Speed Networking at Corridor Nine

In case you don’t know, I attend and work several networking events every week. I’m proud to say that I’m welcome at several chambers from Massachusetts to Maine. I get invited to BNI meetings, private groups, breakfasts, coffees, after hours and the like. I attend business expos, trade shows, home shows, fairs, and even flower shows. There’s business everywhere.


Today, I was lucky enough to be at Corridor Nine Speed Networking event held at the Doubletree in Westboro. The entire experience was awesome. Breakfast was great. Service – excellent. Facilty – perfect. There were 250 business people in the room with one purpose. Taking care of business. And that’s what Corridor Nine is all about. There were 25 tables. Everybody in attendance got to tell there story to about 30 others and exchanged business cards with each of them. There was ample time before and after to start early or stay later to elaborate further. This was an absolutely FANTASTIC event and I’m sure that a lot of people are taking care of business right now instead of blogging about it. But I had to say, “Thank you.” to Barbara, Karen and Eileen for letting us play, but especially to Chris Tzellas who is constantly reaching for and pushing people to new levels of excellence. One more person, Jonas Goldenberg was an excellent MC. Kept the facilitators informed and in line. Kept the room moving and lively. Great job, Jonas.


One last thing, if you’re not a member of the Corridor Nine, you need to know that every expo, show, after hours, breakfast, or event like this one is always, always, always a resounding success. This morning, they were talking about taking care of business at several events in the next couple of months and having another Speed Networking Event in the fall. If you’re not a member, and/or you don’t know about these events, you need to contact Chris Tzellas ASAP. She will fill you in. She’ll sign you up. If you’re an old fashioned kind of person, her number is (508) 836-4444.


Pete Caputa blogged about his growth in sales skills, today. As I read, I started thinking about his company.

Remember the first time you went to Fenway Park. Some guy, way down front starts throwing his hands up in the air and jumping up and you ask yourself, “What’s that bozo doing?” Then you see a few more people around him doing the same thing. Then you look across to the bleachers, and there’s a bunch of people doing the same thing. Then you see most of the people around you stand up, throw their hands in the air, and cheer! and you watch it go around the park, jump over the Green monster and now everyone knows.

It’s the WAVE!

and now everyone in the park is intent on keeping that wave going until somebody down on the field gets a hit, strikes out, or otherwise reminds us why we’re there in the first place.

Pete is that “bozo” down front that gets the process started and his company provides the means to get everybody’s attention and keep the wave going.

Just my two cents.

The First 10 Seconds

I subscribe to a service that sends a catchy quote to my inbox every weekday. Sometimes they’re catchy enough to use in my signature for a while like “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” by Johann Goethe. Usually, I just read the quote and close the email. There’s usually some sort of a lesson that comes with the quote and today they talked about one of the biggest reasons that prospects hate salespeople (or service providers that need to sell to have projects).

I’m not going to elaborate on it. I’m not going to suggest that the process outlined in it is complete or exactly the way that I would do it. What I am suggesting is that you should read the article. Ask yourself the question, “Could this be me?” and get to my friends, ASAP!

Show Up and Be Ready

Woody Allen is credited with saying, “Seventy percent of success in life is showing up.” and quite honestly, it’s worked for me. I’ve been attending (not teaching) sales training for over 20 years. Sometimes I learn from the teacher. Sometimes I learn from the students, but I always learn. I believe that’s why I am the way that I am. My “Blogging” Mentor suggested that I should read other blogs and comment about them. So, combining the two pieces of advice, I came upon Doug’s blog and didn’t he (actually Mike Laffin) make a final point in the second to the last paragraph:

   “A final point was brought up by Mike Laffin of Serono, who reminded us all to remember that our
     own personal learning preferences can color our designs and we need to keep an open mind and
     focus on the learner.”

He’s talking about teaching, but how many times do we have to remember that it’s not about the salesperson, it’s about the prospect? You can never tell when or where you’re gonna get a sales lesson. So, just show up and be ready. Thanks, Doug (and Mike).


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Haircuts, Shaving, and Eating

I looked in the mirror this morning and did a double take. Did I need another haircut? Didn’t I just get one? When was that? Just before Mexico. When was that? OK, it’s time. That got me to thinking about some of the stuff that we have to do, over and over and over according a schedule that optimizes our performance. How often do you shave? Daily? How effective are you if you don’t eat 2,3,4 times a day? What if you didn’t inhale and exhale several times a minute?

Then I started thinking externally. Do the dishes after every meal (or at least when the sink and all the counters are full). Mow the lawn once or twice a week. Take out the garbage on Thursdays. Change the oil every 3,000 miles. Get an inspection sticker every April and December (two cars).

At that point I had to give up the bathroom, but my brain kept going and here I am. How often do we in our business look in the mirror and do a double take? Didn’t we just prospect yesterday? Didn’t we just pay our quarterly taxes? Didn’t we just do a customer service call on this client? Didn’t we just advertise? Didn’t I post to my blog already this week? Didn’t I already read and comment on another blog? No matter what the exercise, how many times do we ask, “Didn’t we just _____?”

Back to our bodies: If you don’t take care of the 3 S’s for one day, you might sneak by or you might stay home by yourself. You don’t take care of them for two or three days and you’ll be all backed up, smell like a bum and look like a bum!

Back to business: As the RainMaker, YOU are responsible to decide how often to prospect, network, meet with prospects, do customer service calls, do billable work, do adminstrative work, manage employees, continue your education, etc. In addition to all the business stuff, don’t forget family, personal, physical, etc., each according to the schedule, annually, monthly, weekly, daily, three times a day. Not only that, but things change. Your 2 year old child has different needs than your teenager. Your startup business has different needs than your well established business moving into new markets. How can one person do all this? You can’t, but that’s one of the things that 
Mike Eagan does with his clients. So many people pay for sales training but never get help in putting the plan together as far as what needs to be done. How much? How often? Even if you’ve already run a successful business, but are making a change in target, geography, or approach, don’t be surprised if you find yourself wishing that you had someone looking over your shoulder. If I’ve got you wondering, contact Mike Eagan directly or if you’d rather be introduced, contact me.

Have fun!


Lesson Remembered at a Red Sox Game

Yesterday, Mark & Robin took Elaine & me to the Red Sox game. (They really are good people and my wife did a hell of a job!) Bottom of the 9th. 5-1 Tampa. One out. Bases loaded. Nixon and Varitek due up. Everybody in the house was on their feet. Clapping. Chanting.

Was the lesson in what it took to load the bases? Running it out? Being patient? Doing whatever it took? Maybe some other time.

When Nixon struck out and Varitek popped up and were we supposed to learn that you can’t win them all?  Maybe some other time.

Were we supposed to learn anything from the few mistakes that were made earlier in the game that “set up” the 5-1 situation in the 9th?  Maybe some other time.

The lesson had nothing to do with the big game.

I love watching the rest of the game. A peanut guy threw a bag of peanuts about 12 rows, right into the outstretched hands of a lady about 12 seats in. (Some team somewhere needs him.) You know the deal. You get the show of talent and a bag of peanuts for $5. You hand the $5 to the stranger next to you and eventually it reaches the aisle and the peanut guy with the awesome arm. This lady never paid for her peanuts. She stole them. She’s a thief. She thinks nobody noticed, but I believe that what I saw is probably the way she is. She cheats at a ball game and she cheats in life. She lost my respect without even meeting me. I’m sure she loses others’ respect every day.

I am a good enough salesperson that I could sometimes sell when it’s not a fit or when it’s not the right thing to do. Even when I was broke, I wouldn’t do a one way deal just because I needed the commission because I had to live with myself. I believe that I get way more referrals than I need because people that know me know that I won’t cheat their friends, but that if I’m the one that should be helping them, I’ll find a way to do it.

So, here’s the lesson: If you don’t want to be like the lady at the ball park and you want learn how to develop the reputation that will turn you into a RainMaker, talk to
Chris Mott or Mike Eagan and ask them to do for you what  Dave Kurlan did for me.

Thanks for reading. Go Sox!

Listen Ask Listen

Two people meet at a chamber after hours. “B” says, “Hi, I’m B from PQR, a large health insurance company.” “A” says, “Hi, I’m A from XYZ and I help companies with ________.” “B” says, “Cool, how many people in your company.” “A” says, 4.

After this exchange, I ask both if I could ask them each a question. They both agreed. So, I asked A why he thought B asked him how many people in his company. A told me, quite confidently, that B was trying to determine whether he was large enough to handle PQR’s work. Then I asked B why he had asked A how many people worked at XYZ. He promptly replied that he needed five qualified employees before he could sell insurance to a company’s employees.

Sometimes we here one thing, but the speaker means something else. As in the case of the following homonyms.

Blue……….Blew      Hear………Here      Too…To…Two      ade………aid      banned…band      whole…….hole

And as in the exchange above.

If you or someone you know has a chronic problem with hearing something other than what’s intended, send
me some examples along with your (or their) phone number. We’ll see if we can find out why you do it and see if we can stop it from happening.

Incidentally, if you haven’t read
Baseline Selling yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?


Unfortunately, I think this entry will make some of you stop reading. Over the weekend, I was thinking about what motivates people to do what they do. Specifically, I was thinking about why some business owners seek to develop long term sales skills and some don’t and I realized that some of them aren’t thinking long term. Let me explain.

My father was a carpenter. Yes, he wanted to make money, but mostly he wanted to build stuff (small remodels to houses and commercial buildings). You tell him what you wanted, he’d visulaize it and build it. He believed in the product or service that he was providing and enjoyed making people happy by providing it. Made a decent living for his wife and four children. It was his way to change the world.

As you may know, I’ve been a debt collector www.burkinshawlaw.com for a long time. I believe that people (and companies) should pay their debts. I’ve had some of my clients since the beginning. I am absolutely committed to service my clients and intend to keep them forever. Along the way, I realized that a company’s ability to sell clean was directly proportional to it’s ability to serve the long term needs of it’s customers and inversely proportional to it’s ability to get paid by it’s customers. In other words, if you don’t sell clean, you probably won’t get paid. So, I established my alliance with Dave Kurlan at www.salesdevelopmentspecialists.com. It’s my way to change the world.

I know a guy, Paul, who is an IT guru www.laflammeconsulting.com. He’s very good at what he does, has several clients, a couple of employees and intends to keep his clients and employees forever, but expects to attract, obtain and retain many more clients and hire and develop many more employees in the years to come. It’s his way to change the world. Consequently, he keeps himself at the leading edge of his technology. More important to my point, he has committed to develop his sales skills to make sure that he’s never misunderstood. He’s in it for the long haul.

I know several business owners who are building their business to sell it. I don’t mean that derogatorily. They may be doing what they love. They love to have the idea. Do the development. Bring it to market. Sell the business for a guzillion dollars and look around for their next project. The reason to be in business is to come up with a “marketable idea”, accumulate an attractive customer base, and cash out. They are not emotionally involved or committed, long term. Fortunately, many of those who make it, will be very philanthropic. But, is it really the same American Dream that Rockefeller, Disney, Iacocca, or Gates were chasing?

If you think this post was a waste of time, I apologize. If I hurt your feelings, I apologize. It wasn’t my intent, everyone serves a purpose that makes their mark on the world. But, if this helped you realize that you are in a long term chase of the American Dream, and your prospects, customers and/or employees don’t realize it, send me an email. We should talk.

Referral = Obligation

I went to Mexico for a vacation on 3/25. On the 24th, I told a used car salesman that it was time for me to by a car. (Names are gonna be mentioned for clarity, not as plugs.) I told him that I was driving Lincoln Continental and that I’d buy another one except they don’t make them any more. So, I was thinking Cadillac, Mercedes, BMW, Volvo, Chrysler 300, Buick Lucerne. I also told him that people had suggested the Nissan Maxima and Toyota Avalon, but I thought that would be a tough sell for him. The salesman said enjoy my vacation and he’d see me when I got back.

I returned and sent him this email on Sunday night. “think back ….. and remember what’s wrong that I want to make right. Then call me Monday morning at (508) ______, ask me a few questions to make sure that nothing’s changed and schedule a time for me to come to your lot and buy a car or not buy a car early Monday afternoon.”

He did call me and we met at his lot on Monday afternoon. He walked me around his lot. Showed me a Chrysler 300 that was $15,000 over the budget that he’d gotten from me. He had a Maxima that was at the top end of my budget and he had about thirty cars that I couldn’t fit into. He had a Volvo at another lot an hour away. (Why wasn’t it here?) I left unhappy.

Fast forward a week. A friend of mine referred me to Randy Tucker at Baker Cadillac in Leominster. I called and told him my story. We scheduled an appointment for 2pm on April 10th. He showed me two dozen cars that were in budget, over budget, but they all fit me. At 5:57 I left with my Cadillac Deville. Very happy. My wife is happy.

End of story, not really. Wednesday morning, I’m at an 8 o’clock meeting and you know the topic. Dave asked if I thought he could get a Chrysler 300 for $18,000. I gave Dave Randy’s card and I immediately drove to Leominster to get my sticker. I gave Dave’s card to Randy and told him that he was thinking Chrysler 300 and $18,000. Randy wrote everything down on the back of Dave’s card. I’m sure by now they’ve spoken.

Buyers don’t want sales tricks. They want somebody to fix there problems. When a salesperson (especially a service provider like us) gets a referral, we are obliged to fix the person’s problem. Our mutual friend trusts us to fix the problem. If we can’t, we’re not supposed to waste the “prospect’s ” time. We’re not supposed to try to trick them into buying the wrong thing. Raping a referral is a good way to stop getting referrals.


Who is Responsible?

OK! Enough about real life. Let’s pretend!

Let’s pretend that you have two people that you like and respect. Let’s pretend one of them is a service provider and the other is a prospect. They agree to meet. They talk about whatever and it appears that they will do some business together. Then something happens and they don’t. Who is responsible? Prospect or service provider? Remember, you like and respect them both. The proverbial “rock and a hard place”.

OK, now pretend that you weren’t there so it’s all he said……she said.

Who is responsible?

Is a prospect supposed to dump their soul just because you ask, or should you learn how to get down to it?

If a prospect doesn’t tell the truth, is the prospect the only culprit or should you uncover the truth?

If an important piece of information is missed during discovery, who is responsible when the deal falls apart?

If prospect agrees to do business and service provider does anything to make prospect uncomfortable, does prospect have to continue?

I suggest that the service provider is 100% responsible for EVERYTHING 100% of the time. Period! They know the most about problems, solutions, competition, pricing, etc. etc. etc. They are responsible to ask ALL the right questions, uncover all the surprises, cover all possibilities.

Impossible? Maybe. But the alternative is not acceptable.