Aim, Fire, Ready

When I was touring the extraordinarily emotional Normandy beaches, I saw the evidence for the noncoms urging men forward, to keep moving, into the guns, and not to stop. Despite the withering fire, the soldiers were safer if they moved toward the obstacles and tried to engage. If they stayed where they were, they would eventually be killed by the unceasing havoc directed at them.

To paraphrase Will Rogers, if you’re simply content to be on the right track and sit there, a train will eventually come along and hit you.

Consultants seem to get stuck on the beach and not move toward clients. The “enemy fire” in this case doesn’t come from the prospect, but from their own poor perceptions. They hesitate if there is an objection, instead of seizing it as an opportunity. They focus on ultra-protection and 26 technology backups instead of common sense and having one good one. (If the world explodes, it really doesn’t matter if backups of your files are circling Alpha Centauri awaiting you.)

No one told the troops on the beach to get ready. They told them to point their guns forward and start firing as they headed in that direction—over obstacles, up hills, and into close combat.

You don’t engage prospects by email, nor close business on the phone. You can’t spend hours on social media platforms, digging foxholes, and actually claim you’re marketing to corporate buyers. You can talk forever about theoretical “alliances” and “collaborations,” make lists, and attend every trade association conference in the world to exchange techniques with your peers, and you’d still be on the beach.

Get off the beach. Follow me. Ask for referrals daily. Get in touch with your past clients. Put proposals in front of buyers within 24 hours of your meeting. Don’t deal with non-buyers (who live on the beach offering sand dunes for protection and who are scared out of their minds themselves). Aggressively write, speak, and network. Broaden your appeal (get more weapons) and abandon the ridiculous mentality that you should specialize in an age of diverse needs.

The soldiers didn’t get ready on the beach, and they weren’t really ready for what they faced. They could have stopped to check their gear or clean their guns or rearrange their equipment. They didn’t. They charged.

Get off the beach. Those are prospects up there on the heights, and the tide is rising behind you.

© Alan Weiss 2011. All rights reserved.

5 thoughts on “Aim, Fire, Ready

  1. Great analogy Alan. We see a lot of consultants playing not to lose rather than taking the offensive and playing to win. It’s also true that you need to watch for the clients that are “tire kickers”, looking for free advice during a so-called proposal process, with no intent to buy.

  2. Get off the beach! You have to focus with clients on “what” which are objectives, and not “how” which is free consulting. And you have to eschew non-buyers altogether.

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