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Friday Distraction – Where Crisis Meets Sales Opportunity

June 10, 2011

Not much to say about this one, but sometimes foreign commercials can be a great source of humor.



Blog post – Odd Career Pathing to Sales

June 9, 2011

I was recently asked about my background.  People that know me find it a little funny that my first entrance into the professional world could be looked at as a little bit “non-traditional”.  My “first” career (I put the “quotes” up, as I actually did quite a bit of sales work while still in high school and college part time – mainly telesales) demanded extreme levels of:


  • Persistence
  • An eye/ear for detail
  • Razor-sharp communication skills (both verbal and non-verbal)
  • Coolness under extreme pressure
  • Pragmatic, developed, and systematic approach to preparation
What I’m talking about – I was a High School Band Director.
I could take you through the entire chronology of my own personal decision-making process on (a) why I went into teaching and then (b) why I decided it wasn’t for me.  It was a challenge, it was exciting, and it was everything I hoped it would be.
But one thing I can wholeheartedly tell you that the skills and requirements that make an outstanding music teacher are completely congruous with the skill set needed to be a top sales performer:
  • Persistence – “Don’t practice until it’s right – practice until it CAN’T be wrong…”
  • An eye/ear for detail – “You were a little bit sharp on the 4th note in that passage, and rushed the tempo from here to here…”
  • Razor-sharp communication skills (both verbal and non-verbal) – “Try conducting a rehearsal with 140 kids in a concert hall…”
  • Coolness under extreme pressure – “Jimmy’s mom called – he can’t make it to the band competition…”
  • Pragmatic, developed, and systematic approach to preparation.
A while back I had the pleasure of working for one of the best sales leaders I have ever seen.  He always had his finger on the pulse of each and every deal, kept tabs on every detail, and could relate personally to each and every prospect in a way I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed before or since.  He could speak on ANY topic, but he absolutely ruled the relationship process and also ran an incredible sales group carved out in his own image.
One day on a client presentation visit, I learned we had something in common.  Our backgrounds were similar, in that he had a Theater Arts degree.
Sales comes down to one thing – people.  Do you listen to them?  Can you solve their problems?  Do you dedicate yourself to finding the best possible solutions for your clients’ needs.
In the comments below – do you have any examples of alternative paths taken into sales careers?

Friday Distraction – Dwight Rollplays Sales Training

June 3, 2011

One could do an entire blog just on Mr Schrute.  In fact, that might be my calling…

Things I learned from my mechanic this week.

May 20, 2011

My wife and I have two local mechanics that we work with.  One is a small gas and service station, and the other one is part of a well-known national franchise.  I tend to lean towards the latter and she the former.

I recently had a lot of work done at the national franchisee, and I was quite happy with the price and follow-through on the job.  There were repairs that were suggested that I chose to delay, as I wanted to budget some dollars over time.  Also I am considering selling the car anyway, so I wanted to look at more of a minimum level of work.

My wife got an oil change from the independent gas/service station about 2 weeks ago.  She paid a little tiny bit extra for a multi point safety check, and was informed that we probably have about 10K more miles until we need brakes.  With that in mind, we formed an informal intermediate-range budget plan in mind, knowing that her daily driving habits would mean we wouldn’t need brakes until well into next year (her office is about 300 yards from our street and she often walks to work).

So imagine my surprise when my wife tells me 10 days later that the brakes feel funny, and are making an awful sound?

Yeah, I bought front brakes and rotors last night.

Turns out that the small independent gas/service station has a reputation among the other mechanics in our area.  We would have never known this as consumers, but apparently they are famous for trying to cut customers a break by under-estimating and  being as gentle as possible when forecasting repairs.  There is an underlying fear of turning customers away when faced with massive repair bills for a full-scope of work.  In reality, instead of doing us a favor, they actually ended up hurting us by NOT giving us the full-scope of the potential repair.  They probably just glanced at the pads and figured the fronts were fine without removing anything to closely examine.

Yes, I’m not pleased I paid additional for a “safety check” and they didn’t pick up on something as important as work brakes and pads.

The issue here is something deeper.

(1) As a  sales professional, if you intentionally pitch LESS than the potential client REALLY needs to meet their needs, are you really doing them a favor?

(2) Pitching low and then taking the “nickel/dime” approach if done purposefully or accidentally due to sloppiness or laziness, is not acceptable.  If done purposefully it is nothing short of unethical.  If done accidentally it’s sheer incompetence.

Given that you may be pitching a prospective client in a competitive situation – always be sure you are (a) full in understanding of the client’s (FULL) needs, (b) mindful of being able to stack up your solution to your competitions apples/apples, and (c) always operating with the client’s success in mind instead of a hazy perception of what their expectations “might” be.


Friday Distraction – the {NAME} game…

May 20, 2011

Ahh, the name game.  So, <NAME>, if I use your name “<NAME>” will you share, or perhaps retweet this post?  It would be great if you did. This sales tactic, while effective in extreme moderation like garlic or BenGay, is really pushing the bounds of sensibility.  In the Sales 2.0 world, a more savvy buyer will see through this faster than a Charlie Sheen sobriety claim.

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