Am I Passive-Aggressive?

I recently met with a prospect that didn’t like my approach to his inability to make a decision. His suggestion was that I exhibited passive-aggressive behavior. Because he’s much smarter than average folks like me, I decided to do some research. I went to and found this.

There are certain behaviors that help identify passive-aggressive behavior. [2]

  • Ambiguity
  • Avoiding responsibility by claiming forgetfulness
  • Blaming others
  • Chronic lateness and forgetfulness
  • Complaining
  • Does not express hostility or anger openly
  • Fear of authority
  • Fear of competition
  • Fear of dependency
  • Fear of intimacy
  • Fosters chaos
  • Intentional inefficiency
  • Making excuses and lying
  • Obstructionism
  • Procrastination
  • Resentment
  • Resists suggestions from others
  • Sarcasm
  • Sullenness

Is that me? or was he thinking of something else?

Oh well. You can’t do business with everybody and in cases like this….it’s a good thing.

Have a great week!

Questions about competition

Tonight, I was catching up on some shows that we had recorded and one of the incidents in the shows reminded me of something. In the show, a AAA pitcher was worried that a new recruit was going to take his job, so he killed him. Do you know your competition? Are they better than you? In every way? Are you comfortable introducing your competition to any of the people that have helped you get to where you are? Would you ever introduce your clients to your competition?

Think about that for a minute. How weak are you compared to your competition?

Are you like the runner who’s in second place that’s looking back to see if he’s gonna wind up in third rather than concentrating on taking over first place? Or are you in first place running for a personal best knowing that if you set a personal best, no one else will be close?

How about if I answer my own questions?

Do you know your competition?………Yes.

Are they better than you?……….Maybe.

In every way?……….No.

Are you comfortable introducing your competition to any of the people that have helped you get to where you are?……….Sure. They might be able to help the person that helped me creating another IOU with my friend.

Would you ever introduce your clients to your competition?……….Of course! How’s this? “Mr. Client, meet my competition. I’ll let him tell you how much better than me they are. Go ahead.” What is my competition gonna say? I’m right there! So, I follow with, “Oh, I’m sorry. You probably don’t want to say your secrets in front of me.” Then I turn to my client and tell him, “He’s probably gonna call you this week and tell you how much better than me he is. Don’t worry. Just call me and if it’s true, I’ll help you with the transition. If it’s not, I’ll tell him to go away for you. You be the good cop. I’ll be the bad cop.”

If you’re delivering what you promise and you’re promising what your customer wants you can do this.

If you’re not, why not?

Signs of Success

One of the greatest things about my job is watching my clients succeed.

This morning, I learned that one of my clients had won a competition. Not by a little, but by almost 50% over the 2nd place person. Not bad for an introvert. Not bad for someone that doesn’t exude confidence. Not bad for someone who would rather be with things than people. He had more meetings in 4 weeks than anyone else in his group and many of the people in his group consider themselves to be hot shots. Great job!! I am very proud.

Early this afternoon, I had a conversation with a client that “signed up” with us on November 15th. I suggested that he start calling prospects that he had given proposals to but had not bought and try his new “stuff”. Last week, one of those “misses” turned into a sale big enough to pay for his whole year with me.

Another client writes: “in September 2005…… highlights a few deals that I made: the first returning client and the first internet based lead that converted into a sale. A year and a half later, the deals that were made last week make the 2 that I was celebrating a year and a half ago, seem quite small. (Two year long engagements.) But, that’s not the milestone I wanted to talk about…… We’ve taken the business in a different direction. Some day, we’ll have volume. But our current focus is to provide greater value…………. We charge a whole lot more than we did in 9/2005. And we provide a lot more value.

Thank you gentlemen!

Peer Pressure at Work

Pete Caputa got tagged for a new potential meme and then tagged me. I know tag, but what’s a meme and why is it potential? He was asked how he made his first $1,000 and answers the question at PC4MEDIA. Now I’m supposed to tell the story of my first $1,000. Tough question. $1,000 used to be a lot of money, but now I know a lot of people who earn $1,000/day every day. I even know some people who earn $1,000/hour. So, (as they say) $1,000 isn’t what it used to be.

Honestly, I don’t remember my first $1,000, but I do remember an important $1,600 check. Here’s my story. In high school, I was (what is now known as) a geek. Smart, shy, introverted. Played tennis. AP classes. You know the type. I went to WPI after graduation. Somewhere along the way, I learned to pretend that I wasn’t smart, shy, or introverted, got married while I was in school and started selling CUTCO Cutlery part time. In the spring of 1974, after 1 year of marriage and several months selling knives door to door, I got a $1,600 commission check for one month’s work. Now, go back 30+ years. I was sitting in class when I realized that I was gonna make more money selling knives that year than the professor that was teaching that class. Didn’t make sense to me so, I left WPI that day and didn’t go back until years later when I started attending the WPI Venture Forum events. Here’s the rest of the chain. Cutco led me to Dave Kurlan. Dave Kurlan led me to selling the way I do. Selling the way I do, led me to collections and eventually back to Dave and sales development. So although I don’t remember my first $1,000, I do remember a very important, life-altering $1,600.

Now, I’m not gonna tag anybody to tell the story of their first $1,000, but if you have a story, or you’re so inclined, comment to this post or use the link above to send your story by email and I’ll post it for you. Incidentally, if you have a blog and you want to tell your story, post it, send me the link and I’ll point to it.

Today’s Musings

Seth Godin posted about “Enormity” today. It got me wondering if I should post about Today, Martin Luther King, Jr., his “I Have a Dream Speech”. Then, at dinner tonight we were talking about JFK, MLK, RFK and how tumultuous those times were. What a time to be a teenager.

I am not worthy to comment, but I am thankful that so many great men did so much.

Happy Birthday, Dr. King.

Mediocrity Kills

So, avoid it.

Remember that some people believe the saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.” So, if you find yourself talking with a prospect that’s satisfied with mediocrity and unwilling to change, get away from them before you catch it…before people see you associating with mediocrity and start to think that you’re OK with it. Yesterday, I had a conversation with one such business owner. She saw where my questions were leading her and interrupted with, “I’m just not interested.” My question could have been, “You’re not interested in ending your over-promising?”; “You’re not interested in attracting better talent?”; You’re not interested in rising out of mediocrity?”.

But, she wasn’t and I didn’t care and I bailed out. So she doesn’t get fixed and I will do everything that I can to keep my clients from catching what she’s got by keeping them from doing business with her or letting people that they care about do business with her.

You’re either part of the problem or part of the solution. There is no middle.

Update: Yesterday, I was talking with someone that said that he was gonna talk to her to see if she could help him in his business. I suggested two of her competitors that were “world class” providers. I made the introductions this morning.

Tom Brady

So, today, the talking heads were talking about Tom Brady’s preparation for this week’s playoff game. The comment that caught my ear was that Tom Brady spent a significant amount of time with his personal mechanics coach during the past week. Wait a minute! Tom Brady? Three time Super Bowl winner? Top of his game? Top of anybody’s game? He has a personal mechanics coach? He’s in the playoffs (again) and working with his coach now?

How can the best get better?

Wait a minute! You’re a professional. You sell. Who is your sales mechanics coach and when was the last time that you worked with him/her? Can you get better or are you better at what you do than Tom Brady is at what he does?


This is my blog. I am the RainMaker Maker. Mark is my son and he is a RainMaker. Which may validate me as the RainMaker Maker. Now if I made the RainMaker, who does the RainMaker Make?……….Kai.

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Can you hear the conversation, son to father? “So thats calculus – lets move on to microeconomics.”

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“Mommy, is that you?”

Today, Dave asked me, “How’s it feel to be a grandfather?” At this point, I don’t know. But, this is what it looks like to be a grandmother (both of them).

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So, Dave, the answer is, “I don’t know yet. I like that Kai seemed to be content when I was holding him. I like that he’s healthy. I like that Mark & Robin are very happy. I like that “Kai” is Hawaiian for ocean. I expect that both Kai and Grandpa will spend much time at the ocean. Oh, did you know that Mark proposed to Robin by the ocean? That they got married by the ocean? They honeymooned by the ocean? and you know about me.”

Short answer, “I’m happy and ready.” Incidentally, if you like pictures, there’s more at

RainMaker Success

I have a client who struggles. Not because he doesn’t know how, but because he doesn’t believe he can.

We spent several hours during the last two weeks of 2006 planning 2007. We determined where we were, where we wanted to get and developed the plan to get there. He bought into every step of the process when we were done, but he still had to execute. You need to know that his goals are aggressive, but attainable.

(Day 1/Tuesday) – Accomplished his “calls” goal. During debrief at the end of the day, we determined a couple of minor mistakes in an otherwise great performance except that he not only never asked for a referral, but he never thought to ask.

(Day 2/Wednesday) – Accomplished half of his “calls” goal. During debrief, we learned that he did very well. Still never asked for a referral, but realized at one point that he was supposed to be asking. (Baby steps.)

(Day 3/Today) – He called me on the way to his office and left a message saying that he hoped that my day wasn’t as bad as his. His day’s not very good.  He has a stuffy nose/cough. He’s gonna take some ibuprofen and try to get back in the game. I figured this would be a wasted day.

A few hours later, he left me a voicemail asking whether it counts if he gets a referral without asking. He added that these crazy customers are not only calling back and leaving a good time to call, but they also need work done at sisters house. (We were working on leaving voicemail messages that work.) He added that he doesn’t understand some people. Tonight he sends me his results.

He set up three cooperative partnerships where everybody can feed work to the other.

He gave a referral to one of his resources.

He had a short conversation with someone that wanted to play games. Realized it. Called the game and ended the conversation.

He developed SOB on a 5 year contract that’s up for renewal and he’s being asked to bid on.

These in addition to the jobs he got from the customer that called back and the sister.

He overcame his nose/cough issue, got results, and had the presence to insert some humor into his report to me.

Last January, he was probably wondering if he should think about some goals for 2006. This January, he made more calls in three days than he did in the last quarter of 2006. Last January he may have had a stuffy nose and cough all month. This year it didn’t matter. He’s taken control of his head. He’s taken control of his business. He’s taken control of his life. Did he do it alone? Of course not! But it doesn’t matter. He did it!

Congratulations and Happy New Year!

Who’s next?

How are you different?

How many people are there in the world that do what you do? How do most of them go about their business? Does your competition run the same ads as you in the same places? Do they have the same telephone script that you use? Does it start the same way as yours? “Hello, my name is (your name). I’m calling from (your company). We do yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah. Do you give samples, demos, needs analyses, presentations, close, handle objections?

How do prospects pick you? Price? Looks? Persistence? Luck? Smile?

I am not a marketing guru. Lots of people think Seth Godin is. But from my sales perspective, I recognize that some “marketing” tools can make you different. A few examples:

How many of your competitors have a newsletter? Here’s a couple PawSpot or WhizSpark.

How many of your competitors have a blog? Centrend or Mark Paskell.

How about podcasts? Course Pilot or zBiz.TV.

If you want to be just like all your competitors, then this post was probably a waste of your time, but if you do want to be different, if you do want to stand out do it. Talk to someone who can help. If you don’t know who can help, use the link at the top of the page and send me an email. We’ll figure it out and I’ll make an introduction.

Incidentally, if you want to “sell” different, I’m gonna introduce you to me!