LET’S BELL THE CAT… remember that humorous children’s story about a community of mice that were being terrorized by the local cat? The mice population was slowly being eliminated by the villainous feline. As a result, the mice got together and had a “town hall meeting”. What to do?!! “That cat is killing us off… we’ve got to do something!” Numerous ideas where offered until one mouse came up with an intriguing suggestion… “I know what we could do… let’s tie a bell around the neck of the cat. That way every time he approaches, we’ll Know he’s coming and can run away to safety.” Everyone thought it was a great idea, much cheering and jubilation! Then reality hits… “That’s a great idea but now we have to decide the answer to following question… Who’s going to “bell the cat?”
Great question! Who’s going to do the tough task? Who is going to tie the bell around his neck? Doesn’t this question come up for you sometimes? In Sales, there is no shortage of great ideas. New methods of prospecting, embracing Social Media, inspirations for marketing and advertising, etc. Often, what to do is not the challenge… taking action is the issue. At some point it all comes down to “tieing the bell around the neck of the that darned cat”.
Here is your ACTION STEP… as a Salesperson, there are certain times in your business that you come to the conclusion that “I’ve just got to do this. It’s time to get on with it.” It’s when reality hits that you get stalled (“Who’s going to bell the cat?”). Example…let’s say the task is the following… Getting my morning under control, looking for some new leads and making a minimum of 10 contacts each day. In other words, “I’d better get prospecting on a consistent basis!” Here’s some suggestions on how you can “bell that particular cat”. Here’s the formula…
IDEA + RESOLVE + A PLAN = DOING IT (I + R + P = D)
1. Make the decision that you need to start prospecting daily (in this case let’s assume it is “active” prospecting – telephone vs. “passive”, meaning e-mail, etc).
2. Decide how many people you are going to contact (in this case 10 contacts per day). That means you will need approximately 40 phone numbers per day to achieve that result. 40 dials will take you approximately 90 minutes (including the anticipated 10 conversations). You can also include face-to-face contacts.
3. Who are you going to call…what are your options? Call the better opportunities first. Start with past clients, centers of influence and then go down the list of probables (in real estate it would be for sale by owners, expireds, old leads, old expireds, and “just listed/just solds”).
4. Critical Point #1… get the phone numbers ready before you start. There’s lots of sources… your personal database + outside lists (Canada 411.ca, USA 411.com, Telelisting, MOJO, etc.). These lists can be accessed/purchased very economically, often with the “do not call list” indicated.
5. When are you going to do this? Pick a time of day that you can set aside with the fewest possible interruptions. The best time is before the “snakes get out of the box”. A proven suggestion is 9 AM to 11 AM. One thing for sure… the later in the day that you do this, the less chance of being consistent. Put this timeslot in your daytimer for the next 21 – 28 days. (Create the habit)
6. Critical Point #2… know “what you’re going to say” in advance. Have your anticipated “conversations” on the wall in front of you before you start.
7. Get someone to hold you accountable. Stop trying to do this on your own! If it was that simple, you would have done it already.
8. Critical Point #3… this is where you “bell the cat.” One step at a time, start with telephone call #1… be your word and do exactly what you said you were going to do—on time! Pick up the phone and make the very first call. The first call is always the toughest. Trust me, it gets easier. Give absolutely no thought to doing it the next day. Look after today and tomorrow will be that much more natural.
When you break it down to these 8 steps, it all seems so simple. Your job is to keep it that simple. Don’t complicate things by listening to that voice in the back of your mind that keeps telling you…”This is ridiculous, there must be an easier way”. The easier way is what you’ve been doing up until now. As Dr. Phil would ask… “How’s that been working for you?”. One final tip… get your phone numbers ready the day/night before. That way when 9:00 AM arrives the next day, you will be raring to go! Set yourself free, follow all the above steps and “tie a bell around your own personal cat”. Shortcuts not allowed. That’s for the “mice” that don’t make it.