The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective


Posts Tagged ‘Serving Clients’


According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary©, the word eureka is used to express triumph on a discovery.   Ah “discovery”… how much has been said and written about sales rep discovery in particular?

Recently, I had my “eureka!” moment about sales rep discovery.  It was a bit more modest than their history of the word:

When people exclaim Eureka! they are reenacting a legendary event in the life of the Greek mathematician and inventor Archimedes. While wrestling with the problem of how to determine the purity of gold, he made the sudden realization that the buoyancy of an object placed in water is equal in magnitude to the weight of the water the object displaces. According to one popular version of the legend, he made his discovery at a public bathhouse, whereupon he leapt out of his bath, exclaimed “Heureka! Heureka!” (“I have found it!”), and ran home naked through the streets…

No, I didn’t run naked through the streets.

During one, 5-day span I finished reading the book GAP Selling © by Keenan; had breakfast with my friend and former colleague, Gary Givan; and attended a SMM Connect webinar about the lack of value selling.  Then… Eureka!  I discovered (in my own mind anyway) why sales professionals do such a poor job of discovery.

It’s not just my opinion.  During the SMM Connect webinar, research was cited from the article published all the way back on August 29, 2012 by the research firm Forrester, “Executive Buyer Insight Study: Defining the GAP between Buyers and Sellers” by Scott Santucci.  The conclusion?  Most business executives feel meeting with sales reps is a complete waste of time.  They don’t believe we are trying to understand their needs.

Kennan’s book and the SMM Connect webinar both offered intricate (aka overly complicated) training approaches to sales rep discovery.  I believe little of their training survives “game speed” when we’re in front of a prospect.

During breakfast with Gary Givan, we were “talking shop” about sales rep discovery.  If Gary is not the most skilled sales professional I have ever met, he’s in the top 5.   I discovered his perspective on what trainers and authors offer on sales rep discovery – they always over-complicate things because they have books or consulting engagements to sell.

Eureka – that’s it!  We’re making it too complicated.  That’s why I advocate a simplified, repeatable approach consisting of 4, count ‘em, 4 things:

  1. Listen to what the prospect is trying to accomplish.  It may sound like this, “Gary, the business problem we’re trying to solve is…”  They will tell us IF we will simply listen.
  2. Take good notes.  Customers speak in customer language.  Sales people may not understand right away. That’s OK.  If we are truly listening, the prospect will be patient with us; often help us to understand.  When we get to this point, they WANT us to understand.
  3. Ask clarifying and NEVER “qualifying” questions.  Prospects hate to be “qualified”.  You and I hate to be “qualified” by some sales schmo when we’re buying something!
  4. Don’t try to solve during the discovery meeting – no “pre-mature selling”.  Let’s offer them the business courtesy of giving their situation some thought.  They will respect our efforts to match their level of thought.  This earns respect (if not trust and a relationship).

That’s it.  Be patient and don’t sell during discovery.  Easy to say is some social media post, I know.   But be patient and keep things simple nonetheless.  The prospect might just find your approach refreshing.


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Street cred…

There is a lot to developing and delivering a professional sales enablement program…

Prior to this year, I would describe my sales enablement work as “making it up as I go”.  Not that it was bad – just the opposite, actually.  The audience of our department’s efforts could not have been more complimentary about the practicality; real-world aspect; and effectiveness of our program.  One of our clients put it this way:

This is the first sales enablement program we have participated in that is delivered by someone who actually sold the products we’re being trained on. 

Matt Kenney

That was an acknowledgement of “street cred”.  According to Tom Stanfill and his piece, “The Six Pitfalls of a Sales Training Initiative”:

The person chosen to deliver the program is as important, and in some cases more important, than the content itself.

But I’m learning that content is important, too.  In my current role I am being exposed to a truly professional sales enablement approach for content development.  The scale and sophistication of the program our leaders are leading, and my colleagues are delivering is awesome!

As for me, well let’s just say I’m handicapped on the “engineering aspects” of instructional design and program development.  As a sales professional vs. an engineer I guess I am easily amused about my technology field.  Add me to the list of not daring:

Gallois’s Revelation

If you put tom-foolery into a computer, nothing comes back out but tom-foolery.   But this tom-foolery, having passed through a very expensive machine, is somehow ennobled, and no one dares to criticize it. 

Unknown Sage

Our output may be a bit “over-engineered” but I’m not criticizing.  What we are able to accomplish is amazing!  So, I’m learning more about engineering:

What does the optimist say about the glass and the water?” he asked.  “It’s half full”, was the reply.  “And what does the pessimist say?” he queried.  “It’s half empty.”  “And what does the process engineer have to say about it?”  Silence – until the consultant revealed the new additional answer: “Looks like you’ve got twice as much glass as you need there.” 

Unknown Sage

One pillar to our sales success is superior product engineering.  Technically, functionally, financially, I love representing our product line!  Or more accurately now – since I’m an enablement professional and no longer on the street – I love helping my colleagues compete with our arsenal of tools, tactics and techniques all built on a platform of product superiority!

Product superiority is nothing new to my company:

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

Larry Ellison

OK, maybe a bit over-simplified; a little sales engineering might be appropriate.  We still need to enable our sellers with excellent content which is best delivered by people with street cred.  Back to Tom Stanfill:

The recommended standard is to choose a facilitator the participants would want to emulate.  When they throw out situations or challenges they face (sometimes the greatest learning opportunities) will the facilitator be able to respond in way that quickly builds credibility with the audience? Can they go off script and apply the model to any situation, based on real life experiences?  If not, buy in diminishes and the learning objectives are jeopardized.

Yes, there is a lot to developing sales enablement content.  There’s a lot to delivering it with credibility, too.


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Experiences and expectations…

Those darn clients and their expectations…  I’m over four decades into the sales profession and I still don’t get how the client ticks.  Does client loyalty still exist?  Or have buying patterns become solely based on quickest; cheapest; and most convenient?  Maybe it’s me – I’m a client, too.

Maybe it’s the way other vendors confuse them (and us).  I mean, we have all experienced those quirky processes and procedures other vendors have set up:

Why is it that it takes only a few minutes and no paperwork to pick up or drop off a rental car at Hertz’s #1 Club Gold, but twice that time and an annoying name/address form to check into a Hilton hotel?  Are they afraid you’ll steal the room? 

Michael Tracy

Who do you think has set the bar for delighting clients and exceeding expectations today?  Is it Amazon that has captured our loyalty?  Is it all those craft brewers that are everywhere?  How about Google?  Google responds to any and every type of inquiry we make no matter what.  Has Google become so ubiquitous that we don’t even think about them as exceeding client expectations?

As coffee shops and destinations go Starbucks seems to be continuing their dominance.  Although just this morning I had what I would describe as my first disappointing experience at a Starbucks from a client expectation standpoint.  The barista took my order and simply forgot to fill it.

Yes, she was busy; the store was understaffed; the 4 employees had to cover both the counter and the drive-thru.  OK – it’s just coffee, so I was patient and pleasant while standing there.  Since I wasn’t in a hurry, it became almost amusing.  Almost.  In their haste to keep up, they all four saw me standing there; they all four assumed their colleague was filling my order.  One of them finally noticed that she was filling orders from other clients that came in after I was standing there.  That’s when it was finally my turn – “Tall Blonde roast; no room”.

I can’t say this simple experience won’t impact my future preference.  In the 21st century, any and every simple experience can impact clients’ future buying preferences, don’t you think?  David Siegel does:

Do 80 percent of what you need to do, and 100 percent of your customers will go someplace else.

You see, mornings are my time for writing.  And not every morning because like you I have this prior commitment I must tend to from time to time called my full-time job.  So, when I have the opportunity to spend an hour or so reflecting and writing about things that occur in my world, a bad customer service experience can get in the way.

Yes, I will return to Starbucks in the future; but maybe not this location.  Every time I drive by I will remember that “last time…”  There’s always another coffee shop up ahead.

Such neglectful inconveniences happen almost daily:

Why is it that Land’s End remembers your last order and your family members’ sizes, but after 10 years of membership, you are still being solicited by American Express to join?

Michael Tracy

I’m an ex-AMEX client.  They “disappointed and inconvenienced” me once in a memorable way for all the wrong reasons.  And there’s always another credit card company up ahead.

So, I ask – how loyal are you to your providers when they misunderstand your expectations and provide you with a disappointing experience?  Is there always another provider up ahead for you?


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Knowledge or Wisdom?

I have made my living in the IT business for the past 40 years.  I think we might all agree that in the IT business we have seen great minds with deep knowledge create once unimaginable technologies that have altered the course of humanity.

Yes, smart people indeed.  But altering the course of humanity comes with a price.  One price is I get to poke fun at my industry and those smart, IT people:

Conventional IT Wisdom:

Faster hardware doesn’t solve business problems – unless the business problem is slow hardware.

More bandwidth / memory / storage / processing power than you’ll ever need, will last you six months.  A year tops.

IT project advance or die.  Sometimes both.  But if it isn’t advancing it’s dying.

Functionality isn’t the same as usefulness.

The systems that last are the ones you were counting on to be obsolete.

Exactly what you want, always costs more than you can afford.

Data isn’t information.  Information isn’t knowledge.  Knowledge isn’t manageable.

Frank Hayes

There’s that word, “knowledge”.  Our favorite Unknown Sage offers this wisdom:

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit.  Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

I guess that means when we’re assigning dishes for people to bring to the upcoming office pot luck, we should have IT bring the dessert and not the salad.

Even though I’ve “been in IT” for two score, I haven’t actually interacted much with IT.  I suppose their views about sales people are predictable – and perhaps even understandable and well deserved!  It’s probably because we simply think differently about things.  Back to our Unknown Sage:

A helicopter was flying around above Seattle when an electrical malfunction disabled all its navigation and communications equipment.  With all the clouds and haze, the pilot couldn’t determine his position or how to get to the airport.  But he saw a tall building, flew toward it, circled, drew a handwritten sign, and held it up.  The sign read, WHERE AM I?

People in the building quickly responded with their own sign, “”YOU ARE IN A HELICOPTER.

The pilot smiled, waved, looked at hoes map, plotted the course to the airport and landed safely.  On the ground, the co-pilot asked him how their sign helped determine the helicopter’s position.

I knew that had to be the Microsoft building, the pilot said because they gave me a technically correct, but completely useless answer.

And yes, those Microsoft engineers are laughing all the way to the bank.  Wisdom aside, they definitely know how the money works!

Rule 8 – Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer.  This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to anything in real life.

Rule 11 – Be nice to nerds.  Chances are you’ll end up working for one. 

Bill Gates

Still, there remain some IT professionals that know the difference between knowledge and wisdom.  Back to Frank Hayes:

Conventional IT Wisdom:

Free anything… isn’t…

If nobody else is trying something, there’s usually a reason.  Maybe not a good reason, but a reason…

“We’ve never done it that way before” is a more powerful argument than any cost/benefit analysis…

It always takes longer and costs more to do it later.

A good idea is no match for a bad habit.

The hardest problems get solved last. 

I’d call that wisdom!


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I have been leading in a major training initiative for my company’s re-sellers this year.  We are making significant changes and we’d like our partners to adopt these changes in their approach, too.  That way the customer has a consistent experience across all of our channels.

Seems logical, doesn’t it?  Yet, with but a few exceptions the majority of our partners offer resistance during the training sessions.  They cite all sorts of exceptions (real and imagined) that suggest our new methods aren’t as good as their existing methods.  Sometimes they even suggest that our new methods flat-out, won’t work.

It reminds me of my Father-In-Law.  He was a carpenter and a true “master mechanic with the tools” (as they say in the trades).  In the 1960s and 1970s he trimmed million dollar mansions in suburban Chicago when million dollar mansions were rare.

When my wife and I bought our starter house in 1978, we had a whole list of home improvement and remodeling ideas.  Champagne taste; beer money (as they also say in the trades).  It was natural to turn to Dad for a little help.

My wife would show him what she was thinking for remodeling the kitchen; building a deck with a clubhouse for the kids; changes to the living room; bathrooms, too; the list went on.  And his initial response invariably was, “That won’t work”.  We heard the phrase “that won’t work” so frequently that we carry his legacy in our life to this day.

You see, when he said, “That won’t work” he didn’t mean it couldn’t be done.  What he meant was it actually could be done, but he would have to do it differently than the way the idea was initially laid out.  He did remodel our kitchen, living room and bathrooms.  We did have a deck and a clubhouse.  The clubhouse was built so well that we relocated it to our next backyard when we moved up from our starter house.

Fast forward to my training classes this year.  Every time a partner says “That won’t work” and cites an exception that doesn’t fit with our new and improved engagement model, it triggers old behaviors.  My knee-jerk reaction is to engage; to argue; to discredit the cited exception as some fantasy.  Then, after I regain my composure I remember my Father-In-Law.  I smile and think that’s what they said but that’s not what they meant.  At least I hope so.

I understand exceptions, I think.  I agree with Malcolm Forbes:

There are no exceptions to the rule that everybody likes to be the exception to the rule. 

And I’m no exception – just ask my wife when she says we need to remodel thus and so.  I give it the old, “That won’t work” try.  Then we smile and realize my will power will wilt in the face of her vision.

The opinions expressed by the husband do not reflect the views of the management of this household. 

Unknown Sage 

We all deal with exceptions throughout our day; at work; at home; in the community.  I believe our views about exceptions are grounded on our individual perspectives:

Nothing makes me more tolerant of a neighbor’s noisy party than being there. 

Franklin P. Adams

So this year I’ve been trying.  I’ve been learning how to address exceptions.  I’d prefer such cited exceptions to fade in the face of our training, but I understand Malcolm Forbes is probably right.  Then I remember my Father-in-Law.  And then I’ve learned to smile.


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To our Customers…

Recently, I wondered whether modern technology was actually making Customer Service worse (see ).  Well, it has been said:

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain – and most fools do. 

Dale Carnegie

So, to avoid seeming foolish, permit me to share a few thoughts about how we can improve Customer Service vs. just complaining about it.

If we come in contact of any kind with our customers, we are customer service representatives of our companies.  In Ernie Humphrey’s recent post, “CFOs: True Customer Service is a Competitive Advantage” (see ) he suggests that CFO’s should not only support the delivery of great customer service – they should own it!

Permit me to add to Ernie’s list of how to leverage customer service as a competitive advantage:

  1. Attitude – Everything starts with attitude. Let’s check our problems at the door; Customer Service is about addressing our client’s problems. And yes, when they call they will be calling with a complaint never a compliment.  And yes, they will likely be grumpy so be prepared.  And yes, our Unknown Sage reminds us:

The customer may not always be right, but the customer is not the enemy.

Let me pause and applaud John Hanson, Owner of Infinity Logo Solutions.  John’s provides my wife’s company the most stellar customer service I have ever seen!  Every time she calls – he returns her call, promptly.  Every technical issue she runs into – he either helps resolve, or if he can’t he guides her to the person who can.  Every time she needs him to come on-site for a repair – he responds cheerfully, whether the service issue was her fault; a warranty fault; or no body’s fault.  Every time – even on weekends.  His customer service attitude is stellar!

  1. Anticipation – Just like our children, if they don’t get the answer they’re looking for from Mom; they’re going to ask Dad.

CS_Dept_Cartoon (1)Yes, we sales types do exaggerate on occasion.  So let’s everybody get over it.  We should anticipate that the customer sometimes exaggerates the sales rep’s exaggerations.  It’s our job to return the dialog back to reality – just like Mom.

  1. Technology – Yes, I said it; we should use technology to help us deliver excellent customer service. With email, cell phone, IM and social media, our goal should be “Near-Real-Time-Response”; even if it’s bad news:

Bad news does not improve with age. 

D. Michael Abrashoff

And let’s use voice mail to improve customer communication, OK?

Standard Greeting – “I’m on the phone or away from my desk”… 

OK Captain Obvious, can we be any more vague?  How about adding “for Monday” or whatever the day is so they know we were at least in the vicinity of our voice mail today?  And if we’re actually out of the office how about adding the next date/time we plan to listen to messages?

BTW with my voice mail greeting, I’m never “in a meeting”; customers hate it when we’re “in a meeting”.  I’m only “with another customer” or “out of the office”.  The customer is still unhappy, but at least I didn’t add fuel to their fire by being “in a meeting”.

If we’re good at customer service – they will call us more frequently, so be ready.  When they call us less frequently – they’ve given up hope; they’re abandoning us (which of course is how customers ultimately fire us).

So here’s to our customers who call us for service:

The customer may not always be right, but the customer is always the customer. 


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Department transfer…

I’ve been spending so much time in the Department of Unintended Consequences lately, I’m wondering if I’ve been transferred awaiting the paperwork?

One of the (many) things I really like about my job is at my company personal initiative is encouraged.  In fact, our CEO has coined the sound bites, “take the hill”, and “we must” and offers examples of employee initiative during his quarterly “All Hands” meetings.  Of course, a minor downside to “taking the hill” is occasionally things don’t turn out quite the way we originally envisioned.

Recently, I was “taking the hill”.  Has this happened to you?  You know, you’re trying to “go the extra mile”; do something “new and improved”; because “we must”; and Boom!  Word is received from the Department of Unintended Consequences (aka DUC!)  I tried to duck, but too late:

Harrison’s Postulate:

For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism. 

Unknown Sage

It started off benign enough; I had formulated a plan for a local client gathering.  My VP and our Regional Managers had been speculating about a “Client Day” for months.  Well, after “talking about it”, I decided I would “take the hill” and make it happen.  Someone yell, “DUC”!

As it turns out, my colleagues apparently expected me to form a committee first.  I think everyone wanted to offer their input on how to do an event.  My bad – I actually know how to do events.  And I don’t do well in committees:

Another mystery commonly observed by committee pathologists is that the time consumed in debate is dominated by those with the least to offer. 

Norman R. Augustine

The first word from the Department of Unintended Consequences came from one of my colleagues.  She was now thinking that doing a client gathering was a bad idea.  She wanted to know who authorized me to “take the hill”.  Huh?  And the committee was assembled.

Turns out, the committee is not insulated from the Department of Unintended Consequences, either.  What started as an idea for a local, casual, inexpensive event now morphed into something where clients and Regional Managers were flying in from all corners of North America.  The increase in size and expense now meant we needed to revisit the agenda.  Yep, word from DUC:  Lots of people wanted speaking parts.

Thankfully, my VP knows me well enough to shield me from the committee.  He served as my delegate.  You see, I try to execute with excellence in order to avoid criticism.  He knows that I don’t react well to criticism.  However, when I do get criticized (Because none of us are immune, true?); I seek counsel from the wise:

The incident of an undersized lawyer in an acrimonious stump debate with the massive Robert Toombs.  Toombs called out, “Why, I could button your ears back and swallow you whole.”  The little fellow retorted, “And if you did, you would have more brains in your stomach than you ever had in your head.”

Abraham Lincoln

But I digress 🙂

The client day event turned out well; the Regional Managers participated and enjoyed themselves; the agenda was modified to accommodate speaker requests; and the hill was taken!

However, we did receive word from the Department of Unintended Consequences after the event – I had misspelled the company on a client’s name tent.  He emailed the entire committee a cell phone picture of my error; probably posted it to social media, too.  Someone yell, “DUC”!


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


I attended a social media marketing for business MeetUp (see ) and listened to an excellent discussion about one, main point made at the 2014 Internet Marketing Association conference, “Has the Internet has become creepy?”

Catchy headline (those clever marketers), but the discussion led by Mike Hanbery ( ) provoked me to think about my own position regarding the tactics we in the sales/marketing profession leverage in today’s marketplace.

Permit me to share three examples:

1. “Listening” on social media sites for customer service complaints.

Sound familiar?  We buy something; are disappointed; and call the vendor’s Customer Service Department.  After navigating a seemingly endless automated call directory of options, playing the vendor’s version of, “Where in the World is Mario, my Customer Service Rep?” – hitting “0” in desperation.  Finally we get some poor schmuck who is clueless and/or powerless to help – sometimes even treating us rudely:

How to Manage an Irate Client Call:

“I’m sorry you’re so upset.  I really feel your pain.  No, I don’t think we can fix the problem.  No, you can’t get your money back.  Well, I am the supervisor.  Let me transfer you to Mr. Dial Tone…”

Unknown Sage

Seeking revenge, we vent on Facebook, Pinterest, and the plethora of social media sites to telling the world never to buy from that vendor again!  Then (and only then) we receive a polite, social media response offering to help.  Creepy?

I give – why don’t companies simply staff social media sites with their customer service reps and relieve us from the frustration of calling them to begin with?

My customer service contact info?  (303) 324-1225.

2. Re-posting someone else’s stuff.

Google is purported to have a push today around the principle of “authenticity”.  Further evidence that the Internet has become creepy?

I mean, how much stuff do we see posted on the social media sites these days by Person A who is simply re-posting stuff originated from Person B, who got it from Person C?  Such re-posting of stuff can even be automated with a social media app.  It harkens me back to a simpler (and more authentic) time:

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


My “stuff”?  You may or may not enjoy it, but I wrote it, and posted it, personally.

3. Cold-Calling is dead.

Every week I am pinged by someone near my age; who has written a book; proclaiming “Cold-Calling is dead!”; and offering me insight to leveraging social media tools to gain access to my target prospects.  Even those online Customer Service Representatives are being trained to cross-sell/up-sell after addressing the customer service issues we post on the Internet.  Creepy?

These sales reps posing as book-authors suggest that all we have to do is post interesting content on the Internet; become “thought leaders”; and our prospects will flock to transact with us.  Well, my grandmother who was born in Europe and immigrated to this country in the early 1900’s would say, “I’m no believe.”

Back to Mike’s MeetUp comments:

Setting up a Facebook or LinkedIn account is free.  Posting content on these sites is free.  Getting someone to actually see your content – that costs money.

Call me Kooky, but when I want to gain access to a new prospect – I pick up the phone and call her.  Old fashioned I admit; tough to get through to be sure; but creepy?  Not!


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

No Excuse…

“Sorry I’m late.  My meeting ran over.”  “No, I didn’t get a chance to review your CRM notes.”  “I can’t join you on the WebEx, I’ve dialed in from my cell phone.”  “Yes, that’s me typing in the background – give me a moment, I’m just sending a quick email.”  “Please excuse me – I need to leave early for another meeting.”

Late; unprepared; multi-tasking; mobile; double-booked.  Welcome to the 21st Century.

Perhaps it should be of no surprise that according to one research report, 79% of sales reps in the Software-as-a-Service marketplace did not attain their assigned quota in 2013; 79%!  (See xactly)

Today, there is no lack of professionalism displayed by Sales Professionals.  Arriving late; leaving early; being unprepared; not returning calls or emails.  (By the way, these behaviors are not unique to sales people, true?)  And when called out on such unprofessionalism – excuses flow – see paragraph one.  What’s that?  Life is tough so everybody else does it too?

Life is difficult.  This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths.  It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it.  Once we know that life is difficult – then life is no longer difficult.  Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters. 

M. Scott Peck

Make sense to you?  Ahh, trick question: if it makes sense, then you have no excuse.

I believe as a Sales Professional, it is our role to maintain professionalism in spite of any unprofessionalism by those around us.  Easy to say – hard to do.  Yet the problem with bad behavior on the part of one Sales Professional is it casts aspersions on all Sales Professionals in our profession, don’t you agree?  Yep, trick question: if you agree, then you have no excuse.

Ever notice when someone you’re interacting with makes a mistake; they often serve up an immediate excuse?  “Gary, it wasn’t my fault because (insert story de jour…).”  Rather than simply admitting the mistake; apologizing for any inconvenience; and offering to do better going forward, we hear about their medical condition, their children’s problems at school, their financial stress, their boss is a jerk, etc.

Difficulty may stimulate excuses from others; but as Sales Professionals we must follow Edward R. Murrow’s guidance:

Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts.

And I know the folks I work with are telling the truth.  I know this because when I’m going through the exact same circumstances I’d like to succumb to the difficulties of the day too; become equally unprofessional; make excuses.  But what can one do about it?

Well, to stop such temptation, I find retreating to loud; head-banging; heavy metal music seems to help.   Thank God for Pandora!  Here’s one example from my favorite Friday band – Five Finger Death Punch:

Everybody hurts

     Everybody bleeds…

          Everybody pains

              Everybody grieves…

Can you relate to head bangers?  You got it, trick question: if you can, then you have no excuse.

Yes, it is the 21st Century.  And in this modern world everybody multi-tasks; works extended hours; has stress at the office; pressures at home; and clients that can be jerks (sometimes our managers too).  But we overcome these difficulties, because in the words of Abraham Lincoln:

The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion.

Does Abe’s reasoning resonate with you?  Beware – trick question: if it does, then you have no excuse.


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

Who’s at fault?

My wife just endured one of those “clients-from-hell” experiences.  After investing hours and hours coordinating a cruise for a new client; the client cancelled at the last minute.  Nine months of effort cancelled – no cruise; no commission; no long-term client relationship.  Who was at fault?

It started out innocent enough; a pastor wanting to coordinate a church retreat.  Timing was fine; the sail date was a year out.  A man of God and his flock – how bad could it get?  My wife even secured approval from the cruise line to qualify his trip for fund raising; the cruise line would contribute $50 per cabin; my wife pledged another $10.  Seemed like a win all the way around.

Then reality set in – missed deposit deadlines; delayed paperwork; lost credit card; last minute changes; demands for upgrades; the works.  And no matter what was provided, “more” was demanded.  And when “more” was no longer available; “cancel” was called on.  But who was at fault?

Well obviously it was Murphy’s fault:

Murphy’s Law: 

If anything can go wrong, it will. 

Unknown Sage

In fact, our favorite Unknown Sage offers us a lot about this person Murphy and what he does to our client service experiences:

Murphy’s Law gives rise to Murphy’s Philosophy:    

Smile… tomorrow will be worse.

Murphy’s Eighth Corollary:

It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.

Addendum to Murphy’s Law:

In precise mathematical terms, 1+1 = 2, where “=” is a symbol meaning seldom if ever.

Gattuso’s Extension of Murphy’s Law:

Nothing is ever so bad that it can’t get worse.

Yep – it got worse.  My wife earned a masters degree about Murphy with this client!

If we’ve been in business long enough, we’ve all faced the, “Who’s at fault” moment, true?  Who gets the blame?  Does it matter?  Sometimes, we just get “run over” by one of those disingenuous, impossible-to-satisfy clients, determined to totally waster our time; and then say it was our fault.

A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”

The woman below replied, “You’re in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You’re between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude.”

“You must be an engineer”, said the balloonist.  “I am”, replied the woman, “How did you know”?

“Well”, answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is, technically correct, but I’ve no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help at all. If anything, you’ve delayed my trip.”

The woman below responded, “You must be in Management.”  “I am”, replied the balloonist, “but how did you know”?

“Well”, said the woman, you don’t know where you are or where you’re going.   You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air.  You made a promise, which you’ve no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it’s my fault.”

Unknown Sage

I wonder if his name was Murphy.


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