The DNA of Trains, Vermont...and Sales
On the way to NYC this morning on the 5:30 Acela out of Boston. No better way to travel. Nice and quiet, surrounded with Wi-Fi, food and great service for a three hour trip with lots of work to do. What’s not to like? A superb way to travel, an efficient way to get work done, plus I really like trains, which are by now baked into my DNA, perhaps just like Vermont has become part of my six generation heritage.
At the age of 17, my great grandfather, Horace, told his father that he was leaving rural Vermont, taking the trains west to join the first volunteer army in California and seek his fortune. I’m not sure, of course, what his father, Jesse, actually said, but west he went returning to Vermont four years later after being posted as a soldier on the frontier. Back in Vermont, Horace spent the rest of his life working at the Poultney Railroad Depot living two blocks from where his father lived and where in later years my grandfather and father were born. My own son, also an adventurer in his younger years, who carries with him the DNA of Horace’s red hair, was born just a few country miles down the road.
My mother continued the DNA baking, not of Vermont, but of my love of trains as she frequently packed my brothers and me onto the Lakeshore Limited to visit her parents in Chicago. Not coincidentally, I’ve trained all over the US frequenting sleeper cars on the Limited, the Silver Meteor, and the Zephyr, still magical names for me.
So are trains really baked into my DNA? Not clinically, of course, but the experiences are there supported by countless stories told to me by other train aficionados over coffee in the glass domed observation car winding through the Rockies. Maybe it’s Vermont that’s part of my DNA? Last I looked in the results of the human genome project, I couldn’t find anything about “The VT Gene”, but what I do know is that both my son and I have frequent familial tugs to travel north to the green mountains.
The same thing goes for the science of sales and sales management. Is there such an individual as “a born salesperson”? I also checked this out with the human genome project guys to discover that there’s nothing even close to a Sales Gene. Are highly successful salespeople like Joe Stoopak and Joel Jacobs at Brainshark, Dan Davis and Leigh Tucker at Accounting Management Solutions and Sully at Rome Snowboards conditioned by their early years spent with their families and teachers? Of course, but these and other sales leaders I’ve encountered are successful for one reason: they study and they practice the science, the math and the skills of Sales more than their peers. These professionals never hope they’re going to get orders. They never plan on luck. They just work harder and longer while they keep honing their skills relentlessly…just like professional athletes.
A couple of ideas to help condition your own Sales DNA just a bit…
- 1. Figure out by the end of this week, the two specific sales skills that you’re going to sharpen between now and December. Write out exactly what you need to do in order to gain that expertise and post it on the wall directly over your computer.
- Click HERE for Amazon’s sales best sellers, read the reviews in detail and select just one book on sales or sales management skills to read by the end of the summer. No soft fluff stuff like Good to Great. Select something that will take you back to the basics.
- Attend one event between now and the end of the year that brings you into direct contact with other sales professionals. It might be Selling Power’s Sales 2.0 Conference in late July in Boston or our own Sales Management Boot Camp in early October or anything else that allows you to experience the electricity of being with other sales leaders talking about the excitement of the profession of sales.
DERBY Management-Associated Industries of Massachusetts
SemiAnnual Sales Management Boot Camp
"Save The Date": September 30th-October 2nd, 2012
Click HERE for a quick overview and email me to set up time for a 10 minute call. Want more detail? Click HERE for full agenda and pricing.
“It was an outstanding program.” ; “A great mix of attendees.”; “Jack himself was very credible, very engaged in the business, and tied together real life, examples & stories.”; “I would rate it very highly and would recommend other senior sales leaders at MFS t go through the program.”; “It was time very, very well spent.”
Tom Jessee, Senior Vice President of Sales, MFS
Derby Management, Box 171322, Boston MA 02117