In baseball all you need is to hit the ball 3 out of 10 times and you get a pro contract. If some of those hits are homers you are a star. Of course human nature being what it is one can’t help but notice that with your small successes are included more than double the failures. Selling pest control really isn’t far off from the baseball analogy in that you will get a whole lot of NO’s compared to the few hits that get you on base. Hit one home run however and you’re a hero.
3 Out of 10 Ain’t Bad
Like a baseball player I fail a whole bunch but still most people would consider me a huge success. I have sold some major accounts in my career but I’m no Hank Aaron. Now I’m not a baseball guy so maybe this is where I better jump off the comparison but if I had to describe myself I’d be one of the kids in the 1976 movie, Bad News Bears. Not a superstar with great technique but someone who gets some hits with an occasional long ball that kind of caught everyone by surprise. There are no Hall of Fame aspirations for me, no autographs to sign or huge endorsement deals. Just a guy who fails 7 out of 10 times but that alone puts me in the big leagues– How bout you?
I’ve written about a time in my career where the home run was king and everyone in the office was up and swinging everyday. Big $5000.00 jobs weren’t unusual by any means but they didn’t happen everyday. The competition was fierce even in our own office let alone the other companies in town. I always looked forward to the morning meetings after a nice sale when the manager with his magic marker posted the numbers for all to see on the board. At least for that day I’d be king but as the month dragged on and my numbers dwindled I always took my normal place to the lower half of the totals. Against my Regional Managers direction I consistently fell back to my old habits of selling smaller jobs. This is where I was comfortable, it was who I am and at least posting a $500.00 on the board was better than a zero and it was my way of ‘getting on base.’ If you’re interested in that story follow this link when you’re done reading.
There Will Be Lows
I will say that this experience that was close to an all time low for me has been a blessing in disguise. Back then I had all the resources in the world to sell this kind of work but was afraid to even attempt it when it was just me and my little Ford Ranger. Still some of the desire or instinct must have soaked in and as timid as I was, I gave it a try. Just as I had before, I failed more than once. Doors were never opened, purchasing agents slipped out the back door and secretaries gave me the “He’s not in right now can I have him call you?” line. But somewhere in the midst of this failure a shaky little neophyte got up to bat and finally got a yes. It wasn’t Yankee stadium or a large city contract but it was a big account for me and it put a run on the board.
The fear most small companies have of selling large accounts is one I understand. What if there are problems? It’s too big for me, how can just one guy tackle something so big? The truth is that even the largest companies in the world just send out one tech on some of their biggest jobs. There’s no reason it can’t be you- NO REASON IT SHOULDN’T BE YOU! Since starting my own company in 93 I’ve sold prisons, nursing homes, factories and the like. Mind you I’m in a tiny town where our claim to fame is horses and lightning. (we’re the lightning capital of the world) and this was long before I ever had an employee. You can put down a glue board like the big boys, they don’t wind up a ketch-all any better and they dang sure won’t take the personal interest in the account you will.
Why Not You?
I’d love to write more and detail the how and perhaps I will if you are interested. Just remember this; You are a capable tech who has taken the time, effort and money to set up your own pest control business, to be your own boss and while taking a risk it’s you who gets to reap the rewards. Do what you know to do, get up to bat, keep your eye on the ball and start SWINGING FOR THE FENCES.