Monday, 14 December 2015

3 Questions you need to be able to answer right now

When I was the National Sales Trainer for Cable London/ Telewest I would place an advert in the London Evening Standard
and I would telephone qualify them and get the list down to around 40 people and invite them as a group to our Head Office off Tottenham Court Road in London at 6.30pm.

I would tell them the really nasty, worse case, scenario of a door to door salesperson for Cable TV and Telephone systems....along the lines of....

You will cold call people at home, it will be dark, it will be the evening, you will not have met them before, it could be snowing, it could be raining, it could be hot weather or freezing cold.
They will have no history of us, they may have a history of us that wasn't too great, they may hate us.
We could have come along sometime ago and dug up the pavement/sidewalk so that we could lay our cable system and they hate us because we have ruined the look of the area or killed trees.  Maybe their granny reversed her car into the hole we dug or their cat has never been quite the same since it was scared by the drilling.   If you think they have the kettle on and a desk ready for you to sit down at, you are deluding yourself.
If they call you in there will be nowhere to sit, or it could be so dirty you wouldn't want to sit down.  There will be nowhere to put your presenter down and you will fascinate any animal they have.  Some people have dogs that become very interested in your leg and fall in love with it.  There will be neighbours calling, telephones ringing and TV's that you MUST turn off.  There will be friends or neighbours who are classed as 'experts' who will come around and want to show off and impress your potential customer by asking you all manner of questions to try to trip you up, with a smug smile on their face. These interlopers need you to tell them to mind their own business as they are not the owner or occupier, and so you send them packing with their tail between their legs.  You have to take control and keep your potential customer focused on YOU!

The group would be astonished...

Then I would tell them, after 30 minutes of this, that we were going to take a break of 15min, there was food (Always smoke salmon/ cream cheese bagels and chicken legs) and soft drinks and that they should help themselves.  "But...THINK.  If this isn't right for you, that is no problem.  Have a drink, some food and then just say 'thanks but no thanks' and I will shake your hand and wish you well.  If you think this IS something you could do...come back in this room after the break."

I would end up with 15 or so people to whom I would tell that the scenarios I have described are extreme but come from experience but on a day to day basis, people are not that bad..

Each one of them would go to the next stage which is a one on one interview.  But, I always made a point of asking the ones that came back after the break 3 questions.

3 questions that I was asked when I was 22.  3 questions that seemed odd at the time but over the years I found that these three questions were very important.

EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO WANTS TO BE SUCCESSFUL, EVERY SINGLE MANAGER, LEADER, ENTREPRENEUR, EVEN EVERY COMPANY, MUST BE ABLE TO ANSWER THEM!

In 1984 me and a friend decided to travel all over Europe.  We went everywhere.  We started in Spain, through France to Italy then up to Austria, Switzerland and then into Germany.  In those days there was East and West Germany.  We were on a train and we arrived at the border of East and West Germany.  The guards got on the train to check everyone's passports/paperwork.

I don't know if you have any experience of East German Border Guards, but they were not the friendliest of people.  Me? I have no fear so it didn't bother me at all.  My friend on the other hand hated confrontation so he was scared.  The guards came into our compartment and I handed one of them my passport.
He looked at the passport.
Then he looked at me.
Then he looked at the passport.
Then he looked at me.
Then he looked at the passport.
Then he looked at me.
Then he looked at the passport.
All this time I stared at him and then.....

He asked me three questions, just like he had asked everyone else.  My answers to these three questions determined whether we proceeded on our journey or we ended up in a German police station or worse.
1. Where have you been?
2. Why are you here?
3  Where are you going?

They were easy to answer.
1. Austria
2. We need to connect to another train.  We are travelling through Europe.
3. Berlin

Those three questions have stayed with me from that day to this.  They will remain with me.

Those questions must be able to be answered by EVERYONE who has a plan for growth, a life path, a career plan.

Not just one of them, not just two of them but ALL THREE.

I ask people who come to work for me, I asked everyone who came to work as a salesperson.

Every single successful person can answer, with certainty, all three.

One or two is not enough....why?  Let me put it this way....
If you know where you have been but you don't know where you are going...why the hell are you HERE?

If we hadn't answered those three questions that day we would have been taken off the train and sent back to where we had came from...we would NEVER have got to where we wanted to be!!!

Get all three questions in your mind and figure out your answers.  When you can answer them about yourself, ask others about them.  You will be amazed at how many people can't answer all three.  When they can, you will be in the presence of someone who has a life/career plan.

What's YOUR plan?  Have you got one?  Can you answer those three questions?  If you can't...then this time next year you will still be here looking for that plan??
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