It was 2004. I was the new guy at my company, trying to build up my reputation. I had to spend most of my time getting out and just meeting new prospects: financial advisors, property and casualty agencies, and life insurance agents. Once I met them, the idea was to build a relationship and show them how I can provide them value. I made a lot of cold calls. I walked into a lot of offices, introducing myself to strangers.
I was hustling, looking for opportunities, just like a basketball player looks for balls loose on the court.
In basketball, possessions matter. The more possessions, the more chances to score. Dive for that loose ball, and you get a chance to prove to yourself and your teammates that you have what it takes.
But just because you get a chance doesn’t mean you automatically score. There are no guarantees, and your opponents will do everything they can to get that ball back before you can do anything with it. Is a chance, maybe even a slim chance, worth the effort of getting in there?
So, I was calling on these potential clients, but most of them wanted nothing to do with some random person walking into their office, especially one who looked like he was about 17.
I knew that the more people I talked to, the more chances I’d get to succeed. There were no guarantees, and even if I did make a connection, there was no way to know if that person would stay my client very long—even if you do everything right, things don’t always go in your favor. But I knew if I didn’t hustle for those opportunities, I wouldn’t get a chance at all. So I had to keep going.
I remember one night in particular. I was driving through the North Charlotte town of Concord, NC. Since I live in South Charlotte, I still had a ways to go to get home. It was late, and I was tired. But I had promised myself that if I saw any company with the words insurance or financial on the door, I’d stop in and introduce myself. And there was Pasko Insurance Agency, so I parked my car and went in, forcing myself to at least act energetic.
I introduced myself to the receptionist and spoke with her for a bit. After about a minute, a gentleman came over and asked what I was doing there. I explained, and we talked. Then we talked some more. We chatted. I don’t even remember what we chatted about, it doesn’t matter now, the point is that he gave me the time to really talk and ask questions. I’d spoken to so many advisers by that point, knowing that most of them would say no very quickly, hoping that somebody would at least give me a chance, and this gentleman did exactly that.
That was 2004. It is now 2016, and Bill Pasko, from Pasko Insurance Agency, now of Matthews NC (much closer to my office!) is still a client. He is an important client. He is proof that:
1) there are good business owners out there who do give people a chance
2) hustling does work
So dive for that loose ball, put in that extra effort. Promise yourself that you will hustle and create a story of your own.
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