...just plain ol' Vermont grit

vermont strongVermont is a tiny state with a very diverse grouping of residents.  I'm not talking here about the 13 "gold towns" inappropriately named by an infamous prior governor who overtaxed the flatlanders who came to VT to ski.  I'm also not talking about Burlington where 50% of the population lives. To know the real Vermont, one needs to get down into the dirt and understand their own grit and exceptionally hard work. 

When one takes a look at the stats, it almost defies logic of why the state even exists...except for grit.

  • At 659K people, Vermont is smaller than Greater Boston.
  • Billboards are illegal in the state as are buildings that are taller than 125'.
  • But there is Ben & Jerry's, 100+ covered bridges, and #1 state in maple syrup.
  • VT is one of the poorest states in the U.S. but also has one of the highest tax rates.
  • Vermont was originally founded as a separate country-not surprising to Bernie I'm sure.
...and, then of course, there are those seriously brutal winters that seem to last forever.    

Anyone who's been reading these blogs knows my love affair with Vermont with seven generations living in this same valley following the West River up from Brattleboro to Poultney, so I've often asked "What is it about Vermonters that's different?" and "Why do they stick around?".   

And the answer is "vermont GRIT"

Vermonters are no nonsense people!  They like simplicity! They don't tolerate clutter or things that get in their way between Point A and Point B!.  They are very direct, and they work very hard; it's just too bad that there are not many high paying jobs around, coupled with the fact that most industries leave the state due to the high tax rate, very high energy costs and the lack of available talent. Unfortunately, this cycle has been going on for years, and both the state and federal politicians have totally failed to move the needle upwards.

The Gazebo MoveMy own personal example of Vermont grit came last weekend during one of my two semi-annual "Big Clean Weekends" where a returning squad of 6 men and women in their 20's assemble to tackle the really tough jobs of cleaning out the spring and fall debris from the yards and gardens and making sure that the woodlots are "clean & tidy".  I just sold a piece of land up on the ridge and then found out that the property lines weren't exactly where they were supposed to be resulting in the need to move the 2,500-pound gazebo 100' to the east.  I gave the problem to the team, and the solution was both immediate and well-thought out.  Cut 4 similar trees into 8 logs, jack up one end of the gazebo, hook up the ATV, very carefully push and pull, and 11 revolutions and 90 minutes later, mission accomplished!   

Perfect Grit & positive attitudes! 

At the end of Saturday, after everyone left, I was reflecting on the success of the day, and realized...

  • No one complained about the tough and potentially dangerous work.
  • Everyone worked tightly together as a team looking out for one another. 
  • No one complained about anything-their jobs or politics or anything at all.
  • Their talk in general about their jobs, friends and the winter was overly positive. 
  • Not once did anyone swear, use inappropriate language or make rude jokes.
  • They figured out a solution together, they quickly executed, and then asked for more work.

As I sit here this AM on the last sales day of the month, I realize that this very human characteristic of grit and positive attitudes is also what separates the "good" salespeople from the "very good" salespeople from the "exceptional" salespeople.  I see it all of the time in the sales results of our customers and which salespeople consistently make quota and which consistently just make excuses. 

Tufts Sales & Marketing Projects for the fall:

This week, I've also seen evidence of true grit and exceptional skills resulting in extraordinary work on the part of my Tufts students during the final presentations of their marketing plans to the management of our seven project companies.  Just exceptional!!! It's going to be a very long and tough weekend of figuring out grades!  

If you are interested in becoming part of this very unique fall semester for either our Marketing course or our Science of Sales course, just connect with me, and I'll send you instructions and immediately schedule a call with you to answer questions.  

Have a great day selling today and bringing the month to a close...and a great weekend!

If you're interested in how to plan for a very impactful May and a dynamic end to the quarter, click HERE for our just updated Writing the Winning Sales Plan in 2021. 

Jack Derby, Professor & Sales Coach


If at any time, you have a need for a confidential sounding board for Sales or Marketing, just connect with me at any time.  www.derbymanagement.com 

Text or email me, and I'll quickly set up a call.  I'm a pretty good listener, and we can get deep into tactics if you want. 

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









Tags: sales coaching, sales plan process, sales management boot camp, how to close sales, Tufts marketing projects, student intern marketing projects, how to write a sales plan, sales effectivness, Tufts Entrepreneurship Center