Trick or Truth

I was introduced to an entrepreneur (let’s call him, “Sir”) about three years ago. He was struggling then. He attended our Executive Luncheon last Wednesday. He and I had a 20 minute conversation during which he showed no compelling need or emotion even though he’s still struggling. The following email exchange ensued. See if you can explain the title of the post.

On Fri, Oct 31, 2008 at 6:47 AM, Rick Roberge wrote: Sir, Back when you and I met at Starbucks, I was still hoping to spend 100% of my time with individual salespeople that wanted to learn how to sell better and entrepreneurs to help them reach their dream by generating revenue rather than selling their souls to financiers. I do spend a significant amount of time with individual salespeople because their companies pay for them to get help. Entrepreneurs are, for the most part, a waste of time and a source of frustration. I searched my blog for articles about entrepreneurs, and as it turns out, I’ve posted many times. I’ve included a link to the search results if you’re curious, but I want to warn you that you’ll see words like: ego, argumentative, uncooperative, DIY, out of business and death. If you haven’t already deleted this, here’s the link Sir, I just typed more reflecting on our Starbucks meeting and subsequent conversations, but deleted it because there’s really no reason to upset you further. You asked yesterday how you could help me. Honestly, you can’t. We met through an introduction, but the intro came from my client. Client’s can refer. If you made a referral and they asked you, “What has Rick done for you?” What can you say? “Nothing. I don’t need him.” “Nothing. I can’t afford him.” “Nothing. I don’t like him.” I refer my clients and they refer me. I become an integral part of my client’s business. We over-help each other and we deserve it. Thanks for attending the Luncheon.

He replied.

On Fri, Oct 31, 2008 at 9:33 AM, Sir wrote: Dear Rick, Thanks for your thoughful response and challenge. I read the blog entries you searched for me, and when I reached your comments about pay-time realized that I should respond over the weekend when my customers are not usually available. Sir

On Fri, Oct 31, 2008 at 11:38 AM, Sir wrote: Dear Rick, I have a couple of minutes free before my next pay-time activity. I just want you to know that I see you are trying to use the “Just Walk Away” sales technique on me. Smart capable highly educated entrepreneurs who can see a market need and create a product to meet it are just not your target market, so there’s no point in trying to guilt them into using your services. I’m sure you have had great success training insurance salespeople and others who sell a product created by someone else, and that you have made enough money from the companies that employ them to afford several homes and great vacations. And that’s fine. Unfortunately, you don’t believe strongly enough in your service to offer a fee structure where you get paid a percentage of the sales of those who have taken your sales training courses, rather than asking to be paid up front without conditions on whether your sales training is effective. Even though we agee to disagree, let’s stay friends. Take care, Sir.

11 thoughts on “Trick or Truth

  1. Rick. “Sir” brngs up a great point and I am going to start using this immediately – at the grocery store, the gas station, the doctors, the dentists, on contractors that work on my home or vendors that provide a service – this is how it goes. “You don’t believe in your product enough to give it to me for free?” Simply Brilliant. I will let you know how I make out and I am very excited about all of the free things I expect to get using this powerful line of questioning. Thank you Sir!!!

  2. Anyone who knows Rick knows that he doesn’t use the “just walk away sales technique”. He’s actually walking away. And also, anyone that can’t come up with a few k to invest in sales training isn’t really running a business and should go get a job – preferably not in sales. There are a ridiculous amount of people who want to be an entrepreneur. Only a small % will make it. Usually, it’s not because of cash flow. That’s just an indicator. More than anyone I know, Rick is excellent at detecting who will be successful and who won’t. I’ve met many people that charge exclusively on commission. Most of them can’t sell and that’s why they do it. Right now, I’m trying to figure out how do I charge up front and get a commission. Because I invested a few k a few years ago with DKA/Rick, I’m confident I can pull that off.

  3. I agree with the archeaologist. “Girl” analogy…. I am going to get some diet pills/drinks/cream or whatever to lose weight. Now, I am NOT going to eat less or exercise but I am going to use the product. I don’t think I should have to pay for the product till I am thin because hey, they created the product so they must believe in it right?

  4. @The Archeaologist & @ Trish Gotta tell ya. When The Arch. came up with this idea, I immediately thought of my Planet Fitness membership. So, it was easy to agree with Trish. But, Pete nailed it! @ Pete, exactly where the title came from. Sir thought that I was trying to “trick” him into buying by using a technique. When in reality, I was telling him the “truth”, that I was actually walking away. You win the prize for this post. Let’s have lunch, on me, you choose the topic of discussion.
    Now, let’s go deeper. Why was I walking?

  5. Why was Rick leaving? That’s easy! You were leaving because Sir is as skeptical as I was 30 months ago. You have plenty of prospects who will be able to make the leap of faith required to say, “what I’m doing isn’t working, and I don’t know how to fix it.” The time you will need to get Sir to that line of thought will be better spent on other prospects.The difference between Sir and me is that he seems to be doing well enough that he is satisfied with the status quo.If Mike had offered me a deal where I paid a percentage of increased sales instead of a fixed rate, it probably would have cost me a fortune!

  6. @Rick. Why were you walking? Hmmm. I’m not exactly sure. Putting aside the obvious that this guy isn’t “low hanging fruit”, I’m guessing you want me to guess why this guy isn’t low hanging fruit? Based on OMG’s assessment, I believe that there are 3 things that rule a candidate out – from being hirable. (Why would you want to work with anyone that is probably destined to fail when you could be spending your time with people who have what it takes to succeed?) I think one of these weaknesses is “lack of desire and commitment”. Based on your italicized preface, “This guy is struggling but doesn’t care or for some reason, doesn’t really need to succeed, atleast at sales.” That would be enough reason to walk. Based on his response, he has some other sales weaknesses too. But, I’m sticking with “Lack of desire and committment”. Of course, whoever the prospect is, he thinks he’s very committed. (All “entrepreneurs” do.) Unfortunately, he’s committed to repeating the same sales mistakes over and over again, instead of committed to doing the hard uncomfortable things that will make him successful. Hopefully, “the truth” will help him. I know you receive a lot of flack for being this honest with people.

  7. Why were you walking??? let me put this nicely – because “sir” sounds like a Jerk and 1) who wants to work with someone that thinks like this guy.2) how could you have success with someone that appears to have the most negative buy cycle and ridiculous record collection ever and wouldn’t know value if it hit him in the head 3)because if you didn’t walk it would have ended ugly 4) he is simply not worth the effort 5) he probably has no money to pay you because of his faulty business ideology 6) if as a leader he thinks like this imagine the people that work for him – other than that I have no idea why you would walk away!

  8. Rick, if you delete this it okay with me, I just had to put my two-cents in….I agree with the Arch. This man (I think “Sir” is too polite a handle for him) is a condescending know-it-all who looks down his nose at people. I am surprised anyone who realizes this would even listen to him. His over-confidence is definitely misplaced.

  9. Wow. It’s interesting to see the perceptions of people towards those of us who work hard to make lives ( and businesses) better and more productive. I am an entrepeneur and Rick, you and I have spoken and we mutually decided that I am not your target. However, I value your opinions and advice with my business. Not to mention the referral value you offer. Maybe that’s why so many start up businesses fail……

  10. I can’t wait to add my three-cents! First, why were you walking away – simple. You haven’t lost enough weight at the free fitness center to run away. Second, Sir attended a luncheon where I spoke and he was the only person out of 100 or so business owners, presidents and CEO’s in the audience that indicated that the economy was not having an impact on his business. He raised his hand and implied to everyone there that he was not grounded in reality.

  11. I am surprised at the attitude (bordering on contempt) I am reading into comments from Peter and “Archaeologist.” I’m assuming it is really unintentional, because I know Frank and Rick, and I’ve read a lot of Peter’s other comments. These seem out of character.What I’ve read here sounds like a bunch of expert sales guys sitting around a table at the local pub telling stories about their pain-in-the-butt prospects. It does not sound at all like the expert sales TRAINERS that I’m convinced you guys are.Which is the real you? Is there an actual lesson here?

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