian, he’s doing really well at them moment selling tiling and stone masonry in Stratford-upon-Avon.  Every time you ask him how he is, he says “if I was any better they’d make it illegal”.  I can imagine him brushing off a cold-caller in these ways quite easily.  Funnily enough, one of my salesguys is from Oklahoma, and he reckons people there always say “better than a hand job!” He also thinks you should do the the Spike Milligan line “what, are you a doctor?”  Anyway, I digress…

My Boiler Room guys sell to sales people, so they often encounter highly positive people, just like my mate Aidey.  When things are buzzing. A person at the helm of a sales force may well be inclined to say they need nothing, and please let me get back on with my job.

Yet business life is Chinese-villagingly littered with examples of where winning people got ‘fat, dumb & happy’ and lost their leadership and/or success position.

Indeed, just last night I saw a decent documentary on why London-based retailer M&S went from being worth £19bn to under £5bn almost overnight. (One of the talking heads was a terrific journo and former beeb business editor Jeff Randall, he also lately writes for The Telegraph)

It was because they thought they could simply do the same things and continue growth.  After all, they’d just posted (c.1997) the first ever British company £1bn profits.  One incredible stat was that in 97, 16% of all UK clothing was bought in their stores.  Wow.  Yet it all went pear-shaped; too slow into out-of-town stores, persisting with spurious other ventures like financial services, not knowing how to expand overseas effectively, not moving with the times quick enough and getting clothing produced overseas, and worst of all, producing a year’s stock of clothes so strangely boring and never-before unattractive it became known as the ‘grey range’.

The message is clear, when you are ahead, you need to plan to stay ahead.  And not let competitors steal share back from you that you worked so hard to gain the first place.

So, one of the things you can ask in this case is simply “who are your Tescos, Asda (owned by Wal-Mart), Sainsburys and foreign fashion chains like Zara, Massimo Dutti, Gap, Mango, coming to try and steal your business?  And wouldn’t you like help in seeing them off..

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