CLOSER vs OPENER | ANXIETY
Author’s Note: This entry is part of a series that I am working on for the larger Marauder Mindset book, and is a work in progress. Your feedback is welcome and appreciated.
I have always struggled with anything involving networking, lead generation, prospecting , etc. Whatever you want to call it, I’m pretty terrible at it. I’m much more of a natural closer, which probably explains why I pursued my wife for nearly 6 years before I finally closed her for good and she said yes to marrying me. Making one million trial closes with this “warm lead” was much easier for me than having to cold open with some new prospects.
It was the same in the sales jobs I had. Door to door or cold calling? Terrible. Warm call in leads? Sure, I can close that. The problem with not being a good opener, however, is that when it’s your own business, nobody is feeding you warm leads. My problem is that I have never really understood how to create a warm lead. I have a violent allergic reaction to the notion of cold-calling. I absolutely despise it. Fortunately, it’s about the least effective way to create a warm lead, so I feel justified in my vitroil. It doesn’t solve my issue of needing leads however, so I have to find a way to work around that.
One of my first true entrepreneur plays was right after I got laid off going into the great recession in 2008. I was 24 or 25, single and penniless. I had to move back to my parent’s home in California, and dig myself out of a hole. My dad had been screen printing t-shirts out of the garage for as long as I could remember, and it was a decent way to make a few bucks. I needed money quickly, so I decided to give it a shot.
But first I needed to find some jobs to print, so I drew up a quick flyer in photoshop, got a stack printed up at the local Kinkos and drove down to the business park and spent about 45 minutes sitting in my car trying to get up the nerve to walk into any business and start handing out flyers.
I couldn’t do it. Looking back, it seems absolutely ridiculous, but I was paralyzed with anxiety. In the end I compromised and grabbed some packing tape and stuck them to the sides of mailboxes in the business park and bailed. I was amazingly ashamed with myself; I wasn’t even trying to close business, I just intended to walk in, drop a flyer off with the receptionist or whomever I first met, and leave. But I couldn’t do it.
Sometimes we have weird shit going on in our heads, and I wish I had the solution, but I guess the best I can say is that I eventually grew out of that. I’ve gotten better over the years about getting myself out of my comfort zone. Approaching people cold still scares the shit out of me, but I’m fine with putting myself into situations where I can find natural opportunities to have these conversations spark up.
I recently saw something a friend posted about an event at a private club. The whole thing had a very “leather-bound book on mahogany bookshelf / vintage americana, pure masculinity” vibe— that was right up my alley. Living in a house with a wife and three daughters, I needed a little testosterone in my life, so I decided to check it out. It’s still too early to tell, but I have a feeling that the decision to show up is something that is going to pay amazing dividends in my life. Besides the social aspect of getting out, I was introduced to several people who have to potential to bring immense value to this whole process. There was no way I wasn’t joining this club and I’m currently sitting inside of it as I write this part.
So what I’m getting at here is — if you’re like me, and you are not a naturally networker or marketer, you’ve got to figure out how to rig the game in your favor. Where do the people who have achieved what you’re hoping to achieve hang out? How do you get involved? Who do you know that can make those introductions — and more importantly, how can you bring value to those people?
If you think someone successful wouldn’t want to help you out, you might be surprised. There are always assholes, but don’t be deterred by them. The interesting thing about success, at least in the financial sense, is the more successful you become, the less you are motivated by money. Many successful businesspeople enjoy making the deal itself. The money is more a byproduct of that deal, and they really enjoy helping other people that deserve success, be successful themselves. You’ll notice that I said people that deserve success. They won’t help just anyone, but If you can show you’re willing to put in the work, and especially if you deliver value to them while you’re doing it, then they’d love to help you out. You know why? Because nine times out of ten, someone did that for them when they were in your position, and now it’s time for them to pay it forward.
If you’re like me, you need to find a way to be intrepid. Inject yourself into situations where these kinds of encounters can happen. When you meet these people, do what you can to add value to them. Find out what problems they’re up against and seek to be the solution, but even if you can’t do anything for them, they’ll appreciate the gesture and might help you out anyway. Just remember who helped you, and when you’ve become successful, seek to help others as well.