Economy Busters

I don’t even know if that title makes sense. If you can think of a better one, tell me. I’ll consider it.

I was just reading Jim Burns, “Mindset for an Anemic Business Climate” and thinking about some of my economy stories.

Elaine and I bought both our primary home and our beach house during economic downturns.

I will attend Worcester Business Journal’s Top Growth Companies 2008 to watch one of my clients be recognized as the #1 Top Growth Company. One of my clients is one of 12 salespeople in his office, but sells half of the business.

Lest you think that I’m trying to tell you that success is “Rick dependent”, check out Hubspot and The Bridge Group. A vendor and a ‘quasi-competitor’ that are having their best year ever.

So, what’s the point? Two of them.

First, you are who you associate with. Hang with losers, you’re likely to be a loser. Hang with people that are struggling, suffering and complaining, you’re likely to do the same. I know small business owners that have dropped their chamber memberships, cut costs and are hunkering down getting ready to go out of business if they can’t weather this. Obviously, we at Kurlan are having a great year. So are our friends.

Second, this world moves too fast and won’t ‘buy’ same old. Same old stuff. Same old solutions. Same old approach. Same old attitude. I just heard a news story that started, “General Motors days may be numbered…” That’s a shame, but really…Didn’t they offer us the same old for too long? Don’t you think that they held onto the, “We’re #1. We’re invincible.” too long? Don’t you think that they let their competitors gain market share?

If you’d like to talk to me, feel free.

The Worcester Chamber has another suggestion. Contact them or me for a more information on the program.

Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Sir

This is not a political statement, so please don’t let my politics keep you from seeing the lesson.

I did not vote for Bill Clinton either time, but he was my President as well as he was yours and he did the job as well as he could being the man that he was. Don’t try to read between the lines. There’s nothing there. He was elected according to the rules and regardless of what I think of him as a man or as a President, he was the man that the voters wanted.

He was a hell of a salesman. The words that he chose. His tonality, cadence, volume. His physiology, facial expressions, hand gestures, posture, stance. He was a hell of a salesman.

I did not vote for Barack Obama, but on January 20th, he’ll be my president as much as he’ll be yours. He was duly elected because more of the American voters bought him than bought John McCain (or any of the other candidates for the office). He’ll make decisions over the next four years that would probably keep me up at night if I had to make them, but he’s the President. That’s his job.

Barack was a better salesman than his opponents. Did he spend more money? Did he work smarter? Did he yada yada yada? Fact is….bottom line…..more people bought his story than anyone else’s yesterday.

I did not vote for Sir. I didn’t buy his stuff which is how consumers vote (with dollars). I did not (and won’t) refer him, because I don’t want him anywhere near anyone that I care about and based on many of the comments to my last post, he’s not getting many other votes either. Now, @ Frank and @ Pete, respectfully whether or not I agree with your observations, I had to walk because I couldn’t uncover HIS compelling reasons. If he’s depleting his savings, I’d find that compelling. If he doesn’t it’s not. If he’s about to lose his exclusive rights, I’d find that compelling. If he doesn’t it’s not. If he’s feeling like a failure, I’d find that compelling. If he doesn’t it’s not. He had no compelling reason to buy because if he did, he wouldn’t have said, “I see that you’re trying to trick me.” He would have said, “Holy crap! This guy could help me, but it looks like he’s leaving! Stop!”

It’s always, always, always, always, always about COMPELLING REASONS. THEIR compelling reasons. If they don’t have them. If you can’t find them. You’re wasting your time. Leave.

Special note to Rob: The quest for anonymity forces me to leave out details. Similarly, I know stuff about you that others may not. Skeptical isn’t the right word you. I’ve always found you open, maybe questioning, surely not a roll over for every offer that comes along. By the same token, skeptical isn’t the right word for Sir. If you knew what I know, you’d know that Sir believes that he’s much smarter than me (and the rest of the world) and wants me to tell him where to find salespeople that can sell him out of his problem, but he does not want to pay for it.

Honestly, he’s not fun.

Honestly, his money problems force him to buy only that which he can get for free.

Honestly, if I were in a ‘name-calling’ mood, jerk would be mild.

Honestly, we’ve already given Sir more time and attention than prospects have given him lately.

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.