31 Jul The Old Pro and the Cold Canvas Call
For those of you unfamiliar with the “Old Pro,” he is the legendary G. R. “Russ” Wright, a man who introduced many to business brokerage, and whose own career spanned over 50 years. Occasionally, we will include an “Old Pro” story on the blog, often reminding readers of the tried and true basics of business brokerage.
The Old Pro had just returned from his vacation. He was suntanned and ready to go. The summer was over, and it was time to get back to work; so we had invited him into the office to talk to some brand new people we had just recruited.
We had not even finished introducing the Old Pro, when he began, “Selling businesses is tough work, but for those who are willing to pay their dues, it can be very rewarding. There are no short cuts to success, especially in the beginning. Your manager is going to make you learn the hard way —I know, because I trained him.
“He’s going to tell you to go out and talk to the small-business owner. This may not sound like it’s the easiest or most efficient way to get listings,—and maybe it isn’t—but there’s a method to all this. Small-business people are a breed all to themselves and you need to get to know them. You also have to learn to think on your feet; in fact, that’s a big plus in this business.
“Sure you can use the telephone, work on getting referrals, follow up on the for-sale by owner ads, and all the other ‘shortcuts’—you’ll get your share of leads; but there’s nothing like the old face-to-face contact. You’ve got to learn to deal with what you’re going to find out there—the rejection, some nasty people, the characters, the stories—it’s the basic training of the business. It may sound old fashioned, but I’m a firm believer that if you can’t handle the cold-call, you can’t master the rest of the business. It’s the best way to see what’s out there. How else do you find those businesses that, if you could ever get them listed, would be like money in your pocket? You can’t see anything or meet anybody on the telephone or by the mail.
“This is a great business, it’s a way of life, and it’s an addiction. For those who are successful, it’s a great way of life. You are really in business for yourself. You control how much you work, how much money you make—your only limitation is your own effort. But, as I said earlier, you have to pay your dues.
“Do what your manager tells you for your six months’ training—there’s no easy way to learn this business, no matter how smart you think you are. The road is filled with the failures that tried to take the easy route. Remember, you are getting the best business education in the world. In this business, you have to be patient and persistent, handle the ups and downs, and work hard. Don’t give up—hang in, it’s there!”
We hadn’t dared interrupt the Old Pro. We had heard him on this theme many times before, but his enthusiasm and love for the business came through once again.