I was walking in the parking lot of my local Starbucks with Gabrielle, my 2-year-old daughter, in my arms, when a guy came over and started to talk to me.
He told me he’d seen me give two different seminars several years ago and asked, “Hey, do you still do seminars?”
I assured him that I still did seminars and that I love doing seminars.
He said that he was hosting a conference in Charlotte for assorted CEOs and was wondering if I would be interested in speaking to the group.
“Heck yes! I would love to. And in fact, I just published my ‘Little Book of Leadership.’”
He told me there was another big meeting that would take place in the fall, and he would recommend me for that one as well.
I gave him my coin card and my Phillies-themed business card. As he smiled, I suggested he call my office on Monday to speak with Michelle, our Queen of Events. He assured me that he would. I also let him know we would send him a seminar kit.
Even though I wanted his business card (badly), it was a Saturday morning and we were both in shorts. So I left it to the gods that he would call.
Just after I strapped Gabrielle in her car seat, I turned around to the man handing me his business card and smiling. Yes!
And after my conference call with him, it turns out this is a major business opportunity for my company.
That’s the end of the story — for now.
Coincidence? Chance meeting? Serendipity? My personal philosophy and belief is that there are no accidents, but that may be the result of growing up as an idealist in the ’60s.
But a bigger question is, what led up to the interaction?
My years of hard work, my reputation, my writing, my seminars and my books created the opportunity for that meeting. I was both recognizable and attractive. I was both available and approachable. I was memorable enough to spur an action on the part of the person who recognized me.
What would have happened if that person bumped into you at your Starbucks on a Saturday morning?
Rather than me tell you what you probably already know, let me answer this with a series of questions that will hopefully lead you to take actions toward reputation, recognition and approachability:
• When you Google yourself, does your presence occupy at least the first page?
• Are your social media messages getting responses?
• Are people proactively posting on your Facebook page about how much they enjoy you and are inspired by you?
• Are your tweets being re-tweeted?
• Are you writing in a manner that is attracting others?
• Are you speaking at trade shows in order to gain prospective customers?
• Are you doing anything that your competition is not doing in order to appear different from them and more valuable than they are?
• Are you building your personal brand, or are you just tagging along with your company’s brand and product?
These are not just “ouch” questions; they’re also success questions, life questions and reputation questions. And, in the end, these are legacy questions.
If you are going to win in sales, you have to be a dominant player, not just a sales rep. Sales reps make quota. Dominant players don’t worry about quota. They blow it away. And dominant players gain recognition, and build reputation, based on hard work.
The guy in Starbucks didn’t just recognize me. He remembered me. And it didn’t just happen: I spent the past 35 years making it happen.
I’m writing this to you and for you so that you may become inspired to dedicate yourself to next-level achievement.
In my years of experience, I have discovered that:
• More salespeople complain about “what isn’t” rather than talk about what’s possible.
• More salespeople whine about their price or the economy rather than take aggressive action to build awareness and value in the heart of their customer.
My heart is in selling. My heart is in writing. My heart is in giving memorable presentations. My heart is in providing value to existing and prospective customers.
Where is your heart?
What are you determined to do? What are you dedicated to do? How much time are you dedicating to that determination?
My meeting on Saturday had nothing to do with luck. Thirty years ago, Melvin Green, one of my mentors, taught me, “Hard work makes luck.”
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of “The Sales Bible” and “The Little Red Book of Selling.” President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs sales meetings and conducts Internet training on selling and customer service at www.trainone.com.