George Carlin and Selling

June 23rd, 2008

Although the art thief and the photographer were very good friends, neither had ever taken the other’s picture. – George Carlin

A comedian teaching sales professionals? Yes indeed! Because comedians, like authors & songwriters & sales reps MAKE MONEY WITH THEIR WORDS!

George Carlin was my favorite comedian – as a business humor writer, I’ve collected humor books and audios for two decades. I believe his masterpiece, Napalm & Silly Putty is the funniest book ever written.

Carlin died yesterday of heart failure in Los Angeles, after a lifetime of witty, sarcastic, often foul, but funny words from the stage where he performed for 50 years.

His word-crafting has inspired me use humor as a tool to train business professionals.

I’m praying we’ll meet again. Imagine hanging out forever with a guy as funny as Carlin.

I’m also praying that you sales pros pay more attention to your words, ultimately they make or break all the deals you get a shot at.

And they’ll be the focus of my next book which will open with the Carlin line above.

George Carlin 1937-2008; the laughter you generated will live forever, ringing in the ears of both men and angels.

Energizer Stupidity…

June 19th, 2008

A recent sales horror story I experienced…

Bought small hard case Energizer flashlight for my kids’ camping trip. There were NO INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO OPEN IT to put batteries in.

So I undid screws on the body of the flashlight, all the time wondering how they could dress up the package with lots of bragging about how great the product was, but couldn’t help the buyer use it. So I took out the  screws – LIKE PROBABLY 10,000 OTHER (ex)CUSTOMERS. That did nothing, the thing didn’t even come apart.

So I WENT ONLINE TO FIND OUT HOW TO PUT BATTERIES IN THE FLASHLIGHT. A $10 purchase and I have to use the internet to find out how to use it?


Way to go Energizer – thanks for providing the entertainment and an example of how not to do business.

Remember that energizer bunny commercial where the alien spaceship comes and takes the little rodent away?

We need that same spaceship to suck up the product marketing design people from Energizer. It’s for the good of the company and its customers.

Father’s Day – Good Catch!

June 17th, 2008

No it’s not about playing baseball with my kids on the holiday.

It’s about catching a card my son designed before it hit the hands of his grandfather, my dad.

Josh can be creative and original at times and his created card on Father’s Day was a momentary highlight. In other words, the moment my wife and I saw it, I grabbed it to see it didn’t get seen by my dad.

“Your time is drawing nearer and when it comes…” The front of the card reads, and the picture is of a clock set at 5 minutes to twelve.

Inside reads, “You’ll sail onto victory!”

“Dad Paradise,” a sign, sits above two palm trees, with a grave laying between them.

Now any parent would be glad his kids believe in heaven and believe their family will be there to share the experience.

You just don’t want them to cheer their elders into the great beyond any faster than they’re already going.

I snatched that card (laughing, in contrast to my wife’s shock and horror) to share with you my sales friends and ask this question;

You know the clock is ticking, always ticking, don’t you?

What is it measuring? It’s a measuring device. It can be used to measure many, many things…

How close are you to closing that sale? Or how close to quitting your chasing of the prospect and walking away?

How close are you to success in your role? If you’re moving too slowly, your peers and bosses (or investors) might be looking at the clock wondering when you’re going to run out of time?

How close are you to maximizing your day? You have limited time to optimize performance and can’t afford to waste any of those ticking seconds on activities that don’t lead directly to new business.

The clock is ALWAYS at 5 minutes to twelve and we’re not talking about lunch, we’re pointing at midnight – the end.

How are you doing at noticing what time it is?

Chronicles of Narnia – Prince Caspian

May 29th, 2008

Seeing this hit movie brought back a great old memory.

I’m at school in Chicago, packing 4 college friends in my car for 10 days of Spring Break. The two girls have loads of luggage for the drive to California. Rich & I each have one small suitcase. The final friend, Tad, shows up late to leave. All he has is a small woman’s makeup case.

Tad can’t fit his tiny pack of gear (or whatever it was) into the trunk. So it sits in his lap.

About an hour into the trip I hear “snap! snap!” and look around to see what this guy has brought to last him a week and a half on vacation.

All he has in this little case is a set of Narnia books.

Tad is wearing clogs, jeans and white shirt – and that’s going to last him 10 days!

I can give you the details of how that worked out another time, but since he had nothing to wear when washing his clothes, he didn’t wash ’em.

Tad was travelin’ light.

What kind of baggage, what kind of luggage do you drag around in your sales life?

Do you have “self-limiting beliefs” about your abilities and potential? Or can you, will you, leave them at home?

Do you have work practices that are wasteful and useless because they don’t make you money?

Great selling pros move quickly through their day and their territory, only pausing to rest when the trip is over.

Take it from Tad (still a fantastic friend, 30 years later), selling is easier than you think. It’s like riding in the back of a car, unencumbered by baggage. Just keep moving along the highway from one prospect to the next.

Travel light and travel fast. You might just find yourself affording more vacations as well.

Raising Kids & Selling

May 20th, 2008

Anyone who’s raised kids has to admit that there is no definitive resource on all the aspects of bringing them up. So much of what we all do is an ongoing experiment. Here’s something I tried that paid off, and has application to your sales life.

When my kids woke up, my wife and I immediately began to play or engage with them. In essence, we taught them that waking up was fun. It was the start of a beautiful new day. It meant joy and community. By contrast, how many of us have seen and heard kids that start their day cranky and crying? It amazes me that we just never, ever had the joy of starting our day with loud, lamenting children.

How does your selling day begin?

Are you seeing each one as a launch into great opportunity? Even as you read this, you know that changing your thinking about starting your day will have a profound effect on productivity and attitude and understanding the value of relationships that surround you.

So tomorrow can be different, when you choose it to be. Let me know how your sales life changes, by starting quicker and healthier. Your experience can also benefit others when you share.

Saturday Night Live & Hiring Sales Reps…

May 6th, 2008

When you go in for a job interview, I think a good thing to ask is if they ever press charges. -Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey
(of Saturday Night Live fame)

Did you ever notice how all the sales hiring assessment tools seem the same (well, aside from the fact that there are a lot of really poor and old and inaccurate ones)?

What if we discovered we were measuring all the wrong things?

I’ve been involved in hiring and training for over 20 years and have seen a ton of these products come and go.

Well, one has showed up that’s here to stay, and it is incredibly potent.

It’s an assessment based on using measurements related to Emotional Intelligence. Very cool.

You probably want to check it out.

In fact, you can get one done for free.

Because once you tell them I said to ask for it, how can they refuse?

Check out ZeroRisk HR at

Then call their VP, Mike Poskey at 800.827.5991 and tell him Dan from Sales Autopsy said you offered a sample of their product.

Let me know how your experience goes;

Photography, Cooking and Sales

April 22nd, 2008

An amateur photographer was invited to a dinner and brought a few photographs.

The host looked at them and commented “These are very good – you must have an excellent camera.”

Later in the evening, as the photographer was leaving, he turned to the host and said, “That was a delicious meal. You must have some excellent pots.”

So, who gets credit for your performance?

It might be you – your skills, behavior and persuasiveness. But there’s probably more;

It’s your training,

And your mentors,

And your products,

And your company,

And the books you’ve read, audios you’ve heard, conferences you’ve attended,

And more – much, much more.

Did you notice anything on this list that has been missing from your selling career? Let’s go get it added right away, and find out how high and how far you can go.

Just imagine a photograph of your success – perhaps a picture of you and friends and family eating at the finest restaurant you can afford. All because you realized how many things must come together to achieve excellence in performance.

(Thanks to my good friend and selling brother, Gregory Ferrett from the “Land down Under” for this joke –


April 18th, 2008

Well, Illinois manufactured it’s own 5.4 Richter quake this morning at 4:36am central time. They felt it in Chicago, St. Louis, MO; Louisville, KY; Des Moines, IA and Janesville, WI.

The New Madrid Seismic System Fault wasn’t dormant today.

Woke my wife up, but I’ve been in so many BIG ones, growing up in California, that I slept through it.

I recall one morning waking up to my bedroom window bending in and out!

Got out from beneath it quickly, in time to hear all our glassware and plates flying out of cupboards in the kitchen. So at least we got to buy new things.

Sales pros! What does it take to wake you up?

I’m shaking your brain right now to get into behaviors that make you money and to sleep through behaviors that distract you from doing so.

Shakin’ up and wakin’ up – life is short. Keep your focus on activities that make you cash.

If you don’t make any more money, it’s not New Madrid’s Fault.

Koala Bears & Great Questions…

April 14th, 2008

I’m in Brisbane, Australia where we’ve just won the Gold Medal for basketball in the World Masters Games. The Games are basically Olympic sports for athletes 35 years and older. I still play on the US team.

So it’s our day off before heading home and I (the 2 guard) am with my point guard, Chuck. We’re visiting Lone Pine, the biggest Koala bear sanctuary in the world.

A woman is giving a presentation on the plight of the koala. Poor, beautiful (and stinky!) animal was almost hunted to extinction until 1910. The last month hunting was allowed, 600,000 pelts were taken. A picture pops on the screen and the crowd gasps as this old tin-type photo shows two guys with rifles and a huge mound of bearskins, maybe 30 feet high behind them.

“Help save these animals,” the woman pleads. “They are now in danger again, losing their food source to real estate development.”

She finishes this emotional tug on our hearts with, “Does anyone have any questions?”

My hand shoots up and dozens of heads turn to me as I ask,


Half the crowd explodes with laughter, as half gasp in horror. The woman stutters a response about not knowing and you don’t eat them…

So one of my life missions is accomplished – make people laugh. And there’s a wonderful selling lesson here, too.

GREAT questions distinguish great sales pros from medicore.

Do you ask questions that make buyers stop and think? Questions that show them the inevitable consequences of their decision-making? Questions that speak thoughts they haven’t yet landed on?

Try on some of these, for example;

What if you didn’t buy a solution for another six months, would it make a difference?

What have you tried before and why didn’t it work?

Have you ever quantified the impact of this concern to the company?

Ask GREAT questions and you can guarantee your sales career, unlike the Koala, will never get near the brink of extinction.

Homer Simpson & Selling

April 7th, 2008

“Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It’s what separates us from animals… except the weasel.” – Sales Guru Homer Simpson

This post will be using guilt to motivate you to action. So be prepared to hear your mother’s voice as you read along.

Is there that ONE THING you should be doing to improve performance, and you’re not doing it?

It might be making X number of contacts each day, and you’re falling short.

It might be getting help handling those objections that eat away at closed business.

It might even be that you’re chasing too many poor prospects and need a method for exterminating these bad buyers.

Stop weaseling out of work. Don’t be a stinking sales varmit! Pick a specific time to get your task completed and imagine how awesome you’ll feel when it’s behind you.

And ahead of you is income, more sales, and a future that’s brighter than it was before you were playing the part of the professional selling weasel.

Your mom’s voice has faded away, now get to work.