It seems we like to name everything lately. So, if you didn’t know, the Saturday after Black Friday and before Cyber Monday is now Small Business Saturday. I was asked to write a post on promos and campaigns small businesses can run to capitalize on the special day, but something else is on my mind today.
I’ve been traveling a bunch lately, speaking at a ton of different events from San Diego to Atlanta to Chicago. As I fat-finger this post on my iPhone, I’m on a plane headed for Toronto. The reason I tell you this is because I just had a simple, yet profound experience during a layover in Philadelphia.
I had a few minutes to grab a bite to eat in between flights. As I surveyed my options in the terminal I noticed two restaurants, side-by-side, with drastic differences. One had a long line and the other had none. For that reason alone I decided to get in the long line. I figured the locals must know where the good food is.
After 30 seconds I realized why Eat At Joe’s had a huge line and next door they sat, waiting. Hustle. The right kind of hustle. That’s it. That was the secret. There was man behind the counter working the crowd. Every time someone would walk by he would shout out “Philly cheese steaks here! Don’t go home, don’t leave Philly without one.” His energy was contagious. People lined up at his command.
I began to wonder. We often get caught up in the latest tactics. We search high and low for the hottest tools. We get amped on our amazing technology. We’re connected day and night trying to make our businesses go. We’re hustling. But is it the right hustle?
All the SEO in the world doesn’t do any good, inbound marketing is a waste, and the latest email marketing trick is in vain if we don’t ask for the business. One wise man, speaking to parents, said “No other successes can compensate for failure in the home.” I also believe that for business owners, no other successes can compensate for failure to sell.
It might make you uncomfortable. It might make some of your prospects uncomfortable. But in the end, nothing can substitute for asking for the sale. We can keep ourselves busy, really busy, thinking we’re hustling and therefore the business should grow. But sometimes we avoid the right kind of hustle – asking for the business.
Why do we avoid it? It’s hard. It’s taxing. When people say no, it hurts. We hate rejection. We want success. But the avoidance of rejection causes us to miss out on success. The avoidance is illogical. When we sell successfully, it feels great. The bills get paid. It creates a euphoric high. But for many people, the fear is greater than the reward. So, we stay busy with less important things, convincing ourselves that we’re doing meaningful work.
Here are a few tips for getting serious about sales hustle:
- Focus on your higher purpose. You’re not selling just to make a buck. You have a product or service that makes a difference in people’s lives. Don’t let another person pass you by without the opportunity to improve their life with your product or service.
- Turn it into a game. Keep track of how many times you ask for the business in one day. Try to beat that number the next day. Keep track of how many accept versus reject. Try to improve your conversion.
- Find an accountability partner. If you’re having trouble actually doing it, find someone who will hold your feet to the fire and ask you on a daily basis how your progress is coming. If you have no one who will do this for you, comment on this post – I’ll check in with you regularly (and publicly).
- Practice. If you feel uncomfortable saying the words, practice. Sit in front of a mirror and say them to yourself over and over and over until they sound natural. Then practice with a friend. Practice until the words come out with 100 percent confidence. Nothing wavering.
So, on Small Business Saturday, whether you’re taking the day off or out there hustling, make a commitment to get back to the basics and ask for the business. It will probably do more good for your business than anything else.
As I picked up my order and walked away from Eat At Joe’s, I noticed a passer-by standing in between the two restaurants, reviewing the menus, trying to decide. I smiled as the man from behind the counter boomed:
“Hey man, you’re on the wrong side of the rope. Get over here and get you a Philly cheese steak.”
The man promptly obeyed. One more customer – just because he asked. He hustled the right kind of hustle. What about you?
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Image from Yuri Arcurs/Shutterstock