In case you don’t know, I get out a lot. When I’m out, I see a lot of people. I see a lot of “networking”. I see a lot of people pretending to be networking but in reality, they’re just taking. “Givers gain”, to some means “give to me and some day you’ll gain”. To others it means give to me and if I gain, I’ll give to you. Some people think that networking means handing out business cards. Others think it means trying to sell me the first time we talk. OK. Enough negativity.

There are (in my opinion) two shining stars, super novas if you will, in the networking world in this area. Mark Paskell and Jason Kallio. I’ve known Mark a l-o-n-g time. I met Jason Kallio a few years ago. I’m intentionally not going to mention anyone else because I don’t want anyone else to feel that I’m judging them, but these two are great examples of selflessness. It’s true that they’ve built their businesses and reputations through networking. It’s true that many of the people that they’ve taught, mentored and helped have introduced them to customers. It’s also true that they have held the hands of people that were trying to learn how to network. Mark has held top leadership positions in more than one group and turned them around, taking struggling groups and morphing them into vibrant, dynamic energetic groups that others emulate.

Jason, on the other hand, has been the preacher, the demonstrator, the researcher. He’s visited countless groups observing, learning and sharing. He’s always ready to share his technique, make an introduction, or show a newbie the way it’s done. He’s also a man of principles. Has a good grasp of what’s right and isn’t afraid to stand up to “the establishment” if he believes it’s time to change or make an exception.

The interesting thing is that both of these guys are very well known, successful and didn’t get paid to set this example. They did it because they believed in it and wanted to help you.

Why this post? Why now? Simple. Summertime is fun time. We slack off. We tan. We vacation. We’re all back next week. As we go back….As we get serious….As we start to network again, remember the examples that Mark and Jason have given. Introduce more people than you meet. Help and be of service. Don’t worry when you’ll get yours. It will come.

Incidentally, if you haven’t thanked Mark or Jason for their contribution to your success, lately, call them tomorrow. Say, “Thank you for what you’ve done for me.”. Then ask, “Can I help you meet someone?” and follow their lead.

More on Loyalty

I was re-reading the comments to my Loyalty post, today. Comments make me think.

Thought #1: Was the relationship between the partners clearly identified at the establishment of the partnership? Was it clear who was expert at what? Was the partnership exclusive?

Thought #2: What’s the partner’s history? Is he arrogant? Is he always right? Would he criticize Bill Clinton or George Bush on their political ability (if he had never run for office) even though they both won? Would he criticize the way A-Rod swings his bat if he had never swung at a major league pitch? Would he criticize Dave Kurlan’s sales advice if he himself wasn’t equally regarded as an expert in the area of sales force development?

Thought #3: Who does he hang with? Is he a big fish in a small pond? Does he travel in multiple circles? What’s his track record? What’s his mission? Is it all about him, his clients or the world?

There are probably more questions, but I think that it boils down to one question.

“Will the partner do it again?” If you can’t answer, “Absolutely not!”, don’t take the chance.

St. Croix

I guess yesterday was the day that people were realizing, “Hey it’s working!” Remember the picture of my mother? Well, the other guy in the picture was my baby brother. About an hour after Joe sent me his story, my brother sent me this story.

—–Original Message—–
From: Vic Roberge
Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2007 5:48 PM
To: Rick Roberge
Subject: How’s this for marketing?

First, I wanted to thank you for making me realize that I was selling myself short. I recently doubled my development fees to $200 per hour, and I have more work than I can handle at this point.


I just got word that Corporate has heard of a DB app I did for HR in Willimantic, and they want a demo in anticipation of distributing it to all 25 of their facilities around the world.


Second, money has been wired down to our attorney in St Croix, and we will close on Monday.

The saying work hard play hard comes to mind. It’s important for well being and effectiveness in the workplace.

Joe’s Escalade

Joe Kupstas called me today and asked if he could stop by and show me something. I said yes. He did. These are his words.

—–Original Message—–
From: Joseph Kupstas
Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2007 4:31 PM
To: Rick Roberge
Subject: Re: Joe’s Escalade

I Joseph Kupstas started the sales training by David Kurlan & Associates about 10 months ago.  As many know Rick Roberge brought Dale & myself in the training and has been our sales mentor from day one.  Like any rookie sales person I was a non believer in the sales training and tactics that Kurlan and Rick where teaching.  But Dale and I where dedicated  to one thing, growing GoodFellas Construction!  So we entered the sales training with an open mind.  As the training went into the first few weeks I really thought Rick was crazy : ) and what they wanted me to do and say was nuts.  “How can I say that Rick” was a weekly phrase. As the training continued I started to enjoy our twice a week classes and the after training Rick spent with us at the end of each class.  Once our one on one training with Rick was completed and the training classes continued, things started to come together.  What questions to ask.  What not to say.  When to close. and my favorite when to shut-up, listen and if you talk you lose and if you don’t speak you win!!  But once the one on one time with Rick was used up he didn’t go away.  He would call us every other week and really took a care into how we where doing and how GoodFellas was doing!  There would be mornings that he knew I was at my desk at 7:00 am and he would call just to see whats going on. A regular Rick phrase was “Hey Joe I know your up and working its Rick Roberge calling Whats Up”  This kind of one on one makes you want to succeed and we have.  Early on in the training (Week 1 ) Chris Mott who is also one of our GREAT trainers did a class on Eliminating Success Barriers.  This class was about how to succeed and why do we do the things we do to succeed.  I remember the class very much.  The class made everyone in the room pick something that they wanted to purchase.  Something that had some meaning and something expensive.  I remember sitting there thinking what do I want?  We’ll I said I have a house so that’s done,  I have a lot of things so what I wanted was a really nice car.  So I wrote down car on my sheet.  Well after the class Rick and I had a talk about what I picked and the discussion lasted the next 2 days.  Rick not only wanted me to write down car he wanted me to pick one out!  I said to him why?  He said I want you to go on-line, Pick out the car you want and with every option you want and print out the detail with a picture.  Next he said I want you to tape that picture next to some where you would look at it each day.  I taped the picture next to a mirror in my closet where I got ready for work everyday.  For months I looked at that picture.  Dale and I would joked about it all the time when we saw the car driving on our way to class.  After 10 months of listening and applying the sales training our company has doubled in size, employee count (4 Additional), and gross sales ( 135 % Over Last Year).  It is now on track to double in all 3 categories again between now and the spring of 2008.  I still don’t use the training 100% but we are still learning and I fell are just getting better each sales appointment.  I am telling this story to thank Rick Roberge and Kurlan Associates for the developing the sales training and believing in Dale, Myself, and GoodFellas to succeed!!
Thank You Your Friend
Joseph Kupstas
GoodFellas Construction Mgt. LLC
18 Waite Street
Worcester MA 01604
Office# 508-363-1220
Fax#    508-363-1444

Joe's Escalade 001

How can I add to that, other than…Congratulations, Joe!”

Retract or Hope

Last week, I met with a prospect that called me to schedule the meeting. He’d seen me speak recently and wanted to figure out if we could help him. After we met, I sent him an email that essentially recapped the meeting and reminded him of two of the issues that I expected his evaluation to show. Yesterday, I called him and after the small talk asked are you ready to tell me, “No.” He wouldn’t say, “Yes.” He wouldn’t say, “No.” He wanted to say, “No for now.” I told him that I had to turn his “no for now” into a “no”, period and we ended the call.

I followed up with this email:


Per our conversation yesterday, I’m retracting my evaluation offer and closing your file.

Should you decide differently in the future, feel free to call.

Rick Roberge

To which he replied:


Thanks for the follow up. I do have a question and maybe it might be a good one for your blog if you haven’t covered it before.

What is the purpose of telling the prospective future customer that you are retracting the offer and closing his file? I can see the logic for you to close the file (on the list…off the list) but why tell the prospect that you are retracting an offer for your product or service? It seems like a big risk because it might be interpreted as you no longer want the prospect’s business.



It’s actually pretty simple. Yes, I want it off my desk and out of my mind so I can move on, but more importantly, I want it off your desk and out of your mind. I don’t want you to have to avoid me because you think that I’m hoping that you will someday say, “Yes”, and you don’t want to hurt my feelings by saying, “No.”

Additionally, what if I don’t retract the offer and the price goes up, or I don’t have time to deliver, or we have some other reason for not wanting to honor the offer. It’s best from a legal/practical point of view to just retract or revoke the offer. The last line of my retraction, “Should you decide differently in the future, feel free to call.” allows me to re-offer, or change the offer or even not offer if the prospect should ever come back.

Finally, and this is the real issue. Many salespeople have beliefs which do not support the sales process. One of those self-limiting beliefs is, “Prospects that think it over will eventually buy from me”. I don’t know how to say this, but I’ve been selling for a long time. The number of people who didn’t buy from me the first time I closed is at least 100 times larger than the people that bought when I closed the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or nth time or came back after I gave up and said, “OK. I’m ready now.” combined. The law of averages says, “It’s over.” I’ll go with that.

Bottom line is that not all suspects become prospects. Not all prospects become qualified. Not all qualified prospects become customers and not all customers become evangelists. If you’ve never had an evangelist, then you don’t know that the evangelists make it all worthwhile. Once you’ve had an evangelist, you may get spoiled and begin to accept only evangelists. Liars, procrastinators, non-follow-throughers, even regular customers just don’t cut it.


I hope this helps.

You wanna bet $10,000

A while back I was meeting with a prospect and we talked about what he needed to get done in his business. We were very specific. We knew how many sales he needed to make. We knew what his revenues needed to be. We knew what his profits would be.

I charged him $10,000 to work with him.

He got his $10,000 back in less than two months

You wanna bet?

Here’s the terms of the bet.

#1.) You and I spend an hour or two on the phone determining what you’d like to get done by the end of 2007. (I.E. – # of new customers, Revenue $, commission $). This call needs to happen before close of business on 9/5/2007.

#2.) We agree on the parameters that determine success.

#3.) You agree to commit 3-6 hours/week to learning and practicing for the rest of the year.

#4.) You agree to allowing me to hold you accountable.

#5.) You pay us $10,000.

#6.) You get evaluated.

#7.) We start your program at 9 AM on 9/11.

#8.) We agree that we will concentrate on the area that is outside your comfort zone, but in my shadow.

#9.) If we miss our established goal by 10%, I’ll give you $1,000 back. If we miss it by 50%, I’ll give you $5,000 back. If we miss it by 100%, I’ll give you the whole $10,000 back.

#10.) I will not make this agreement with more than 20 new clients.

#11.) Preference will be given to owners that sell and key salespeople in small companies.

#12.) You agree to write a testimonial for me to use on this blog. You agree to be an evangelist for the things that we do together. You agree to use your new found skills and strengths for good…not evil.

Wanna bet? Email me here. One more thing. Whether or not you wanna bet, forward this to all the salespeople in your address book in case they want the fall of 2007 to change their life.

Remember, the first 20. So, if you wanna, call now and in case someone else wantsta, forward it now.

Eric Tapley (Off Topic…..Kinda)

I used to know Eric Tapley. I subscribe to his blog. I don’t actually know why. Maybe it was for this day. Usually, I get the notice that he posted, see that there’s a job opening at 3000K or they launched a new site for one of their clients, then say to myself, “What a waste of a blog!” and click away to something else.

I’m a salesperson. Not only am I a salesperson, but I don’t need anyone to generate leads for me. I can prospect. However, some salespeople can’t or won’t prospect. If you don’t want to call me to learn how to prospect, you may want to read this post by Eric.


A client called me today and asked if they could bounce a problem off me even if it wasn’t sales related.

When a client asks a question that doesn’t have anything to do with what you sell, YOU ARE THERE! You have attained RESOURCE status. You are no longer a salesperson or vendor. You have no competition. They trust your judgment. So, your answer should always be, “Sure! What’s up?”

So, this client develops partner relationships so that he and his partners can sell related products to the same customer by referring each other. Insurance agents partner with financial advisors. Painters partner with roofers. Real estate agents partner with mortgage brokers. So, this client heard that one of his partners was actually telling people that some of the advice that my client gives was bad advice and the partner was actually suggesting alternatives even though my client was an expert in his field and his partner wasn’t even good at it.

I suggested that he read How I Refer. I suggested that he pay very close attention to the paragraph that starts, “If I know…” Then I told him that if one of my partners ever did it to me, I’d stop referring him immediately. I’d unrefer him from everybody that I’d ever referred him to and if anyone ever asked me about him, I’d share my mother’s advice and ask them if they needed a referral to someone that does what they do.

Interesting thing is that I know all the players in this case. My client is absolutely an expert at what they do and his partner is good at what he does, but sucks at what my client does. Incidentally, my client is much more established than his partner. Makes about ten times as much money as his partner. So, who do you think is gonna lose the most here?

The one thing that I didn’t tell my client is whether or not to tell his partner that he was ending the relationship and/or why. I didn’t see that there was anything to be gained by telling the partner that he was a stupid piece of garbage.

Here’s the questions.

If you’re my client, should you tell the partner?

If you’re the partner, should you be told?

Should the world know?