Jack's Vermont-Roots

Posted by Lynton Web Team on Fri, Oct 08, 2010

derby managementWith early morning temps now in the low 40s on the beach, my thoughts and heart are now being tugged back to Vermont, the birthplace of my father, my grandfather and three generations before him. It's where my wonderful son, Joshua, was born and still evidences his roots in everything from his email address to his passion of snowboarding. Interestingly enough, even though I've lived in Vermont-sometimes full time, sometimes as a weekender-over the past 40 years and even though five generations of Vermonters have gone before me, the dirty little secret is that since I was born on the south side of Chicago, I'll never be recognized as a true Vermonter by the boys on the bench down at the general store. Having said that, when asked by those same good ol' boys about my background, I merely talk about generations of Vermont ancestors and my son and leave out the part about my growing up in a first generation Polish neighborhood of meat cutters and steel workers.

The beach has been a great experiment this year. A superb summer of both new and old friends along with new explorations up and down the NH seacoast, but Labor Day (now a distant memory) not only dropped me suddenly into the immediate intensity of customers and work back at the firm in Boston, but it also resulted in my returning to Vermont last weekend for The Annual Fall Cut Down. A vital part of the rhythm of the seasons if one chooses to survive in Vermont.

Living in Vermont, even part time, always means preparing for the weather-either planting in the spring, or at this time of year, cutting down the acres of gardens, putting up the wood tent, cutting down dead trees in the woodlot and generally getting ready for the onslaught of winter.

Last weekend was no exception. Well prepared with a small army of muscled high school sons of friends of mine, we attacked the fields, gardens and woods with just enough force that by the end of an exhausting day, we actually managed to put a minor dent in the long list of "Winter Things to Do" hanging in the workshop. This coming weekend, which will be peak foliage in Southern Vermont, will find me towing the wood chipper into the back woodlot to attack the piles of branches left over from the "Annual-Pick-Up-Sticks" exercise created around my personal addiction that "A Clean Forest is a Happy Forest". By the end of the weekend, I should have accumulated just enough kindling to match the four cords of hardwood that Tom, The Wood Guy, will magically deliver and stack in the wood tent sometime in early November-just before the first heavy snow.

These little traditions of preparing for the winter are by now well embedded into my Vermont roots from doing this the right way most of the time, and also from those one or two winters when everything did not align in terms of my preparing and organizing far enough ahead. There was the fall that Mother Nature surprised us with 2 feet of snow in mid October snapping countless trees, still laden with fall leaves, like toothpicks leaving snow and ice on the ground until early April.

Where we live in the valley, hidden from the sun most of the winter, it snows pretty much every day or so from mid November through March. Snow frequently accumulates around the house in 5 foot plus drifts such that tunnels need to be shoveled out in front of the windows on the bottom floor all winter or otherwise, working in the office downstairs becomes claustrophobic with windows that merely are shrouded in impenetrable white. All the more reason for my getting organized on schedule and being totally ready for what becomes one of the busiest times of the year in Vermont.

Sounds pretty daunting, but it really isn't and given my love of and deep family roots in Vermont, it is what it is and merely needs to be scheduled and dealt with. No different than how any well organized sales professional or sales manager looks at Q4.

This period of October through December, encompassing both closing the year on plan while, at the same time, planning for 2011, can be either viewed as overwhelming and exhausting or attacked head on with a passion and a drive to not only win, but excel and surpass all of your personal Q4 objectives. It all depends how you're approaching the rest of this quarter.

Achieving success in Q4 is all about the personal planning that you commit to right now and execute over the next 57 (excludes 1 day next week, Thanksgiving + Black Friday, 2 days before Christmas) days. Not a lot of time and that schedule assumes that our prospects are just sitting around, on the same 57 days of our availability, just waiting for our calls and marketing campaigns and wanting to be sold. And, by the way, there's still that little fear-of-the-unknown economic overhang black clouding almost every market and every decision in that market.

Sure, a lot of work to do, but then all of us as sales professionals knew that this was the game that we were signing up for since selling is still the most exciting and more rewarding profession anywhere. Having been a player/coach in sales now for decades, it's my experience that the most successful sales managers and individual account hunters are those that are the best prepared and the most highly organized especially right now. It's an exciting time of year, and it can be extremely rewarding-as long as you're highly prepared.

Happy Q4, everyone, and, Good Selling!

Tags: The Competitive Edge, October