五月丁香花开网3rd Quarter budgets are due and I still don't have the right forstner bit!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Working out

Haven't blogged in a while.  Been busy.

I'm trying to get back in shape.  Key word: trying.  With my appetite, it's a daily struggle.  But, I'm 31, the weeks/years are going by faster, and I'm not getting any younger.  So, if I'm not in shape to face old age, I'm guessing it won't be pleasant.

So I go to the gym today (my 10th day in a row), and I really didn't feel like working out.  I was tired from staying up way too late the night before and from my son waking up at 10 of 6.  But, I dragged my butt on to the treadmill and started to go.  It wasn't pretty, but I logged 25 minutes, plus managed to life some weights.

The obvious lesson here is the hackneyed "no pain, no gain" that we've heard time and time again.  It can be used in any situation, especially sales.

But, I think the lesson I'd like to highlight is something different.  I've been working out for a grand total of 10 straight days - is it fair that I demand more from myself at this point? I'm going to say no.  I did what I could, I was there, and I put in what I could reasonably get done considering my physical condition at this point.

I'm saying the lesson here is know your limitations in sales.  If you're doing something that you're not used to doing (insert the first 6-12 months of a new job), then know your limitations, understanding that as you move through time, if you're diligent, you'll be more efficient and effective if you've been doing things on a regular, routine basis.

What I'm not saying is that you should not do something you're not used to doing.  BUT, if you're not used to doing it, know your limits.  My guess is that if you go way past your limit, you'll get sloppy (imagine me falling off a treadmill from exhaustion).

Anyway, food for thought.

I'm also working on some stuff in the shop.  Pictures to follow over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Running Man

In high school, I was on the track team.  I never intended to be on the track team, but another guy in school bet he was faster than me, so it was on.  Long story short, turns out he was better at the 200 meters, but I was a state champion in the 3200 meter relay. 

Running is an odd sport at it's core.  It's almost strictly an individual sport; sure, you can train on a team, or run on a relay, but it really comes down to you versus the clock.  During the actual event, you don't have time to think, and if you go along with someone else's dumb move, your race may not last too long (re: going out too fast during a race that isn't an all-out sprint).  You prepare all year/month/week/day for literally what is 2 minutes (or less for a really good 800 meter runner.  It's crazy.

So let's relate that to business.  There are obvious examples... try your hardest.  No Pain, No Gain.  Nothing is impossible.  Blah, blah, blah.

I've never been the kind of guy that goes for that.  I think it does help for motivation, but I'm the kind of guy that focuses on the process at it's core, and for running, that is: beating your PR.  That's the ultimate goal for any competitive runner (and that's almost any runner).  These runners train every day, stepping up their game with different training strategies.  You know, some days are the hard workout, some days are the recovery day before race day, and there are plenty of days in between.  But, they all lead up to race day.

Sales is the same way.  The parallels are eerily familiar.  Race day: the day you finally close.  During the close, you hope you've prepared enough to succeed.  You've had hard workouts - days where you're pounding the phones, doing the hard stuff to really set you up for success.  You've had the recovery days - days where the mundane rules, you're not really on the horn, but you're doing things to further your sales success.

The moral of the story is: if you're doing sales the right way, each part of the process is valuable.  Hard workouts are necessary, but so are the easy ones.  Always prepare for race day. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Marcellus Shale Pipeline of Sales

This morning I attended a seminar on the Marcellus Shale gas deposit and the impact it is having on landowners within PA and surrounding states.  Marcellus Shale is one of the biggest gas deposits in the world, if not the biggest, and presents many opportunities for those in Northern and Western PA, areas that have traditionally been very rural.  Right now, gas and oil companies are on a rampage in Tioga and Bradford counties, offering landowners thousands of dollars monthly for the rights to mine the valuable resource that lays a mile under the surface.

These gas and oil companies are in a rush because of the permits and subsequent lease agreements that hang on those leases; they cannot simply apply for the permit, sign a citizen or group of citizens to a lease agreement, and then sit on the right time to start drilling.  These companies need to show real progress within a certain amount of time that the permit is received, or they'll lose it and the deal falls apart, and therefore needs to be renegotiated, typically at higher market values.

Now, if you're me, you're asking yourself "What would hold these companies up from drilling?"  Answer: there's no pipeline running from rural, NE PA to the docks in Newark, NJ, for export to the world.  These companies can mine it all they want; without a pipeline, they have no way to actually SELL gas.

It's an interesting parallel to sales.  In sales, we all have a great product/service/solution to sell (if you don't, start looking for something you do think is great).  Your stuff is the best, and you're sure that what you're doing is of better quality and/or priced right compared to your competition.  You've done your homework, and now all you need is the pipeline.

The pipeline, in this example, is customers.  How are you going to build your pipeline?

Some gas companies offer a price most people can't refuse to run pipe right through their land.  Analogy: These are the competitors that sell on price, and build their pipeline on the backs of those that don't care about anything but the differential between you and your next highest competitor.

Then there are those gas companies that are charging a low price, but are willing to locate that pipe wherever you want.  They'll place it at the perimeter of your yard, landscape it nicely - heck, maybe they'll even bury the pipe so that you never even see it.  Analogy: These are the competitors that sell on total quality, and build their pipeline on the very few that have such strict guidelines that to meet them takes more time than is often necessary for the majority.

Finally, there are those gas companies that are willing to hear what you really want, take a look at your land and make recommendations on what they've done on past properties to offer the best solution for you.  Maybe it's swamp land, and you don't need all the bells and whistles.  Maybe it's a family estate where you are trying to preserve as much of the environment as you can.  Whatever that case may be, these gas companies are willing to offer the right solution and meet you where you are.  This is where the cream customers lie, because you are selling a solution, not a price, but at the same time you aren't gouging your competition on bells and whistles that they may not even need.

Having the right pipeline is crucial to sales - are you selling strictly on price and product, are you selling to those that want everything regardless of price, or are you focused on offering the right solution?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's been a while

It's been a while since I've blogged, and I can't say I've missed it all that much.  Since the last time I've written, I've moved from RI to PA, changed jobs, sold a house, lived at a chicken factory, bought a house, fixed that house, moved in.  3 weeks after me and my family moved in, here I am blogging.

Time to start writing substance.

During the move, I haven't had much time for woodworking, honestly.  I really enjoy doing projects on my JET lathe, particularly pens.  I've always had a great appreciation and admiration for a good pen.  I always though that the Rolls Royce of pens was a Mont Blanc.  Mont Blanc was always such a simple pen, but it had great balance in your hand, wonderful yet basic style, and it always wrote well, utilizing the german ceramic rollerball tips that have been the calling card of finer pens.

I loved pens so much that I've started getting into them, and I've been trying all types.  I'll post them in future blogs.

As far as sales goes, here's my current situation:

My firm isn't a "traditional agent" insurance firm.  We are innovators in the industry, focused on a solutions-based selling model rather than a products-based selling model.  It's really fulfilling, because instead of being a vendor of a product, the process really engages you with clients, and clients appreciate the process for the same reason.

I had a client that we initially engaged with, and they agreed to move with us through our process.  During the initial meeting, they even went as far as trashing their current agent.  I'm thinking, 'I'm in like Flynn'.  A few weeks later, they called me and said that they were thinking of merging a few subsidiary firms, and that at this time it was taking their time, leaving them far to busy to engage us in our process. 

Ordinarily, this would have been a complete stonewall.  But, I utilized this to pull in someone in my COI (Center of Influence) network that could potentially help them with the merger.  He specializes in M&A work, and is also a friend of the business owner, so he would be a trusted advisor.  I did this for a few reasons - 1) I was worried that the merger wouldn't happen,and I'd be back next year only to hear the same response, and 2) the client needs to be pushed.  We don't 'push' prospects through our process, but this is a client that has acknowledged that needs our help.

The lesson I'm learning right now?  A 'no' only means 'no' if that is the only answer they give you.  Other than that, there's always a way to continue engaging clients, even if it isn't going to deliver an instant payday.  There's lots of cliches for this, but I don't think I have to write them out.

More to come.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Storehouse; begin

The blogging world has always been an interesting one to me; my only experience at the point has been through our family blog and those of family and friends.It has proved to be a wonderful outlet for everyone (myself included) to see pictures and receive updates without bombarding everyone with a mass email or posting it on a larger social network for all to see.

The reason I'm starting this blog is to mesh my two life's odd ambitions - sales (real occupation) and carpentry (dream occupation).My hope here is that those that stumble across this blog will get a glimpse of my real life experiences in both realms, and also find a little advice on both topics.

First, on sales.I've been in sales basically my whole career, most recently in insurance.It has been a fulfilling and challenging career, and I think I've gotten enough experience at this point to share with the world each situation that I get into and the ways in which I navigate those situations.

Second, on woodworking.I've always enjoyed woodworking, from as large as putting an addition on my house to as small as furnishing my own pen on a mini lathe.Both have brought me great satisfaction, and I learn small things along the way.If I can impart even some of that knowledge on to others that are in similar situations, then the blog has been a success.

So, bookmark the page if this sounds interesting - I'll try to get at least a few updates a month.

Happy blogging!