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Archive for December, 2012

123112…ABC…

Code?  No.  12312012 is the last day of the year; aka the last day to “hit our number” for anyone not on an alternative fiscal year.  Today is the last “daylight” to accelerate our accelerators (or simply keep our job).

ABC?

ABC: Always be closing. Telling’s not selling.

2000 Drama Boiler Room

Please share your favorite “closing” story with us.  Here are two of mine.

I worked with a seasoned sales professional years ago at Integral Systems.  He needed this one last deal to exceed his number and qualify for Club.  His prospect was in New York and he started with the old “camp-out-close” – showing up at their office without an appointment; determined to see his prospect; needed to close the deal.  The prospect played along.

Unfortunately, his prospect wasn’t budging as my colleague tried every ABC tactic he knew – an extra discount; lenient contract terms; even an opt-out, side letter (unacceptable by today’s revenue recognition standards, but a common “last resort” back then).  At the end of a short but spirited interaction between the sales rep and his prospect, the “because-it’s-my-day” close was born.  It likely went something like this:

Prospect: 

I’m sorry, but as I told you; our plan is to finalize our vendor selection in January.  Why should I buy from you today?

Sales Rep:

Because today is my day; and you have an opportunity to make today a special day for me.  Some day it will be your day; and when that day arrives, someone will have the opportunity to make that day a special day for you.  But today is my day and that’s why you should buy today.

And his prospect did!

And then there’s the variation of the “because-it’s-my-day” close, I call the “me-or-my-successor” close:

As a sales professional, I have carried a quota for over 30 years.  And I can remember my 2nd quota year as clearly as any.  You see, in my first year, I was more lucky than good.  That led to a promotion, and a hefty quota increase for my second year – I was in over my head.  

After 26 weeks into my 2nd year, I was put on a “performance warning”.  At the 39th week, the Vice President of Sales was asking my Sales Manager to fire me.  Since my company had chosen to proactively promote me (perhaps a bit prematurely) at the start of the year, I asked my Sales Manager to give me 52 weeks to sell my annual quota.  

We agreed that at the end of the 52nd week, if I was still below 100%, I would resign.  At the end of my 51st week, I was at 75% and significantly behind the required sales dollars necessary to keep my job.  However, I had been working hard on a very large account.  

I called the executive at my prospect and asked, “Do you think you will accept our proposal?”  “Yes”, was his response.  “Excellent, thank you!”  I reacted.  And then I added, “Do you think you could place your order this week?”  When my prospect asked why, I said, “Because if you place your order next week, it will be with my successor.” 

And at the 52nd weekly sales meeting, with the Vice President of Sales in attendance, I “roll-called” the second largest deal in the Region’s history; finished my 2nd year at exactly 100% of my quota; and kept my job.

12312012…ABC everyone.  Bon chance!

GAP

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How’s your day?

May you feel peace & power today – and every day. 

Have you ever had “one of those days”?  It started with a missed wake-up call; only a few minutes to glance at the morning newspaper.  Bold headlines: “Market Down!”; “Unemployment Up!”; “Cost of Living Highest in a Decade”; “Today: Mostly Cloudy”; and “Cubs Lose Again”! 

Nothing we would want to read about any further.  Besides, we’re already running late for an “emergency meeting” with the boss.  About what – not quite sure. 

Just spilled a McDonald’s coffee in my lap pulling out of the drive-through.  Not only will my stained dress pants look bad in front of my boss, but I don’t think my private parts are burned enough to win a multi-million dollar law suit.  (There’s never a little old lady around when you need one.)  And my wife called to say, “The kids are sick.”  Perfect! 

A little music might lower the blood pressure.  But no – the only thing on the radio is commercials; commercials on all eighteen FM stations and all twelve AM stations.  What?  Are the broadcasters in collusion to run their commercials at the same time?  No station-hopping to find music?  How do they do that?  

The car ahead has been absolutely crawling for the past five miles.  Finally, there’s enough of a break in this heavy traffic to pass.  But the next sign says, “Slow Down: Road Construction Ahead”.  I’m pretty sure I just broke a crown grinding my teeth! 

So – How’s your day? 

There is both peace and power in knowing and understanding who you are, where you’re from and where you’re going.           

Doug Burgum 

Is there any doubt that we could all use a little help in finding that inner peace and personal, self-confident power to carry us through our day?  After all, a positive attitude is priceless, yes? 

I’ve been blessed to have been around rare combinations of peace and power my entire life.  From childhood, to participating in sports; the business world; my family, friends and acquaintances; I have observed and been impacted by great feats from famous, as well as everyday, people. 

In addition to Doug Burgum, former CEO of Great Plains Software, and his quote above, I have collected other quotes and short stories pertaining to living life with awe and enthusiasm. 

I was at Doug’s key note speech to the Great Plains’ worldwide resellers at the 2000 convention in Fargo, North Dakota which they called “Stampede”.  (It was my first, and to-date, only trip toNorth Dakota.)  Doug was the very first person I heard use the phrase “peace and power” when talking about the balance we need in our business (and personal) life.  And by no coincidence, his words were particularly applicable at the turn of the century; remaining so today. 

How about you?  Who do you turn to when you’re have “one of those days”?  Keep things inside do you?  Perfecting the art we call “Cowboy Up”?  As Dr. Phil might ask, “How’s that working for you?” 

Yes, yes, we’ve all read the bumper sticker: 

            Life’s a bitch and then you die. 

But there’s so much more to life, isn’t there?  If we can just find a way to prevent daily challenges from spoiling our enjoyment.  If we can just commit to living each day with awe and enthusiasm. 

So, may you feel the peace and the power of a positive perspective today – and every day! 

GAP 

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

How things work…

I’ve always been fascinated about how things work.  One of my favorite TV programs on the Science Channel is “How It’s Made”.  A complimentary program on the Discovery Channel is “Dirty Jobs”.  Put them together and what do you get?  Sales! 

I’m fascinated about how sales works; when it works; which many times it doesn’t work; and that makes it fascinating! 

I’m also fascinated by business leaders’ perspectives on how sales works.  Earlier this year, a colleague of mine gave me the book Softwar©, which I recently wrote about (see http://thequoteguys.com/2012/11/giving-thanks/ ).  He added this note: 

Gary, you’ve got a great way of making complex problems seem simple.

Chris Corcoran 

What a wonderful compliment!  And in his own words, Chris crystalized the role of a sales professional.  Our job is to interpret what the customer is trying to accomplish; clarify the business issues in their way; and convey a path to help them reach the value they’re seeking.  In return, the sales professional is handsomely remunerated: 

You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.

Zig Ziglar 

I’m fascinated by, “how sales works”.  I also get to make a living helping others figure this out.  “De-Mystifying” is the term I like to use; Chris calls it making complex problems seem simple.  I find the best path to successful selling is to keep it simple.  Lord knows, our products are complicated enough without us adding to the mystique, true? 

Here’s one insight from Softwar©, portraying Larry Ellison (one of the richest people on the planet) and Oracle Corporation (one of the most successful technology companies on the planet) – in case you don’t want to take my word for it: 

I wanted to get the creativity out of the sales process.  If you want to be creative, go write a novel.

Larry Ellison 

OK; but in the sales profession you’d have to admit there is plenty of latitude for personal style.  I bet you have experienced meeting two sales reps from the same company – you would buy from one, but not from the other, yes?  Something about their style – fascinating!

However, I agree with Larry that a disciplined; well thought out; practiced; repeatable; sales process produces the best results.  Even though every prospect likes to say, “Well Gary, at ABC Manufacturing, we’re unique…”  In reality, prospects position this “we’re unique card” so frequently – it actually makes them all the same!  And being the same in their own, unique way is fascinating! 

Getting at each prospect’s “uniqueness” and showing them how we uniquely address their uniqueness, makes us uniquely well positioned to win their business.  Practicing and perfecting these professional selling skills may be less creative but it is definitely more financially rewarding than writing a novel.

On the other hand, some business leaders de-value the sales profession by thinking their products are so good they literally sell themselves.  How creative

Another Softwar© excerpt from a different executive: 

Jay Nussbaum, who had joined Oracle from Xerox in early 1992, summed up what Oracle 7’s product superiority meant to the sales force: “A dog with a note in its mouth could sell it technically.” 

I haven’t seen one of those dogs in conference rooms or on TV documentaries, have you?  In spite of what some might think about sales, Larry and Jay are both wrong; and they’re both right; and that’s how sales works.  Fascinating! 

GAP 

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

2012 goals…

Welcome to December – the last month of the year!  Yeah!  How will 2012 turn out for you?  How are you doing on your goals?  Yes, goals – you remember – we talked about setting goals back in January (see http://thequoteguys.com/2012/01/2012-a-year-of-fulfillment-2/ ).

My 2012 has been quite stellar!  (Thank you Lord.)  Have you ever had one of those feelings that things are going “too” well?  I actually find myself figuratively looking over my shoulder from time to time worrying that “bad news” is creeping up behind me. Scary.

I am going to miss one of my 2012 goals.  You see, there is still a little more of Gary than I wanted.  It’s nice to want things.  I guess that dieting thing needs a more disciplined effort.

After getting down to 212 pounds in 2011, I was “hoping” I would simply continue down to 200 (my collegiate playing weight).  Well, “hoping” is not the same as setting a goal and sustaining a disciplined action plan to achieve that goal.

So, I started the action plan; joined a health club in November; working out daily; you know – the typical stuff.  Initial results?  So far, I’ve gained 3 pounds!  I think I’m going to need a little help.  But where do we turn when we’re seeking guidance to help us achieve our goals?  Maybe I could start with Winston Churchill:

Success is the ability to move from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

Good advice.  I’m definitely enthusiastic.  But The British Bulldog was also known to have been a bit of a kook:

Like the story told of a Woman Member of Parliament who, after an extensive tirade at a social function, scornfully told the Prime Minister, “Mr. Churchill, you are drunk”, to which Churchill replied, “And you Madame, are ugly.  But I shall be sober tomorrow.

And tomorrow, I’m still overweight!  Yes, starting on a plan to lose weight is admirable.  Thinking about it; talking about it; seeking reinforcement from others is one thing.  Finishing what we start can be something else, true?   I’ve been enthusiastically thinking about getting to 200 pounds for over a year.

Our Unknown Sage suggested maybe my wife might help:

My wife says I should cut down on meat, and eat more fruits and vegetables.  But what does a cow eat?  Corn.  And what’s corn? Vegetable.  So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system.

So now what?  Well, that same Unknown Sage suggested I seek advice from a therapist:

My therapist told me a way to achieve peace was to finish things I started.  Today, I finished 2 bags of potato chips, a lemon pie, a fifth of Jack Daniels, and a small box of chocolate candy.  I feel better already!

That would definitely make me feel better!  But it’s not the path to achieving a little less of Gary, is it?  I think I will just have to “bite the bullet” (better than biting the donut!), and actually change what I eat.  There.  I said it.  I’m going to have to develop an action plan of eating healthier foods and sticking to it.  Discipline – that’s what it’s going to take:

“DISCIPLINE”:  The ability to do what you don’t want to do to become the person you want to become. 

Unknown Sage

Goals – easy to set; easier to talk about; but achieving them?  That’s going to take some discipline.  Lord help me.

GAP

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