Storms, Vermont, Horace & Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, Nov 04, 2011

Monday was our second day without power, heat, running water and that most vital of all utilities, access to to check on my sales activities...  Huddled around the fireplace with the consistent hiss of Coleman lanterns casting a yellow glow over the room, we toughed it out with only limited whining…mostly on my part.  Every couple of years, since we live in Vermont and New Hampshire, we revisit what it’s like to endure these multi-day experiences without power, instant communication, and the basics of heat and plumbing.  And the bottom line is that it’s a bit inconvenient for sure, but nothing like what my great-grandfather, Horace, growing up in Poultney, Vermont, must have experienced his entire life.

Horace Rice Derby resized 600Other than leaving home at the age of 17 for his four year excursion as a soldier in the 1st California Volunteers charged with quieting down the new frontier, Horace spent his life in Poultney as the baggage master at the local train station.  Although Poultney in the latter half of the 1800’s was a thriving town with streetcars, a train station and the beginnings of what was to become Green Mountain College, it was still rural Vermont.  Electricity was non-existent, outdoors plumbing was the rule, and the only source of heat was the woodpile stacked outside the door closest to the wood stove.   And all of those aspects of living occurred every day in Poultney, while I merely have the inconvenience of a day or two here and there without power.  Plus, that word “inconvenience” totally loses any relevancy since at any minute earlier this week, I could jump in my car with its three different settings of heated seats and drive a couple of miles out to civilization, hot coffee, and, of course, emails and Facebook.   Not so tough an environment compared to Horace's.

So, maybe a takeaway from the aftermath of this most recent storm and my thinking about Horace that might be applicable now in our ever-tightening total of 39 remaining sales days in 2011.

Simplicity Counts-Focus on the Close.

Just like the simple things of power, heat and water, as we work through a very complex marketplace in a tough economy with multiples of competitive solutions and products, we need to very directly focus on One Simple Thing-pushing our prospects every day to cross over the line to commitment.  Sounds simple, and it is, as long as we’re willing to admit that we can’t do everything on our priority list over the next 39 days, and that it’s ok to let some things fall through the cracks.  Too often, especially in complex, tough competitive situations, it’s too easy to get distracted away from the most important component of the selling process, which is the actual close. 

Sales ToolsIn order to hyperfocus on the closing process, you might want to do a quick refresh session of your own closing skills this weekend or do the same with your entire team for 90 minutes next Monday after work over pizza.  I well realize that this idea is not rocket science.  It’s just basic, simple training; however, this is the time of year when simple counts.  For a few ideas just to get you rolling, click HERE, then scroll down the Sales Tool Box list, and you’ll find a clickthrough on Closing Skills


Simplicity Counts-PowerPoint Presentations

At a time when the use of iPads for business (about 25% of all iPads is going through the roof, the untold secret is that PowerPoints, especially with animation, tables, graphs or spreadsheets, don't work with iPads.  As a salesguy constantly on the run who loves PowerPoints, the just released free app from SlideShark is a perfect solution for me.  Great reviews, simple to use,, and will be a key part of my Q4 closing tool kit.  Check it out HERE.

Hope that you all came through the storm unscathed!  

Sttratton 1st snowYes, there is snow at Stratton as a result of this storm.  Still inches, but we're opening in 19 days.  Send me an email when you decide to visit this winter, and hopefully we can take some turns together.  With this early snow, and the large number of squirrels in the woods right now,(don't ask), the boys on the bench down at the Winhall General Store are forecasting a very cold and snowy winta'.



Good Selling!

Head Coach
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Tags: sales productivity, Sales Optimization, sales, sales management, sales management effectiveness, sales effectiveness, sales tools, selling, improved sales management, sales management training, selling skills, closing sales, Sales quota, sales training