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Send your competition to the track, golf course, and natatorium

When the competition is at the track, you need to be
calling their business prospects. (AP Photo)

I hear there was a race in town this week. I didn’t hear it from the news; I heard it from my competitor. He was talking about how disruptive the Indy 500 and Brickyard 400 are to selling. “Everyone’s at the track!” I just smiled and nodded. You know why he knows everyone is there? Because he’s there watching the cars go around…while I am calling on his prospects.

 Oops, I just let out a secret to sales success. When “everyone” is one place, it can be a great time to be someplace else. Before you respond in all caps that you should go where your prospects are and that socializing is a great way to build relationships, swallow more coffee and take a breath. Are there prospects at the track? Sure, the ones who aren’t serious about solving the problems they are paid to solve. Are those less serious prospects likely to spend money this week? Not with you, they’re funding the race teams. What about those prospects hard at work in their office trying to solve their own problems? Is their phone ringing this week? Not as much because “everyone” is watching the cars fly by. Except for those of us who see this as a week to speed up our own sales, which means your call is more likely to get returned and you are more likely to get an appointment.

I’m not knocking good client entertainment. Solidifying client relationships in social situations is a good strategy, if you can afford it financially and tactically. If you are looking hard for business, you will gain more progress by staying away from big events where your prospects are not in the mind set to talk business. Instead, stay on your telephone and make appointments for this week and next week.
Here’s a great idea. Next time you see your competitor, tell him how many prospects were at the track the last time you were there and how you sure hope it is the same next time. And if it’s a different month, the tennis tournament or Final Four of Senior Open is just as good. The goal is get your competitor off your prospect’s calendar so you seem more serious about solving your prospect’s problem…and then just smile and nod the next time you hear “I can’t sell this week, everyone is goofing off.”