Favorite Customers

Do you have a favorite customer? Have they been your favorite from the day that you met? Is it because they’re your biggest customer? Your best referral source? Your first customer? Your brother-in-law? How long have they been your favorite? Don’t share names or recognizable specifics, but we’re wondering….Does everybody have one?


Have you looked at the calendar? Did you notice that next Wednesday is the first day of the 4th quarter of 2008? Is your year in?

I was talking to one of our clients tonight. He started working with us on May 8th. He told me that he’s got $240K in from May through August. He’s over $100K so far for September and has $136K scheduled to close next week. Not only is September his best month so far, but it’ll probably be bigger than the total of the previous four months. Half a million dollars in five months!

Has the economy affected you in the same way that it’s affected him?

I have another client that we evaluated last November. We started working together. She has twice as many customers as she did last year. Unfortunately, her customers’ business is off, so her dollar volume is flat, but she has twice as many customers and her customers will eventually come out of their funk and her dollars will double.

Did you double anything this year?

Can you do anything to make 2008 your best year ever? Are you sure?

Experts say it takes 90 days to make a habit. If you need to change your habits, why wait until January? If you start making your habit NOW, you’ll be rolling from 1/1.

Are you gonna double anything in 2009? Have we talked? Do you know what you need to do? Do you know what will hold you back? Who’s gonna hold you accountable?

Can you save 2008? Will 2009 be more of the same? Should we talk?

What’s new?

I have such a great life!

I was talking with Jim Sasena today about yesterday’s post. He told me that all the cool kids were saying that when we’re asked, “What’s new?”, we’re supposed to answer, “C over Lambda”.

During my search, I found

What's New(Nu), C/lambda Jr. RaglanWhat's New(Nu), C/lambda Jr. Raglan
Is Jim cool or what?

So, what does it mean and how does it apply to sales?

Here’s the formula. Frequency (ν) = C / wavelength (λ)

Here’s the application. The frequency of your sales calls is inversely proportional to the length of your sales calls. So, the longer you talk, the fewer people you can talk to.

Honey, I sold the kids!

I got this email from a client tonight.

Every night I have to coax my 2 kids into brushing their teeth before bed. They have lots of objections, and I am usually not in the mood for them. Last night I wanted to try something different.

Instead of telling them what to do, I asked them a question: “Who wants to brush their teeth FIRST?”

They fought over first, but both brushed their teeth without dispute. What’s the lesson here?

New Fall Series

Yesterday, I ‘did what I do’ to a prospect that wasn’t telling me the truth and I got an appropriate response. I’ll let you know how it turns out, but the process got me thinking about my education and the similarities between the stuff I had to learn to be an engineer (No, not the kind that drives a train. The kind that builds roads, bridges and buildings.) and the stuff that I had to learn to be a salesman.

Example: What are the similarities between a sales call and a chemical reaction?

Example: Can you apply any of Newton’s Laws to the sales process?

Let’s have a new fall series of blog posts that relates your favorite scientific hypothesis, theory or law to the science of sales. Get your geek smart technical friends involved. Send them a link to this post and have them explain the science then apply it to sales.

Let me get this started. Ever meet a salesperson who was full of hot air? Here’s my example.

Where, P=the pressure of the gas (hot air), V=volume occupied by the gas (office, living room, phone call), n=units of gas, R is a constant, and T is the Temperature. Think about what this means. An aware salesperson can control the pressure that a prospect feels.

If you increase the volume from an office to the golf course, you decrease the pressure.

If you lower the temperature (stop the hot air and have a conversation), you decrease the pressure.

If you reduce the number of units of hot air (n), you decrease the pressure.

If you decrease the volume (by getting in a prospect’s face) and you keep the temperature the same, the pressure MUST go up and your prospect may blow up!

So, whadayathink? Fun? Sick? Wanna play? Wanna comment?

If you want to post about applying your favorite science, write it and send it to me by email. You may uncover the next sales breakthrough! Incidentally, if you know a scientist, engineer, or other-titled, smart, technical person, send this to them. Maybe they’ll be the next guru!


You may know that my house neighbors a golf course. Last Saturday, I noticed a foursome on the first green. I usually don’t pay very close attention, but for some reason, I watched this group putt. I don’t know how many strokes it took these golfers to make the green, but they were all there when I arrived. Each one of them missed their first putt. I walked away wondering why anyone would voluntarily play the game. As I thought about it, I remembered that they were probably going to play 17 more holes. What a way to waste a beautiful Saturday!

So, why is a non-golfer writing about golf? I don’t know whether any of those guys parred that hole or not. I don’t know how any of them wound up for the day, but they probably did play the full round. Whatever number of strokes it took to put the little ball in the hole on the first, they went to the second tee and started the process again. Whether above, below or at par on the second, they tee-d off on the third. And so on. So that by the end of the day, they’d played 18 holes, some at par, some just below, some way above, eagles, birdies, hole in ones. The lesson…..they finish the course.

How many of us don’t? If you make your first sales call of the day and your drive ends up out of bounds, do you go home? Does it make a difference if your first sales call of the day is a hole in one? Might you make the second one? Golfers go out trying to break 100, 90, 80, par FOR THE ROUND! They’re gonna play all the holes!

So, the message today, is:

Play the whole round……Make all your calls.
Par each hole……Give each call your best effort.
Play the 19th……Huddle to debrief and strategize the next work day.

What are you afraid of?

Yesterday, while I was walking, I noticed a lady stretching to look at some rocks. She explained that the day before, she saw two snakes sunning themselves on top of the rocks and the mere fact that they were in the area “gave her the creeps”. I’ve seen people jump up on tables when they see a mouse, hide under the covers when they see a bat and break out into a sweat when they go to the dentist. Why? Did something happen to them once and it was traumatic enough that they’ll remember it forever?

My skin used to crawl when my grandmother used to put her parakeet on my finger. I’m told that it’s because when I was little a parakeet tried to land on my nose with its wings flapping in my face. I don’t remember the incident, but apparently it still affects me because I still prefer not to be around birds. Now, as you read this, you may be saying to yourself, “Rick’s crazy. Birds are beautiful, gentle, friendly and fun to be around. Wouldn’t hurt you.” You might also say the same thing about fear of mice, bats, snakes, dogs, heights, the dark, yada, yada, yada……. Get over it.

Here’s the interesting thing. We may not remember the event that gave us the fear. We may not even know that we have the fear. We just know that we’d prefer to not deal with it. So, when I’m working with a salesperson that has call reluctance, they may not know the event that gave them the fear, they may not even know that they have the fear, but before I can teach them to overcome the fear, they first have to recognize it and face it and just like with me and the birds, saying, “Get over it!” doesn’t work.

What fears are keeping you from being all that you could be by keeping you from doing what you should do?

Is there something keeping you from making cold calls?

Is there something keeping you from asking tough questions?

Is there something keeping you from getting the business?

Are you worried about being called pushy, abrasive or arrogant?

What unrecognized, undiagnosed, unacknowledged fear is holding you back?

Click here.

Great Hires

I think that Frank Belzer is going to prove to be one of Dave Kurlan’s greatest hires, if not THE greatest hire.

I had the pleasure of working the 128 Business Expo today with him today. He was engaging, professional, focused and relaxed. He is a dynamo at events without being rushed or pushy. He works harder and smarter than almost anybody I know. I’ve watched him show disappointment in his results while at the same time I see his resolve to get where he’s going. I’ve heard the struggle in his voice while he’s debriefing a recent contact with a prospect that didn’t close. Interestingly, though, the struggle isn’t that he wants the sale, it’s that he knows what the customer should do, but can’t find the way to help them do it. But he doesn’t give up.

So, I thought that his post tonight was especially apropos. Frank came to Kurlan with huge experience. He’s sold a ton. He’s managed top sales forces, and has many awards in his office. He’ll tell you, though, that it’s different here and that he isn’t succeeding here because of his experience. He’s succeeding because of his strengths, his character, his ability and his lack of weaknesses.

OK. Enough commentary. Here’s the post.

Thanks, Frank!

Wrong Direction

Yesterday, the priest starts off his sermon with two questions.

“Show of hands everybody….How many of you enjoy having other people tell you that you’re wrong?”

I was near the back of the church, so I could see that very few hands went up.

“Second question….How many of you enjoy telling other people that they are wrong?”

Considerably more hands went up.

Interesting! Huh? So, as I pondered this opening, my thoughts were interrupted by the actual sermon.

“…..when you have to tell someone they’re wrong, do it gently….
if they don’t change, bring some friends to help you tell them they’re wrong….
if they still don’t change, tell The Church….”

Any comments relative to the sermon, my comment to Pete’s postI’m Back, Out of Business, or Kinder & Gentler?

Buyer’s Remorse?

So, I was talking with a hotshot salesperson, Andy. Andy was already 20% over quota when a prospect calls him and says, “A friend of mine bought from you yesterday. I’ll have the same thing he did. Here’s my credit card. Charge it for the same amount that you charged my friend. I already know the whole deal.” Andy said, “Yes sir.” and did as he was told. (He was secretly thinking that he was gonna need a new quota.)

So, three days later, the customer sends Andy an email.

“Andy, please cancel my order and credit my credit card. I changed my mind.”
Now, for some odd reason, Andy can’t get this customer on the phone to find out what happened.

I asked Andy, “In hindsight, would you rather write the sale and get the cancellation or would you rather find out that it’s not a fit on the first call and not write the sale in the first place?” I won’t tell you Andy’s answer, but what would your answer be?

What do you think my next question was?