In the early days of my speaking career Earl Nightingale, CPAE, shared a story about how during the Great Depression, a young man had approached a large corporation for a job. Instead of the rejections that others were receiving, he was welcomed as an applicant. How?
He came with solutions and ideas instead of a simple request for work. He had discovered that he could get a job virtually anywhere he wanted if he could bring them new ideas and solutions to existing problems. He helped them improve, instead of seeking employment.
That same wisdom works very well today.
I recently noticed that a favorite store in my hometown was building a bold new facade and completely changing the look of their business. Since I shop there often and like their industry, I went to work on a “Grand Re-Opening” plan for them. Upon making contact with the owner, I already had a five-page marketing plan for them to use for:
1. Re-branding themselves in the marketplace,
2. Capturing market share that previously evaded them,
3. Obtaining sponsorships and prizes for opening day,
4. Gaining the support of their neighboring businesses, and
5. Generating a volunteer workforce to help with the big ribbon-cutting celebration.
I also worked out a simple analysis of the net profit that could be generated through a series of events building up to the big day. In other words, I approached him with new ideas and solutions to his existing problems.
This wasn’t a “sales call” as such, instead I was sharing a marketing strategy with him and making myself available to help implement it.
This approach was welcomed and I now have a new business friend who will shortly also become a new client.
Thank you Earl Nightingale.
Think about the industries and professions within which you do business. Identify the ones that appeal to you the most. Then start noticing their needs. Ask yourself, “If I owned this business right now, what would my main concerns be? What problems would I be willing to pay to make them go away? Who could help me?” Think beyond just yourself.
Then do an online search to see what great ideas are already out there just waiting for you to implement them.
I did a search on grand opening business strategies and came up with many great articles and ideas. Do the same for your needs. Then adapt the ideas to your prospect’s situation.
This could end up generating not only a consulting job, but also speaking and training. For example; imagine a grand re-opening with all the pieces in place and yet the coworkers didn’t buy in to it. Or, didn’t have the skill-set to handle such a key event well. Coaching, training, motivating and educating are all among the solutions you could offer. Now go solve some problems for people.
Written by Jim Cathcart for Speaker Magazine. Jim Cathcart, CSP, CPAE, is the original author of “Relationship Selling,” and 15 other business books. He is past president of NSA and recipient of our industry’s top awards.