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Archive for December, 2016

123116 … ABC

Code?  No.  123116 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 123116 – stay focused until then, 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; camped out until he did; needed to close the deal.  The prospect played along.

Unfortunately after agreeing to meet, his prospect wasn’t budging any further 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; 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 40 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.

123116… “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 2016; and to looking forward to an even better 2017!

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

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

We are reminded to offer His blessings to you and yours from me and mine.

And to all a good night!

GAP

Happiness is…

Happy Thanksgiving!  Feliz Navidad!  Chag Chanukah sameach!  Heri za Kwanzaa!  Happy New Year!  Wow!  This time of year happiness seems to surround us all, true?  Curious – How happy are you these days?

This time of year can be quite challenging for many of us:

In fact, many people experience the holidays as a very stressful time of year with family obligations and social commitments coupled with financial pressure. What’s more, it’s a colder and darker time of the year, especially in the North East, which can easily put a damper on many people’s mood. Indeed, for some, SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) can seriously intensify the holiday blues. 

Clifford N. Lazarus PH.D.

SAD; financial pressures; holiday shopping; social obligations; makes things tough enough; add in the usual year-end crunch at work and it’s no wonder so many of us feel the holiday blues during the fourth quarter.  Nonetheless, year-end and the holiday season are upon us so it begs the question; what do we do about it?

Our favorite Unknown Sage offers us this counsel:

Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.

Pausing in our pursuit of happiness requires a bit of mental toughness, don’t you agree?  We have to stop that inner voice telling us, “You’re going to be happy this season God Dammit, even if it kills you!”  Not to mention how many of us feel about our jobs going into December.

In Dr. Travis Bradberry’s post, “Powerful Ways to Create Your Own Happiness” he cites a 2013 Gallup study that found out of 180 million people only 13% considered ourselves to be “happily engaged at work”.  13%!  Check out his full post https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/powerful-ways-create-your-own-happiness-dr-travis-bradberry

Life circumstances have little to do with happiness because much happiness is under your control – the products of your habits and your outlook on life.  Happiness is synthetic – you either create it, or you don’t. 

Dr. Travis Bradberry

Truth be told; I never thought about “synthetic happiness”.  I guess it’s a convenient crutch to blame life’s circumstances.  I do however believe that we each have daily control.  Every day when we wake up, we have the power to make a choice on how we will face that day.  No, we can’t control the incoming:

I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once. 

Ashleigh Brilliant

But we do have control over how we choose to deal with it.  I guess that was the point of Doc Brad’s post.  He goes on in his column to offer us a checklist on how emotionally intelligent people synthesize their own happiness:

They don’t obsess over things they can’t control.

They choose their battles wisely.

They get enough sleep.

They heed their moral compass.

They exercise during the week.

They have a growth mindset.

They clear the clutter.

They lend a hand.

They let their strengths flow.

They believe the best is yet to come.

How do you check out on Doc Brad’s checklist?  At least he offers us a good starting point to regain control over our happiness.  Come sundown; I guess we just have to, “Believe the best is yet to come.”  And during our holiday season, believing and happiness are close cousins – I believe.

So here’s to a little holiday cheer for us all!  And while we’re baking cookies and mixing egg nog (pass the Southern Comfort please), let’s remember to synthesize a bit of happiness in each and every day, too.

GAP

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Common enemies…

Posted Dec 7 2016 by in True North with 0 Comments

“OK Pokorn”, you might be thinking… “how will you correlate that title with peace and positivity?”  Well, there is actually great power found in emotional negativity that can be harnessed for the greater good.  And it is this appeal to the greater good that we should remember today and every day.  Today is Pearl Harbor Day.

On this date, December 7, 1941, an event occurred that summoned a powerful, driving force for the greater good– Pearl Harbor.  From a factual standpoint according to Wikipedia:

In total, 2,403 Americans died and 1,178 were wounded.

Nothing remarkable in the annuls of bloody combat, true?  But the highly-charged political discourse that followed epitomized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Infamy Speech” (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infamy_Speech ) united our country against a common enemy.

Moving on to the Oxford Dictionary:  “Post-truth” is Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year for 2016:

Post-truth adjective

Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.

The recognition goes on:

‘It’s not surprising that our choice reflects a year dominated by highly-charged political and social discourse’, says Casper Grathwohl, President of Oxford Dictionaries. ‘Fueled by the rise of social media as a news source and a growing distrust of facts offered up by the establishment, post-truth as a concept has been finding its linguistic footing for some time.’

“…Fueled by social media and a growing distrust of facts…”  Negative emotions can be a powerful, driving force.  But a force for good?  We can only hope; right President-Elect Trump?

We witnessed this kind of power in the sporting world, too.  The 2016 Chicago Cubs finally beat their common enemies – the 108 year World Series drought; the “Curse of the Billy Goat”; Steve Bartman (not to mention the Cleveland Indians).

In the business world we have seen evidence of power when uniting against common enemies.  Steve Jobs seemingly crusaded to be taken seriously – until Apple finally dominated personal, technology devices.  The common enemy of marketplace disrespect drove Apple to great heights:

Imagination is stronger than knowledge.

Dreams are more powerful than facts.

Hope always triumphs over experience. 

Robert Fulghum

We’ve witnessed Oracle Corporation’s leader, Larry Ellison and his passion to conquer everything and everyone – business; technology; sailboat racing – everything!

Jonathan Whistman, author of The Sales Boss ©, speaks specifically to the ways sales leaders can harness the power of the common enemy, creating a common language in pursuit of a common cause (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3C5NBCIa1nM ).

The Salvation Army started in 1865 in London and The American Red Cross inspired from the carnage of our Civil War, formerly launched in 1881 in Washington D.C.  These powerful organizations are also untied against common enemies – the needy; the sinful; the destitute; the addicted; the hungry; the homeless.  There are many common enemies that give rise to great power for the common good:

In every community, there is work to be done.

In every nation, there are wounds to heal.

In every heart, there is the power to do it.

Marianne Williamson

So yes – common enemies, and the personal, emotional reactions they stimulate, can and do harness the necessary power for the greater good.

Here’s to Pearly Harbor Day and all the power it generated to propel our country forward in the face of common enemies.  How will we propel America and our fellow Americans, forward this December season in the face of our many common enemies?  In our hearts, we have the power to do it!

GAP

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