Jack's 3 Rules to his Students

Tufts and Christmas 2015-1Always an interesting time of year in my balancing time between Derby Management customers, Tufts students and this week's final exams, and our portfolio companies.  The simple solution is to sleep less since I've never been convinced that we need all of those hours anyway. [apologies if this recent WSJ article only opens to subscribers]. 

Bottom line:
-get less sleep
-work on the weekends

-only 10 more selling days!

Real Life Marketing at Tufts

Tufts 105 fall 2023 Team Treezee13 weeks later, 7 project teams of 5-6 students are this week making 2 hour presentations and delivering 50-100 pages of detailed marketing plans to the management of their companies. Here we have Team Treezee just having delivered a detailed marketing plan requiring hundreds of hours of work, interviews ranging from users to lawyers to state commissioners coupled with the complexities and the brilliance of of founder entrepreneurs. 

With one more presentation to go this morning at 10:00, it's going to be a long weekend of reviewing, grading and figuring out how possibly I can conform to the university's rules on grade distribution curves.  In reality to get through the grading process, I personally apply the third rule of my "3 Rules of Jack", which I go through during the last 20 minutes of our last class before the final presentations.    

As detailed as is this course in all of its technical aspects of Inbound & Outbound Marketing, pricing, HubSpot certifications, financial ratios, persona creations, value propositions, KPIs and more, it is also very focused on our theme of "The Marketing of Me" as to what it takes for these students to foster connections and find great jobs that they love.

Rule #1:   Always Stay Connected!

We teach this as a tactic in the science of using social media and specifically Linked In.  Wednesday, I was watching one of the teams present their final presentations to the CEO and the VP of Sales of their project company which included the analysis of their primary research.  The very experienced head of sales asked how she was able to get to the CEO of a particular company, when in fact he had never been able to get to that person even after repeated attempts.  Her response was "I simply used my Tufts connections".  

My rule, which we hone to a cutting edge in the course, is not to just connect.  It is to consistently inform, to excite, to educate as a trusted source of expertise...and sometimes just to make that person laugh.  For me in my courses and for all of us in the professions of Sales, we need to constantly work at staying connected and then work that much harder to continue to be relevant and of specific value to those connections.  A critical Marketing and Sales rule here is not to just connect, but to stay connected and openly and consistently provide value wherever we can.  That's the true essence of a Value Proposition, one of the most critical tools we teach.  

What I do know as a result of 20 years of these courses is that if the student focuses on this simple rule and pushes me and others like me who have lots of connections, I can pretty much guarantee that together that student and I can kick open a few doors for interviews for the best jobs.

Rule #2:   never stop learning!

65% of my current seniors will go on to achieve some type of advanced degrees.  Among my more than 1,200 personal alums, i have physicians, lawyers, PhDs, CEOs, 100s of VPs, finance professionals, more than a few farmers including a celebrity influencer, one TV news anchor and everything else imaginable. In almost all these connections, these individuals have pushed themselves to learn more.  Many have Masters degrees with a solid number of PhDs, lawyers and certified financial advisors.  More than a few worked full time while attending graduate schools like Babson, BC and NYU full time.  Add to those the countless others who pushed themselves through the rigors of part time degrees with seemingly endless summers of studying.  Then I have hundreds of others who have taken formal part time courses to hone their skills learning to become professional cooks, musicians, sommeliers, life coaches, arborists and everything one can possibly imagine... including one professional witch.  Yes, there is such a thing.

Tufts fall 2023 Never ClogThe critical point behind this rule is that for all of us...not just my students...we need to push ourselves to learn more and to stretch beyond what's considered to be "normal" or "standard". This picture is from one of the student teams working on the startup, NeverClog, which was started by Geoffrey Grumbach, one of my alums four years ago, who won numbers of our business plan competitions. 

The marketing work, which was completed in just 13 weeks, required a very fast pace of learning outside the classroom.  The delivered marketing plan was professional, excellent in its depth and immediately impactful to the objective of growing revenue in the short term of 2024.  And, all of this with a team of just four students.

Neither my students nor I...nor you...want to be thought of as "normal", especially given that we are in the professions of Sales and Marketing where everything is changing at a pace we've never experienced before.  And with generative AI now actively being used in my classrooms and in most of our companies, that pace of change for Marketing tactics and sales productivity is exploding at rates of 100% every quarter.  

Rule #3:  Break Some Rules!

Stand out!  Stretch beyond what's normal even if it means breaking a few rules...just not the big ones! 

Take the initiative to not just propose change, but to actually implement that change.

  • Break the rules and start a side hustle as an entrepreneur!  You are never too old to do this!
  • Challenge senseless corporate rules that slow you down and simply ask "Why are we doing this?
  • Always focus first on a positive customer experience no matter what the cost!

So that's it!  

Just 3 simple rules this Friday morning, and this is how I always wrap up every semester!  My students have not only changed my life in terms of creating more personal energy, enhancing my curiousity and pushing me to constantly learn more, they have also enriched my connections 1000% both at Tufts and everywhere else.  

Have a great day selling today and a great weekend!   We will get in a blog or two before the holidays even if it is just to wish everyone a wonderful, warm and safe Happy Hanukkah and a joyful Merry Christmas!



Planning 2023-1Check out our updated sales productivity site page.  Just page down to get our 2023 edition of 
Writing the Winning Sales Plan for 2023. Or you can just email me, and I'll send you a free copy.  I'm now into five weekends of updating this for 2024, so if you have ideas or just want to write content, let me know. 


Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts.





Tags: Sales Best Practices, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans