The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective


Archive for July, 2015

The right person…

Have you ever noticed how many times the topic of selling to the “right person” comes up?  If you’re a sales leader, have you noticed how often you ask the question, “Who is the decision maker?” in your forecast meetings?

If you’re a Human Resources Manager, or a Controller, or an IT Director, have you ever noticed how many times sales reps you meet with ask, “Now in addition to yourself, who else at your company will be involved in this very important decision?”

If you’re a sales rep, have you ever noticed how many times the prospect tells you, “I’ve been designated the point person at our company for this evaluation”?  Stymied!

WOW!  I’m not sure who this mystical person known as “the right person” is that everyone seems to be seeking.  There is so much being said and so much being written about the “right person” that it makes me wonder why everyone else we meet with is considered “the wrong person”?

Do we believe that if we just get through to the right person we will win the business?  Can it actually be that simple?  Probably not; LoL!  What are we afraid of, a little conflict; some dissent?

Alfred Sloan, Chairman and CEO of General Motors for years was in a Board meeting about to make an important decision.  He said, “I take it that everyone is in basic agreement with this decision.”  Everyone nodded.  Sloan looked at the group and said, “Then I suggest we postpone the decision.  Until we have disagreement, we don’t understand the problem.”

IMHO finding the “right person” is a fantasy.  In business, there are not “right people” or “wrong people” – there are just people.  And to run a business today, it takes a village, yes?  Sometimes the prospect’s people want to interact with us to help facilitate their purchase decision.  Truth be told, most decisions in Corporate America today are made by committee, true?

I mean, according to our favorite, Unknown Sage the mythical “Decision Maker” is a rare sighting:

A decision is what people make when they can’t find anyone to serve on a committee.

Though we still insist on seeking that mythical “Decision Maker”, how professional do we go about our search?  Remember this old adage, “People buy from people they like.”  How likable can we be when while continuously seeking the “right person” we imply everyone else we come across must be the “wrong person”?

It reminds me of the sales reps that called my wife to follow up her inquiry on buying an indoor riding arena for her and her horses.  Only a few sales reps agreed to meet with her without her husband participating.  They must have assumed I was the “right person”.  I wasn’t.  Only the firms that met with her ultimately had a chance to win the contract.

For sales professionals today, sometimes our role is simply to help the prospect complete their purchase transaction – nothing more.  No relationship; no consultation; no joy; just the transaction.  In fact, if the “right person” at our prospect could download an app on their phone vs. dealing with us to begin with, they probably would.

And as it turns out, the “right person” is the company (and committee) that transacts; with their own buying process; that may or may not match our preferred sales cycle; and that we may or may not even be invited to participate in.

Hmmm, from the prospect’s perspective I wonder, “Are we the right person?”


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I was working with a group of senior, successful sales professionals recently.  I always get such a kick out of the fact that my clients actually pay money to send their senior, successful sales professionals to Denver and work with me for three days.

My company provides these three days within the context of a “sales training” class.  I doubt that I’m actually “training” my experienced clients on selling.  And I can tell when some of them arrive with the same mind set.  Of course, sales trainers over the ages have faced what one master, Zig Ziglar, so eloquently stated many years ago:

It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.

So there I was with a group of senior, successful sales professionals; and in the morning of the 1st day they’re all looking at me as if to ask, “OK Pokorn, let’s see what you got.”  It always varies a bit by person, but usually sometime during the course of the 2nd day they realize:  It doesn’t matter, “What I got”; my job is to set the selling scenes to see, “What they got”!  Which is great fun for me.

If my class is successful, I’ll get them initially to wonder what they’re doing there; and ultimately wonder why they didn’t attend sooner:

Wonder, rather than doubt, is the root of knowledge. 

Abraham Heschel

Yes, the class includes sales theory over the course of the three days; but the problem with sales theory is – of course – it’s theoretical.   And my clients’ professional knowledge and experience extend way beyond theoretical:

A little experience upsets a lot of theory. 

S. Parkes Cadman

Thankfully, I too have “real world” experience.  So my clients receive a big dose of Pokorn (whether they ask for it or not I suppose LoL!).

The best parachute folders are those who jump themselves. 

Unknown Sage

Hopefully, it’s not me standing up and “telling” them what to do, but rather it’s  a collaboration where we can all share our knowledge, experience and opinions.  “All of us are certainly smarter than any one of us”, is my overarching positioning with my class participants.  And I do my best to encourage them to share their thoughts and opinions on the focused sales scenes we examine.

Some participants choose not to participate; a constant competition with one’s in-box for us all these days.  I envision the sirens of their email calling their name, “Check your in-box… check your in box…”   It’s not a problem.  Even King Odysseus had to face the Sirens in his journey The Odyssey (see )

Nonetheless, I maintain the ultimate respect for my sales professional brethren.  After all, not everyone can do this for a living!  Scott DeGarmo wrote a piece published in Success Magazine years ago that I still carry with me today – here’s an excerpt:

“The Noble Art”

Salespeople Are the Knights of Business

…noble means pre-eminent and selling is the pre-eminent business skill.  You can have every other element in place, but without sales you have nothing.  A Dun & Bradstreet study of the cause of business failure puts “inadequate sales” at the top of the list.

Noble also means “of the nobility”, and salespeople are the knights of business.  While their colleagues skulk about the castle, salesmen and saleswomen get out there and make results happen in the real world.

Making results happen – for our clients; for our company; for ourselves.  Yes, sales professionals are all about results.  And that’s a Nobel pursuit indeed.


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A peek inside…

So I was writing one of my little ditties recently at our favorite neighborhood coffee shop.  My wife, children and grandchildren were there – one of those precious, informal family gatherings I am so blessed to enjoy.

It was the usual small talk – weekend plans; work; school; the weather; the Broncos…  They don’t mind when I sometimes multi-task during our coffee clutch and type a sentence or two.  But the other day when I softly uttered, “600, all right!” our small talk was interrupted.  “600 what?” they inquired.  And that’s when I revealed a peek inside.

I’m generally a very private man; introverted really.  I’ve created a public-facing façade in order to pursue my professional responsibilities.  I don’t know – maybe I should share with you the same peek?  It’s said in the marketplace today there is value with genuineness.  There’s nothing particularly earth shattering behind the way I write; but my family was quite amused; maybe you will be too.

First, 600 is the number of words that comprise my ditties.  600 – exactly.  Not 599; not 601; each one must be 600 before it’s finished.  Truth be told: I bang out an initial draft in about an hour.  Then I typically spend 6-7 hours editing; re-writing; adjusting; word-smithing; until (A) I like the piece, and (B) it is exactly 600 words.  Yep 600; welcome to my world. (LoL!)

As you already know, I like sharing personal experiences and life’s little observations.  Not for self-promotion purposes (although we all have an ego, yes?); and certainly not for monetary gain (I haven’t figured out how to peddle these pieces yet).  I do wonder sometimes whether I’m being read, and if so why:

People who read me seem to be divided into four groups; Twenty-five percent like me for the right reasons; 25 percent like me for the wrong reasons; 25 percent hate me for the right reasons.  It’s the last 25 percent that worries me. 

Robert Frost

It’s all good, though.  Writing is my way of “thinking out loud”.  I like to pose situations to my readers so you can:

Read about it briefly (600 words – exactly)

Decide if it relates to you

And if it does, allow you to observe what I did in that situation so you can;

Determine if I am a blithering idiot offering nothing more than a little comic relief in your day (which I suspect some have already concluded)

Make you feel good that if I have been able to make a living being as inept as you believe I am, there is hope for you

Invoke you’re knowledge and experience with the situations I write about resulting in the thought of, “Nice try Gary, that’s not how it works; what you should have done was thus and so…”

And as a result I’m actually providing you the service of reinforcing what not to do in certain circumstances

Which may also be of value

Sometimes, I might even offer sound advice based on good judgment.  You see, I believe I have finally learned where good judgement originates:

Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement. 

Unknown Sage

Of course, I hope my readers don’t take my judgments too seriously:

Do not condemn the judgment of another because it differs from your own.  You may both be wrong. 


So there you have it; for better or worse; a 600 word peek inside the process and the paradigm behind these little ditties.  Welcome to my world, indeed. (LoL!)


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C’est la vie! Déjà vu…

Here’s to a happy (and safe) July 4th everyone!   It’s a 3-day weekend for many; 4-days off for some.  And here’s to our forefathers who freed this country from the British Empire.  Permit me to offer three things that helped them do it:  Leadership, Free Speech, and the French.

Two of these three remain part of our everyday lives.  (Not sure what happened to the French?)  I know many families with ancestors that immigrated to America from other countries.  I don’t know very many from France though, do you?  C’est la vie! (Which of course is French for, “Their bad!”)

The French helped us gain our independence; gave us the Statue of Liberty; and then said, “Bon chance!”  Thankfully we still have our leaders to poke fun at, oui?  Managers and executives at our companies are frequent targets of humor, even though they mean well:

But even top management types are mostly harmless when you get to know them.  Given lots of love, some even make good pets. 

Rick Levine

After a while all good employees settle in and get used to our managers’ idiosyncrasies, don’t we?   When our reporting lines change we don’t have to let it bother us.  No matter who our boss is today, it will likely change tomorrow so we should just focus on getting our jobs done, don’t you agree?  Cirque du Soleil!  (Which of course is French for, “Same circus – different clowns.”)

At work, our (wine) glasses remain half-full.  (Oops – my faux pas!)  In America, our companies and our managers remain among the best of the best in the world.  And with France’s help during the Revolution, we are truly blessed to live in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave!  Vive La France!  (Which of course is America’s way to say, “Thank You” to the French.)

Our political leaders remain fodder for daily humor – but beware:

The trouble with practical jokes is that very often they get elected. 

Will Rogers

As we know, 2015 is a highly charged year of politics… magnifique!  (Which is French for, “What else is new?”)  If we took all of the money spent on political commercials, including those mud-slinging, character-slamming, negative-messaging, ugly blasts from all those special interest groups, we could take as much paid vacation as the French.  A la mode!  (Which of course is French for, “I’ll take my vacation with ice cream too, please!”)

Where does the money come from for all these commercials about more guns; more fracking; less privacy on behalf of more security; blah, blah, blah?  Brings to mind Lawrence J. Peter’s perspective:

What this country needs is more free speech worth listening to.

Freedom of speech is truly one of our greatest freedoms though.  I suppose the price we must pay for this great freedom is listening to someone’s outrageous commercial, yes?  Sacrebleu!

So as American citizens we should be patient – leading this country is not for the faint of heart.  And if these daily commercials resort to the same tired talk-tracks, well:  Deja Moo!  (Which of course is French for, “The feeling that we’ve heard this bull before!”)

So here’s to the USA; our outstanding leaders; the support from the French; and our great freedom of speech in the Land of Opportunity.  Certainly, without this freedom I would not have the opportunity to write my little ditties.  And without these, it would be harder for you find something to waste time on at work; oui Mon ami?


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