Not long ago I caught a program on the History Channel about Fort Knox, where the United States’ gold reserve is kept. It was amazing. It is one of the most secure and guarded places in America, if not the world. It is not open for tours. No one gets to see the gold–not even the president if he wanted to.
In today’s economy, you have no doubt seen more and more commercials promoting the investment in gold. It goes to show how much just a little bit of gold is worth. Indeed, one of the oldest usages of the word prospecting is associated with gold! But with gold, just a few nuggets is all it takes for a big payoff.
Several years back, I began to teach occasional prospecting workshops–which packs quite a bit of prospecting fundamentals with some less common stuff many of us have yet to apply. In three hours, I cover quite a bit of material, and the volume can be overwhelming.
Consider the countless approaches there are to prospect, whether you are in the business of sales or engaged in a job search:
- Cold calling (let’s get it out of the way)
- Pre-approach letters & follow-up calls
- Public speaking
- Observation (looking for opportunity)
- Social mobility (volunteering and community work)
- Referrals & Introductions
- Social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Plaxo)
- Networking groups
- Referral clubs (Goldstar, AmSpirit, LeTip, BNI)
- Neighborhood canvassing
This list could go on and on. Indeed, you’ll find even more ideas in the fourth edition of my book Prospect & Flourish. However, my point here is that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. We allow ourselves to be confused and occasionally spread out too thin either doing too much, or doing nothing at all (As for me, guilty as charged.).
Don’t let this happen. As you learn about the countless approaches, do it with the intent on focusing on just two or three “nuggets.” Just one approach (I call it a gold nugget) that appeals to your personality and leverages your strengths, when applied with persistence, can be worth many times more than…well I don’t want to say all the gold in Fort Knox (that’s a LOT) but, I think you get my point.
But we are not talking about a “gold rush”–which advances the notion of short term efforts yielding big, overnight results. Rarely this happens. It takes time. If you will pardon my sudden shift in metaphors: Indeed, when it rains, it often does pour. We have seen it time and again.
What is less apparent to the masses however, is the very long dry season that preceded it–the season of endurance.