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Archive for December, 2015

123115…ABC

Code?  No.  123115 is the last day of the year; aka the last day to “hit our number” for anyone not on an alternative fiscal year.  The countdown to midnight; to accelerate our accelerators (maybe, to keep our job).

ABC?

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

2000 Drama Boiler Room

Please “tell” us your favorite “sales-closing” story.  But you can wait until after midnight – stay focused today, yes?

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:

“Well Sir; 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 36 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.

123115… “ABC” everyone, “ABC”.  Bon chance!

GAP

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Christ’s birthday

Merry Christmas to all!

Wishing you a day of peace, hope, joy and celebration with family and friends.  Thank you in advance for permitting me to re-post this little ditty – it’s one of my favorites.

Of course, Christmas is more than just one day, true?  Whatever our spiritual beliefs, may each of us find meaning to our life during this season in a way that lasts throughout the entire year.  So here’s to looking back and celebrating 2015; and to looking forward to an even better 2016!

Lest there be any confusion, may we be reminded of that which was important this year, and that which wasn’t.

We are reminded by bankers to be of good cheer:

A little boy received a new drum for Christmas.  Shortly thereafter, his father came home from work and the mother told him, “I don’t think the man upstairs likes to hear Georgie play his new drum, but he’s certainly subtle about it.  “How do you know”? asked the father.  “Well, this afternoon he gave Georgie a knife and asked him if he knew what was inside the drum.” 

Herbert Prochnow

We are reminded by strangers not to lose sight of our common sense:

On most brands of Christmas lights:

“For indoor or outdoor use only.”  (As opposed to…what?)

Unknown Sage

We are reminded by the gospel to be satisfied with who we are not what we bought:

You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are – no more, no less.  That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. 

Matthew 5: Verse 4

We are reminded by the novelists to remember (and be thankful for) our “fortunes”:

Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. 

Charles Dickens

We are reminded by the politicians (of all people) to remember why this is a holiday to begin with…

How many observe Christ’s birthday; how few His precepts.  O ‘tis easier to keep a Holiday, than Commandments.

Benjamin Franklin

I am reminded to offer His blessings to you and yours from me and mine.

And to all a good night!

GAP

Accountable…

The New England Patriots don’t care that I dislike them.  However, I certainly respect one aspect of their approach that I believe we can all benefit from.

My Broncos recently beat the Patriots in an exciting, overtime game.  That game, like so many NFL games this season, included bad calls by the officials.  In spite of Tom Brady’s “losers lament”, we must stop short of blaming the ref’s for the outcome of games; or life.

Bad calls are unfair in sporting events – in life too.  As our favorite Unknown Sage reminds us we cannot fall for that convenient “if” this and “if” that trap:

If the Hamms Bear drank Schlitz, there’d be no land of sky blue waters.

Are the Patriots the most hated NFL franchise?  The most revered?  Well, my Chicago Bears had George Halas; the Green Bay Packers had Vince Lombardi; even the infamous Oakland Raiders had Al Davis.  So no – the New England Patriots are not the “most” in either category.

I’m not down on the Patriots because they regularly beat my Broncos.  I’m down on them because of the arrogance they portray towards cheating – the same cheating incidents that have occurred side-by-side with their Super Bowl years.

We see this damn the reputation; win at any cost; in the business world too, don’t we?  Well, count me in on the character side that Robert Quillen describes:

“Character” is made by what you stand for;

“Reputation” by what you fall for.

We witnessed this reputation-for-character “trade” in Denver when we hired Josh McDaniels to be our head coach in 2009.  And when Josh was caught cheating, this time his team owner was not Robert Kraft.  No, the Broncos’ team owner Pat Bowlen did not trade character for reputation.  Pat Bowlen publicly stated he made a mistake; and then made the correction – Josh was fired.  Returning to the Patriots as their Offensive Coordinator.

I have not seen such a reputation of public arrogance since the Watergate era; an apparently paranoid and power-mad US President; who won re-election in a landslide, yet lost his reputation (and ultimately the Presidency) with a break-in and a cover-up.

In spite of all this, I still have great respect for the way the Bill Belichick coaches.    Every player; every play; every day is accountable to do their job.  Offense, defense, special teams – every player; out to out-play their opponent’s players; every play; every day.  Admirable.

Famous for his hoodie; infamous for his scowl; hated for his cheating; revered for his winning; Bill Belichick is undeniably one of the all-time best NFL coaches.  And I believe a key attribute to his prolonged success has been accomplished through that emphasis on holding those around him accountable for doing their job.  Every player; every play; every day.

Imagine the level of success we could achieve in our business pursuits if every employee at our company gave his or her best every day, on every “play”.  Achievement – it can be a wonderful, feeling in our personal life, too:

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! 

Unknown Sage

So no if’s; and’s; or buts; let’s pursue success in our personal and professional pursuits in concert with accountability.  And let’s avoid the temptation to win at any cost; to trade character for achievement (nor even for a candy bar).

GAP

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We’ll get started shortly…

I’ve been attending a lot of webinars recently.  As we all know, virtual events are quite common vs. in-person seminars these days.  Sometimes webinars are very educational; sometimes they’re more of a sales pitch; but when delivered correctly, they can be a good use of our time, true?

Ahh, when delivered correctly – that’s the key, yes?  Permit me to point out a few faux pas (plural) I’ve observed recently with the intent of helping my audience avoid losing your audience in your upcoming webinars, OK?

The first comes as no surprise.  Why do presenters punish the prompt by waiting for the tardy?  I know – audiences frequently arrive late.  I wonder if they arrive late because they believe the presenters will start late.  The timing of the starting time should not be such a challenge, should it?

I just heard the sad story of the comic who lost his timing.  He stepped on his own lines, tried to talk over the laughs, and lost his ability to build a strong close.  He got fired from one gig after another until he got so depressed, he decided to end it all.  He went down to the railroad tracks and threw himself behind a train. 

The Jokesmith

Well, once our webinars (finally) get started, why is it that the presenters often show their lack of knowledge in using their own web-meeting systems?  We have all suffered through a presenter stumbling, fumbling and bumbling trying to get their PowerPoint slides to advance, true?  And I thought the Keystone Cops form of entertainment went out with silent films.

Thankfully, these presenters are merely using web-presentation systems and not performing brain surgery.  But would it be too much to ask that they practice their presentations first?

At anything you choose to do, you’ll be as good as the practice, drill, and rehearsal you go through before you actually perform the action. 

Tom Hopkins

One webinar I attended was titled, “Making the most from referrals”.  The subject matter experts consumed the first 30 minutes of their 60 minute web-meeting telling everyone that making the most of referrals is a good idea.  Yep – that was what the title stated; that was why we were all there.  But did we really have to wait through 30 minutes of obvious stuff before they got to the good stuff?

Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact. 

Elliot

To be fair, I did attend a webinar by Deloitte where the subject matter experts walked us all through “how” to help clients establish and maintain “Key Performance Metrics” for managing their companies.  Their explanations and examples were stellar – believe it or not – almost too good.

It can be a fine line at times, but the presenters did an excellent, tag-team presentation that was very thorough; addressing a complex subject; and stopped just short of confusing everyone.  A natural ability, I must admit, that I do not possess:

Only someone who understands something absolutely can explain it so no one else can understand it at all. 

Unknown Sage

Reinforcing my hope, I watched the first half of a recorded webinar today on the importance of business acumen in the sales profession.  Other than starting late (and recording their tardiness for posterity) and practicing their web-tool on the audience, the presenters’ content looks like it will be excellent.

When I finish watching their presentation, I’ll let you know – but please wait – we’ll get started shortly.

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website too: www.TheQuoteGuys.com