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Prospecting

Mike Montague interviews Dan Stalp on how to succeed at redirecting prospects’ head trash. 

 

This year, on Fridays, Dave talks about the attitude, behavior, and techniques of successful sales managers as he shares his thoughts on the 49 Sandler Rules for Sales Leaders.

 

Characteristics of top sales performers is the ability to avoid two common, self-imposed mental handicaps: reachback and afterburn. Reachback is what happens when an impending event begins to have a negative influence on our attitude and behavior. Afterburn is what happens when a past event has a lasting negative influence on our present behavior.

Mike Montague interviews Nema Semnani on how to succeed at storytelling. In this episode:

  • The right attitude for effective storytelling
  • Imagined realities are powerful motivators
  • How to tell a compelling story

If you lose a sale or something goes wrong in your life, who is at fault? When you blame others, you give outside people and events control over your life. When you take personal responsibility, you put yourself in a position to fix the most important thing you can ever fix—yourself.

Discover transactional analysis, a human relations model of three ego states; Parent Child, and adult.

I love sales!  It is a career where you, the sales professional, determine your income based on how skillful you execute the duty.  It has a feel of independence, ownership and entrepreneurship and it can be extremely rewarding.  Professional selling is regarded as one of the top earning careers on the face of the planet.  Note to you business owners out there: If your salespeople are making more money than you, don’t be jealous, be excited because they are building your business and increasing its value!

Read Time: 5 MInutes

David Mattson, President and CEO of Sandler Training and 6-Time Best-Selling Author, talks about his fifth book, Sandler Rules for Sales Leaders.

Listen Time10 Minutes

As a sales trainer, I get a lot of pushback about the word “pain.” Many of my clients reason that there are many other motives to explain why people buy. There have been multiple instances where they were offended by the very word “pain” and its negative connotation and then asked if we can call it something else instead. 

Read Time: 4 Minutes 

Too often, we box ourselves into situations when we fall into the trap of answering questions a prospect poses … and we quickly find that we have reached a premature, and usually unnecessary, dead-end in the conversation. The key to avoiding this outcome lies in recognizing that prospects rarely ask the "real" question up front. In order to understand the true intent behind the question, it is usually necessary to ask several questions. In general, it takes about three questions to uncover what’s really driving what we’re being asked.

Determine a prospect’s budget using a questioning technique called “bracketing.” By suggesting a dollar range such as between $30,000 and $45,000, you can identify what amount the prospect is willing to pay for your product or service. With a range in mind, you can continue strategic questioning to uncover the real number and what the solution is worth to the prospect.

Trials and demos can be an important part of your sales cycle, especially in the enterprise space. Another term for a trial or demo, is the “Monkey’s Paw,” which is a small version of your larger service or a consulting project. A successful Monkey’s Paw has three components, which are similar to a successful trial.

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Most salespeople who need to prospect for a living will tell you that it’s a very proactive, immediate results-driven exercise that can be uncomfortable at times. Hard to disagree with that. This is a topic that we get involved with far too often as it’s a common point of frustration for many business owners and sales leaders regarding their selling culture.

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Salespeople describe on a regular basis how they spend 5 - 20 hours a week preparing proposals for business they are hoping to get. However, most of the time their efforts are unsuccessful.

Why are we compelled to provide proposals when our gut tells us we are wasting our time? Let's explore some of the reasons we feel inclined to provide proposals.

The “stripping line” is a sales technique taken from experienced anglers. They understand that they’ll have a better chance of hooking the fish if they don’t yank the line at the first nibble. Instead, they strip some line from the reel and create slack. The fish then pulls the bait deeper in the water and, feeling more secure, swallows it—and the hook. You can use this technique to get clarity on what’s really happening in the buyer’s world. Here’s how.

Troy Elmore, Sandler trainer, shows you how to succeed with the attitudes, behaviors, and techniques needed to be more successful at dealing with the competition and selling a crowded marketplace. Get the best practices collected from around the world.

Listen Time: 21 Minutes

How many times have you thought a sale was closed only to have the prospect call you, or leave you a voicemail, text, or email message, cancelling or delaying the order? All that hard work … and at the eleventh hour the prospect backs out of the deal. Another commission killed by buyer’s remorse!

Guess what? That doesn’t have to happen. There is a proven process for eliminating buyer’s remorse. It’s called the Post-Sell Step.

Many salespeople believe that they should respond to all proposal requests that come across their desks where the scope of the work falls within the capabilities of their companies. It’s easy to see the allure. Working on an opportunity that “fell out of the sky” is far more desirable than “beating the bushes” to turn up an opportunity.

Desirable, yes. But, is it smart?

Clint Babcock, Sandler trainer, shows you how to succeed with the attitudes, behaviors, and techniques needed to be more successful when you have been ghosted by your prospect. Get the best practices collected from around the world.

Listen Time: 27 Minutes

The technique of answering a question with a question, or reversing, is particularly effective in the early phases of a discussion with a prospective buyer. Keep yourself out of conversational boxes and gain a much clearer understanding of the emotional intent behind prospect’s questions.

Linc Miller, Sandler trainer, shows you how to succeed at the connection with prospects through the attitudes, behaviors, and techniques needed to be more successful in sales. Get the best practices collected from around the world for bonding and rapport in sales.

This strategy involves face-to-face contact with people you already know, and thus isn’t technically an example of digital prospecting. Even so, it’s a best practice we use and have coached others to use as a means of generating substantially larger numbers of referrals via LinkedIn.

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This is a truly amazing period of history for sales professionals. The information tools that help us to identify, connect with, and sustain ongoing relationships with buyers are more powerful than ever, and they allow us to do things few could have imagined just a few years ago. But there's a challenge we all face: We mustn't let the extraordinary technology we now have blind us to the importance of having a clear sales process.

Read Time: 8 Minutes

Let’s start by talking about the elephant in the room: Cold calling is almost every salesperson’s least favorite topic. In fact, the only two groups who like the idea of cold calling are those who have never done it and sales managers.

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When our clients are elephant hunting or are selling in the enterprise space, we encourage them to engage their executives in peer-to-peer selling to their counterparts at prospect organizations.

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Excellent salespeople recognize that stellar results are only achieved by implementing their well-honed skills within the framework of well-designed systems. They continually strive to improve and perfect the strategies and processes they employ. For them, nothing is left to chance. They have elevated the tasks of initiating relationships, supporting relationships, asking questions, analyzing customers’ and prospects’ requirements, and crafting and presenting best-fit solutions to an art form. And they are all about process improvement.

Matt Pletzer, Sandler trainer, shows you how to succeed with the attitudes, behaviors, and techniques needed to be more successful at dealing with too much business. It's a good problem to have, but it can prevent you from selling more and growing. Get the best practices collected from around the world.

25 Minutes

The more I cold call, the more I sell. But please, keep posting that cold calling is dead and no longer works. No one and I mean no one answers their phones anymore. And absolutely, positively no one returns messages these days. Spread the word. Cold calling is dead.

By taking just a little time to better understand your own DISC style and adapt to the DISC styles of your prospects, you can improve your communication skills … and your closing numbers.

Perhaps the easiest way to avoid wasting time with questionable opportunities is to be more selective about which ones you allow to enter the pipeline in the first place. A more stringent “pre-pipeline” screening step may be worth considering. What are the criteria for entering that active phase of your pipeline?

There are only a few weeks left in Q4, which means that lots of sales professionals are asking themselves a familiar question right about now: How do I make the most of the time between now and December 31?

David Mattson, President and CEO of Sandler Training, talks about how to introduce a manager or another team member to your prospect. Learn the best practices collected from over a thousand Sandler employees around the world.

Salespeople often feel they must present complex solutions & proposals believing the perceived valued is greater or to justify to cost. Not necessarily so. Simple, well-organized, and concise solutions are easier for the prospect to connect with.

For some salespeople, the vagueness of their initial prospect meetings carries through to their eventual presentations. They fail to establish clear connecting links between the elements of their proposed offer and the specific aspects of the prospect’s requirements. Instead, their presentations focus too narrowly on their product or service, their company’s capabilities, and in some cases, on themselves.

According to research done by AYTM, over 60% of business professionals will take a summer vacation. At any given moment this summer, a third of your prospects and customers may be away from work. That can make it difficult to keep sales numbers up – and yourself or your team motivated. This summer, you can use these social selling tips to avoid a summer slump.

If prospects don’t learn anything new by meeting with you, are you contributing any real value to the meeting? No. And, if you’re not contributing any real value to the meeting, will prospects have compelling reasons to do business with you? Again, the answer is “No.”

Summertime can be a difficult time for salespeople. Vacations, seasonal businesses, and other distractions can make it more challenging to get in touch with decision-makers. LinkedIn is a smart way to be more productive during these months. Of course, every great business deal requires a conversation. Using LinkedIn, you can make sure you have more of those conversations, have them with the right people, and have the best conversation possible.

Prospecting is the lifeblood of a successful sales career... but many salespeople overlook the basic behaviors that support a consistent prospecting routine. Here are the five necessary behaviors professional salespeople need in order to become successful at prospecting.

#1 “Most of my team’s most important prospects for new business are on vacation during the summer months.”

Learning how to communicate more effectively with people who have different communication styles than you do will lead you to more prospects, more productive discussions, and more sales.

When you first meet with a new prospect, how do you position your product or service? How do you characterize its various features, functions, and advantages? What motivates people to buy? The prevalent theory is that people buy to either gain pleasure…or avoid pain.

We’re sometimes asked what the bare minimum should be in terms of digital prospecting ability for an individual salesperson. Below, our list of five things we believe every salesperson, operating in any industry, should be able to do in terms of digital prospecting. If for some reason you can’t do this much right now, you should learn how, and sooner rather than later!

Learn how to measure and properly quantify your prospecting efforts with Sean Coyle, one of Sandler's top prospecting experts. Sean makes thousands of outbound dials each week with the help of ConnectandSell and he knows how to make each one count. Listen in as he discusses prospecting best practices with Dave Mattson, President and CEO of Sandler Training.

Learn how to uncover and understand the prospect's buying motivations. What could be more important in sales than understanding why people buy? Mike Crandall, Sandler trainer and author, talks about the key factors for motivation. 

Todd finally learned that he had lost the large deal. He was confused and thought his demo had gone well.  A month had passed since he was told by the prospect that he had “done a good job presenting his software!”  What could have gone wrong?

There are numerous components which determining a seller’s success. Near the top of this contributing-factor totem pole, is behavior. If an individual cannot execute proper behavior, they will struggle to find high levels of achievement. Behavior, the action we take towards our goals, is the blueprint for success in the sales world. Following through on these plans, however, is easier said than done. A large contingent of the salespeople routinely makes the three mistakes listed below. 

Chip Doyle, Sandler trainer from the UK, talks about the importance of having a prospecting list with Dave Mattson, President and CEO of Sandler Training. Successfully creating a qualified prospecting list does many wonderful things for your sales career. Learn how in this Selling the Sandler Way podcast.

Jim Barnoski, Sandler trainer, talks about how to manage the prospect's emotional reactions to the sales process. Often, talking about things like budget, the prospect's problems, or even the people involved in the buying decision will trigger negative emotions in your prospect. If you can't prevent or get rid of them, the prospect might get rid of you instead.

If your goal is to find more prospects, get more and better referrals, and make more commission dollars in 2018 than you did in 2017, consider upping your social selling game. Here are four quick tips that will help you to avoid some common mistakes online.

This article discusses concepts and strategies from our No Guts, No Gain assertiveness program. This self-study program was designed from David Sandler’s teachings on goal-setting, getting tough, and avoiding game and powerplays.

Every salesperson dreams of getting good leads. But what are you supposed to do when you get one?

When prospects ask you a question (or use wishy-washy words, or try to mislead you, or use smokescreen tactics), wouldn’t it be nice if you knew for sure what their true intention was? David Sandler developed a tool to help the salesperson accomplish exactly this. It’s called reversing.

Welcome to Selling the Sandler Way, with your host Dave Mattson, the president and CEO of Sandler Training. He is a five-time bestselling author, speaker, trainer, and consultant to hundreds of international organizations. In this show, he talks to other Sandler trainers about the Sandler selling system.

Guest host, Lindsey Demetris, interviews Mike Montague, VP of Online Learning at Sandler Training and the creator of our new Social Selling Success course. Mike shares the best practices of today's top social sellers and attitudes, behaviors, and techniques for social prospecting in 2018.

Welcome to Selling the Sandler Way, with your host Dave Mattson, the president and CEO of Sandler Training. He is a five-time bestselling author, speaker, trainer, and consultant to hundreds of international organizations. In this show, he talks to other Sandler trainers about the Sandler selling system.

Later this month, myself and Marketing Director, Lindsey Demetris, are hosting a free webinar detailing how to drive revenues through social selling. We plan on teaching our viewers how to target efficiently, connect appropriately, and build engagement.

Welcome to Selling the Sandler Way, with your host Dave Mattson, the president and CEO of Sandler Training. He is a five-time bestselling author, speaker, trainer, and consultant to hundreds of international organizations. In this show, he talks to other Sandler trainers about the Sandler selling system.

Welcome to Selling the Sandler Way, with your host Dave Mattson, the president and CEO of Sandler Training. He is a five-time bestselling author, speaker, trainer, and consultant to hundreds of international organizations. In this show, he talks to other Sandler trainers about the Sandler selling system.

First, let’s understand what social prospecting is and what it isn’t. Social prospecting simply means using social media and online networks to add more prospects, information, or sales opportunities to your pipeline. In other words, social prospecting is using modern communication and information networks to start a sales conversation with another person to determine if there is a reason to do business together.

One of the biggest challenges in the sales world is properly executing a cold call. Cold calls can be awkward, nerve-wracking, and even detrimental if not initiated correctly. However, cold calling isn’t a complex obstacle to tackle. In fact, the skills are quite simple, and it’s a necessary skill that every top seller must master. Below is a four-step guide to follow when cold calling to increase your efficiency and effectiveness.

Welcome to the How To Succeed Podcast. The show that helps you get to the top and stay there. This is How to Succeed at Cold Prospecting. The show is brought to you by Sandler Training, the worldwide leader in sales management and customer service training.

Before prospects will invest time meeting with you, much less invest in your product or service, they will want to know, “What’s in it for me?” Rather than discussing the features of your product or service, focus on the desirable outcome your product or service creates and the process by which that desirable outcome is produced.

Welcome to Selling the Sandler Way with your host, Dave Mattson, the President and CEO of Sandler Training. He is a five-time bestselling author, speaker, trainer, and consultant to hundreds of international organizations. In this show, he talks to other Sandler trainers about the Sandler Selling System. For more information on Sandler Training, visit sandler.com. Now, it's time to learn how to succeed by Selling The Sandler Way with your host, Dave Mattson.

Have you ever given a presentation to a prospect who seemed to be showing you nothing but "green lights" ... until you came to the final page of your proposal? If you hold off making a recommendation until after you've qualified the prospect - not only for budget, but for the existence of a problem you can solve and for a mutually workable decision making process - then you'll find your closing ratios rising!

Fear may be the most powerful motivator affecting your buyers’ decisions. However, in their effort to maintain an image of power and control, buyers will be reluctant to share their true anxieties and concerns with you. You’ll increase your sales production when you help buyers discover and overcome their fears, show that you are sensitive to those issues, and then lead those buyers to the conclusion that your product will replace their fear with peace of mind.

Any professional can benefit from a strong LinkedIn profile and plan, but if you are interested in expanding your network or cultivating prospects, a presence on the busy site is a must. This professional network is just too big to ignore. Positioning yourself for success on LinkedIn means starting with a compelling profile, sharing relevant and useful content and joining industry groups and discussions.

2016 has been a year of many successes. Whether you are a sales representative, a sales manager, or simply interested in learning more about trending topics in the sales industry, we hope you have gathered some key insights from our blog this year. Before moving into 2017, we would like to take a look back and highlight some important topics from 2016.

How to do you position your product or service with a new prospect? Until you understand their motivation, it's difficult to determine which aspect of your offering that will hold the most meaning for the prospect. What motivates the prospect to buy from you?

After Thanksgiving, many of us sales people feel fat and happy, and decide to pull off the throttle and take some down time. After all, nobody really wants to talk to sales people, make decisions, or think about expenditures. Right? Wrong! The little known secret is that the holiday season is a fantastic time to assemble a powerful framework that builds your business, and sets you up for a great first quarter.

These days, salespeople get asked to participate in numerous prospecting activities that include group networking events. Often times, it can be difficult to translate these types of events into actual dollars. Networking can be an effective way to capture business and increase your brand's awareness and should be a part of any salesperson's healthy behaviors.

Ask salespeople to list their least favorite selling activities, and you can count on “prospecting” being at the top of the list. And, the least favorite of all prospecting activities is unquestionably making cold calls.

If you don’t start your sales calls with the end in mind, you should not be surprised when it doesn’t end up where you hoped. For example, at the end of a good presentation, your prospect leaves you with a Think-It-Over. After all, you can’t blame a prospect for doing something that you failed to emphasize is unacceptable. If you want to control what happens at the end of a sales call, focus on the beginning.

Listen carefully to the way prospects describe their interest in your product or service. When prospects refer to their situation using emotionally-oriented words such as concerned, frustrated, unhappy, alarmed, committed, eager, or determined, it’s an indication that they view their situations with enough importance to address them.

By focusing on tracking activities in a Customer Relationship Management software, you can evaluate which things influence prospects to move forward in your sales process. Understanding exactly what’s moving a deal forward will help you decide the best next steps you should take to close any similar deal in the future. Tracking activities also highlights the telltale signs that a deal might be slipping away, and helps you pay it the proper attention to keep it moving forward. 

People buy emotionally; we’ve all heard that. But what does it mean? It means that people make buying decisions emotionally; they justify these decisions intellectually. To further understand this concept, it helps to know who is making the decisions and who is justifying the decisions. 

Maintaining efficiency in the business development process is key to keeping the process moving forward. Each sales interaction needs to have a mutually-agreed-to objective between you and your prospect working toward a clear, mutually beneficial outcome that drives the process forward.

It can be tempting for companies and salespeople to coast through the slower-paced summer months. The seasonal slowdown will cause many organizations to just give up on the season, and save their goals for the months ahead when the pace picks up. Taking the time to lay the groundwork and planning now, however, can help you set up to have a fantastic fall, and lead to strong year-end results.

A salesperson striving toward success and prospecting for new clients may think that he or she must do something grandiose to draw customers away from the competition. Occasionally, something spectacular may be just what's needed, but it's not practical to do on a regular basis. Incorporate the following four simple gestures into your interactions with potential clients to experience greater conversion success.

A good pool of prospects is one of the keys to a successful selling career. Knowing how to prospect effectively keeps a career vital, and is truly the lifeblood of sales. Yet, so many sales professionals overlook the crucial element of having a prospecting plan. With a plan to follow, you can measure your efforts and results.

If salespeople took full advantage of the relationships they have with their existing clients, most, if not all, would find cold-call prospecting to be unnecessary. They should be comfortable referring you to others…assuming that you take the initiative to ask for the referral, and assuming that you ask in the right way.

Too often, sales professionals make one fundamental mistake that could be costing them thousands in commissions. They believe that their job is to sell products or services to clients by explaining why their product is superior. Success in sales (and the size of your commission check), is determined not by the information you give, but rather, by the information you collect.

Many sales organizations get caught up in the details of educating or convincing their prospect to buy. Some sellers might even ask “What do we need to do to earn your business?” and worry about what they can do to facilitate the buying process. “What do you see as next steps?” is another common question that salespeople ask. These sellers lose sight of the fact that it’s the prospect that needs to do something for a sale to happen.

Referrals and introductions should be central to building a quality pipeline for our business. In my research, most of us are leaving up to 75% of the available referrals and introductions on the table. Most of us get referrals and introductions even if we do not ask! However, having a well-thought process and goals for pursuing them can dramatically increase our referral business.

According to Entrepreneur, we receive 193.3 billion emails every day. On average, that means each person's inbox is hit by about 120 emails a day – with some people receiving less and some receiving many more. Breaking through to your target audience when you're up against such odds can be tough. Even with all the inbox competition, email marketing can be quite lucrative when handled correctly. 

Social selling, or using social media during the prospecting and sales function, may very well be the “three-point line” of the sales world. It is a modern-day creation that can be perceived as a marketing gimmick or a cheap stunt, but it has been around for almost 20 years and people are now starting to see its real value.

Disqualify, disqualify, disqualify! Be politely skeptical about what you hear from prospects. Ask questions that help you get a better idea of what’s really going on.

Think about the way you buy. It's usually an emotional response. We justify the buying decision intellectually after the emotional decision has been made.

If your goal is to find more prospects, get more and better referrals, and make more commission dollars in 2016 than you did in 2015, consider upping your social selling game. Here are four quick tips that will help you to avoid some common mistakes online.

The explosion of social media has created lots of new opportunities for your company when it comes to sales prospecting. Utilizing the tools available to you can expand your business and be a source of continuous lead generation. Or it can cause a very embarrassing publicity nightmare. Here are five rules you should follow to cash in on social media opportunities and become a successful sales professional:

No matter your age or experience level, LinkedIn is the platform for social networking when it comes to business. Today, there are more than 300 million registered LinkedIn users with 100 million of those users residing in the United States. And while that statistic makes it seem like everyone is already on LinkedIn, that's not entirely true. More people are joining every day.

Think about the last time someone asked you to tell them a little about yourself. Did you stumble? Did you regret how you answered? Did you miss an opportunity to fit in something important? Sandler Training advises that all professionals – especially salespeople – take time to craft their "thirty-second commercial." Thirty-second commercials can be used for prospecting and to introduce yourself at networking events. A great thirty-second commercial does two things, lets a prospect know what you do and answers the question "why is this person and their business relevant to me?"e

If you've heard the any of the following statements from prospects, then keep reading to learn more about how to determine when to walk away and when to continue investing time and energy. "I need to confer with other managers here." "I need more time to decide." "Call me in about a month."

It's a fast-paced world and today's salesperson needs to be one step ahead of the prospect and working as efficiently as possible. In addition, we're more connected than ever and clients and prospects expect quick turnaround times and faster response rates. While it may seem like there aren't enough hours in the day, there are more than enough apps available to us to help us manage our time, stay on task and find even greater success. Here are a few free apps that Sandler Training's associates and clients use often in their everyday life

Prepare a digital version of your 30-Second Commercial...and include that text in your LinkedIn profile. (tweet this!)

Does this sound familiar to you? Prospect A says, "This looks very good. I think there's an excellent chance we'll do business." The salesperson thinks, "I've got one." Prospect B comments, "Your price is higher than we expected." The salesperson thinks, "I'll have to cut the price to close the deal." Prospect C reveals, "We were hoping for a shorter delivery time." The salesperson thinks, "I'll have to push this through as a rush order to get the sale."e

A lot of sales people and business owners are struggling with how to add social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter into their prospecting or marketing plan. Social networking is the #1 online activity, used by 1.2 billion people worldwide. Nearly one in five minutes online is spent on social media websites, and 75% of that is on Facebook. But how does that help you sell anything? Attitude First, you have to have the right attitude to make social networking work for you

My Mom was a funny lady and during my youth, she was constantly throwing riddles at me. Some of herriddles came in pairs and the pairs typically had a point. One such pair of riddles has been a huge lesson forme as I have gone through life. Here they are. Riddle 1: What did Tarzan say when he saw the elephantscoming down the road? "Here come the elephants." Riddle 2: What did the elephants say when theysaw Tarzan coming down the road? Nothing, elephants don't talk

Two weekends ago, I got to take my youngest daughter to a 4 year-old's birthday party. I'd forgotten how elaborate some of these parties get, and this was a nice reminder. The parents of this little boy had hired an animal trainer to bring some critters and let the kids see them.

Ask most salespeople to describe the purpose of each interaction with a prospect and they'll probably say something like: "close 'em" "build the relationship" "educate them" "solve their problems" All good answers, but the real purpose of every interaction with a prospect is to get to the truth. What's uncomfortable about getting the truth in an interaction with a prospect? Ask any salesperson this question and most of the time their answer will be something like "I might not get their business!"e

That's a headline straight out of sales training boot camp, but it's true. There is a question most people want answered when they go to a sales training program or read one of the many sales how-to books; that question sounds like this, "Is there really one secret weapon or magic formula to make me better and increase my sales?" Wouldn't it be wonderful to find one ... so would winning the lottery, but not many do it