The Storm, Checklists, Vermont...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, Feb 08, 2013

Sales Checklist-Snow shovel?  
   Check-all three shovels
   Check-tuned, gassed, extra gas in the cans
   3 full bags in the garage
   Ready to go.  Probably could power half of VT

     Think so, we'll see.
  On the hill with Tufts students conducting field research tomorrow.

-Sales calls today?

   Absolutely!  No one is going to be out of town.  Perfect day!

My family has lived in this 40 mile stretch of Vermont valley since the early 1700's, and they must have been a hardy lot to survive up here.  Cable, Internet, three computers, mobile devices everywhere plus 2 ATV BoyToys, my checklist is fully checked, and I'm ready.  On days like this, I always keep thinking back to my great-grandfather, Horace, who lived up the road a bit and what it must have been like with these big blows back in the mid-1860's. 

 Poultney Pizza House resized 600Across from Horace's house today is the Poultney Pizza House, where my favorite economist, Billy, works.  Billy has a unique and somewhat profane view of the solutions to the problems in Washington, but that's another blog.  

With today's storm, having Billy deliver a pizza across the street would be a phone call away.  Back in the day, for Horace when there was no electricity, no inside plumbing, no central heat, no nothin' except shoveling and tough sleddin', merely figuring out how to have enough food to get through a storm like this must have been tough at best and for his father, Jesse growing up, these probably were life and death decisions.


Since my checklist today is reasonably well completed, it's just sitting back now (been snowing lightly since 4:00 AM) in the calm before the storm waiting for the power to go out...and the Big Boy Generator fueled underground by a huge propane tank to click on.  It would be very comforting to have my sales calendar filled as completely as I'm prepared for the storm today with checklists that covered the balance of this quarter.

Sales checklistsChecklists are such simple, but critical sales tools.  The Checklist Manifesto is a solid read and describes how the healthcare system began to turn the corner a decade ago on the staph infection epidemic the steadily killed 100,000 people a year due to infections caught while the patient was in the hospital...for other problems.  Add to that number, roughly another 500,000 patients a year who developed lifelong chronic health problems due to the same underlying issue-docs were not washing their hands.

In the world of Sales, we should all be using these simple checklists that drop down automatically as tabs in our CRM systems as we move through our process steps at the points when we Qualify, when we do Discovery, when we complete Proposals, and before we go in for the Close.  Four simple steps, four simple checklists all focused to closing deals quicker, more efficiently for us and more effectively for our customers.   And yet, why do way too many salespeople not use checklists? 

Checklists?  Why would I need a checklist?  I know what to do!
Checklists?  I've been selling for 10 plus years; I don't need reminders of what to ask!
Checklists?  I'm a pro!  Checklists are for the new guys.

These are the same bozo replies that I continue to hear from over-the-hill salesguys.  Even though docs, pilots, auto mechanics and professional athletes have learned that their performance increases 100% by merely going through the mechanics of completing a few checklists, it continues to amaze me why some salespeople seem to believe that they're smarter than everyone else. 

Most probably, these will be the same people hanging out in the cold today with a broken plastic shovel waiting for the tow truck to pull their car with no snow tires out of the ditch when they were trying to back out of their driveway so that they could get to the (now empty and closed) stores to buy milk, bread, a couple of cookies and beer.

Enjoy the storm.  Be careful and most importantly be prepared!

Welcome to 2013...and Good Selling! 
   -January was a real solid month, February's shaping up.
   -Remember:  Q1 always sets the tone, pace & success for the year

Jack Derby 


Head Coach
Linked In and Sales

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Not have formal checklists


Tags: sales productivity, sales coaching, Sales Optimization, sales, sales management effectiveness, sales plan process, sales effectiveness, sales enablement, sales management training, sales checklists