Archive for November, 2006

iPod and the Potty

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006

iPod Toilet.jpg

The state-of-the-art device – called an iCarta – makes it easier for people to listen to beats while using the bathroom.

It is designed, according to the US manufacturers, to “enhance your experience in the smallest room”.

The gadget, which costs around $99, or £54, merges an iPod docking station with a toilet roll dispenser.

Wow, life is so frantic that we can’t hide for a few minutes to take care of personal business. We always have to be engaged, connected, watching, listening, spinning the motor of our brain.

Sales pros, we can go a couple directions with this lesson. Do we talk about energy, rest & recovery? It’s a theme you’ve noticed in the past here. Not today, today it’s this…

What do you do “with” your spare time, not “in” your spare time?

“With” implies control, “in” implies you fall into your spare time, like a trap.

How many books do you own, which you’ve never read, that might offer you some ideas that translate into dollars when you sell?

How many cds, dvds and tapes fall into the same category?

Take charge of your time and turn it into education that pays off.

This might mean reading, listening and watching. In fact, you could put much of your content on your iPod or mp3 player to learn on the fly or while resting around work hours. Control of your time might also refer to finding a mentor and engaging in dialogue that nourishes and enriches you.

Be wise WITH your spare time, and you can keep your sales out of the toilet.

US Postal Service

Monday, November 13th, 2006

Please go out of business!

American doesn’t need your horrible service. 5 stations with one worker and 12 people in line is too typical. I guess everyone in back is getting a well-deserved break.

We don’t need your deceptive “promises.” My Monday “Priority” package to my sales buddy in Birmingham, AL was supposed to take “two days average.” The words “about” or “average” do not amount to a promise. As of Friday, end of day, no package has arrived. This is why people switch to FedEx and UPS – they deliver, literally, on their promises.

U.S. citizens, some who call themselves patriots, don’t need your color scheme or use of the American Eagle logo. You borrow the brand of the greatest country on the planet, then represent it with horrible business practices, skyrocketing prices and poor people skills. Sure, you’re a government organization. Can’t you just pretend that you’re like a bad penny, so we can place you on the railroad tracks of commerce and laugh as you’re flattened by the competition?

You readers think this rant is just about one bad experience of mine? There have been dozens over the past couple years. These bad practices are regular practices by good old USPS.

You can laugh now, what will you do in a month, when the holidays hit?

Every business sells every day, even when they make no money. They sell reputation and perception. And buyers buy based on those two factors.

So how well do you sell when you’re not selling?

Highest recommendations for shipping to go: and

Buyer with Big Ears ends a Sale

Friday, November 10th, 2006

Nicole was managing a sales rep who had a serious aversion to asking for referrals. He was deathly afraid to use this strategy – the easiest way to gather new business. Even after a successful sale he would actually start to sweat if he just thought about asking.

Since a great deal of coaching is actually counseling, they dug into his past to find out what was going on here. One day something triggered a memory of this story and he revealed a tormented sales childhood that was at the root of his problem…

In Tom’s rookie days as a life insurance salesperson with a large firm, he had to be accompanied by his boss on all sales calls.

The very first client meeting Tom and his manager went to was with a successful female attorney. Tom watched as his boss smoothly convinced her of the need for not only personal coverage but buy/sell policies for the law firm as well. On their way out Tom’s manager asked the female attorney for some referrals and was rewarded with several highly qualified names.

The two agents didn’t realize how well sound carried as they waited for the elevator in the historic, stone and marble office building. Tom’s manager turned to his new agent and said, “You see Tommy, this business is so easy, it’s like shootin’ fish in a barrel.”

Moments later the words “I heard that” echoed down the hall from the female attorney.

“Get back here!” She barked.

Tom and his manager walked into a cold room to a very heated client. The angry attorney waved their literature at them and asked for her life insurance applications and the list of referrals.

She slowly tore everything in half, then tore it again and dramatically walked to the shredder and fed their paperwork into the machine.

POSTMORTEM: What a plot: Drama with great dialogue on a sales call! And revenge to top it off! Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the ocean, new clients are reversing course and killing sales. There are lots of lessons here. Let’s focus on one. And it’s not asking for referrals. How many more times are we going to have the phrase “ask for referrals” pounded into us? This lesson is about handling adversity. How well do you maintain your professional demeanor, even when the weather turns nasty?

You’ll see this addressed in detail in my hilarious and insightful new best-selling book, Sales Autopsy.

And sales reps hate paperwork, too…

Thursday, November 9th, 2006

A civic group in Vienna, Austria, gathered 157,000 signatures on petitions in May and presented them to city officials to encourage a government program toward cleaner streets. Under the proposal, the government would assign the populace the task of counting and mapping dog droppings as a first step to greater penalties for owners who fail to clean up after their mutts. Critics were pessimistic that citizens wanted to count and map dog droppings. [ABC News-AP, 9-15-06]

And you thought with GPS software that job of mapping our world was no longer a viable business.

You’ve heard the old sales addage that reps hate filling out paperwork?

I’m giving you permission to hate.

I want you to hate doing paperwork during selling time. That is anytime you might have access to prosepcts and clients.

Efficient, high-earning pros hate distractions and can increase productivity by strict, dedicated efforts during true selling hours.

This is smart thinking. So how smart are you when it comes to focus and execution during this time each day?

Sell when have access to buyers. Do administrative tasks when you don’t.

Now, when someone decides to map your success, they’ll record lots of closed business and your manager won’t be logging your efforts as little piles of Viennese doggie do.

Most Embarrassing Moment…

Wednesday, November 8th, 2006

of my career – on the basketball court.

First of all, my hoops “career” is not over. I have two gold medals playing on the U.S. World Master’s Basketball team. That’s Olympic sports for 35 years and older. Pretty cool, get to run with ex-NBA players, European Pros and more. If you play pickup ball or love any sport, image the chance to play with the best of the best for two weeks straight during an international tournament held once every four years. Add to that a practice schedule for six months prior to playing. This is a dream I never dreamed coming true.
But back to my blunder.

We’re winning my final game in college, Senior Day, to honor those of us who’ve put in their four years on the hardwood. So the other team is pressing us full court. That is, they are guarding us from one end of the floor to the other, hoping to get us to make a mistake so they get the ball back, score and close the gap between losing and winning.

I’m passing the ball in-bounds from under the other teams’ basket and a 6’8″ guy is jumping in front of me, hoping I’ll make a bad pass around his huge frame.

I throw the ball over his outstretched hands down the court, toward a teammate running for our hoop.

The ball slips out of my hand and rockets toward the ceiling. I mean rockets, like it was launched upward, rather than parallel to the floor toward our goal.

60 feet above us all, my ball strikes the rafters as the players freeze to watch and the crowd gasps at the enormity of my mistake.

The ball bounces off a beam and drops back toward the court.

And hidden above that beam was a badminton birdie, now dislodged from its nesting place.

It slowly floats down, swooping side to side as if enjoying some hidden wind current on it’s way back to earth.

Silence sweeps through the crowd as they watch the birdie weave its way toward center court.

About 17 minutes later, it hits the hardwood and the crowd explodes into cheers.

And there is nowhere for me to hide.

Here’s the thing about that moment – as dumb as I felt (and it really was too funny to feel foolish for long), there are a dozen times every game when a player makes mistakes. You learn to live with it. They don’t cripple you, they toughen you. So when life invades your existence beyond school (happens to all of us, eventually), your ability to bounce back is a tremendous advantage in the workplace.

Why not think for a moment about a few dumb moments of your own – not sales blunders, but personal mistakes that molded you into who you are today?

Then think of all the relationships that surround you; friends, family, co-workers and more.

You don’t get abandoned by them when you mess up, right?

See, you’re already successful, at that level, wealthy with the gold of people who care about you. That’s awesome!

Nothing to be embarrassed about there, right?

You’re getting great at what you do. Just say a little birdie told you.

Selling & Basketball

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

An interview with publishing icon from Selling Power Magazine, Gerhard Gschwandtner and Dan Seidman of

How does a competitive athlete bring skills to the selling table that are crucial to success?

One thing Selling Power did was to edit out my most embarrassing experience on the basketball court – from Senior Day, the last home game of my college career. We’ll get to that tale tomorrow.

Free Education!

Monday, November 6th, 2006

Yale University to post courses on Web for free:

Course work and videos are available, pretty cool. We can go two directions with this thought – 1) quick moment on sales reps’ education, or 2) a briefer moment on educating prospects. Lets focus on up and coming customer conversations.

When I speak at national sales conferences, I’m often told that a company’s initial purpose in interacting with potential clients is to educate them.

This is tragic thinking, sales buddies.

Do you think prospects aren’t educating themselves by researching online or ordering literature from you (after which they hide behind voicemail forever – or longer)?

Your job is not to educate, but to motivate others.

Sales managers, write this down, copy and paste it, tattoo it on your reps’ foreheads.

Your job is not to educate, but to motivate others.

Motivate them to buy, to set another appointment, to say no. Just motivate them to do something that advances or eliminates the sale.

You can take that thinking to the bank. See you there?

Selling Power Live!

Friday, November 3rd, 2006

See Dan Seidman interviewed by publishing industry icon Gerhard Gschwandtner:

Taco Bell Pack Rats

Thursday, November 2nd, 2006

In August, about a dozen masked men lugged six 40-gallon trash bags full of sauce packets into the Taco Bell on South Western Avenue in Marion, Ind., leaving a note explaining that they had been accumulating them for a while and decided to give them back. They suspected they had 25,000 packets. (Taco Bell said it hands out about 6 billion a year.) [Chronicle Tribune (Grand County, Ind.), 8-10-06]

Funny incident, funny imagery, funny that it might be a sad reflection on the dangers of accumulation in our lives.

We pack rat stuff in our office and in our brains. This might include manuals of training programs we never applied (oh, that would be something that never made it to our brain); old thinking/strategies that don’t work with prospects like the past; even piles of papers we see daily, but will never look at again.

What do you need to get rid of the most?

Is it a physical cleanup, to feel better, to better find things you need?

Is it a mental cleanup, to gain healthy thinking that leads to a wealthy lifestyle?

Why not take a moment and inventory your pack rat accumulation of “debris” and figure out what needs to go.

And please don’t send any of it to me.

The Day after Halloween

Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

You know what today is?

The day we start sorting out candy!

The great stuff – yeah!!! This isn’t for the kids. I’m hiding this for Wendy & I. Ooh, Twix? I’m hiding this from Wendy.

Okay stuff – I’ll take to work.

Junky stuff – I didn’t even know they made this anymore. I’ll just throw it outside and feed it to the squirrels.

Then there are those little boxes of raisins. Kids eat ‘em, but compared to candy, today they’re squirrel bait.

My kids love raisins. They don’t eat candy, never have. The wife and I aren’t weird, just conscious of health and energy and how sugar can create flying, screaming, miniature monsters.

How well do you manage your energy through your selling day?

Do you crash after lunch? Are you a morning person, afternoon person?

Good habits, good eating produces smooth steady effort and actually gives you more minutes to your day.

And more productive minutes translates into increased performance and commissions.

More money is like the great stuff, the best candy. Lost time is like the junky stuff – it’s worthless.

So don’t be a squirrel brain.

Eat well and you’ll sell better. You know it’s true, so when will you act on that truth?