Frankenstorm and the Salespocalypse

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The impending doom of Frankenstorm is marching toward my humble abode on the East Coast but I am so committed, crazy, or cognizant enough of the pangs of joblessness that I am actually sitting in my office as we speak (sidenote:  A small reminder for any sales newbies….INDUSTRY MATTERS)

When there are 3 working days left to hit a metric, close contracts and ultimately make your money the last thing you want to see on the radar is a major storm with life threatening consequences.  Since this is a sales related blog, I know you understand why this is monumental and won’t shoot me a “how can you think about work at a time like this?” message.

Every salesperson (even the average one) has an expectation to make money and the calendar can be the difference maker to that objective.  A 23-day sales month can be the gift that keeps on giving, offering you an opportunity for a hail mary on occasion while a 19 day sales month is the Grinch, rubbing its greedy little hands together, waiting to steal joy from little sales girls and boys everywhere, particularly when the expectation is that you can drive production of the same value in shorter time.

I could pretend that there is some lesson in all of this that will always salvage your sales month but you already know about controlling your behaviors and doing what you can and I’m too focused on “Hurricane San-dusky” to be motivational today!

Nobody Said It Was Easy

Ever wonder how you can go home at the end of a long sales day and keep yourself from curling up in the corner of the shower, huddled and crying as you sing “nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be this hard“….okay, so maybe Coldplay is a little melodramatic for a rough sales day but the sentiment fits.

Sales is tough. It’s not a game meant for the easy-going, affable gal with the ever present smile and the laissez faire attitude. Surely, you present that way at times for the sake of your clients, but the truth is that it can be a gritty, hard-nosed game. You need a tongue that glides, floats and entices with the movement of a lyrical gymnast and the mental fortitude of a champion chess player.

My first high-earning sales position was one as an Executive Recruiter during my mid 20’s. When I look back at that experience I realize that the saleswoman that I am today would have crushed that position and made the paycheck appear stolen (yes, I’ve reached that level of good).  But,  I wasn’t the saleswoman that I am today. Sure I was smart, intuitive, eager to learn, profit driven and ready to succeed but I was weak.  I didn’t have enough life or professional experience, at that time, to rebound quickly from failure. The word “no” was a death sentence in my mind. I didn’t know how to qualify and push through an objection to determine if it was a real or perceived, but even more detrimental, I held on to the failure through the next call…if I made it there.

What helped me? I had a phenomenal mentor at the time. He was patient, cerebral and the father of two daughters, which gave him great perspective on the emotion that I was exhibiting. His name was Paul, and I’ll never forget his reaction to my tears after the first time a “potential” close fell through. He looked at me without judgment and simply said “you can’t lose what you don’t have.”

It was easily the most effective statement that anyone had made to me at that time. I was sobbing over a contract that never existed.  Simple enough.  There was no business to be lost, and there never is, unless the letter of intent, contract or “referral” is on your desk. I was crying over milk that hadn’t been spilt because it had never even been brought home from the grocery store.

Learning and remembering this lesson has been a key factor to my success since then.  That one statement is the core to how I have been able to rebound quickly when it’s not easy, personally and professionally. So rather than spend your time mired in the world of Coldplay, mulling over opportunities lost, remember the lesson that sales will never be easy but you can make it easier for myself.

When You Can’t Have Vodka

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Every great salesperson has a vice, actually more than one. Starbucks rates around the top of my list. Not usually a frothy, calorie laden, whipped confection like this, more like non-fat, flavored chai of some sort.

I think I go for the underlying pretentious coffee shop feel and my favorite barista, Maureen, who knows me by name and gets snarky when I talk to other customers and they miss her calling their drink orders.

Fyi, the drink above is called The Captain Crunch because apparently I didn’t feel loved today at work and needed a warm and fuzzy reminder of my childhood.