Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Cold Call Hell

I like getting cold calls from sales people.  I learn a lot from them.  Some of them are very good and walk me through the buying process expertly.  I literally take notes.

I always try to return calls to sales people who leave me a voice mail.  I know how frustrating it can be to not get a call back.

Sometimes, and frankly not very often, a really bad sales person will call.  Today was one of those days.  The guy launched right into his spiel for a product we could never possibly use, and after talking a mile a minute for about 3 minutes he asked me if it was something in which I'd be interested, a direct question that invited a direct answer.  Not a "how does that sound?" open ended question, but a closed yes or no question.  "Is this something that interests you?"

I gave him a chance to clarify.  "Are you asking me if I'd be interested in buying your product?"  "Yes," he said.  "Is this something you could use in your operation?"

"No," I responded politely.  "No, it's really not."  I waited for him to probe a bit, try again, restate his case...anything.  After a prolonged period of uncomfortable silence he finally thanked me for my time and hung up and went back to his misery of unsuccessful cold calling, probably wondering why nobody's buying.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014


Charlie Chaplin and Albert Einstein
You never know what happens when two people from different vocations get together.

Who knows what these two were talking about?

Meet someone new.  Before you do that, read this:

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The Man in the Mirror

Say what you like about Michael Jackson, his song "Man in the Mirror" perfectly addressed matters of conscience, and judgement.

Recently there was a heated and frustrated conversation in our office regarding the obvious dishonesty we had encountered from sources outside of our venue, and thus far beyond our control.  On our team it is understood that misrepresentation of product or circumstance is not tolerated or supported.  What that means, practically, is that if we tell you we have someone else interested and we need you to make your buying decision it means that we have someone else interested and we need you to make your buying decision.  It isn't a tactic.

When I first started traveling for business I did so with people on a per diem.  They didn't need to collect receipts for meals.  That wasn't my situation - I paid for everything on my personal credit card and submitted an expense report.  One of my peers offered me his receipt, worth a few bucks more than my actual meal cost.  It happened again a couple of weeks ago - a dinner receipt worth more than what I actually spent.  The idea was that I'd claim the higher amount and pocket the difference.  I'm told it happens a lot.

I'm not saying I'm a saint, I'm not saying I wasn't and haven't been tempted, but I do know this.  It's  already not pretty when I look in the mirror.

I don't want to make it any uglier by seeing a liar staring back.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

In the Company of My Peers

I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days with an elite group of men and women, less than 20 in all of Canada who specifically do what we do.  I realized a few things.

I'm not the smartest guy in the room.  Never have been.  I'm sometimes I'm amazed to find myself in the company of some of the people in whose company I sometimes find myself.  From co-workers to board members to regular folks with common interests, I'm usually in awe.  But if I'm smart enough to get into the room I make it a point to shut up and to listen.

I don't have all the answers.  See above.  But I do have lots of questions, and I sure do learn a lot when smart people get talking to each other.  The trick is to stay engaged by contributing, asking a few questions and seeking clarification, and then repeating back what you think you've heard.

I don't fake the answer if I don't know.  That's painful, and I don't mind asking someone to explain an acronym or forgive my ignorance.  I admire people who rattle off stats from the top of their head, but if it doesn't help me achieve my goals, I don't waste a lot of gray matter on it.  Not a lot available.

A good laugh goes a long way.   And I'm occasionally funny.