Apologies to the person who created the “flower and the bee” concept but I think that epitomizes perfectly the problem with most sales processes today.
And do we ever have a problem.
The ‘flower and the bee’ phenomena goes like this: in nature the flower must pollinate itself. It sits there waiting for the bee (one of the many ways pollination happens) to pollinate it. The flower does not labor, nor does it stress about bees showing up. Bees, on the other hand, are scurrying about trying to find food, and pollinating the flower.
In business, sales people are typically the bees and the customer is the flower. Sales people scurry around the country looking for food.
Why does it have to be that way? Why shouldn’t the sales professional be sitting – allowing the prospect to show up for them? Why?
It’s because we don’t plan it out that way. (We actually might, secretly, like the scurrying about looking for plants -err prospects.)
We have bought into the flower/bee process so heavily in sales that we refuse to even admit that it’s all wrong. (We also do this when job searching…wrong again.)
The Surgeon Is The Flower
Think about the surgeon. The surgeon doesn’t make cold calls on people who happened to be ill at the very time he calls. That’s absurd. The surgeon does good work, he/she turns out patients that are healthy, and he sits back and waits for the next patient. Why can’t we do that?
If we created a system that helped us do that, we wouldn’t need to learn all the sales skills that guys like me teach. They would be irrelevant.
It’s The Sales Platform That’s Missing
No doubt, you’ve read lots about platform building (www.MichaelHyatt.com is one). But I think it applies to the sales genre as well. It’s not just for authors, speakers, and coaches. It’s for every sales person on the planet.
So how does a sales person build his/her own platform so that the prospect is calling you asking you to do business with her (vs. the other way)?
Here are three simple ideas that 98% of people will not do. Will you?
1. Have a vision for what you want to build. Yes, Step 1 is always clarity of vision. Do you want to have a sales life where prospects are calling you seeking your guidance on matters of concern for them? Do you want your day to be taken up ONLY with qualified prospects with whom you’ve spoken on the phone in order to qualify them? Do you want to be the one that chooses them rather than them choosing you? If you do then the vision becomes clear. Don’t go to step 2 until you have sorted this out and put it in writing. If it sounds like dream, no worries. Dreams come true.
2. Build an email list. I don’t care how you do this. You need to have an email list that you can, with one click on the Send button, get your information to the world. We use a product here called a aWeber (www.aweber.com), which will cost you $20 per month- a staggering $240 per year. But that will allow you to send emails to your tribe. No need to invest in an HTML template. Just do a text email.
Then, every month, find a noteworthy nugget of information that you have learned or observed in that previous month. And you will send it to them. There will be no strings attached. There will be no pitch for a product. It is out of the goodness and generosity of your heart that you’re doing this. (300-500 words is plenty.)
We always talk about karma but somehow we don’t act in accordance with the rules of karma. Ralph Waldo Emerson in his Laws of Compensation says, “If you want more, give more.”
3. Blog, Publish or Produce Something. Even if you use your LinkedIn profile as a blogging page, do it. If you want to be recognized as a thought leader, and you want prospects to seek you out, you have to write something that allows them to do so.
You must have an opinion and be unafraid to give voice to it. Yes, it’s hard work. And yes, I heard your vow never to write another word once you left English Comp class. But that’s just the world we live in.
You can hate it. You can wish it weren’t so. You can fight it and resort to cold calling. But the successful leaders of tomorrow will be those who can give voice to their ideas and be sought out as solution providers.
Good luck little flower. Bring on the bees!
What will you do? Do you agree with my remarks here? Any counter-arguments? I’m sure there are. Post them below and I’ll do my best to answer them.