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What’s Your Funniest Sales Story Ever?

Posted by Tony Cole on Mon, Nov 12, 2018

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I'm heading to a sales training session about 12 years ago.  It's a client in downtown Cincinnati and I've been working with them for two years.  They know me as a high energy, enthusiastic and entertaining sales trainer.  In other words, I stand up, I move around, I'm engaged, I role play, we learn a lot and people make more sales.

I'm running late this one particular day, so I grab a chocolate chip bran muffin (These are the best bran muffins made in the world and they are made by my wife, Linda.) and a bottle of Gatorade then off I go.  It is early, about 6:45, and it is dark, mid-January.

As I am driving and eating, I sense that something has fallen from my muffin onto my lap or more accurately under the crotch of my pants.  My best hope is that it is a piece of the bran muffin.  My worst fear is that it is a chocolate chip.

I get to the office early. Thank goodness no one else is there yet, and so I sprint to the men's room only to discover my worst fear.  As I turn around and look at my "disaster khakis" (They are called this because it seems that I always come home wearing some food on them somewhere), there in exactly the right spot on the back of my pants is a notable brown spot that will easily be seen by anyone behind me.

I get to the training room, set up my flip chart with my notes, the white board with further information and then firmly plant myself in the chair at the head of the conference table and I do not move again for the next 3 hours.

Now, I don't know what the participants thought.  Surely they had to find this strange as I never sit down during a session.  Certainly, I was polite as I shook hands with them as they left.  Then and only then did I find a way out of the office with my spot undiscovered by any of my participants. I immediately go home and rid myself of the disaster khakis once and for all.

So, what is YOUR funniest sales story ever?  We know that you have one!  What we're looking for here is a little fun over the next several weeks.  We would love for you to share with all those that view this blog your funniest or most embarrassing sales moment, sales call or selling situation.  After 30 days, we will announce a winner for this years' "Funniest Sales Story".

Come one, come all, let's have some fun.  As a matter of fact, I will call on our CMO, Jeni Wehrmeyer, to share her story.  It may be one of the funniest of all!

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Topics: sales people, sales techniques, training sales, inspirational, sales problems

Hiring The Right People Improves Sales Success

Posted by Tony Cole on Fri, Nov 11, 2011

There is a saying in sports; “You can lose with great people but you cannot win without them.”  This theory applies to business, and winning in business starts with a winning sales team.  

Let’s return to the sports application first.  Theo Epstein was the general manager for the Boston Red Sox.  The Chicago Cubs hired him away from the Red Sox and his first item of business to address is the hiring of a new manager for the club.  

Below is an excerpt of a recent article about the process he is going through to get the right person for the job.  Earlier in the week, he had made it clear that one of most important criteria for the job was that the candidate MUST HAVE major league managerial or coaching experience.

One media person inquired what type of attributes Epstein is looking for in a manager.

"In the real world, it's hard to find a candidate that has everything you're looking for," Epstein said. "What you do is you weigh your variables and make your sacrifices where you have to. Often times, if you're going to take a candidate without previous managerial experience, even at the minor league level, he has to represent real upside in other areas. In that case, you have to do even more due diligence than you normally would because you're projecting him into that role."

One of the talked about candidates early in the selection process was Ryne Sandberg.  Below is his stellar baseball resume. 

Ryne Dee Sandberg (Ryno)

Positions: Second Baseman and Third Baseman 
Bats: Right, Throws: Right 
Height: 6' 1", Weight: 175 lb.
Born: September 181959 in Spokane, WA (Age 52) 
High School: North Central (Spokane, WA)
Drafted
 by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 20th round of the 1978 amateur draft.
Signed June 15, 1978. (All Transactions)
Debut: September 2, 1981 
Teams (by GP): Cubs/Phillies 1981-1997
Final Game: September 28, 1997 
Inducted into the Hall of Fame by BBWAA as Player in 2005 (393/516 ballots).

I won't list his stats - induction into the baseball players Hall of Fame speaks for itself.  The one thing that is missing is managerial or coaching experience at the major league level.  He was never interviewed for the position. 

The point here is that Epstein had a profile for the position and he stuck with it, regardless of the star qualities of Sandberg. 

The lessons in this story for senior sales executives include:

  • You must know exactly what qualities the candidate must have
  • You must communicate this to likely candidates
  • You must not be swayed by other experience "outside" your profile
  • You can consider other experience but consider the downside
  • You must be prepared for a "project" if you hire outside your profile

Finding the exact right candidate is a long shot no matter what the position.  As Epstein points out, you have to weigh all the information and consider what you are willing to sacrifice.  As you prepare to "upgrade your sales staff", follow these steps for Sales Talent Acquisition and improve your probability for success:

  1. Build a profile for the IDEAL Candidate
  2. Communicate that profile to "attract" the right candidate (in ads, etc)
  3. Screen (assess) the candidate before interviewing the candidate
  4. Create screening and interviewing processes that simulate the environment in which the candidate will have to perform
  5. Make the candidate sell you, DO NOT sell the candidate on the position
  6. Have a detailed communication process in place so that once hired, the candidate knows "exactly" what the objectives and expectations are.
  7. Have a very tight and detailed on - boarding process that ALL candidates go through regardless of their experience.
  8. Inspect what you expect for the first 180 days of their employment

Following these steps will improve your probability for recruiting and sales success.  To help you begin, try this Free 3 Day Express Screen Trial (select the "Sales Candidate" option).

                                   Sales Screen Trial

Topics: hiring sales people, sales talent acquisition, improving sales, sales people, sales candidates, sales assessments

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    About our Blog

    Anthony Cole Training Group has been working with financial firms for close to 30 years helping them become more effective in their markets and closing their sales opportunity gap.  ACTG has mastered the art of using science-based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss our weekly sales management blog insights from our team of expert contributors.

     

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