If Ringo Starr had crooned “I get by with the helpful help from my helpful friends” instead of the actual lyrics featuring far less variations of the root word ‘help’, would the song have had the same historical impact? Doubtful. Without mentioning any names, I read a blog post I found via Twitter recently that read much like the purposely sophomoric title of this blog post. While I understood the gist of what the author was trying to convey, it was very poorly written and made me shake my head in disbelief. Here was a writer who, after further research, apparently is a well-known speaker and sales guru. Huh? With grammar skills such as this “expert” had, I wouldn’t pay for him to write my name on a corporate Christmas card. But the article did get me thinking: When does being a helpful salesperson become hurtful, and when does being a sales-first salesperson become a detriment? Can you be both helpful AND a salesperson in equal amounts, or does one have to be predominantly one or the other? Is it, as a KIA commercial posits, this or that? Being helpful IS a good attribute to have, especially in sales. You won’t get far in our industry, much less in life, without lending a hand here and there. But when does help become too much help? Simple. When it doesn’t result in a sale. Too often I hear of salespeople who, in their earnest quest to nail a deal down, become TOO helpful and actually discourage the customer from signing the dotted line. How? You’ve transformed yourself from salesperson to guidance counselor. While it’s nice (and advisable) to make the customer feel they can turn to you for advice and assistance, keep the level of conversation at that. Guide them toward the SALE, not toward a path that leads to seeing their dreams fulfilled elsewhere. The converse of this is the relentless salesperson, the individual who, like a shark sensing blood in the water, will pursue the kill to the last fish swimming. An aggressive sales approach IS good; too much aggression is a put off to others. With too much emphasis on the persistent aspect of sales, you risk sending clients to shallower depths. So how does one find the point of equilibrium, the yin and the yang confluence? The answer has as many possibilities as a soap opera has plotlines. Unlike hamsters selling cars, you don’t have to settle for this or for that. You can have both, but it has to come from you. You can get a general sense from a textbook or a seminar but ultimately, you have to find your own balance of help versus let’s-get-this-deal-done. And THAT, my friend, is where it’s at.
Archives for August 2013
Today is marked by the single best decision that I ever made. On August 8, 1999 I married Jessica. I married my best friend. And I married way out of my league.
I’m still baffled by this too. After so many bonehead moves, how did this happen? It was divine intervention! It was a grace like no other. And it was the beginning of something miraculous. I’m a risk taker. I’m anti-social. I’m arrogant and cocky. I’m an asshole. And I know that I’m a lucky bastard.
Jessica is loving, kind, generous and vibrant. Her smile lights up a room. Everytime. She teaches me daily how fragile women can be and the vital role that a dad plays in a girls life. She’s also a bulldog. Jessica challenges me often. She asks questions and digs in. As a corporate executive, I’m not used to that!
Jessica believed in me when no one else did. She cared when no else cared. And she always knew my potential before anyone else cared to even imagine. See, I had no examples of healthy relationships growing up and didn’t know how to recognize one in adult hood. Jessica has been patient enough to help me understand healthy relationships are possible and that marriages can last. Happily.
Happy 14th anniversary to Jessica Kolb. And God Bless Her Crazy Heart. (LISTEN BELOW)
Have you ever had one of those magical days when everything is right in the world? You know, one of those days where traffic is light, someone has brought breakfast for the office, and every song on the radio is one of your favorites? I’m having one of those days today, where my mind is running on all cylinders and I am on fire with optimism. I’m flying high and crushing it, and life is good!
But my life wasn’t always a ball of energetic awesome. There was a time in my past where my thinking was counter-productive, where thinking I wasn’t doing anything right was as natural as putting on my shoes in the morning. I wasn’t “crushing.” I was crashing.
What changed? EVERYTHING. I was, as people say, sick and tired of being sick and tired. I decided to change my thought process. Thinking I was doing all the wrong things was producing the desired result (a sense of failure) whether I was consciously aiming for that outcome or not. I thought: If my internal dialogue went from “Poor me” to “Let’s light this fire!”, surely my results would follow suit. I adopted a new mantra, which I now feature on my website: If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.
No matter your lot in life, whether you are a janitor or royalty or a social heiress suckling at the teat of your grand daddy’s millions, YOU are the only one who can decide what it is that you want. And if you want it bad enough, you have to be willing to do something you’ve never done.
I still believe it is my duty to bust my hump harder than anyone else. I arrive at the office at 5:30 am so as to jump start my day with positive tips and pointers from successful people who eclipse my intelligence. I also bring a lunch to the office so that I don’t interrupt the flow of attending to the day’s tasks. I WANT success. I WANT personal and professional fulfillment. I take Jon Gordon’s second tip in his book Training Camp to heart: The best want it more. Gordon mentions that “the best not only do the things that others won’t do and invest the time others won’t invest, but they do so with passion and the intent to get better.” Sound familiar?
So yeah, today is kicking some major butt. Not because I slept well (I didn’t) or because of light traffic flow. Today is en fuego because I’ve spent years laying the groundwork and building a foundation for a building of awesomeness that is mine alone. Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to resume crushing the hell out of this day.