If you are a sports enthusiast you know about a runner called Joshua Cheptegei, a maverick Uganda who is a talk of the world. He broke the World Record in 5000m track. Just Google his name.
Few people may remember that on 27th March 2017, the same Joshua Cheptegei collapsed in front of the home crowd at Kololo, which had the first citizen, as a spectator! The President watched with surprise the start of the country lose the lead to the Geoffrey Kamworor, a Kenyan and close neighbor.
Losing is part of the winning process.
To progress, one must let go of pride, laziness, and worry about what others might think. If Cheptegei had listened to the noisemakers and other commentators many of whom have never run any race, he would have probably given up.
Are you willing to lose to gain in the future?
Go try to lose. Invest in stocks. Start a business. Apply for that dream job. Take your work to another level by providing on-going suggestions to your boss and senior and colleagues. Always find an opportunity to lose or fail. And keep trying.
Despite the bad times, great companies are always looking for great people.
All you need to do is to submit the applications and try to be unique. If 90% send their applications through basic envelopes. Try to send yours through DHL or registered mail. Go the extra mile to demonstrate an interest in the prospect. Do write a 10 pages executive summary on your target company. For example, research about the company, and write: “The ten strategic interventions to cut costs, grow revenue amid Coronavirus at xx”.
Of course, you do so after research and interactions with front line staff, or at various channels of the company. When you visit the bank branch and find disorganized branch operations, lazy tellers, and or general bad attitude. Use that as an opportunity to make your point. You may not have to point directly at the culprit staff or branch, but write a generalized paper showing how you could transform the bank operations to optimize customer service excellence.
The top honcho is always aware of the pain and is frustrated that people rarely see it. So, when you go as an outsider and point out these pains, the only way you have is to progress upwards.
As you send your letter via DHL, remember to enclose your contacts and indicate you are available to make a free presentation to the top Executive Team about your paper.
Focus on the long journey.
Success is not achieved overnight. Send customized paper to each prospect to over 300 companies of your interest. Be consistent. Be pushy. Don’t accept a no from the personal assistants or receptionist. Insists to do a Zoom or a Google meet with the CEO or the manager in charge. You should approach a company when you know the movers and shakers.
You have seen how potential investors in Uganda want to meet the President directly. Few ask to see the Ministers in charge. Such ‘investors’ do research and market intelligence about the countries of their interest. In Uganda, they are always probably told that if you want to win in Uganda, meet with the President or the First Family. Once they bless your investment, it will become so easy to meet with the rest. Such investors are therefore willing to invest a fortune to meet with the President when He travels. It is easier that way since he is willing to meet potential investors in the country. And appointments are made which makes the transaction easy.
Do the same. Know who is the final decision maker in a particular company. Know the gatekeepers – folks you must go through to him. Or folks who influence him or her. And then try your luck.
The secret is in not being frustrated by negative answers. Give your self a 300 days target. Say, “I will meet one prospect and follow up on another prospect per day. That is reaching out to two potential employers or customers daily.” I will do this for 300 days, come rain or sunshine.
To notice some progress, give up only after maybe 300 days. And be ready to extend the period depending on the progress you make. Keep trying. Change tactics. Try to send a message via WhatsApp, social networks your targets use, or go visit their offices, despite the corona times.
One time I wanted to meet a CEO badly, but he did not know about me. So I never got an appointment through official means. I decided to use the way of guerrilla sales approaches (click here to know more about this). I went to the Security Guard and tried to be his friend. After three days of going there and saying hi, he got interested in me. I asked him, which time does the CEO come to the office, to which he answered at 6:00 am. Of course, this is sensitive information, but it was the best tip to meet the CEO. The following day, I came early by 5:40 am, at the company and waited. My intention was the CEO to see me as he drove. I planned to do so for three days until the CEO takes notice and ask, why does that boy come here very early?
And it happened as I planned. After just two days, the CEO was asking the security guard. And I had set him up already. “If he asks, tell him that he wants to see you.” I was instantly called in.
Try to fail, you will win.
Even more, focus on looking for opportunities to work with young entrepreneurs or startups as these are always shrewd and looking at developing great talent. They have no bureaucracy and take decisions faster.
As a consultant, I try to submit the proposal anyway. I do my best and submit. I try to get a rejection. I try to fail. Only that way, I create a possibility of winning a deal. If I do not submit, I have no chance of winning. That is why I am willing to submit again and again and again without tiring.
What is it that you want. How many times are you doing something about it? Go try to fail.
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.