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