Here’s the real secret to getting luckier at selling: create a Luck List and groom it.
A luck list is comprised of individuals that can contribute to your sales and/or personal success. It might be customers, friends, former coaches, casual acquaintances, mentors, vendors, business people, associates, trainers, IT experts, software geeks, math wizards, social networking gurus, former bosses, teachers … anyone and everyone that might have some specialized skills, knowledge or expertise that you can use as appropriate, anywhere, anytime.
How to Use Your Luck List
Think of using your luck list in three ways.
Centers of Influence
First, the traditional way. Your luck list can simply be a network of individuals who can supply you with leads and referrals. Often called ‘spheres or centers of influence’ these are individuals who are in a position to help you build your business by acting as an advocate and linking you with others who might require your services. For example, in financial services a center of influence might be a lawyer, accountant or doctor who could refer you to their associates.
Mentoring and Guidance
Second, use your luck list as a source of mentoring and guidance. We meet all walks of people in our day to day lives. Some of them have wisdom in certain areas that you leverage from time to time. A retired executive might be savvy in the ways of business politics and give you a tip or two. A sales rep from an entirely different industry might give perspective on approaching a complex sale. A lawyer whose son plays hockey with your son gives you advice on prospecting to the professional market.
Value Added Linking
The third way to think of your luck list is to consider it your own personal “human internet”: a spider-like web of resources and knowledge that you can “google” (call upon) for certain situations. You can link one person to another to help them solve a problem or whatever. You probably know someone who ‘knows someone.’ They`re ‘connected.’ They`re the go-to guy (girl). Hard to find tickets for a game? Call them. Need the name of someone to fix a basement foundation? They know someone… who knows someone… who knows someone. Want a good rental property for the week in an exotic location? They’ll point you in the right direction. Need a second opinion from a brain surgeon? They’ll tap their network and inevitably link you up.
To increase your luck, you want to be THAT someone. You want to be connected. You want to develop and groom a network of people who can help you out by helping others out. So…if a customer needs help with her CRM you refer them to the geeky guy you used yourself. When a customers is looking for tickets to see the Red Sox play, you call a distributor who calls his supplier who calls Tony the ticket guy who comes up with two seats at home base.
How Does This Create Luck
When you do things for your Luck List there is a tendency for them to want to reciprocate; to even up the balance. In sales, if you`ve done a little extra for a client that goes above and beyond the call of duty, most of them remember that. They reciprocate by giving the last look at a quote or they call you first in an emergency or the cut a few points with your pricing. They`ll act as strong references and give testimonials. Often they`ll pass your name on to associates.
Getting Started With a Luck List
How do you get started. Easy as pie.
First, sit down with a pen and paper and create a list of people who might have power, influence, knowledge, experience or skill that could be beneficial to you and others. Typically, your list starts with people you know, like and respect. It might be an old coach or teacher or boss. Maybe you attended a workshop and thought the instructor was awesome, jot their name down. No holds barred.
Secondly, build a communications plan. This means develop a means of staying in touch. The simplest ways are the telephone and internet. But from time to time use an old fashioned fax or send a letter or meet with certain individuals for lunch. Try not to let more that 4-6 weeks go by without some sort of touch. The last thing you want to do is call up someone you haven`t contacted in a year and ask them for a favour. You can use your Outlook to schedule a couple of hours every 4-6 weeks and devote that to grooming your list.
Third, start building a library of articles, links and other things that you can send to stay in touch and create value. The library can be business –like i.e., information that relates to your industry or market or product- or it can be personal – individualized information that caters to a hobby, passion or interest. (I have a buddy who bought me a book on military knives because he knows it`s a interest I have. You can bet I`ll reciprocate when the time is appropriate). Old fashioned letters or cards and e-cards are a great way to reach out to your Luck List. Telephone your luck list every now and then and `get caught up.` Even a voice mail message works.
Fourth, when someone on your Luck Lists helps you out, no matter how big or small, send something. Usually it`s a thank you card. Maybe a nice letter. Anything that acknowledges the effort.
You never know when the payback will come as a result of your Luck List, but it DOES come. And the wider you cast your Luck List net, the more opportunities you will catch.
Of course, everyone will say ìt`s just luck when good things happen to you. But you`ll know better.