Closers Wanted

I got a joke in my inbox the other day that I’ll paraphrase and use here.

The joke: Guy’s sitting in his car in McDonald’s parking lot watching two kids. As usual, McDonald’s has a sign out front reading, “Closers wanted.” So, as he’s watching these two kids, they walk up to the sign, take the “C” and run away. Leaving “losers wanted”. Come on. That’s really funny.

It got me to thinking, same thing happens every day in the business world. What company wouldn’t want to hire a hot shot salesperson that has a big time reputation as a closer? So how many times does a company runs an ad, go through the interview process and hire what they believe to be a Closer? How many times do they wind up with a LOSER that costs them business, hurts their reputation, demoralizes the existing personnel, in addition to wasting valuable company resources?

Let’s try something new. I know that Dave, Chris and Mike have dealt with this and can offer insight into the cause and potential solution, so let’s see how they comment when they read it.

Referrals à la Rick

A week ago, I promised a post that would explain how I choose to refer. I’ve decided that this post should be accomplished over more than one sitting, so subscribe to this entry because it will be updated a few times. Here’s the first few ideas. Please feel free to comment if you approve, disapprove, or have a different approach or thought.

If you’re a client, you’ve got a “leg up”.

If I’ve bought from you and you’ve over serviced me, you’ve got a “leg up”.

If you’ve referred clients to me, you’ve got a “leg up”.

If you’re all three, you’re at the top of my mind.

If I think you’re a crappy salesperson or you’re dishonest, I probably won’t refer you.

If I know you’re a crappy salesperson or you’re dishonest, I will un-refer you. It might sound something like this, “Yes. I know them, but I’m gonna follow my mother’s advice. You know, ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all’. If you need somebody who does what they do, I know lots of people. Do you?”

Occasionally, I’ll be at an event and be forced to make an introduction because one person that I don’t refer and one person that I care about are in front of me at the same time. ASAP, I contact the person that I care about and tell them that I made the introduction to be polite, but that they shouldn’t take the introduction as an endorsement of the person. Then I add, “If you need somebody who does what they do, I know lots of people. Do you?”

I know dozens of CPA’s. Several are excellent. If a person is looking for a CPA, I may refer several. Each will get a personal plug. The same could be said for lawyers, financial advisors, IT people, web designers, advertising/marketing people, contractors and many others. For example, my son, Mark, was looking for a contractor recently. I referred him to three clients. I also told him the order to call them with the ‘why’. (I think he got the work done and never called any of them. Guess what happens the next time he asks me for something.)

Enough for now. Please feel free to comment and subscribe so you get the updates.

Me Me Me Me Me

My mother had an operation last Tuesday. We went to see her on Wednesday and although she was obviously enjoying her drugs, she was doing well. Elaine decided that we were gonna bring her dinner tonight, so we did. She did a great job. A lot of work. Packed in coolers. Worked all day. Drive 100 miles each way to bring dinner to my mother.

OK, so we’re eating and my mother’s phone rings and I answer it. I know the person, so I tease her. Ask her if she has an appointment to speak to my mother. Tell her that we’re eating dinner and would she like to make an appointment to speak to my mother after dinner. She asked if we were staying over, I said, “No. Elaine just wanted to make sure that my mother had a good meal, so she made chicken on the grill, baked potatoes, green beans, corn and strawberry shortcake.” She said, “Well I just finished having filet mignon and lobster.”

Who the hell cares? Why did she call in the first place? Did she call to find out how my mother was or to tell me what she had to eat? I was polite, but I ended the call as quickly as I could. I can also understand if sometimes my mother doesn’t want to hear about what’s happening in this selfish twit’s life.

If she had said something like, “Elaine is very thoughtful to do all that.”, I wouldn’t have anything to write about tonight. How many times do you miss an opportunity to stroke, compliment or otherwise make someone feel good because you just have to talk about yourself?

UPDATE: So, my mother called tonight and said that the caller called the next day and to be fair, the first thing that she said was that it was awful nice of Elaine to do all that. Then she asked if I helped. My mother dutifully responded that I did the dishes.

Crappy Salespeople

I know that last night I said that my next post would be about how I choose whom to refer. However, I’m gonna slide this one in first. My blog…My rules.

I was driving to work this morning. Proceeding down Main Street in Holden, I had the green light at Route 31. As I entered the intersection, some idiot made a “right turn on red” right in front of me. I didn’t hit them because the piece of garbage that they were driving would fit in my trunk. They never even looked. Don’t they understand that I have the right of way. Don’t they know that the rule is that they need to stop and look and if no one is coming, then they can make a right turn on red. The short answer is that they probably don’t and if they do, they don’t care because their car isn’t worth squat. They probably have a crappy job. Don’t own a house. Have no future and no hope. (How’s that for exaggeration?) But seriously, I think it’s safe to say that their standards as a driver aren’t as high as mine.

Here’s the analogy. Good drivers have to be even better to protect themselves from the idiots. We have to anticipate, watch, be overly cautious because we never know when some person with a drivers license but no brain is gonna be aiming at us. Why is that allowed to happen?

I’ve spent most of my career watching crappy salespeople lie to their prospects. Use stupid sales tricks that any prospect with a brain can see through. Over promise. Under deliver. Avoid answering questions. Pressure. etc. etc. etc. Every time one of these idiot salespeople is allowed to talk to a prospect, it makes our job more difficult. Have you ever had a prospect tell you that all salespeople lie? I don’t. Do you? It’s those idiots. Have you ever had a prospect doubt that you could deliver on your promises? Where do you think that comes from? All the idiots out their that can’t spell p-r-o-f-e-s-s-i-o-n-a-l   s-a-l-e-s-p-e-r-s-o-n. Let alone be one. The crappy salespeople make us need to be better.

So, if your an idiot driver………..WALK!
If you’re a crappy salesperson………go be crappy at something else.
If you’re struggling with crappy salespeople, send me an email or comment to this post.

Networking Buzz

Several people have asked when I was going to blog about this article.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Frankly, when Rod Lee asked me if he could interview me for this article, I thought he was kidding. Then, when I realized that he was serious, I was flattered. I knew that I could network, but quite honestly, so can a lot of others. Then, today, I was showing Jeanne Worrick a little about the blogosphere and I came upon Todd Earwood’s post. Todd’s Linked-In profile says he’s a Connector and Serial Entrepreneur who currently is a partner in Jotzel Media & Almost Mediocre. He also has his head on straight regarding networking. Thanks for the mention, Todd.

Well, enough about this. My next post will answer the question, “If I know several people who provide similar solutions or solve similar problems, how do I decide whom to refer?”

“DIY” Experts

As you may know, I meet and interact with a lot of people. Read pages 19 & 21 here for evidence.

Honestly, some of the people that I meet are not experts in their field. They don’t have enough product knowledge, industry knowledge, customer knowledge or market knowledge to ask a good question let alone understand the answer or their prospects actual needs. These people should decide what they want to be when they grow up. Commit to doing whatever it takes. Then go get whatever they need. Follow through and keep at it.

On the other side, I really am lucky to know some true experts. Dave Kurlan, world renowned sales development expert. Steve Groccia, world class banker. Dharmesh Shah, blogger, entrepreneur and software startup guru. Not only will I refer people that need their help to these experts, but they are also the people type of people that I trust to refer me to others that they consider experts in other fields. They understand what “expert” means.

I know what I’m good at. I’m a sales coach and tactical expert. I’m not a landscaper, Steve Crowe does that for me. I’m not a mechanic, Ryan Dodge takes care of my cars. I’m not a financial advisor, Pete Lounsbury does that for me. I have a doctor, a lawyer, a dentist, etc. Get it? I do what I’m good at and I get other people to do what I’m not good at for me or help me do it right.

Then, there are DIY (do-it-yourself) experts. They’re the people that ARE experts at something, but waste their time doing what their not good at,……… typically to save money. I used to try to grow grass. I make way more money in the time that I used to put into lawncare than I pay Steve to do it for me. I used to change my own oil, do my own tune-ups and have greasy fingernails for a week after I did. How much did that cost me? Now I typically schedule a cell call while I wait for Ryan to maintain my car. We all know contractors, web professionals, lawyers, CPA’s, IT gurus, architects, engineers, retail store owners, etc. that are really good at their stuff, but sorely lacking in sales ability. They really think that if they’re friendly, polite, and provide good service, that they’ll be successful.

When I meet one of these folks, and I’m greeted with a business card, a list of features and benefits or some lame attempt to put me in pain, sharp angle or reverse me, or some other transparent “sales trick”, I’ll usually play with them for a while (like cat & mouse) to try to figure out if they’re any good at there stuff. If they’re not, they get one of my “special” business cards and they’re gone. If they are experts at what they do, just crappy salespeople, I’ll typically ask them a few questions to determine if they want to be fixed or they like losing business that they should be getting. If they like mediocrity, I move on. If they’re willing to admit they need help, they become clients. Simple!

Do you know anybody that should be more successful than they are? Use the link at the top of the page to send me their contact info. I’ll call them and let you know what happens.

Plastic emotions

Elaine and I went out to dinner last night. We’ve been to this place before, but there are so many great places in Kennebunkport, that it’s difficult to become “regulars” anywhere. Fortunately for the restaurateurs (spelling is correct), tourists abound, so if they come once a year, that’s a good job.

Anyway, Elaine mentioned that she wondered if Kate only owned one dress. Kate’s very west coast urban….you know, slender, fit, little black dress, short hair style. Anyway, my response was, you mean Plastic Kate? Elaine replied, “Yes.” She knew exactly what I meant. You know how some people smile and you feel warm, recognized and welcome? Others will smile, but it’s not the same. Their smile says, “Please like me.” or “Please buy from me.” or “This is my work face and I put it on when I’m working. It’s not representative of reality.”

So, here’s the question. Do you know what people think of your work face?