A question I often ask myself is, “If I could grab a quick coffee and pick the brain of anyone on Earth, who would it be?”
Why? Well, because I have a weird imagination and because it’s a fun exercise. Imagining having coffee or just shooting the shit with someone famous or Inspirational, someone you look up to.
I mean how freaking awesome would that be?
Don’t like coffee? Fine, how about a beer? In Cali? A joint. Whatever.
I get all jacked up just thinking about it. I mean, I have at least 100 questions for J.K. Rowling, if she would ever take my call.
And I’m sure LeBron James and I would come up with the dopest, most elaborate secret handshake known to man.
All kidding aside, just think about how it might go.
Would that person even like you?
What would you talk about?
Would you shit your pants?
The biggest reason why this is a great exercise is because it gives you an idea of what you really care about.
If you’re an accountant and daydream about meeting Matthew Berry, maybe you should write about fantasy football or start a fantasy football podcast.
If it’s The Rock, maybe your real passion is getting jacked.
If you’re married and dream about the chick in the cubicle next to you… well, you get my point.
My go-to is usually Jerry Seinfeld. He’s obviously hilarious, so I feel like it would be a fun talk. But he’s also just an incredibly successful, ambitious, and brilliant human. I know I would learn a ton from him. I already practice one of his writing techniques, don’t break the chain.
Who is your ideal coffee date?
Since I’m OCD and borderline insane, I couldn’t possibly stop at just Seinfeld, JK, and King James. Here’s a few more options to get your brain moving.
I used to train at a gym by my home town. There was this guy there, Scott, that I used to bullshit with here and there. Nothing too deep, just the usual gym banter.
“What are you training today?” “Chest, you?” “I got Back.” “Nice.”
That kind of thing. Anyway, at some point in the not too distant future, while tending bar at a restaurant called Damon’s, I ran into Scott. I was running a drink into the dining room for a server, when I noticed he was sitting down in a corner booth with his family.
I stopped and said hello, shook his hand, and got introduced to his family as Chris, a guy from the gym. Then I told them that if they needed anything at all, to let me know.
I may not have known it at the moment, but that was my first real sales situation. I did two very basic things that day. I went out of my way to say hello. And even though I wasn’t serving their table personally, I wanted to make sure they had a great experience.
One week later, I was walking to my car after a workout, when Scott came running after me and called my name. He said, “So, what the hell are you up to? What do you do again?”
I told him how I was working for a start-up, for free, and that my loans would be coming through soon, so it was time to get some real work. He offered me a job on the spot.
I ended up working for Scott for five years.
Scott became a mentor to me. When it comes to sales, he’s in Cooperstown. He’s Muhammad Ali. But also just a great fucking dude.
He also has tattoos all over and rocks a cutoff at the gym; he doesn’t always look like the owner of a successful steel company. It would have been easy to be short with him and selfishly avoid conversation. But I didn’t. I was nice, like I try to be to everyone. Most importantly, I was myself.
I’m particularly proud of that story because in this day and age, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get a job like that. The old fashioned way.
I’m getting way off topic here but I also think we’re getting to a point in business where a plain resume will never get you the job you want. It’s more important than ever to stand out.
And one more quick note about that story. Before I interviewed formally, Scott invited me to dinner at Red the Steakhouse with the rest of the sales team. It was a great tactic. He got to see me in a relaxed, yet professional state. And at the same time sell me on the team and company.
It was the best steak of my life. I felt like a baller and couldn’t accept the job quick enough.
So, all that said, here are what I consider to be the most important sales skills to master:
Be yourself, because you’re always selling
People can smell a fraud like Cinnabon at the airport. Also, people like to deal with people they like. And most people don’t like fakes. It’s pretty straightforward.
Don’t be afraid to deliver the bad news
This is huge for me because I hate confrontation. Hate it. I used to lie to customers when I screwed up and it only made it worse. I’d tell people that the lead time would be one week when I knew it would be a month. Then after a month, I’d make up an excuse and then tell another lie.
You have no idea how many times I’ve had a screaming client ask for a manager. Needless to say I don’t do that anymore. It’s not under-promise, over-deliver bullshit. It’s called being fucking real.
Trust me, tell them the truth and do it now!
Be a great story-teller
Again, people like to deal with people they like. That’s why it’s so important to be confident and tell a story. If you stutter or sound nervous, they’ll think you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, or worse, they will think you’re lying. The second that becomes the perception, you’re dead.
Being able to tell a story is a good life skill to have. If you can walk up to a guy or girl at a bar and make them laugh with a good story, you’re golden, Pony Boy.
There was a study that showed that people give up after the fifth contact with a prospect. The thing is, those prospects would have bought from them after the seventh contact. Hang in there and be persistent.
I’ve had so many situations where after finalizing a deal, people have thanked me for staying on them. These days, in a world where people wear busy like a badge of honor, a person who effectively follows up is virtually taking a todo off of their clients plate. It can really be an advantage.
But always read the situation, you don’t want to be annoying either.
Here’s a cheesy bonus tip: If you are being annoying, fall on the sword: “Hey, it’s me again, that pain in the ass from XYZ Co.” I know, I know. But trust me, it works. You’ll get a laugh every time.
Don’t let the highs get you too high; don’t let the lows get you too low
Another mentor of mine – Marc – told me this when I first started out in sales. I’m a high anxiety dude and tend to get way down on myself when things aren’t going well at work. And when things are going well, I get super amped up about it.
I think it’s great to celebrate your wins and you should always learn from your loses. But it’s so, so important to try your best to remain as Stoic as possible.
Relax and do the work, the sales will come.
PS If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to reach out. I love to talk sales.
The resistance has been really bad lately. Like, I have almost felt afraid to write. It’s really weird. I’ve been finding myself scrolling through Instagram or Safari or Snapchat for hours when I know I should be writing something.
I told myself that today would be the day I finally post something to this site. It’s been a while. I’ve written some shit here and there since my last post but nothing crazy.
I deleted the Way of Life app that I was using to track habits. I found myself leaning back towards my OCD tendencies, so I cut ties. But since then, I haven’t been writing.
Today was a perfect day to finally break the trend because I had such a good fucking day.
Today was right up there in terms of ‘perfect day’ status. In other words, if I lived every day like today, I’d be a happy mother fugga. The only thing I didn’t do was have a meal/drinks with friends or family (I did spend them with my wife though).
My beautiful day
8am: Breakfast with the wife at our favorite diner
9am: TDAP shot for Kelly
9:45am: OB appt. for my pregnant wife (31 weeks, 5 days)
5pm: Clean bathrooms and kitchen
7pm: Take Marshall for a walk with Kelly
7:30pm: Jeopardy! to see how smart I am
8:30pm: Follow the Leader on CNBC. Gary Vaynerchuk episode.
At work today I listened to Podcasts with Anthony Bourdain (Joe Rogan) and Tony Robbins (Lewis Howes). Both were incredible and both really inspired me to write today and to try to be the best, most exceptional, and least boring person that I can be.
I was also able to schedule three meetings for tomorrow and the chance to land 4 different accounts. So that’s nice.
I’m sitting at my desk drinking some Starbucks Cold Brew, getting ready to go to Yoga.
That’s my new Friday ‘thing’. Drink coffee. Go to Yoga.
It’s great because it gets me ready for the weekend, in that I am able to effectively forget all of the stressors of the week. Of course it always depends on where I am mentally. Right now, I’m in a really good place.
I had a great week at work, capped off by opening my largest account to date. I also got in three good workouts and when I checked by BP last night, it was 140/76, which is on target (the goal is to be under 140/80). So that made me feel good. A high reading would have made me anxious going into the weekend.
Also, the weather is fucking great. It’s 70 and sunny outside my window right now. Tonight we’re going to dinner with Kelly’s family, which will be a blast. One of her brothers is in from LA and the other from Columbus, so it it will be fun to get everyone together. We’re going out to eat in Kent and then coming back to our place for drinks.
Finally, tomorrow is Kelly’s baby shower and we are expecting over 70 people, which is bananas. Like, it’s crazy how lucky we are to have so many amazing people in our lives.
So yea, things are good. I’m happy. I genuinely hope you are too.
Ten days ago I wrote a piece while sitting in the lobby at HESS Print Solutions, in Kent, Ohio. I’d link to that story but there is no need.
The premise that I was waiting for a meeting. A meeting where I was expecting to close my biggest account yet, in the propane business. I’m sure you can see where this is going. I didn’t get the deal that day.
At 3pm today, that deal finally went through.
Here’s the thing, I was bummed when I left that office ten days ago. I worked hard for that account and I was upset that I had to wait, even though she told me that it was basically a done-deal. She just needed to get a signature from some corporate big-wig in MN.
Now, looking back, I feel bad for ever doubting her. She told me the truth and came through. So now, as a salesperson, my job is to return that favor.
But I still feel bad. So, Angie, if you’re reading, I apologize for doubting you and thank you from the bottom of my heart for choosing to do business with me. We won’t let you down.
Lesson? Shit happens. Things take longer than they’re supposed to. There are extra steps that the people don’t always know about. People are good.
In the end, I earned the business. And it all started in a lobby in Kent.
Let me start by saying how I sick I am of everyone shitting on this flick. It’s a good movie. And if you’re a Batman fan, go see it. Now.
It’s a good, fun summer movie.
It’s fucking Batman.
Superman is the reason everyone is hating on it. I think that’s because people have had enough of the unrealistic alien type stuff. Then again, the Avengers works.
I think Captain America (the Chris Evans version to be specific) is the main reason why people are over Superman. Comparatively, he just isn’t that tight. Superman has always been a bit boring. Sure, Cap can be a bummer sometimes, but at least he’s hilarious.
Ben Affleck is a great Batman. He’s older and wiser, but also more stubborn and his worldview is much darker. Ben’s version of Bruce Wayne is more focused on the job. He’s beyond whatever ventures he had going on in business or in his personal life. He’s Batman through and through.
Christian Bale’s Batman had an existential dread about being Batman. He had trouble deciding whether or not he should break laws to win. Affleck’s Dark Knight doesn’t have that problem. He wants to win.
Superman is just too contradictory and paradoxical. It doesn’t work. Is he a God or a Meta-Human or an Alien. And what’s the difference?
And guys, how the fuck do people not know that Clark Kent is Superman? Is it the glasses? I mean c’mon. They even go to the obligatory, cliche scene at the Daily Planet where Perry (Clark’s boss, played by Laurence Fishburne) is looking for him and goes to the “where does he always disappear to?” card. So bad.
Wonder Woman, played by Gal Gadot, is a smoke. That is all.
Jesse Eisenberg plays Lex Luthor, a Mark Zuckerberg type tech guy who plots Superman and Batman against each other. Eisenberg also played Zuckerberg in The Social Network. Coincidence? Is Zuck a real-life villain? Maybe. Maybe not. All I’m saying is that the real Dark Knight night want to keep an eye on him.
The monster villain at the end of the movie is cheeseball as fuck. Just horrible.
The whole nuking Superman in outerspace is also cheese. I don’t think POTUS would go to that, that quickly. Is space even the USA’s jurisdiction? I think not. That said, it wasn’t a horrible plan.
Affleck had the best Batcave yet. Best house too. The old, lonely Wayne Manor narrative is dead. Finally. The Bat is a playboy and rightly so.
Alfred is great. And fly as hell.
The movie was 45 minutes too long. I could have done without all of the Superman scenes. Kidding. In all seriousness though, it was just a little too long.
Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman was far superior to Gadot’s Wonder Woman. But Apples and Oranges, I guess.
I can’t wait for Suicide Squad, Justice League, and the stand alone Batman that Affleck is in the process of writing.
I wouldn’t put it past Affleck to win an Oscar for it (not this one).
Affleck’s training montage is everything. Squats, Deads, Prowler pushes and pulls. It’s a gritty and badass scene that makes me want to be the Bat.