Just Keep Knocking!
One in 10. That was the average.
I was really discouraged. I had been working incredibly hard to get this business off the ground. We had 2 toddlers and no income other than what I hoped to generate with a start-up sports marketing agency.
MacLean Sports Marketing was a complete unknown in the world of professional sports. The promotions I created were also unknown. I was a huge long shot to succeed. In fact, even my best buddy at the time bet against me,
“Who’s going to want to buy those things?!” And he actually came from the world of professional sports marketing.
However, I believed this was my best option. This was what I was committed to.
So there I sat at a make-shift desk in the 500 square foot cottage on my in-laws farm that we now found ourselves living in. Every morning Anne would have to get the boys out of the cottage so I could work in quiet to make phone calls and send emails on my brand new Digital computer with 4 Megs of RAM – cutting edge technology at the time.
Day after day I would knock on the doors of pro teams to sell my wares. Multiple times I would have to knock on their doors just to find out who I needed to speak with, then many more calls to actually have a conversation with the person who had the power to make decisions. Emails, phone calls, emails, phone calls – over and over again hundreds of times.
Amidst the myriad of attempts to connect and the dozens of pitches, I experienced the odd success. Yes, finally a sale! I made sure I called my buddy after each sale to let him know he was wrong!
My conversion ratio was 1 in 10. Every 10 pitches I would win 1 contract. And those pitches took countless contacts just to get my foot in the door. Lots of “knocking” on their doors.
I couldn’t give up knocking – that was not an option. I did not have a plan “B”. This had to work.
It’s amazing how motivating desperation can be.
And, as I kept knocking, doors began to open. The more doors that opened, the more doors opened. “Opportunity” finally arrived. We went on to work with scores of teams in more than a dozen pro and semi-pro leagues, entertaining millions of fans every year.
It’s been said, “The doors will be opened to those who are bold enough to knock”. If you’re not knocking, don’t expect doors to open.
It has also been said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” Perhaps more apropos is this, “Opportunity does not knock, it presents itself when you beat the door down.”
What doors have you been knocking on? What doors have you stopped knocking on?
Business is about knocking on doors. It’s about boldly, courageously, doggedly and strategically pursuing opportunity. It is not about waiting for opportunity to knock, it’s about knocking on opportunity!
It’s about choosing what doors we’re going to knock on. And then it’s about committing ourselves to knock on those doors longer than we probably think we should.
However, we have to make sure we don’t knock on doors the same way that a fly tries to get out of room. We’ve all seen it right? Dead flies on the window sill. Why? That fly kept knocking on the wrong door and didn’t know when to quit.
I am fairly confident that most people’s propensity is to not knock loud enough and long enough, as opposed to being a fly.
What doors have you given up knocking on? The door of excellence? The door of engaged employees and rich corporate culture? How about the door of strategic visioning and planning? How about the door of succession planning? Perhaps the door of your own leadership development?
When we think of doors in business we automatically think of sales – and, yes, there are myriad sales doors we need to keep pounding on. Oh, but there are many, many other worthy doors we need to knock on.
Business is about knocking on doors – just keep knocking!