I didn’t discover the Law of 250 on my first day as a salesman. It took me a few years to work it out. I can’t guess how much it cost me in lost customers and their friends and relatives and coworkers. I did learn one important lesson very early in my career: Don’t join the club. Most salesmen learn it on their first day in a new place but soon forget it. What it means is this: Don’t become a part of what we call the “dope ring” or the “bull ring” in the place where you work.
That is where all the guys get together in the morning and spend their time discussing what they did last night, or what their wife was complaining about at breakfast, or some other subject that has nothing to do with work. Everybody knows what I’m talking about. Before long the day is gone, and so is any chance to build your business.
Remember, it is your business, no matter whom you work for or what you sell. And the better you build it, the more the people you sell will become your customers. Every minute you spend looking for ways to avoid working costs you money. But if you are a part of that clubby group of salesmen hanging around the front door, you are not using what you know, because you can’t make money hanging out with the boys. Use your time to acquire new customers and build relationships with the ones you already have.
All you have to do is think back to the time you first came to work at your present place of employment. Remember when you didn’t know any of the guys. There was nobody to talk to, so you had to look for things to do. Maybe you spent a little time getting to know the merchandise. Maybe you tried to edge up near where the top man was talking to a customer so you could learn something about the way he did it. Maybe you even worked the telephone or sent out some pieces of direct mail, or emails, to friends and relatives to tell them where you were working and what you were selling. Most important, you did those things because you had plenty of spare time. There was nobody to talk to, nobody to buddy up to.
If you are in the club, ease your way out, because it will encourage other bad habits and wrong attitudes. Because hardly anybody who hangs out with the boys all day is going to tell you how much business you can get just by using the telephone for an hour or even 10 minutes a day. And none of your buddies is going to say, “Don’t listen to my stupid joke. Go to your desk and write names and addresses on 10 pieces of direct mail and send them out every day and you will be in touch with 2,500 people every year who drive cars and will need another one some day”.
Most of the guys in the club think that all the business you will need walks in the door every day. So they will never tell you what I know: That you can build the biggest business in town without being in the club, because you can spend all your time getting people to come and ask for you, and not just walk in the door and wait for the guy who is up. A lot of salesmen do fairly well that way, as long as their luck holds out. But nobody can sell everybody. So the salesman who waits his turn has to take his chances. I don’t like to take chances in my work. I make opportunities. That means if you do a lot of things to build business, you’ll build business. And you can’t do what has to be done to turn the odds in your favor, unless you stay out of the club. Instead use all your time to make opportunities!