I was not born yesterday. I have been in sales for more than two decades. Some lessons take longer to learn than others. With many years of experience I can confidently say to never give anything away for free today with the thought that you will ever get any future business out of it. If I provide you a product or service for free today (that you came to me and asked for) then I am telling you very clearly that it is worth nothing. I will never ever receive any money from you for those goods or services. It would make no sense for you to pay me in the future. You simply revert back to the original interaction. Once I decide to put my foot down and demand money then you decide to pay someone else for the exact same goods.
Now that business is good it is so much easier for me to simply say, “no thank you” when approached and asked for “free” stuff. When I struggled I would be caught off guard and give things away.
It is always fun to discuss the antics of folks attempting to receive good and services for free. As I like to say, “I’ve got one for you:”
The pitch (most times) is very easy to see from a distance. The one making it uses too many words. The call or (even better) the email starts with how wonderful the offering that they are about to ask for is and how they can really see so many people they know wanting to pay full retail price (or even more) for it.
I now say, with confidence, “I am not in the business of free. If you would like to pay full price for my services I will work with you. If I decide to make a donation to your cause then I may do that.”
This is a much more efficient way of conducting business. When you do let me know that you will tell all your friends about my business your credibilty drops to zero. My friends are similar to me. I assume that your freinds are very similar in nature to you and they ask for free things too.
Yesterday I had a video editing marathon. Twelve videos were uploaded to my youtube site I managed to learn some new “flashy” tricks with each video. Getting the hang of this video stuff is a fun challenge. Why pay someone else when I can have fun learning the process myself?
The internet allows me to sell items to folks all over the world. A simple video editing program, a video camera, a digital still camera, and a little bit of patience all make it possible for me to show folks (on the internet) exactly what my products do. The more video I take and the more I edit these videos the better they appear. I really enjoy making the videos. For fun I have been putting videos up at my personal site on youtube.
I arrived home from the American Camping Association annual trade show and conference in Orlando. I love the trade shows. I woke up at 3:40am Wednesday for a 5:45 plane ride to Atlanta. I transferred in Atlanta and arrive before noon in Orlando. Tony, my co-worker arrived 90 minutes later. I retrieved the rental car, circled back with lunch, picked Tony up and then raced to the convention hall at Disney’s Coronado Springs resort. We set up the booth in 21 minutes.The show started at 4:30pm and went until 8:30pm on Wednesday. The traffic at my booth was steady. We saw a few customers and some potential new ones. There was a noticeable decline in attendance compared to last year’s event in Nashville. After the day’s activities we continued with the networking at a Baggo sponsored event in the same building before heading to our hotel. By the time I made it to bed I had been up for more than nineteen hours.
Thursday’s trade show hours were 8:15am til 4:15pm. There was a ninety minute break for lunch. This day was successful. We packed the booth and then headed to Epcot for a three hour tour of the park. We squeezed in a ride in Spaceship Earth, the Test Track, a tour through the coutries and a fireworks show before heading back to the hotel. Our Thursday was several hours shorter than Wednesday.
I began my entrepreneurship the last six weeks of sixth grade at Odom Middle School. It was evident when I did my research. The research that went into the venture was minimal. I did learn that Now n Laters candy was the item to sell. There were a few older kids (eighth graders) selling the candy and I was confident that I could take all of their business by selling the exact same stuff at a lower price. It was not rocket science. It was simple math. I was not afraid of getting robbed or beaten up. I had an older brother (Paul) at school who could protect me when I got in over my head. I enlisted two friends to assist in selling the candy. We were off and running. At one time the bus driver (Mrs. Roberts) made us pick up the candy wrappers on the bus. We decided that we would do that any time she asked. It was the least we could do as we were now making (at least) lunch money each day before we even arrived at school.
At the end of the school year we had collected (after expenses) well over one hundred dollars. To twelve year old kids that was a bunch of money. We had only been ripped off once. The older kids took our candy but not our money. We were back in business the very next day. Looking back on the experience I believe that I learned some valuable lessons.
After this experience in sixth grade I progressed without partners. I found that I worked harder than they did and then had to share my profits equally. I have been a salesman ever since. I sold candy (off and on) on the bus all the way through ninth grade. I stopped then because I stopped riding the bus and got a car and a regular job.
Last night I attended the Unity Dinner for the Texas Travel Industry Association. It was a fantastic experience. I walked to the event which was held at the Hilton in downtown Austin. When I arrived I only knew the gentleman in charge of the event, Paul Serf. I saw several folks I know through work there. I had a very nice visit with my friend, Anita Perry. I had not seen her in a few years. I also visited with Bob Phillips. He is the Texas Hill Country Reporter. He was only eighteen years old when he began his program. I also shook hands with former speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, Gibb Lewis. The speaker is very charming. There were dozens of elected officials in attendance. Also, scores of CVB’s (Convention & Visitors Bureaus) were represented from across our great state. There were folks from professional sports teams there too. My objective was to begin my association with the Texas Travel Industry Association. The folks in this wonderful organization need to be familiar with my: Flogos The event was a success for me.