Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Building a billion-dollar enterprise, 18 - A worthwhile lunch, an excuse destroyed.

Hm. It looks like I have never written here about Legal Shield - or about its predecessor, Pre-Paid Legal.

That ends today, if only because I need to say that I did some activity today as a Legal Shield associate (for those who don't know, LegalShield provides access to quality legal services for as little as $17 a month. For more info on how it works, take a look here.)

I had lunch with Phil Berger and a fellow I'll call Chuck. Chuck is VP, Human Resource and Labor Relations at a company with 10 subsidiary companies in six states.

Phil Berger is a long-time Legal Shield associate who leads the "Group Troop," a group of associates who do group sales of Legal Shield.

Group sales refers to having employers agree to let us offer Legal Shield membership to their employees as an employee benefit, with discounted rates for group participation and payment being automatically deducted from their paycheck (at no cost to the employer).

The lunch with Chuck was to open the door toward doing an enrollment at his company. Phil did the presentation. I mostly watched and learned. Mostly I learned how easy it can be to do such a presentation, once you've done the work to make it so.

I believe it went well. Chuck seemed genuinely interested, and he left Phil with a couple of questions to get back to him on.

If the company agrees to let us come in, we'll be doing an enrollment for about 750 people. Since Phil likes to do enrollments in groups of 15 - 20 people, that would mean 30 or more sessions, stretched out over a week or more.

As someone who enjoys public speaking to begin with, I find that possibility exciting, because it would allow me to gain a lot of skill in doing enrollments, really quickly. In normal circumstances, it could take a couple of years to get the amount of experience as a presenter that this scenario might give me in two weeks.

And depending on how Phil and I split things up, an enrollment for 750 people could wind up providing Capital Synergies with enough to cover not only CSI's bills, but those of Luminaria Productions as well - and to fund a 401k.

Wow, I'm really tired. Just sitting here staring at the screen; nodding off; waking enough to stare some more. But just want to say that I am glad that this day I did something with the distinct purpose of making money; something less speculative than a Cafe Press shop on Homewood Nation.

Even if we do get the enrollment at Chuck's company, though, it could take months to reach that point. So I need to push myself on offering memberships to individuals. I have always preferred the idea of doing groups to that of doing individual sales. But Phil described a way of doing individual sales that made me say, when I heard it, "Even I can do that."

Phil started out operating under a restriction by his wife that he could devote only five hours a week to Pre-Paid Legal. Being a methodical guy, he worked out a system under which he made phone calls on Thursday evening until he had secured two appointments for the following Saturday morning. By doing those two things - making phone calls Thursday evening and going to appointments Saturday morning, for a total of no more than five hours a week - he made his first sales within his first month, and had sales every month thereafter.

On top of that, at the appointments, pretty much all he did was play a Pre-Paid Legal tape (remember VHS?). That was enough for about one out of three people to sign up. And after they did, he asked them, "Would you be interested in knowing how much money I just made?" And that led to one of three new members also becoming associates. 

I can do that. All of it.

But after saying, "Even I can do that," I found ways to avoid doing it. Most recently, I told myself that in fact I couldn't do it, because I don't have a car. And as long as I told myself that I couldn't do it, I prevented myself from seeing how I could. Excuses are self-blinding - they prevent us from seeing what is possible.

Over the weekend, it struck me that I know a bunch of people in Homewood, all of whom would be within walking distance. I checked my Gmail contacts to see how many of them live in Homewood, and surprised myself with the number: 65.

That's 65 people within walking distance, and with whom I already have some degree of relationship.

I told Phil today to expect a call from me within the next couple of days about how I'm doing with calling my 65 people.

I need to go ahead and make my first personal sale. And my second, and my third. I need to just get past that bump. Having 65 people within walking distance means that

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UPDATE: When I first wrote this entry, I wavered about whether or not to designate it as a BBDE post, and decided against it, titling it merely, "A worthwhile lunch, an excuse destroyed." But with further thought, I 've realized that one of the things that this this day's activity was about is learning to do new things. Or better, learning a new way of doing things: Prepare with the goal of making something simple enough to do that it can easily become a habit.

On a more mundane level, today was about doing what it takes to keep an enterprise going until it becomes self-sustaining. Success with Legal Shield will help to keep Luminaria Productions going. That's about as basic as BBDE gets.
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