Winhall VT, the New York Times & a world of change

I heard from many of our blog subscribers about last week's NYT article on my tiny Vermont town of Winhall. [The Virus Sent Droves to a Small Town. Suddenly, It’s Not So Small. ]

- A very human and objectively correct article

- Filled with real facts about the boom in real estate 

- Yes, Scott, a very good friend, is  "One Cranky Dude"

- Yes, lots of change...all very healthy change for VT. 

Scott Bushee, a solid 6th generation Vermonter, is the supervisor of Winhall’s transfer station (do not use the phrase "town dump" around Scott), spent the summer training all of the newcomers in recycling. “The minute you come through that gate, you’re in Scott’s country,” he said. “I’m the dictator here.”  Scott is also the Town Moderator. and he runs the annual town meetings with the same level of practical, no-nonsense, direct-talk that he does everywhere...including his FB posts. We could have used him the other night as the moderator of the most embarrassing management debacle ever.  

Scott's a 6th generation Vermonter, just like me, and I could hear his Vermont accent when I read in The Times...“Now you’ve got to deal with Vermonters,” he said. “They will tell you straight up. I try to do it as politely as I can, but if you push the envelope, things are going to go sideways because right now the closest word I can tell you is it's sheer pandemonium.”

I'm in Winhall this morning, where it's a balmy 50 out by the barn, and what I've seen during the summa' because of the emigration out of NY and CT is that...

  • there are zero houses for sale other than the worst teardowns and even those have bids
  • Mike, my broker for my "extra five acres" of land up on the ridge is getting lots of calls
  • the post office ran out of available P.O. boxes in mid-June.
  • electricians and plumbers are booked until Christmas.
  • a simple pane of glass for the window broken by my lawn guys took 8 weeks to replace
  • complaints about bears have quadrupled.  

All of which represents change, and from my perspective, very healthy change in a town and in a state that has been eroding for years.  Yes, Vermont is very picturesque, and yes, that smell of fresh cut hay in early July and the perfect photo of fall leaves taken out by the dairy farm is all very wonderful, but the harsh reality of the real Vermont is that it's a tough place to live, and an even tougher place to find good jobs.

  • Drive 10 miles out of the ski towns, and you're in rural America with a declining population
  • Other than retail, and those jobs are now disappearing, real, good-wage jobs are non-existent
  • Drug addiction has been declared an epidemic by two governors with no sign of abatement
  • Energy costs are the highest in the US save for Hawaii 
  • Don't get me started on senators Leahy & Sanders, neither of whom do much for VT.

Bottom line of any small town and of any small business, new people bring new ideas and vitality.  New ideas create new businesses and new jobs.  New jobs bring money and the flywheel keeps turning.  

With new families moving into the town doubling the size of the local school population (which had been declining for a decade plus) and bringing new ideas, new energy and new dollars into a fragile economy, this change in Winhall is very positive creating a new sense of vitality and experimentation that comes only from new young families.  

“It’s hard to know who is living in what house,” said Ms. Elanor Grant, 50, who is also Winhall’s treasurer, registrar of deeds, tax collector and presiding officer of elections. 

She is also the ex-wife of Mr. Bushee. It is an amicable divorce; recently, when a wasp became lodged in his ear canal, she rushed over to his house with tweezers.

...only in Vermont!

 


Embrace the Opportunity 

Absolutely, the chaos created as a result of Covid has been and continues to be a disaster.  We know what to do to protect ourselves, our families and our employees, and we're also fact-based enough to know that this problem will continue deep into 2021. The harsh reality of the virus was brought to the forefront in the early hours of this morning with the announcement of the president and first lady testing positive.  

We're facing a long winter ahead, and from the perspective of our own businesses, we now need to focus on what we can control and bring our positive energy, our expertise and our innovation to the forefront of what we are doing every day for the balance of this new quarter.

Winhall is never "going back" and neither will the professions of Sales & Marketing 

  • Many of the age-old tactics of Sales & Marketing have been out of touch with customers and prospects for years.  In B2B tech sales we've known for years that 70ish% of prospective buyers have reported that their first meeting (both phone calls and F2F meeting) with a salesperson was a waste of time, and that they would never take another call or meeting.  And yet salespeople have continued to relentlessly batter down the doors with more and more blind emails and cold calls that make a used-car salesperson look good by comparison.  
  • Sales & Marketing success today is all about demonstrating customer value.  Unless our sales and marketing messaging and outreach tools can demonstrate fundamental financial value to both prospects and customers, we're just an unnecessary interruption in an environment where no one anymore has any extra time or desire to listen to yet another empty statement which is focused on the seller's table and not the buyer's.
  • Live trade shows are gone forever.  We've been trying to kill this antiquated time-sink of energy and money for decades, and the stats have told us for all of those decades that the cost per lead was 10X the cost of any other form of marketing, but we've continued to play the trade show game.  Maybe it was because we were afraid what our competitors would say when we didn't show up, or that we often used that same time for training our salespeople since they all felt that they needed to be in the booth.  Very simply, no one is going back to live trade shows ever!  Virtual trade shows and conferences, sure, but physical meetings?  Who would take that life and death risk?  Remember that the infections from the Biogen conference in Massachusetts in February started from just one person and has now been traced to over 20,000 direct infections.

Like Scott Bushee and Eleanor Grant and the 769 residents of Winhall, embrace the change, figure out the new opportunities that this time provides and experiment with new marketing and sales tactics during the next 60 days as you now turn your attention to closing Q4 and the year ahead of plan...still plenty of time to do that! 

I'm headed out to the general store for a breakfast sandwich before my 9:00 AM sales meeting this morning !  


 

Have a great day selling today as we push forward into embracing the changes of this fall and Q4

CONFIDENTIAL SOUNDING BOARD

If at any time, you have a need for a confidential sounding board in business planning or for Sales or Marketing, just connect with me at any time.  Text or email me, and I will quickly set up a call. 

I'm a pretty good listener.  Obviously, no cost for a call or two; just an opportunity to listen intently and make a few recommendations based on decades of experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tags: sales and marketing best practices, sales management effectiveness, business planning, Sales Leadership in the Revolution, entrepreneurship, how to write a sales plan, sales effectivness

The marketing of me...and you

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Tue, Sep 15, 2020

I've been a student of marketing now for decades.  I teach it, I practice it, I study it, and I always seem to be running fast just to keep up...which is exactly why marketing is so exciting today.  So that I never overthink the subject, the profession or its complexities, I always come back to the simplicity of Regis McKenna's iconic February, 1991 HBR article, "Marketing is Everything", which still rings true today...maybe even more so today...as I re-read this morning just one paragraph from the article.

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Tags: sales management effectiveness, sales effectiveness, marketing productivity, how to write a business plan, how to write a sales plan, marketing planning

Transitions & Next Chapters...Great time of year to make changes!

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, Dec 06, 2019

 

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Tags: sales management effectiveness, Making Tough Choices, jack derby professor at Tufts, sales management productivity, Tufts Entrepreneurship, 2020 business plans

Jack's 3 Rules for my grads, for Sales & for me

13 Weeks Later @ Tufts

  • I start looking for new sales & marketing projects on 10/01 and 5/1
  • The syllabus w/projects are sent out on 12/26 and 07/05
  • 6 marketing & 4 sales projects for 2 very oversold courses
  • 1 week later, the newbies need to tell me which project and why
  • Bios are circulated to me and teams of 5-6 are formed
  • Reading and research begins 30-45 days before class begins
  • 13 weeks later, complete plans are presented to management

On the last day of the course in the last 15 minutes, I talk about, 'Jack's 3 Rules'

Rule # 1:  Connections are Forever

Make all the connections that you possibly can.  Cherish them.  Treat each of them with extraordinary care.  Store them, use them and communicate to them all of the time in LinkedIn, Twitter, FB and Insta.  Never let those connections go stale and unused!

This week, I met with David K. in my office at Tufts.  Haven't seen David, a brilliant product/market genius, president-level guy in 15 years since we sold EarCheck, a wonderful startup, founded by Sandra Kimball, where I was CEO and Dave was a critical part of our success.  David's daughter is now at Tufts, and he found me when I made some recent noise at Tufts...which I often do, so he stopped by to chat.

Dave and I played the "whatever happened to..." game for 15 minutes, and he mentioned a critical person on our EarCheck team.  While Dave was sitting there, I looked up that person on LI, and we talked about how important our success was due to that person.

Two hours later, I was talking to one of my seniors about a potential job.  She mentioned the company, which seemed very familiar, and then I realized that the familiarity was because I had just pinged the company two hours before when David and I were reminiscing about "whatever happened to?".  My student now has an interview next week with that long lost person, who is the president of that company.

In life, in business, in love and in family, cherish your connections!

Rule # 2: Learning is Consistently Continuous


Each semester-now 20 years at MIT and 10 at Tufts-I realize just how much I don't know. 
At the end of every semester, I tell my students that everything which had been learned over the prior 13 weeks, is on that last day, obsolete.

Whether you're 21 or 33 (the age now of my oldest Tufts alums) or 43 or 53, to be in business at any level, I believe that you must consistently push yourself to learn more, to study more, and to test yourself all of the time. 

I read a book a week, and in the summer often two.  I'm fascinated by the intersection of technology in Healthcare and in Sales and Marketing, and I like nothing more than exploring new apps and platforms. 
My Summer Beach Bag is filling up quickly, and below you will find two new MUST READS if you want to push your own world of Sales & Marketing.

Summer reading

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Tags: marketing projects, sales management effectiveness, Tufts marketing projects, student intern marketing projects, how to write a marketing plan, jack derby professor at Tufts, sales plans for 2018, Tufts Entrepreneurship

"Big Hat, No Cattle"...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Sat, Feb 25, 2017

I've found that there are two types of managers who work in our profession of Sales...

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Tags: Sales Management Best Practices, sales management, sales management effectiveness

Eat Your Broccoli...and Drive Your Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Sat, Jan 28, 2017

Broccoli !

The high-antioxidant, nutrient-rich, heart-healthy poster child of new age eating, or the scourge of every child and teenager who has heard the battle cry of “You have to eat your broccoli” ?

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Tags: sales productivity, Sales Optimization, sales management effectiveness, sales effectiveness, sales enablement

You Need to be Direct in Sales! Straight Talk Always Wins!

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Tue, Sep 06, 2016

Walt Garrison, who was a legendary football player at Oklahoma State and the Dallas Cowboys, often provided this quote when speaking about delivering straight talk...

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Tags: sales productivity, sales management effectiveness, sales management coach, sales jobs, sales management boot camp

Streets, Not States...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, Apr 24, 2015

Every morning, I leave the beach very early and make the one hour trek into Boston so that I'm able to be at the club when it opens for my daily workout . Good to start the day off with a bit of structure, plus the drive gives me the opportunity to think through the day while listening to Bloomberg News from London.  For the last couple of days, a good portion of those news stories have been about the massive Greek debt problem which everyone, except the Greek government, seems to understand.  Pretty simple problem to understand-less than 50% of the population doesn't pay any taxes.  All I know is that this problem, created by a second-rate country 10,000 miles away, has had a negative effect on everyone's stock portfolio and is a speeding train wreck headed for the cliff.

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Tags: sales productivity, Sales Optimization, sales management effectiveness, sales management coach, sales planning, sales management training, sales plans, sales management boot camp

Better to be Lucky than Good...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Thu, Apr 16, 2015

Most mornings when I'm getting ready for the day at the gym after working out, I find myself shaving in the sink area near Dr. Steve, a world-renowned surgeon. Over the years, I've gotten to know him very well, and recently he's been a wonderful sounding board for me as I maneuvered my way through the maze of hospital procedures, protocols and processes.

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Tags: Sales Optimization, Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, sales management effectiveness, sales effectiveness, sales enablement, sales management training, sales optomization, sales jobs, sales management boot camp

Getting Back to Basics...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Tue, Apr 07, 2015

One of my best friends, Carolyn, decided to make a mid-life career change recently and enter the world of selling commercial and residential real estate in Vermont.  A tough job with lots of competition plus the vagaries of working in a seasonal resort. 

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Tags: sales productivity, Sales Optimization, sales management effectiveness, selling, sales management training, selling skills, Sales quota, sales training, sales plans, sales management boot camps