Latest "Personal" Posts
1. Choose to like people first – Most people meet someone and wait to determine whether or not they like them. For me, in business it has been a more successful route to choose to like them before I meet them, and then decide as I spend time with them what it is I like most about them. They can feel it, and will like you back.
2. Choose to engage – Sit in the front row of life, ask questions, make comments, participate in discussions. Write, videotape, blog, post up, tweet….something. Engage. The most interesting and successful people I know engage wherever they are.
3. Choose to be valuable – There are valuable things you can do for other people every day. Make a connection, give direction, provide a favor. It is a choice to keep score item by item in life- trying to get every chit of expenditure paid for or paid off in real time. Don’t. Don’t work for immediate parity. The universe is benevolent. Put more into it than you expect to get every day and don’t keep score. It’ll work out.
4. Choose your teachers – Bosses, professors, pastors and mentors are all teachers. You have to choose to whom you listen. Many people in the role have neither the heart nor brain for it. Be careful whose counsel you seek or listen too. The world is full of the unqualified, but well-intentioned. Just because they have the title or role does not mean they have the merit.
Recently two events coincided that caused me to consider what I think I know about sales and where that originates.
I was teaching an entry-level class on “Sales” at Indiana Wesleyan University. One of the students asked me after class how I got started on a career in sales and where I learned my first lessons.
Two days later we celebrated my father’s 70th birthday. He of course was the answer to the questions of the student.
I traveled with my father during the summer each year for a number of years as I was growing up while he was a regional sales rep in the Midwest. Over those many miles in the car and the sales calls I accompanied him on, he passed on a number of truths.
I have tried to capture some of those truths here in honor of my heritage and his 70th birthday:
Sales Success – “Sales success is 90% process and 10% magic”, (a personal favorite). “If you follow your process you earn the right to perform your magic.”
Compensation -– “Never mess with a salesman’s money.” And “A compensation plan should be easy enough that a sales guy can calculate his commission in the time it takes to leave the customer’s door and get to the door of his car.”
Closing – “Never be afraid to ask for a commitment from someone. Any kind of commitment. A commitment to buy, to consider, or to take your call in 6 months. When you are selling, your job is to get commitments for the investment of your time.
Ideas have power. And there’s nothing more powerful than watching ideas spread.
A while back I was contacted by a reporter for the Financial Times of London, looking to do a story on small companies hunting big deals. It’s what we do at Hunt Big Sales, and it’s so exciting to see the idea taking hold around the world. Here’s the message Londoners saw in their morning paper:
“Small companies too often focus on their advantages and unique value proposition when selling to bigger companies. Those benefits open the door, but closing the sale comes from overcoming their fears over your size and resources.
“Smaller companies need to ask themselves: what would scare this prospect about buying from us? Prepare your answers and deliver them regardless of whether the company asks.
“Many small companies lose big sales not because they hunt for too few, but because they hunt for too many. I advise small companies to create a rubric for evaluating their largest prospects. How that opportunity scores will determine whether or not a small company should expend the effort. These rubrics should be customised for each business, but a few standard questions include: do we have an executive sponsor in this prospect, what difference will we make compared with other competitors, how long has the incumbent been in place, and how many bid cycles have they survived?”
You can read the rest of the articles at the Financial Times web site (registration is required), but this post is about more than tooting my own horn.
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!” -Jack Kerouac,
You have to be crazy to want to “double your double,” to double the speed at which you double the size of your company. Thank God for the Mad Ones of 2010.
As we were doing our review of the year and planning for the new year, a theme revealed itself- We love the Mad Ones. The clients and projects that drove our greatest passions and growth were from the small universe of people who fit Jack Kerouac’s description….
Matty, Ally-Boy, Rob Daddy, Mama Bear, Kohai, Sonny-D-Madcap, Klaus, Backstreet Boys, Joe-Mack-Baby, Markie-Mark, the Dick, Shelly-Hell, Wild Bill, Winnie-lou…and many un-nicknamed, but just as mad people…
This last year, this group of crazies sold more, yelled louder, laughed harder, fought stronger… They got bigger and they made us better.
Our favorite work, our best work, happened with the Mad Ones. Bloody mad, every single one of them. So, we at Hunt Big Sales will open a bottle and raise a glass to the great Mad Ones of 2010. We are looking forward to a great 2011 with them and as many Mad Ones as we can find…
I just finished a 16-day trip to Asia with my son and it was probably one of the best experiences of my life.
I don’t often write about personal things in this blog- but so many of you were helpful when I asked for suggestions for this trip that I wanted to let you know how it went. However, I am not going to give you a travelogue of the trip- I just want to take a few minutes and tell you about what I learned in the process of planning and having this incredibly special trip with my son, a gift to him for his graduation from high school.
First, in full disclosure, the idea of doing this trip was taken from a great friend of mine, Eric Protzman. When each of his children graduated from high-school, he took them on a long trip to anywhere that they wanted to go. The deal was that it would be just the two of them, they had to help with the planning and it had to be someplace that they had not been before.
When I asked for some context from Eric, he laid it out this way:
“Tom, you will never have a chance to have this time with your child again. They won’t be able to take the time from school, commitments, spouses or children or careers to do a trip like this except at this very particular time in their lives- right after they graduate high-school. Also, it is the perfect time to re-write some of the rules of your relationship.