Tag Archives: sales

How Symbolic Change Can Help You When You’re Stuck

ChangeI want to tell you how, in a Kentucky hotel bathroom in 1982 , I made a symbolic change that completely changed my luck.

Yes, there is a back story here.  Halfway through a 5-week sales trip, I was stuck in a very big way. After getting off to a great start in Illinois, I bottomed out in Kentucky. I couldn’t sell a damn thing. Everything that had worked for me in the Mid West was hurting me in the South. I couldn’t close a door let alone a sale.

My boss had warned me that people where I was headed were conservative compared to folks in California. He urged me to adjust my look and tempo before I left. “Folks won’t trust a slick sounding guy from L.A. with a beard . Shave that thing!”, he said.

I didn’t listen. “Hey, I gotta be me. I got this, don’t worry” I said.

I proved him wrong for two straight weeks in the Mid West. Overcoming obstacles, setting records and crushing my closings. My numbers were great and I was on fire.

Then for two days I bombed. No problem, it happens. I was adjusting, finding my way. But after a third soul-crushing day in Kentucky I was lost. Swagger gone, I was ready to listen. In our nightly call I relayed my numbers to the boss and they stunk. He started in with the ‘I told you so’ speech, and though I was pissed, I let his words sink in.

Thursday got a little better, Friday even more, and by Saturday I was almost back to my usual high-percentage closing ratio.

I went on to North Carolina and Pennsylvania in the last two weeks and finished strong. REAL strong. Big numbers for the company and big dollars for me.

Did I change my presentation? Did I rearrange my feature and benefit statements? Did I drop my price? No. None of these things. Continue reading How Symbolic Change Can Help You When You’re Stuck

What I Learned From Xerox On Making Resolutions Happen

XeroxWearing my best suit, clutching 25 copies of my resume and flat broke, I approached the Xerox booth at the SF Job Fair. They were the big blue- chip firm at the fair and had the longest line in the hall. I left to visit the other company booths until the Xerox line died down, then stepped up to take my shot.

I looked the sales manager in the eye, shook his hand and handed him my resume. He looked me and my suit up and down, then said, “Why do you think you could work at Xerox?” No doubt that question had thrown a lot of people back on their heels, causing plenty of bowing and scraping throughout the day.

But I was having none of that. I reached into my pants, hoisted my balls onto the table and replied, “Why would I want to work for Xerox? I’m a closer, and everywhere I’ve worked, I’ve made people money. What would Xerox do for me?”

That’s all it took.  He handed me his business card and said, “Call me first thing Monday morning.” He hired me Monday afternoon.

I learned three important things in my time as a Sales Rep for Xerox:

  1. I was not cut out for life in a huge multinational corporation
  2. My title of “Reproduction Specialist” was very misleading
  3. You can’t manage results – you can only manage activities

Continue reading What I Learned From Xerox On Making Resolutions Happen