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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.
 

Turn Chance Encounters Into New Business

 
Last week Fire Enterprises (FEI) Sales Tribe Leader Zoot taught Ganymede how to wield one of the most important tools in any salesperson’s toolbox: referrals. This week, Zoot shows Ganymede how to turn chance encounters into new business opportunities. Remember, fire = print.
 
One afternoon Ganymede strolled by Zoot’s desk to find him organizing some papers.

“Whatcha got cookin’ this afternoon, Zoot?” Ganymede asked.

“I’m going to call on Hercules Chariots, our newest client,” Zoot said.

“Wow, that’s one of Olympus’s top chariot companies! How’d you land that one?”

“You’ll never believe it,” Zoot said, “But his kid and mine compete on the same Pentathlon team! We were both watching a practice the other day and got to talking. Before long, I’d signed him up for $2,000 Drachmas worth of torches!”

“Wow, talk about dumb luck!” Ganymede said.

“Actually, it wasn’t dumb at all,” Zoot said. “Capitalizing on chance encounters is smart selling. Before I run to meet Hercules, let me give you some tips to turn your next chance encounter into new business."

Zoot started writing on the whiteboard in his office.

Create opportunities tactfully

“Social events are obviously great opportunities to meet potential customers,” Zoot said. “A relaxed, pressure-free environment allows for a natural mix of business and pleasure. However, don't turn every youth javelin competition into an industry mixer. Steering an informal conversation toward business should be handled with tact if you want a receptive audience.”

Zoot scribbled more on the whiteboard:

Be prepared
“When you find yourself in an unplanned business discussion, don't blow it by trying to memorize the details of your conversation,” Zoot continued. “Whether you use a smartphone, tablet, or just a sheet of paper, be prepared to take notes, which you'll put to use later. This is especially important if you've made a promise, such as placing a call by a certain date or sending your prospect additional information.”

Zoot scribbled more on the whiteboard:

Follow up!

“Perhaps the most important aspect of turning chance encounters into new business is appropriate follow-up,” Zoot said. “Use those notes you jotted down to create a personalized letter that demonstrates you've listened to your prospect. Someone who keeps promises is someone with whom people love to do business.”

“Now if you’ll excuse me,” Zoot said with a grin, “I’ve got some more torches to sell.”
 
Next week: Zoot gives Ganymede tips for winning top-of-mind position with prospects and customers.

Today’s FIRE! Point
You can turn today’s chance encounter into tomorrow’s new business...if you’re savvy about it. Creating opportunities tactfully, being prepared, and making sure to follow up will help you make the most of these situations.

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