12/21/11

Business Farming

Strategic Initiatives (Part 9)


Max is the consummate business farmer. Like Johnny Appleseed, Max spreads seeds all the time and knows that some will take root. Max does not worry about how many seeds are dropped, how many might sprout or what to do with them if they do sprout, grow and bear fruit. Max simply makes sure that no matter what else is going on, seeds are sown. Everything else will be dealt with once something happens. No brain cells are burned with “what ifs.”

There are many Max’s – whether they are a Maximillian or a Maxine. These people are direct and to the point in their conversations. The conversation almost always includes an invitation to business no matter who you are, the occasion or the setting. It is not an obnoxious or rude inquiry. In fact you expect it and wonder if something is wrong if you do not get the invitation. The invitation may be about buying something, selling something or selling your company to them.

Max has some basic rules of business farming:
  1. Always ask for business, you cannot get a yes unless you ask.
  2. It is like the game of “Duck, Duck, Goose” only, in this case, it is no, no, yes.
  3. A no is not forever and is simply the answer to the current question. Like a seed that is not ready, if it is never planted, it cannot germinate.
  4. Emails, mail and advertising require action on the part of the recipient and have far fewer results than a direct conversation. An image of an orchard never grows a tree.
  5. A conversation opens the door to explore possibilities, potential and obtains permission to call again.
  6. Thank them for their time and/or consideration and ask who else you should call.
  7. Deliver on all promises.
  8. Even if you got a no, send a follow-up note or email.
  9. You need to listen two to three times as much as you talk. The best deals are usually made when the other person is giving information.
  10. You cannot control the environment but you can certainly take advantage of the conditions. If business has been bad, there is a reason to call. If business has been good, there is a reason to call.
  11. It does not take money to ask for business.
  12. Farming is not a one crop or cycle venture.

Max always seems to have a finger on the pulse of what is going on: who will do what, when, and why? The how and how much, like a tree in the orchard given a chance to grow, will find a path to the sun. Max’s knowledge and chances of success grow with each call made. It is a matter of how many calls. Max’s farming is such a large part of the business, that there is an appointment set for making calls every single week. Max does not rely on chance, but over-seeds for the crop to be harvested.

The strategic initiative of business farming changes the dynamic from waiting for something to happen to making something happen.


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