Thursday, January 01, 2015

Sales Joke of the Day (January 1) The Hangover.

It's January the first and the salesman wakes up with a huge hangover after the New Year's Eve party the night before.  The salesman is not usually a drinker but the drinks didn't taste like alcohol at all. He didn't even remember how he got home from the party. As bad as he was feeling, he wondered if he did something wrong.

The salesman had to force himself to open his eyes, and the first thing he sees is a couple of aspirins next to a glass of water on the side table. And, next to them, a single red rose! The salesman sits up and sees his clothing in front of him, all clean and pressed. He looks around the room and sees that it is in perfect order, spotlessly clean. So is the rest of the house.

The salesman takes the aspirins, cringes when he sees a huge black eye staring back at him in the bathroom mirror. Then he notices a note hanging on the corner of the mirror written in red with little hearts on it and a kiss mark from his wife in lipstick: "Honey, breakfast is on the stove, I left early to get groceries to make your favorite dinner tonight. I love you, darling! Love, Jillian"

The salesman stumbles into the kitchen and sure enough, there is a hot breakfast, steaming hot coffee, and the morning newspaper all waiting for him. His son is also at the table, eating. The salesman asks, "Son... what happened last night?"

"Well, you came home after 3 in the morning, drunk and out of your mind. You fell over the coffee table and broke it, and then you puked in the hallway, and got that black eye when you ran into the door."

Confused, he asked his son, "So, why is everything in such perfect order and so clean? I have a rose, and breakfast is on the table waiting for me?"

His son replies, "Oh THAT!  Well, Mom dragged you to the bedroom, and when she tried to take your pants off and put you to bed, you screamed, 'Leave me alone!  Leave me alone!  I'm married!'"

Moral of the story.    True sales professionals know that loyalty goes a long way.    If in times of change or crisis, you are loyal to your customers and genuinely care about their interests; your customers in turn will overlook your shortcomings and do everything they can to continue the relationship.
"Overspending is as certain a part of the holiday season as overeating.  But pushing away from both the table and the cash register at least a little bit sooner can make the post-holiday hangover hurt a little bit less."      -  Jeffrey Kluger

Friday, September 19, 2014

Sales Joke of the Day (September 19) Won $100,000 in Las Vegas!

A sales force from Chicago spent a weekend together gambling in Las Vegas. One of the salesmen on that trip won $100,000 on a slot machine he was playing all by himself in the middle of the night. He didn't want any of his colleagues to know about his huge windfall, so he decided not to return with the others.  Instead, the salesman took a later flight, the next day, arriving back home at 3 a.m.  This was several hours after his co-workers landed.  Preferring secrecy over sleep, the salesman immediately went out to the backyard of his house, dug a hole and planted his money in it. The following morning he walked outside and found only an empty hole. The salesman noticed footsteps leading from the hole to the house next door, which was owned by a deaf-mute.

On the same street lived a professor who understood sign language and was a friend of the deaf man. Grabbing his pistol, the enraged salesman went to awaken the professor and dragged him to the deaf man's house.   "You tell this guy that if he doesn't give me back my $100,000 I'm going to kill him!" he screamed at the professor.

The professor conveyed the message to his friend, and his friend replied in sign language, "I hid it in my backyard, underneath the cherry tree."

The professor turned to the salesman with the gun and said, "He's not going to tell you. He said he'd rather die first."

Moral of the Story:   Don't believe the hype!   Whatever ever happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas!   Play safe people!    But mostly if you win big.....   use a bank!   And if you should ever find yourself in a heated situation, never believe the professor!

"“People break down into two groups. When they experience something lucky, group number one sees it as more than luck, more than coincidence. They see it as a sign, evidence, that there is someone up there, watching out for them. Group number two sees it as just pure luck. Just a happy turn of chance. I'm sure the people in group number two are looking at those fourteen lights in a very suspicious way. For them, the situation is a fifty-fifty. Could be bad, could be good. But deep down, they feel that whatever happens, they're on their own. And that fills them with fear. Yeah, there are those people. But there's a whole lot of people in group number one. When they see those fourteen lights, they're looking at a miracle. And deep down, they feel that whatever's going to happen, there will be someone there to help them. And that fills them with hope. See what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, that sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky? Or, look at the question this way: Is it possible that there are no coincidences?”             -  M. Night Shyamalan

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Sales Joke of the Day (June 2) Birds of a Feather.

A young sales rep had spent all weekend preparing for his presentation to the National Audubon Society.  He was up against eleven other competitors for a nationwide bird seed contract.  He had already submitted his company's proposal and was invited to present the following Monday. 

When he arrived at the National Audubon Society, he was escorted in to a large conference room where, after waiting about 10 minutes, he was joined with eleven other sales reps from the competing seed companies.   "This was highly unusual," the young rep thought to himself.  Moments later things got even stranger when a well-dressed gentleman rolled in a long table at the front of the conference room.   The long rolling table had ten birds on it, with a sack over each bird and only the bird's legs showing.

"May I have your attention please," said the well-dressed gentleman from the society.  "We thank you all for bidding on our nationwide bird seed contract.  Your bids were all so close to another, it was impossible to choose which vendor to go with.  So rather than go through all twelve of your presentations, we have devised a test to determine who will win our Nationwide bird seed contract.  We would ask that each of you take a copy of this form, fill out your name and contact information, along with your company name.  Now, beside the numbers one through ten on the left hand side of the form, we'd ask that you fill in the common name of the bird, identified by and number and by their legs only at the front of the conference room."

The young sales rep was confused.   All the bird legs looked the same to him.   "Was this some kind of a joke?" he asked himself.  He began to get upset.   The more he thought about it, the madder he got.  While the eleven other sales reps went up to the front of the conference room for a better look at the birds legs, the young sales rep went up to the well-dressed purchaser now seated at the back of the conference room, observing the proceeding with a smug smile on his face. 

"What kind of a vendor selection process is this?" asked the young sales rep.  "What relevance does telling the difference between birds by looking at only their legs have to do with one's ability to supply high quality bird seed at a competitive price?  What's next?  Bird calling?"   With that the young sales rep threw his blank form down on the purchaser's desk and proceeded to walk to the front of the conference room and out the door.

The purchaser was completely surprised.   This was a huge contract.   "The nerve of that young upstart!" he thought to himself.  But then he realized that since the supplier's list was so long, he hadn't taken the time to get to know each of the sales reps by name.  As a result he would have no way of contacting the employer of this young lad to let them know exactly why their firm had lost his contract.   So just as the young rep had reached the front door of the conference room, the purchaser called out, "Excuse me sir, what's your name and who do you work for?"

The enraged young sales rep, abruptly turned, faced the purchaser, took a deep breath, put his briefcase on the floor, pulled up his pant legs and said, "You're so smart, you guess now pal!   You guess!"

Moral of the story.   True sales professionals know that you've got to have bird brains to chase RFPs.   Unless you help the prospect craft the RFP you have little chance of winning.  Since most RFPs are awarded to the low cost bid, there is little room for properly positioning your firm's value anyway.   Nine times out of ten it's best just to move on.  So don't end up joining the flock of inexperienced reps flying from one RFP to another in hopes of just scratching out a living.   Have the courage to spread your wings, chart your own course, carefully select the prospects you fly with and watch your career soar!

"Use the talents you possess - for the woods would be a very silent place if no birds sang except for the best."    - Henry Van Dyke

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Sales Joke of the Day (June 3) Going Fishing.

Not too long ago there was a salesperson who had two sons named Toward and Away.  Every Saturday the salesman would go fishing early in the morning and return late at night always talking about the giant fish he almost caught.  One Saturday he took his two sons, Toward and Away with him.

That night he returned home more excited than ever.

"Sally," he yelled to his wife, "you should have seen the fish I saw today!  A tremendous gray fish ten feet long with horns and fur all overs its back.   It had legs like a caterpillar.  It came crawling out of the water, snatched our son Toward and swallowed him in one gulp!"

"Good gracious!" exclaimed his wife.  "That's horrible!"

"Oh, that was nothing," said the salesperson.  "You should have seen the one that got Away!"

Moral of the story:   Whether it's fishing, sales or jokes....   people just don't appreciate stories about the one that got Away!  Folks, don't waste your life away discussing what might have been.   Instead focus your efforts on improving what is.  

"Don't dwell on what went wrong.  Instead, focus on what to do next.  Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer."    -  Dennis Waitley


Sales Joke of the Day (June 2) The Interview.

A sales manager was interviewing a young salesman for a position in his company. He wanted to learn something about his personality, so he asked, "if you could have a conversation with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?"

The young salesman quickly responded, "The living one."

Moral of the story.   True sales professionals realize that interviews are nothing to be nervous about.   When asked an open ended question, do not be afraid to give complete answers and say what you mean, not what you might think the interviewer wants to hear.   Interviews are an opportunity to see if you are a fit for the rest of the team.   But you must never forget, it's your opportunity to see if the prospective company is a good fit for you.   Make sure to ask questions.   Good questions that do not refer to material readily available from their website, which you should have looked over and memorized before the interview.

“In most cases, the best strategy for a job interview is to be fairly honest, because the worst thing that can happen is that you won't get the job and will spend the rest of your life foraging for food in the wilderness and seeking shelter underneath a tree or the awning of a bowling alley that has gone out of business.”   
-  Lemony Snicket, Horseradish:  Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid 

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Sales Joke of the Day (June 2) Speaking Engagement? Don't Forget Your Teeth

A salesperson was invited to speak at a dinner meeting of the local chamber of commerce.  Nervous and in such a hurry not to be late when he arrived at sat down at the head table, he suddenly realized that he had forgotten his false teeth.

Turning to the man next to him he said, "I forgot my teeth!"

The man said, "No problem."  With that he reached into his pocket and pulled out a pair of false teeth.  "Try these," he said.  The salesperson tried them.  "Too loose," he said.

The man then said, "I have another pair - try these."

The salesperson tried them and responded, "Too tight."

The man was not taken back at all.  He then said, I have one more pair of false teeth - try them."

The salesperson said, "They fit perfectly."  With that he ate his meal and gave his speech.  He was a smash hit.  The evening couldn't have been scripted more perfectly.

After the dinner meeting was over, the saleperson went over to thank the man who had bailed him out form what could have been an embarrassing if not career shattering evening.

"I want to thank you for coming to my aid this evening.  Where is your office?  I've been looking for a good dentist," said the salesperson.

The man replied, "I'm not a dentist.  I'm the local undertaker."

Moral of the story.   If you're in sales and regulary use false teeth, a hair piece, girdle, athletic supporter or fake eye ball to enhance your professional image;  please remember to keep a spare with you at all times!   You just never know.

"I don't have false teeth.  Do you think I'd buy teeth like these?"   -  Carol Burnett 

Sales Joke of the Day (June 1) The Baseball Game.

A doctor at a local asylum for stressed out sales professionals, had decided to take his patients out on a road trip to a baseball game.

For weeks in advance, he coached his patients to respond to his commands. When the day of the game arrived, everything went quite well.

As the National Anthem started, the doctor yelled, "Up Nuts," and the patients complied by standing up.

After the anthem, he yelled, "Down Nuts," and they all sat back down in their seats.

After a home run was hit, the doctor yelled, "Cheer Nuts". They all broke out into applause and cheered.

When the umpire made a particularly bad call against the star of the home team, the Doctor yelled, "Booooo Nuts," and they all started booing and cat calling.

Comfortable with their response, the doctor decided to go get a beer and a hot dog, leaving his assistant in charge. When he returned, there was a riot in progress.

Finding his tizzied assistant, the doctor asked, "What in the world happened?"

The assistant replied, "Well everything was going just fine until this guy walked by and yelled, "PEANUTS!"

Moral of the story.   True sales professionals know that in all situations to never blindly follow orders.   To be truly successful you have to break away from the pack and strike out on your own.  If you simply blindly follow everyone else, the best results you can hope for are mediocre at best!  So have the courage today to 'strike out' on your own and boldly move forward.  Today will not be the day for you to have a yellow streak down your back!

"There are three types of baseball players:  those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happens."     -   Tommy Lasorda

Sales Joke of the Day (June 1) Shingles.

A salesman walked into a doctor's office and the receptionist asked him what he had. He replied, "I got shingles."

She said, "Fill out this form and supply your name, address, medical insurance number. When you're done, please take a seat."

Fifteen minutes later a nurse's aide came out and asked him what he had. He said, "I got shingles."

So she took down his height, weight, and complete medical history, then said, "Change into this gown and wait in the examining room."

A half hour later a nurse came in and asked him what he had. He said, "I got shingles."

So she gave him a blood test, a blood pressure test, an electrocardiogram, and told him to wait for the doctor.

An hour later the doctor came in and asked him what he had.  The salesman said, "Shingles."

The doctor gave him a full-cavity examination, and then said, "I just checked you out thoroughly, and I can't find shingles anywhere."

The salesman replied, "They're outside in my delivery truck. Where do you want them?"

Moral of the story.   True sales professionals know that it's to their benefit to make sure that their customers know everything about their purchase.   Warranties, post purchase benefits, and delivery dates are all components of the customer's overall satisfaction of their purchase.   Post-purchase expectation management will ensure the experienced sales rep gains future repeat business and as such, keeps a roof over his head.

"Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character."     -  John Wooden

Sales Joke of the Day (June 1) The Crib.

One night a wife found her husband (a salesperson) standing over their baby's crib.  Silently she watched him.  As he stood looking down at the sleeping infant, she saw on his face a mixture of emotions:  disbelief, doubt, delight, enchantment, amazement, skepticism.

Touched by this unusual display and the deep emotions it aroused, with eyes glistening she slipped her arm around her husband.

"A penny for your thoughts," she said.

"It's amazing!" the salesman (husband)  replied.  "I just can't see how anybody can make a crib like that for only $46.50."

Moral of the story.   True sales professionals know they have to have some down time, some unwind time from their day to day sales routine.  When they are with their family, they are with their family.  Their mind, their focus, their attention is on their family during these times.  If business thoughts are getting in, your family is not your focus.  Learn to unwind.

"Family is not an important thing.   It's everything."   -  Michael J. Fox 

Monday, June 02, 2014

Sales Joke of the Day (May 31) Experiences.

Experience One.

A young sales rep of a large Fortune 1000 firm, was granted a five minute meeting with the Vice President of Sales.  It was customary at this firm and probably the only time during his career that the young rep would have a chance to meet in person with his boss's, boss's, boss's, boss's, boss's boss.

So the young sales rep got right down to business with a question, "How did you become so successful?" he asked.

"Two words," replied the vice president.

"And what would those two words be?" inquired the rep.

"Right decisions," answered the vice president.

"How do you make right decisions?" asked the rep.

"One word," the vice president paused for emphasis, "experience."

"And how do you get experience?" asked the rep.

"Two words," replied the vice president.

"And those would be?" asked the rep as his time drew to a close.

"Wrong decisions," replied the vice president, "Now go have a nice day and a great career."

Experience Two.

When an unemployed salesman was forced to apply for a job as a laborer at a local lemon grove, he was asked; "Do you have any experience picking lemons?"

"Well," he answered,  "I've been divorced three times."

Moral of the stories.   True sales professionals realize that it doesn't matter whether you're just starting in sales or you are switching industries half way through your career; your biggest asset is your experience.   Your experience makes you unique.  No one else has worked with the customers or the opportunities you have.   No one else has struggled through the adversities you have.  If you learn from your mistakes and your accomplishments, you will become more and more effective each and every day.

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions." 
-  Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Sales Joke of the Day (May 31) The Catch.

A man was disturbed from a Saturday afternoon in front of the TV by a door-to-door salesman.

"Good afternoon, sir," said the salesman cheerily.  "I'm from BettaGardens.  Now let me clear up right away that I'm not trying to sell you anything - it just so happens that we are working in this area at present.  Having said that, I can't help noticing that your garden gate has seen better days.  It's a bit old and rusty and is hanging there on one hinge:  not very secure either in terms of the gate itself or in terms of protecting your property.  So I am delighted to tell you that we at BettaGardens will be able to supply you with a free, top-of-the-line replacement gate."

And with that he handed the householder a glossy catalog.

The homeowner was suspicious.  "A free gate?" he mused.  "Where's the catch?"

"There isn't one," beamed the salesman.

"Well, a gate without a catch?   That's not of much use to me then, is it?"  the homeowner said defiantly, before slamming the door.

Moral of the story.   True sales professionals realize that in order to close more sales instead of more doors, they need to have well-rehearsed answers to common objections.   In addition, by having an open dialogue with prospects, rather than blurting out a canned presentation, you might be able to wedge your foot in the door, and produce much better results.   Prospects prefer to be engaged in an interactive dialogue rather than preached at any day.  Don't forget to empathize with your prospects, see yourself through your customer's eyes.   If you fail to do this, you'll "gate" what's coming to you.

"Perseverance is a great element of success.  If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody."  - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sales Joke of the Day (May 31) The Truck Stop.

Did you hear about the cheerful sales rep who pulled up at a roadside truck stop for dinner?  Halfway through his meal, three wild-looking bikers roared up.  They were bearded, leather-jacketed, filthy individuals with swastikas adorning their chests and helmets.

For no reason at all, other than perhaps he was wearing a suit and tie, they selected the sales rep as their target.  One poured pepper over his head, another stole his apple pie, the third deliberately upset his cup of coffee.  The sales rep never said one word - just arose, paid his bill, tipped the waitress and exited.

"That sales rep sure ain't much of a fighter," sneered one of the bikers.  The waitress behind the counter, peering out into the night, added, "He doesn't seem to be much of a driver either!  He just ran his car right over three motorcycles."

Moral of the story:   When you're on the road as a sales rep make sure to blend in with the natives as much as possible.  Stick to main roads and nationally franchised restaurants.   Make sure to take out the extra insurance on your rental vehicle; you never know when you'll have to distribute some street justice with more than two tons of steel now do you?   Remember they don't call us road warriors for nothing!

"Each Warrior wants to leave the mark of his will, his signature, on important acts he touches.  This is not the voice of ego but of the human spirit, rising up and declaring that it has something to contribute to the solution of the hardest problems, no matter how vexing!"
- Pat Riley

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sales Joke of the Day (May 30) Listening.

A salesman from Apple and a salesman from IBM occupy offices in the same building.  The Apple salesman was in his thirties, the IBM salesman was in his sixties.  They rode the elevator together on the way home from work after an unbelievably hot, sticky day.  The younger Apple salesman was dressed in business casual, a neat looking Apple golf shirt was tucked into his pair of black dress pants.   The IBM rep was wearing his corporate issued dark blue business suit, equipped with standard white shirt and IBM blue tie affixed with the customary Windsor knot.

The Apple salesman was completely exhausted, and he noted with some resentment that his competitor, the more senior IBM salesman, was as fresh as a  daisy.  "I don't understand," marveled the Apple salesman in the elevator that day.  "How can you listen to customers all day long, from morning till night, on a day like this, and still look so spry and unbothered when it's over?"

The older IBM salesman replied simply, "Who listens?"

Moral of the story.   True sales professionals know that listening to customers is key to success.   You stay in touch with the marketplace, with customer needs and find out about the competition by listening.  If a customer for one moment suspects that you are not listening, they will assume that you don't care about their business and they will take that business elsewhere.   Soon by not listening, your company's phones will stop ringing, and sales will ground to a halt.   Most people think you get ahead in business by speaking up.   On the contrary, you really learn a lot more and rise a lot faster by listening up!  Can you hear what I'm saying today people?  (Just kidding.)

"Effective listeners remember that "words have no meaning - people have meaning." The assignment of meaning to a term is an internal process; meaning comes from inside us. And although our experiences, knowledge and attitudes differ, we often misinterpret each others' messages while under the illusion that a common understanding has been achieved."         -  Larry Barker



Sales Joke of the Day (May 30) Handling Customer Complaints Country Style.

A salesman travelling through the country stopped at a small fruit stand and bought some apples.  When he commented they were awfully small, the farmer replied, "Yup."

The man took a bite of one of the apples and exclaimed, "Not very flavorful, either."

"That's right," said the farmer.  "Lucky they're small, ain't it?"

Moral of the story.   Never challenge customer opinions of your product or service.  Agree with them!  Most folks will find this old-style approach refreshing if not completely disarming.  Challlenging their opinion up front will result in a standoff of egos.  No one wins.   Initially accepting a customer's opinion opens up a dialogue where true resolution can occur.

"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact.  Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth."     -  Marcus Aurelius

Sales Joke of the Day (May 30) The Tractor.

On the road in Amish country, in the 1930's,  a tractor salesman stopped outside a homestead, where he saw a young man milking a cow.  The salesman casually strolled over to the young man and prepared to make a lengthy pitch for his business.

But just as he was getting started, an old man near the gate called to the young lad, "Luke, get in the house!  And who's that you're talking to?"

"He's a tractor salesman, Pop!"

"In that case," added the old man, "you'd better take the cow inside with you too!"

Moral of the story.   True sales professionals know that it is never wise to waste time with folks who aren't the decision maker.   The real decision maker might resent your attempt at going around him, and your efforts will get ploughed under.  And, don't forget to call ahead first in order to make an appointment.   Last, now you know where the term "gatekeeper" comes from.

"That's the great thing about a tractor.  You can't really hear the phone ring."    
-  Jeff Foxworthy

Big wheels always get the big deals