By “telling” the world what you want rather than “asking”, you create an immense amount of power
Some days I just can’t believe the actual power of the mind. There are those times when you almost feel that you have some kind of unfair superpower to get the things you want if only you put in even a little effort mixed with imagination. In the last 4 days, my business has transformed into something that only a few short years ago I could have only wished for.
one of the companies I own is a fence building company in northern Wyoming. We spend our spring, summer and fall months working nearly 7 days a week serving a rather premium level of customers who own high valued homes and properties in our area. Our company builds beautiful yard fences, garden fences and work very closely with the local equestrian and polo communities designing paddocks and gate systems. Typically during the winter months from December to around March, our company is shut down due to the cold frozen conditions of an even mild Wyoming winter. Generally my wife and I have about a 4 month vacation and to tell you the honest truth, that time off is why I started a fence construction company. I wanted to spend my winters skiing and enjoying our kids while they were on Christmas vacation but over the last few years, that long time off during the winter has turned more undesirable. In fact 2 years ago, my wife suddenly started experiencing seasonal depression and just wanted to sleep and lay around all day. Last year her seasonal depression started to rub off on me. The two of us would just sit in the house and watch movies and look out the window at what seemed to be an endless winter wasteland.
But then spring would come back around and we would fire the company back up and hire back all our employees from unemployment and away we would go again hitting the ground 7 days a week! This up and down fluctuation was starting to wear on my mind and I was getting ready to sell my company and start something new that was not seasonal. I told my wife that I hated this business because we were so bored during the winter and so busy during the summer and I was ready to get out of it.
But then something miraculous happened. In the fall of 2018, my wife said something to me that really changed me. She said, “If you want to change the results of something you need to change your mind about it.” I took that little piece of advice and decided that I was not going to look at the fencing business as a seasonal business in Wyoming any longer. I was going to find a way to keep working all winter long. I put my mind to that very notion and redirected all of my focus into keeping operations running 12 months out of the year. Without even really trying I was able to find work for our employees inside heated riding arenas, and I also discovered ways to drill post holes in the frost and set post without it being a problem in the spring.
Today, in the first part of March in 2019, our company has not stopped working since winter began. We have gone nonstop and to make things even sweeter, I have booked more business in the last 4 days than I did our whole first year of being in business. That means in Q1 of 2019, I have already booked and done more business than my entire first year of business.
My take-away from all of this, – When you change your mind about your situation, your situation begins to change. I was speaking to a bunch of 8th graders at our local school’s career week when one of the kids asked me what my best business advice would be. I looked at that young lady and I said, “Don’t be careful for what you wish for, be ready for what you wish for. If you put in the effort, everything you wish for will come true!” I believe my own business advice to that young lady now more than ever.
Here’s the other thing and I feel is the most significant to what I’m now experiencing. Rather than sitting and waiting for the world to bring good fortune your way and asking for things to work out for you, instead just tell the world what you are going to do! Everyone seems to be very careful about appearing too brazen or having too much bravado so they quaintly and politely ask for what they want rather than demanding what they want. In today’s world we seem to what to court our fortunes and gently guild success in our direction and be the perfect courtier with cunning and strategic politics. While his kind of courtship to the goddess Fortune may seem like the best way, I have found it make you look weak and what she is really looking for is someone with gravitas. You need to be a bulldog and just tell (not ask) the world for what you want and what you’re going to do!
Our company once did a Federal Government project for the VA. The VA required that all of our employees have a 10 hour OSHA safety training but only myself and one other of our employees had the training and we didn’t have the time to get the rest of the employees throught the training. I told the VA that we only had two people with the training and I wasn’t going to take the time and expense of training the others. I said, “Two employees on the project with the training is enough and the other employees without the training will just be careful, we are just going to go with that.” At the time it seemed like a gamble and I would likely lose the project with such a bold statement to the Federal Government but the next day they emailed me the contract and never said another word about the training. Our bid was more expensive than other contractors and my employees lacked the training yet I was the one that came out victorious in the end. Just boldly tell the world what you are going to do rather than ask!
I now have customers today that don’t even blink at my price list anymore. In most business deals there of course is generally some give and take during the negotiation process to finalize a contract. I have been in many of these negotiations and I have walked away from some very large accounts because being the best at something means you’ve worked very hard to accumulate that reputation. The best never settles for a bargain price on their services. My policy is to never go down in price during negotiations but as an alternative to coming down in price, I will offer a second service or an add-on service to the original service at a discounted price or maybe even something for free. What this means is the longer you want to work me down, you actually end up spending more money in the end. I always win and if I don’t, I walk away. I have had many different times when customer’s frontline man or manager tell me that he was surprised that the customer doesn’t even try to talk me down anymore. This is the point where I know that a virtuous businessman, or woman that can deliver the highest quality product or service on time and with more value than promised, can eventually name their own price!
The final point is this, the world’s opportunities are just waiting for people that are willing to just step up and grab the bull by the horns. I think you will find just as I have that taking full control of opportunities with immense self-confidence gives the buyer a sense of security and comfort in working with you. Your prices might be higher than everyone else’s and your projects could be wintered-out but you have the full belief in yourself and your teams to deliver on promises that in the beginning you weren’t sure you could keep! That is the altruistic sense of true salesmanship that will bear fruit for a very, very long time!
Daniel J Bockman