As it pertains to sales, the one topic I am asked about more than any other is prospecting. Specifically, how to stand out when there are so many companies selling very similar products and services. My answer is simple – prospect the Costanza way.
Seinfeld is my all-time favorite television comedy. In an episode during the sixth season of the show, George Costanza, the perennial “loser” in his group of friends, laments how he is unemployed, living with his parents, and has no meaningful relationships. His life has become the exact opposite of everything he wanted it to be. In a moment of introspection, he has an epiphany and realizes that every instinct he has is wrong and makes a commitment to do the opposite – beginning with his lunch order.
As he embraces doing the reverse of his every natural instinct, something interesting happens: a gorgeous blonde takes notice of George and stares at him from the lunch counter. Continuing to embrace the opposite, George walks up to her and boldly states, “My name is George, I’m unemployed, and I live with my parents.” Of course her reaction is to give him a huge smile while introducing herself, validating his “opposite” theory. If you haven’t seen it before, you can view it below. It’s worth the 90 seconds.
When it comes to prospecting, George Costanza’s realization can serve any salesperson well. To differentiate, look at how your competition is searching for new business and then do the opposite. For example, if the vast majority of other salespeople are utilizing email blasts, use direct mail. If you feel the competition is “dialing for dollars,” work with suppliers to create targeted spec samples and deliver them personally. By simply engaging your client in a manner opposite of the competition, you’ll stand out – and that’s half the battle.