The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective


If the Hamm’s Bear…

“If the owner wasn’t out of town, I would have had the contract signed before month-end…”

If I had prep’ed the Sales Engineer, the demo would not have gone poorly and we would not have lost the deal…”

“If I had more leads, I would have hit my forecast…”

Unlike beer, sales reps sometimes rationalize short-comings with the excuse of “if”, true?

However, we selected the sales profession because we wanted to have more control, yes?  Control over our schedule; control over our earnings; control over our career.  Control brings us to the Land of Sky Blue Waters.  But a little neglect on our part and, boom, there goes our control:

A little neglect may breed great mischief; for want of a nail the shoe was lost; and for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost, being overtaken and slain by the enemy; all for want of a little care about a horse shoe nail.              

 Benjamin Franklin

I had the above conversations on Friday, March 30th – the end of our sales quarter.  We had a bad quarter.  Beer here!

The first sales rep was actually surprised that the owner was out of town.  Of course, she never checked on the owner’s schedule as she developed her closing plan.  “Closing Plan”?  Doesn’t every sales rep develop a closing plan as part of our forecasting process?  You remember – the specific actions that need to take place; on the specific dates; at specific times; by specific people.  The sales rep assumed the CFO and not the owner would sign the contract.  “Assume” – makes an ….  (well, you know the rest).  The deal has yet to close; another beer please.

The second conversation wasn’t with just a sales rep. She is the President of her consulting firm.  The Sales Engineer was from my company – her firm is a new partner of ours.  She was very disappointed with his demonstration.  I suspected; so I probed.  Yep, she did not schedule any demo prep with him ahead of time, even though this was their first deal.

In my third conversation, this sales rep was preparing his manager for continuous bad news.  Not only did he not hit his Q1 target, but he was rationalizing why Q2 wasn’t looking too good either.  Amazing – where do sales reps think leads come from – the Land of Sky Blue Waters?  So much for my control theory I guess.

When I asked him what he thought might happen to him if he doesn’t work harder to generate his own leads, his eyes widened with new-found urgency.  Back to Old Ben:

Work as if you will live a hundred years.  Pray as if you would die tomorrow.                       

                                  Benjamin Franklin

“Work”.  Funny how that word is required to reach the Land of Sky Blue Waters.  I’ve always believed the sales profession is simple.  Not easy, mind you, but simple.  Our job is to meet or exceed our assigned quota from our assigned territory.  No if’s, and’s, or but’s – meet or exceed quota.  For that, we are handsomely compensated; enjoy an occassional beer; and earn a high degree of professional control.

And if sales reps abuse the if excuse, I like to refer them to our Unknown Sage:

If the Hamm’s Bear drank Schlitz; there’d be no Land of Sky Blue Waters. 

OK – one more beer – and then let’s get back to work.


Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective©  Please check it out Subscribe.



  1. Bill Foss
    May 01, 2012

    Great Benjamin Franklin quotes, keep them coming!
    Bill Foss

  2. Olli Warelius
    May 26, 2012

    Thank you for sharing. Not to many people in your position are so gracious. Your article was very poignant and understandable. It helped me to understand very clearly. Thank you for your help.

    • Gary
      May 30, 2012

      Thank you for your very kind and inspiring remarks! I hope my little ditties help you maintain a positive perspective. Thx, GAP

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