“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations,” said author Charles Swindoll.
When one person sees a barrier, another person envisions an opportunity.
Have you ever encountered a brilliant business model and wished you had thought of it! That’s happened to me countless times. The good news is that there are infinite ideas that nobody has yet thought – ideas that can help you in your sales career.
Seeking, finding and capitalizing on opportunities are among the most important things a sales pro must do.
There’s one big problem with opportunity, however, that Charles Swindoll’s quote brilliantly points out: it can be hard to notice and even harder to harness. The best opportunities are often hidden, located in places we least expect to find them and are presented by people we least expect to provide them.
That reminds me of the old story that sales managers like to share with their young trainees: “On his way back from a three-day fishing trip, a multi-millionaire visits the showroom of an upscale, luxury car dealer. The salespersons, seeing an unshaven, disheveled, poorly dressed man, essentially ignore him. Offended, the multi-millionaire buys a top-of-the-line model the next day from a direct competitor.” There are a lot of ways to tell that classic missed-sales-opportunity story, but they all sound something like that.
If opportunity is so important to our success, yet difficult to find and recognize, we need to focus more of our energy on it. Unless you’re naturally good at it, finding and capitalizing on opportunity needs to be a deliberate focus:
Open your eyes and ears – we can no longer afford to be indifferent, or even worse, oblivious to the world around us. Be on the lookout for ideas that could lead to new business. Even more important than eyes and ears, keep your mind open too. Many of us miss opportunities, because they don’t fit into our pre-existing paradigms.
Remember that all people count – sometimes we get so obsessed with the “right” people, we miss out on valuable opportunities from people, who on the surface, can do seemingly nothing for us. That said, you do want to spend the preponderance of your prospecting time on people who have high likelihoods of becoming your clients.
Fight through the fear – one of the biggest reasons we miss out on extraordinary opportunities is because we are too afraid to leap. Great sales pros step out of their comfort zones.
Take risks – As the old saying goes, “nothing risked, nothing gained.” Unless you take a chance and do something new, you’ll keep running into the same old opportunities.
Work really hard – “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work,” said the great inventor Thomas Edison.
Set meaningful goals – make those goals specific too. The more you clarify what you really want, the quicker you will recognize it when it shows up.
Find quiet time – many people have found great opportunities, because they prayed for them or spent time meditating about them. Such activity creates focus in your mind, and a focused mind is a powerful mind.
Believe – visualize success and tell yourself that good things will come. A positive mind is more receptive to hidden opportunity.
Prepare – as the old Boy Scout motto says, “be prepared.” You never know when the perfect opportunity will open up. If you’re not prepared, you might not act on it quickly enough.
Finally, it’s important to keep learning – That’s where I come in, by the way. If you would like to do more business and be more creative in the ways you prospect, we should schedule a prospecting workshop at your office!