Steve Kaplan’s bestselling book, Bag the Elephant, is about much more than the animal in Africa. He uses, “bagging the elephant” to describe the process of landing a large company account. By large account, Steve means a contract that’s large enough to help you realize your dreams. The type of contract that can completely change your company’s finances.
Mr. Kaplan is a self-made multimillionaire who has been involved in the building, buying, and selling of over 100 companies. This book, Bag the Elephant, was a Bestseller and featured as number one on Amazon’s daily list! This coming Sunday, July 1st, Steve is appearing on ABC’s Secret Millionaire!
Needless to say, it was a great time for me to finish his book. His bio lists that he’s helped create over 100 millionaires. After reading the book, I can definitely see why! Here are 3 things young entrepreneurs can learn from Bag the Elephant:
1. “You have to treat your Elephant hunting as a vital activity at the core of your daily or weekly routine, no matter what other fires are blazing. Landing that big client isn’t a luxury or a spare-time function; it’s the key to big profits.”
This phrase was something I highlighted and really stuck with me. Mr. Kaplan mentioned that when he first started, he would focus on selling during the day and focus on the business at night. This proves that he treated hunting Elephants as the key to his success. By focusing on this area, he was able to improve his percentage of landing a large client. The more time he spent calling prospects, the better the chance of landing one.
What holds entrepreneurs back from pursuing Elephants? First it’s a lack of belief in themselves or their company. In fact, Steve mentioned this as the first barrier to overcome. You have to believe that large companies need you. Step out of your comfort-zone and go get them!
2. “You have to stop thinking like a business your size and start thinking like an Elephant.”
To land a large company account, think from their point of view. To completely understand what they’re doing, you have to get inside their head. In fact, he mentioned completely bringing this whole approach to your company. His reasoning: “Elephants like to do business with partners who think and act like themselves.” Understanding their point of view is extremely important. Gain a large company’s respect by showing them that you understand their situation and can “play by them”.
When you start thinking like them, you need to start learning about their organization.
- Who influences?
- Who buy?
- Who kills?
- What’s their lingo?
- When is their budget season?
3. “Get organized. Before you start calling potential clients, get your house in order.”
This was probably my favorite part of the book. Mr. Kaplan went in detail on the execution of the initial contact with a large company. I mean in detail! Here are some great tips:
- If you’re able to get through and talk to someone at a certain time, write it down. He mentioned that humans are creatures of habit. You’ll most likely be able to reach them at that time again.
- Always call for a reason! If you’re going to call someone, have a purpose behind it. This can be a good way for you to figure out if they’re willing to buy, without becoming a pest.
- Learn to tolerate silence during a phone call. Don’t let them off the hook by saying, “Why don’t you think about it and let me know tomorrow?”
Young entrepreneurs need to read this book. Steve Kaplan has complied all of his experiences with Elephants into a single book. If you want to land large clients, this book is a must.
As entrepreneurs, our businesses rely on our ability to execute. This is not a “rah-rah” book to make you feel good about yourself. Yes, you will be inspired, but this book is about execution. Mr. Kaplan doesn’t just tell us “we can do it”, he shows us how to do it!
Don’t forget to tune into ABC’s Secret Millionaire on Sunday and follow Steve on Twitter.
Michael Fear is the Founder & CEO of getbettertoday.com. His mission is to help people understand that getting better is not an option, but a necessity. Chat with Michael and Get Better Today on Twitter: @MichaelEFear & @GetBetterTday.
Category: Startup Advice