“Don’t I know you from somewhere?” he asked me.
“No, I don’t think so.” I was shopping for clothes at the mall. I’d recently gotten a new job, I was 22 years old and I knew few people in town.
“Where do you work?” He asked. I answered and asked him where he worked. He told me he owned his own business, and we struck up a conversation.
We’d never met, but within a minute or two, Steve and I had a good conversation going. About the time I was ready to return to my shopping, Steve told me that he often looks to work with sharp people in his business and asked if I would be open to new opportunities to make money. Flattered as I was, I said, “Sure,” and we set a date and time to get together.
At our meeting, about an hour into his presentation, Steve invited me to become an Amway distributor. About two weeks later, I learned that the episode in the mall was called “contacting,” and as a new distributor, I was now expected to do it.
I had no interest in walking up to complete strangers, striking up conversations and setting appointments so I could show them the Amway distributor business plan. But I wanted what this type of business promised. So, I learned to do it.
I purchased all the books and tapes on contacting, and studied them feverishly. I kept looking for “how-to” information. I wanted to know exactly what to do, step-by-step. What types of people should I stop and talk to? How do I start a conversation with a stranger? What do I say to make them comfortable enough to give me their number and look forward to my call?
I read hundreds of pages and listened to hours of tape, but I was never satisfied with the information I received. It always seemed vague. Primarily it said you have to “be bold” and “act with confidence.”
Steve took me on several contacting missions. We’d drive around town to grocery stores, book stores and shopping centers looking for people who were well dressed and looked like they were already successful. I’d start a conversation with each one, begin to build a relationship and then get his or her number to set an appointment to explain the Amway distributor business plan.
On days I tried to follow all the step-by-step advice I had learned from my books and tapes, I failed miserably. I got rejected and wasted a lot of time. So, I tried something different. With Steve’s coaching, I learned I had to internalize the step-by-step process, make it my own and act with boldness.
Although it goes against everything I’m comfortable with, I learned to be pretty good at it. I could get three or four numbers a day, so by the end of the week, I had 12 to 15 good prospects to call to set up appointments.
I figured out that all the how-to, step-by-step information wasn’t as important as I first thought. When I acted with extreme confidence, most people were happy to talk with me and genuinely wanted me to follow up with them. They had no idea I was scared to death to approach them and even more terrified to pick up the phone and call them for an appointment.
In 2005, I had the opportunity to speak at Dan Kennedy’s Info-Marketing Summit and sell a program from the front of the room. I have never been so scared. It was audacious of me to presume I was qualified to offer a program. Yet, there I was at the front of the room. Dan Kennedy introduced me, and after my presentation, I learned I’d sold $330,000.00 in that one-hour presentation!
Above all, I was bold. I spoke with supreme confidence. I carried myself like I had the ultimate secret and positively knew it was going to work. It didn’t matter that it was the biggest crowd I’d ever spoken in front of, that I was intimidated by the people in the room and that it was the first time I’d ever given my presentation.
Instead, I told myself I was bold, confident and excited to be there. I carried myself with supreme confidence—and I succeeded.
Confidence is the most difficult aspect to teach, and so I focus on it during my coaching calls with clients.
I’m always happy to provide step-by-step instructions. I love sharing what I know with you to help you grow your own business.
But at some point, success always comes down to internalizing everything you’ve learned, mapping out your own strategy and boldly making it happen. Nothing will attract joint venture partners, content providers and customers like confidence.
By all means, seek out the available information and learn from other people’s mistakes. Then, when you have what’s available, act boldly. When you see you need to make a change of plans, do that boldly, too.
You’ll attract a lot more customers, and everything you do will be more successful when you internalize everything you’ve learned, make your own plan and act boldly rather than focus on someone else’s step-by-step process.
What do you think? Have you succeeded by acting boldly? Or has being bold gotten you into trouble? Scroll down to the bottom of the page to leave me a comment. I read every comment and reply when appropriate.