Rod Stewart is Keeping Me Awake!

rod stewartFor the last month, the ageless Rod Stewart's classic Maggie May has been ringing in my head.  "it's late September, and I should be back at school", which was fine for September, but now it's late October, and I'm deep into the busiest season of the year: 

  • Wonderfully busy at Tufts, with a bunch of changes coming up quickly around the corner.
  • Deep into strategy offsites and sales and marketing whiteboarding sessions.
  • Buried in fall chores of leaves, gardens and the necessary winta' prep of snow blowers and ATVs that never seem to like the cold.
  • Gearing up for yet another season at Stratton-45 years on the hill, 25 snowboarding! 

And yet, Rod is still in my head and pushing me to do more than just be "back at school"!

101119Seasons, and especially the fall since it's so dramatic, push me to think about change.  When I drive down my very narrow dirt road every fall, I'm amazed every single year that the hill moves from muddled greens and browns to instantly dynamic and radiant colors for three spectacular days...and then everything dulls down to the real fall season of counting the days through the holidays to the end of the year. 

No one really cares about the true fall season of increasingly cold winds, shorter days and the oncoming threat of that first snow storm.  It's comin' and, in the true harsh and truncated Vermont dialect of The Boys on the Bench down at the Winhall General Store, "there ain't nuthin' ya can do about it.".  


The count is 35

By my "Calendar of Sales Effectiveness", we have just around 35 effective sales days left in the quarter...and, no, I'm not counting anything after December 20th!  Sure, back in the day, I pulled off one of my biggest deals ever by working with the company, the bank, the venture guys and the entrepreneurs through the entire holiday season with calls every single day including Christmas.  But, those deals are few and far between, and, even if you wanted to work and had the allowance to so from your spouse and kids, most probably out of all the people you need to finalize the deal, someone is going to be on the slopes in Vail, when you need that final signature. 

10 Hints for winning this Fall:

Wind up the clock and set the alarm for 35 because in reality, you don't have 35 days of real selling time.  That's selling time on your side of the table including no interruptions, no "extra" unplanned travel and, of course, no time outs for sickness or for holiday shopping.

  1. This is the most important time of the year. If you're in Sales, plan on 60-70 hour weeks.
  2. Be blunt with "Time Wasters", who hang around, coffee in hand, and want to talk about nothing.
  3. Block out the "Money Hours" for calls: 7:30-9:30, 12:00-12:45 and 4:00-5:00.
  4. Only make 15 minute calls and 30 minute meetings-a tactic I learned from the Tufts Deans.
  5. Use your commute time for other time zones.  At 4:00 AM, I often talk to clients in UK and China.
  6. Focus totally on the value you bring your prospects and their customers, not on you.
  7. Use Slack. 
  8. For emails, use bullets, not sentences...but there's still no excuse for bad spelling. 
  9.  Be happy, be positive and verbally psyche yourself up every single day!
  10.  Be totally mentally prepared just like the Patriots winning yesterday against the Browns!

Have a great day as you think about your own 35 days !

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Advisor, Derby Management, experts in-
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Director, TEC-Tufts Entrepreneurship Center
Cummings Family Chair Professor of Entrepreneurship
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