Lifeguards, Marketing Interns...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Wed, Jul 10, 2013

Sales Best PracticesJack McAvoy, Lifeguard & Rock-Solid Marketing Guy!

A senior marketing executive at Parametric Technology, Jack and I met a few years ago out of our common love of caring for the beach.  Jack's been the senior lifeguard in Wallis Sands for a long time and is as passionate about taking care of this beach (Rated in the Top 5 cleanest beaches in the U.S. ) and its visitors as he is about the practice of marketing in the rapidly changing ecosystem of 2013. 

Since I'm always on the hunt to connect my best Tufts students with exciting intern opportunities and full time jobs, Jack approached me in the spring and is now matched with David, a rising Tufts senior.  The relationship seems to be working out well, and one of the reasons why that is, was that Jack, in addition to defining David's work objectives at the outset, provided him with an outline of his "Intern Rules of the Road", which I just thought was outstanding.  Clear, concise, up front and personal and something that I've already sent to all of my other 18 summer interns. It reads somewhat like "The Best Practices of Interning"

The Lifeguard's Rules:

The purpose of this short note to you, in addition to congratulating you becoming an intern for us, is to set some ground rules and expectations.  By way of introduction, I’m brutally upfront, transparent, and honest.  Those characteristics, by the way, make for a good mentor and boss.  Here goes: 

  • Work hard.  Put in an honest, productive day.  I’m particularly fond of employees who give more than they get/take.  BTW, I have an old saying that goes like this:  If you’re early, you’re on time.  If you’re on time, you’re late.  And if you’re late…..well, we don’t want to go there. 
  • Think big.  You will be asked, simply because you’re an intern status, to do grunt work.  Despite that, I want you to think about how your task fits into the bigger department/corporate picture – and why that task is important to us all.  And if you don’t know, ask!
  • Recommend.  Do the grunt work – but more.  I’m hiring you because you can think.  So, in the context of your work, if something doesn’t seem right, make recommendations.  That’s why you’re here.  To help us.
  • Learn.  Keep track of what you do and how you develop skills.  This can serve as material for your resume.
  • Act, look, and speak professionally.  Not only for your own self-image, but for the sake of our department.
  • Prepare.  Never come into a meeting with me or anyone else without a notebook and pen.  Leave every meeting with notes and an action plan.
  • Summarize.  In written and presentation form what you learned.  If Professor Derby doesn’t require this, I’d like a one-page paper, and a 10-minute presentation at the end of your internship on what you accomplished.  In addition, I want your resume and LinkedIn profile updated at the end of this experience.


Basic Sales Best Practices


Sales best practicesAs Jack and I were talking on the beach during this past busy week of the 4th, he commented that once you strip away all of the technical components of Marketing and Sales, the data collection, the analytics, the social media and the integrated CRM and CMS systems, so much of what we do as Sales and Marketing people comes down to paying attention to the basics and the best practices of the profession.

Jack's words of "sometimes we get too full of ourselves and too often forget the basics" rang true for me as we talked last week.  We too often get caught up in "everything else" and forget a few of the Best Practices of Sales & Marketing such as...

  • You need to openly and proactively listen to your customers
  • Just simply ask prospects what they want out of an engagement
  • Understand that neither Sales nor Marketing is an 8-5 job
  • You want more responsibility, volunteer for more assignments
  • Don't just take notes in meeting, but study them
  • You're never Sales-experienced enough
  • ...and countless other basics

So as we now jump deep into High Summer and Q3, think through what you personally could do to improve not only your own basic selling and sales management skills, (When's the last time you read a sales management book?), but also the basic sales skills of your team (When's the last time you brought in a negotiation instructor or a social media leads consultant for a one day program?).  

This weekend, write down three actions you're going to take by Labor Day to improve your own basic skills and then create an action plan to just do it.  Three too many?  Ok, then start with one, but take the step now to polishing one of your own basic skills.

Hope you had a great 4th. Now let's get out there and sell some stuff! Jack Derby 


Head Coach
Linked In and Sales

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During our upcoming 2013 Sales Management Boot Camp, we'll talk about the basics of Sales Management, but, most importantly, we will drive down into the details of Sales Enablement along with other strategies, tools such as Value Propositions and a wide variety of other tactics.  Plus this is a unique opportunity to meet others just like you from a wide variety of industries in an exciting, engaging, and exhausting work environment. 

Late Sunday afternoon, October 6th through Tuesday afternoon, October 8th at the MIT Endicott House.

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1.  How can I improve my own effectiveness as a manager?
2.  How can I enable my salespeople to produce more effectively?

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Just email Jack at to set up a 10 minute call to answer any questions that you might have. 



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