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5 Powerful Ways To Bag The Elephant
Things have changed quite a bit since Wall Street as the hustle days of cold calling have been replaced by digital cold calling, namely emails, newsletters and social media which, not only are not nearly as effective because of its impersonal nature, but because it is much easier to disregard them as spam with the push of a button than it is to try to hang up the phone on someone while they are talking.
Though there are several ways to bag the elephant, there are 5 big ones, in my opinion, which produce the most favorable results.
1) Know The Elephant
Knowing the elephant is one big way to bag the elephant. The problem however is, believe it or not, knowing the elephant can often hurt you more than it can help you if you don’t approach things the right way… (we will discuss this topic in my next post on how not to lose your elephant after he is in the bag}
Knowing the elephant is always the easiest way to bag the elephant so long as you know what to do as there is a big difference between knowing the elephant and bagging the elephant.
In order to bag the elephant that you know, you must understand the perspective of the elephant and put yourself inside the mind of the elephant.
Fact: Elephants get pitched every day for investments.
Fact: If you pitch the elephant simply because you think you are in with the elephant you will be dishonorably discharged from the circle of the elephant quicker than you can say, “Oh, no you too?”
The best way to bag the elephant you know is to work backwards. Knowing the elephant is only beneficial when you take into consideration what the elephant actually needs.
The best way to explain this to you is to give you an example:
My friend Fred (rest in peace) knew an elephant at the largest retailer in the world, Wal-Mart. Fred was smart. One day, while having lunch with the elephant, he asked the Wal-Mart elephant (let’s call him Bob) what he was looking for or what items and categories could be improved in his stores.
Bob told him what he was looking for and Fred worked backwards. He went to factories all over the world explaining what he was looking for. Fred knew what his elephant wanted and where his prices needed to be.
By working backwards and understanding the needs and wants of the elephant, and by feeding the ego of the elephant by putting the elephant in a superior position, Fred made a small fortune.
Note: To view all articles in this blog on startups, click startup advice
2) Know the gatekeeper
If you remember, Bud Fox got very friendly with Gordon Gekko’s Gatekeeper, Natalie.
Fact: If you don’t get close with the gatekeeper, your chances are extremely small you will never get through the gate to meet face to face with your elephant.
Fact: Most elephants choose callous, rude and intolerable gatekeepers.
There is a reason for this. Elephants get bombarded with calls from people trying to bag them. This is why the elephants pick gatekeepers who know how to sift through the BS that comes in on a daily basis.
In order to bag the gatekeeper you must find out what he or she likes and work on your relationship with him (or her) with the same passion as if that person was the elephant him or herself.
3) Bag the Competitor Of Your Elephant
Fact: The elephant always has a nemesis or two (underestimation).
Fact: Elephants are extra-ordinarily competitive
Getting the interest of the elephant’s competitor will get inside of your elephant’s head. Elephants are typically vain and will think, “why didn’t he (or she) approach me?
It doesn’t matter if the elephant’s competitor is not a good match for you or not. Use the elephant’s competitor as bait to make yourself more desirable.
4) Promote Your Elephant (even if they don’t know you)
One of the biggest benefits of having a digital presence is the accessibility it gives to reach anyone at anytime. Don’t confuse that between being able to get someone to actually pay attention to you anytime. Here’s a fact that may help you with that part:
Fact: Elephants love their ego’s fed.
Find a way to promote your elephant in a way that is visible to them. Even elephants like to get bigger. If you have developed a strong digital presence whether through social media, a blog or some other platform, mentioning your elephant in your blog or in social media is often the best way to get recognized as that person will like to re-circulate any information that is said about them.
Don’t just try this once. If you want to reach out to an elephant you need to be consistent in your promotion.
If they have a blog, make comments on your elephant’s blog and try to establish a relationship the best you can.
Note: Don’t ask for anything when you start promoting your elephant’s content or they will see right through your intentions. After some time has passed and your elephant has acknowledged your presence and some appreciation, you can try to establish a personal relationship and go from there.
5) Play the numbers
Don’t wait to establish a relationship with your elephant to move on to the next elephant. Call 500 elephants a day. Be relentless in your pursuit of bagging an elephant. Take every shot possible and hold nothing back.
Some of the most successful people in the world started off cold-calling on Wall-Street. I was not one of them but Gary was and to this day, Gary still doesn’t hesitate picking up the phone to bag any elephant that he has an interest in bagging.
Hopefully this has given you some better insight into the art of bagging an elephant. Figure out who are the elephants in your market you would like to target and then go out and take action!
Please be sure to let me know any of your experience bagging elephants below and if there is anything I missed, add your thoughts and I will be sure to respond!
One last note: I’m not through with the elephant. If you enjoyed this post, I recommend you read Gordon Gekko Was Wrong.
Have a great day!
-Co-host of ABC's Shark Tank