Have you ever heard the story of how they catch monkeys in India? They
build a heavy box with a small slit just large enough for the monkey to
fit his hand through - sideways. They then take a trip to the jungle
and place some nice juicy bananas in the box. These are no ordinary
bananas; they are really ripe and tasty, the kind of banana a monkey
could hold onto forever. Now as you know monkeys love bananas. The
monkey smells the banana and hesitantly puts his hand into the box and
grabs a fresh juicy banana; he soon discovers that his hand will not
fit back thru the slot unless he drops the banana. Now he’s got a
dilemma, does he release the banana and go free or hang on and go to
the zoo for eternity? It’s an easy choice for a monkey and next time
you go to the zoo you can see how many couldn’t let go.
Guess what? Sales professionals are sometimes like monkeys! The
conditions of the market may change but they still hold on to their old
ideas and ways of doing things. Unfortunately, if they don’t release
those limiting sales strategies – they are going to end up with the
monkeys! In a self-imposed prison of lackluster sales results.
I receive calls and emails from frustrated bankcard salespeople
wondering what they need to do to make in this hyper competitive
industry. Yes, things have gotten more competitive but what business
hasn’t? Look at the insurance, real estate, automobile and computer
industries; they have all experienced major changes in how they market
their goods and services. And like these industries if you want to be a
successful bankcard agent you need to make a shift in the way you
market your goods and services.
5 years ago Insurance was sold almost exclusively through insurance
agents. With the advent of the Internet many insurance companies now
market their product direct to the consumer. How did these insurance
agents survive? Well, the ones that weren’t willing to change haven’t
but those that have shifted from being an insurance man to a solution
provider or valued business partner have adopted their marketing
strategy and product offerings to fit current conditions.
Irrespective of the industry – salespeople all share the same simple
objectives and requirements to grow and build a business.
- You’ve got to get the most yield out of the customers you currently have.
- You’ve got to get the maximum number of customers you can from the
best possible source of prospects you can identify.
- You’ve got to make the time; effort and money you spend produce the
best possible result now and in the future.
- You’ve got to use the momentum you have in motion to your best
By momentum I mean utilizing customers, relationships and the
distribution channels you have in place. Ask yourself powerful
questions and you will get powerful answers:
How can I leverage my customers, relationships and distribution
channels to a better and broader advantage?”
What shifts do you need to take in your approach, business plan or
product mix to realize these four objectives?
- What strategies can I borrow from other industries or companies that
have faced competitive pressures and flourished?
- What innovations do I need to make to move my business to the next
- Experiment, play with these answers, think out of the box and look to
find ways to make ideas work for you instead of reasons why they won’t
In his book, The Winner Within, Pat Riley talks about breakthroughs. He
says, “A breakthrough is a positive thunderbolt. It enables the team
and the winner within to grasp and to realize their mission by defining
and fulfilling the most important performance goals in life.” He goes
on to say, “…business breakthroughs are more likely to come from the
head than the heart. Often they entail defining old problems in new
ways, or the road to fresh solutions wouldn’t even occur to you.”
Pat Riley coached the Los Angeles Lakers to four championships in nine
years by being unique and trying new ideas - like a 6’9” guard, and
combining rookies with proven veterans. By embracing change and
adopting new ideas, you to can achieve your own business breakthroughs.