Jack’s Vermont: Tracks

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Wed, Feb 10, 2010

Coyotes & Other Critters

Beginning of February, and it hasn't really snowed in Vermont now for two weeks although it's snowing steadily this morning with what looks like "The Blizzard of '10". While the MidAtlantic states were pounded this past weekend and today with multiple feet of snow falling in the mountains of Washington DC, we've not seen any big snow, until today, for the last couple of weeks. The only good news out of the Washington blizzards is that since the snow will prevent Congress from going to work for a couple of days, we just might be able to get a short breather from the rhetoric which is leading us rapidly down the path to a debt crisis. By the way, just when did "Debt of $14 trillion" become an acceptable phrase in our economic lexicon?

With only two or three feet of tired crusty snow on the ground in our Vermont backyard, there are animal tracks everywhere. The ground around the birdfeeders looks like the rail yards at the end of the Mass Pike crisscrossed with tracks running every which way and making no sense to the casual observer. But, as a student of winter critters, I spent time last Saturday afternoon out in the woods and sorted through what looked to be unusual and therefore interesting, and what were the normal markings left by the squirrels, rabbits and the standard birds. From the tracks, it's obvious that a very large turkey has taken up winter residence in the trees, but nothing unusual there since free food is free food, and turkeys are actually pretty bright.

What was interesting was the large number of coyote tracks. More than I've ever seen around the house. Over the past couple of weeks, I've noticed that there are good size prints that have been left in the snow as two of them have walked boldly side-by-side right up the middle of the driveway, and both of those sets of tracks were very apparent in the woods on Saturday. My guess is that the law of hunter and hunted, just like that of the hawks and the doves, has become the norm for these coyotes and the squirrels in our little backyard ecosystem. It was also very evident that the coyotes have taken up residence since when I drove in on Friday night after a week in Boston, I obviously intruded on the quiet of a coyote family living down in the wash by the stream that runs through our property since all l heard for the next hour or so was a pack of really upset critters.

As much as I love snowboarding, I'd like to believe that we're on the downward slope for winter weather, but, as a Vermonter, I know that's not the case. While there's no evidence of global warming here in the valley this season, what has been occurring for the past twenty years is a steady trend to a later start and a longer end to the winter. There's the storm today, and then at least one big blizzard to come along with plenty of daily snow that will quickly hide the tracks around the birdfeeder, but right now, they're entertaining and provide a quiet, mindless distraction from a very busy first quarter.

During this first quarter, what's been happening with our company is that almost every one of our customers is focused on figuring out what it takes to optimize their sales productivity, which ties nicely to this Vermont thought about tracks, or, in the world of Sales, identifying and qualifying leads. The column on the other side of this newsletter provides a helpful hint that is near and dear to my heart and one that that you might think about and embed into your sales process. It's simple and very effective plus by incorporating it, you will make a difference on two fronts: your own business and that of a college student who is contemplating going into a career in sales but is not really sure what that all means.


Tags: sales, sales management, sales management effectiveness, selling, selling skills, strategic planning