I suppose the title says it all, right? This is my first attempt at writing a blog, really my first writing since school which was, let’s just say quite a while ago. My thinking is, this first piece should give some insight about me and why I’ve decided to do this...
So here goes, I started my professional career in the restaurant business, 10 years as a matter of fact. I started as a 13-year-old kid doing dishes and by the time I was 21, I was a General Manager responsible for over a million dollars in revenue, the entire P&L, and about 40 people. Long days and late nights were a staple of the work week. When my children started to come into our lives a calculated decision was made…I had to stop leaving for work in the morning and coming home as late as 2AM. During the job search I interviewed with my first mentor, Jeff. Jeff did a great job convincing me that the restaurant business and sales were not too far apart from one another. They both needed fundamentals, such as; a good work ethic, being disciplined, being organized, being able to quickly troubleshoot on the spot, the ability to learn about people, both require great listening skills, and most of all fearlessness. Ok, the last one is a bit of a stretch cause a little fear can be a great motivator. He also made a great play for having weekends and most holidays off to spend time with the family, which NEVER happens in the restaurant business.
With a giant step backward in base salary but amazing long-term upside I took the job selling office equipment, Ricoh copiers to be exact, and never looked back. That decision was about 20 years ago and since then sales has been my passion. After Ricoh, I’ve had the privilege to sell many products and services, for small and large companies alike and have held many titles, all the way up to VP of Sales. I found it very interesting through the years as to why sales became so important to me. First, I was told sales people should be motivated by money/earning potential…then it was, sales people should have an insane belief in the product/service they sell, they should believe it’s the best…I realized for me it was a bit different. I was motivated by heling people! As odd as it may sound I must believe that what I sell is going to be helpful to the customer/client. It quickly became clear to me that sales is the most effective method I have, to be helpful in the business world.
What I sell doesn’t have to be the best of the best, or the next best thing, it just has to make the business better for the person in a way they’re searching for…can I help the business be stronger, faster, more efficient, save money, be more productive, or any of the many things on a business owner’s mind when looking to make a business changing purchase. I realized that my motivation is the chance to be a part of a solution.
Fast forward to about 4 years ago, I was running a sales team for a company that was contracted to sell for a major supplier of electricity. One of the top sales people that worked for me and I had a life changing conversation over lunch one day in July of 2013. As we sat there we came up with the idea that a lot of small businesses need help with sales too, but probably couldn’t afford the giant management infrastructures, the structured KPI’s, or the training programs that are in place with big companies. Which makes it hard for them to compete in the same markets. We decided to start a company that will support the sales efforts of small to mid-sized companies. Our plan was to exit our current company by January and launch this new endeavor. As they say, the best laid plans…our entire sales department was laid off in mid-August due to the electric supplier completely changing course in methodology of customer acquisition. They decided they didn’t need an outside sales force any longer and would more predominantly utilize the web for sales.
My first call after hearing this news was to my now business partner, Susan…the call went simply; “hey, remember that business idea we discussed last month? If you’re still serious, how about now?” She answered with a resounding YES, and Diversified Sales Solutions, Inc. was on the road to startup phase. Over the past 3 plus years we’ve been involved with several small companies with our share of successes and failures, mostly successes though.
Which brings me to the last part of the beginning of this blog, why am I writing now? The simple reason…to try to be helpful, of course. I’ve had my share of frustration finding helpful articles on sales and sales methodologies. My biggest problem is that everyone seems to be an expert and none of these so-called experts find flaws in themselves or the methods they’re preaching. It seems that everyone has the magic bullet and if you’re using an “experts” methods and not finding success, it’s your fault. Well, my thought is NOONE is perfect in sales…that’s why we call it an artform not a science. If there were an exact method or perfect sales process then wouldn’t everyone be jumping on board, wouldn’t every company’s sales process look identical? Every sales job would look the same on job boards too, we would only have to find a company we like or that’s close to home or some other minute detail that doesn’t rank real high our decision-making process. I think otherwise, I don’t think I’m perfect or an expert.
I feel I’ll always be learning this craft and as the landscape changes, I’ll change with it or move on to another way to help people. But for now, sales is still my number one choice. For this blog, I hope you found at least something interesting enough to continue reading and I will try to be someone that still finds a tremendous amount of satisfaction in being helpful and if I can reach a person or two through this method I’m perfectly okay with that.
Keep Selling, and Keep Practicing!!