In Sandler we have a concept called the three foot rule. Put simply, if someone is within three feet of you, talk to them, because they’re a potential client. It’s a habit that when practiced, can lead to a lot more opportunities, without the need for presentations. In fact, I recently experienced this myself while on vacation.
Not long ago, my wife and I went white water rafting for the first time ever. The boats are designed to hold eight people, and they typically hold six people and a guide. Besides myself, my wife, and the guide, there were two other couples on the boat.
We spent seven hours with these other couples that day. There was plenty of time to practice the three foot rule. So even though the three foot rule is not in my comfort zone, I had to practice what I preach.
While talking, the guy in front of me asked what I did. I said something along the lines of, “Nothing too interesting. I help people with revenue and sales challenges.”
A few hours later, we hit a calm spot in the river. The guy in front of me turned to me and asked, “What do you mean, you help with sales and revenue challenges?”
I responded, “We just help people understand behavior, and what about that is helping them sell and what’s not.”
As the conversation continued, I discovered that he was actually the CEO of a company. He was a very humble guy, so I never would have guessed it. At the end of the trip, he asked for my business card. I asked, “Why in the world would you need my card?”
He responded, “Everyone in my sales organization needs what you do. We spend several hundred thousand dollars a year in training. We’ve always tried to bring people in for half-days of training, and it just dawned on my that’s not going to help them change behavior.”
I didn’t give him a pitch or presentation. In fact, he didn’t even know the name of my company until I handed him my card at the end of the day! But you never know who the people around you are. And unless you practice the three foot rule, you’ll miss a lot of opportunities.