Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Guy in the Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that guy has to say.

For it isn't your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
Who judgement upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the guy staring back from the glass.

He's the feller to please, never mind all the rest,
For he's with you clear up to the end,
And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the guy in the glass is your friend.

You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum,
And think you're a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you've cheated the guy in the glass.

by Dale Wimbrow, (c) 1934

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Books in the Collection

It's been awhile since I've posted an update on the newer books that I am reading or have sitting next to me ready to read... listed below.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How do you get into Outside Sales? Part 2

Here is Part 2 on strategies on how to move into outside sales... enjoy!

Follow the path
  • This is the most boring option for me, but a respectable one. Big companies typically have a baked career path for entry level sales reps. You complete training then start down a path of calculated promotions over the course of 2-4 years before you land in a true Outside Sales role.
  • The structure is comforting to most - perform at or above expectations and you move up the ranks.
  • The downside I see here is you are stuck in the path and precedents of others. You can only make as much money as the HR team has designated. The upside and opportunity to enter uncharted ground is low.
  • One big upside to this is having a the ranks from a reputable company will allow you to find another job (either Inside or Outside) quite easily. Small companies love to steal people who have been trained by someone else.
Create your own path
  • This is a much more exciting option, but also more challenging to do...
  • In this scenario, you take a position at a company with an undefined career path (typically a fast growing company) and define your own way to move up the chain.
  • This requires putting together plans, proposals, business strategies, etc. to management to show what role you want to take and why
  • Possibly you are targeting a new market, selling to a specific vertical, up-selling new product to existing customers, selling to a different customer profile, etc.
  • Bottom line, is you are defining your own role and career path to outside sales - all you need now is the green light to do this (that approval might even need to come from the top)
You can be in outside sales anywhere
  • Many companies will hire you as an outside sales rep. In fact, you can go get that job today if you want. However, you might currently work at a company with much higher potential. Maybe the job you're in today is better than an outside job at a company that is not as good... just something to consider.
Put your name in the hat
  • Understand the rep profile they are hiring. If there is a huge experience gap, you might not have a chance at all or they may consider a junior type role for you.
  • Bottom line, interviewing for this role will give you experience in the process and qualify if they are serious or not about moving you into the field.
  • Understand that some times you can't move into a new role yet because they have no to back fill you. Hint - help them find someone or propose a transition plan.
  • Headcount is another big one. Some times companies do not have approved head count to add another sales rep at the exact moment. This is a good question to ask.
Create friction
  • This can be done in parallel with the other strategies above, but one of the best ways to see if you are really qualified to be in a field role in your industry is to interview for the job elsewhere
  • Depending how good your relationship is with your manager, you might be able to let them know you are pursuing some field roles at different companies
  • If they want to keep you and invest in your development, they will fight to keep you around. Otherwise, it might be a sign to move on.
  • Regardless, you might find a better position and drastically increase your earning potential and get to the next level
Don't settle
  • Throughout this whole process it is easy to come to terms that you are in a "good spot"
  • Don't get complacent with your career
  • Don't accept average
  • Don't accept a lateral move or position - keep on lighting the fire and stay ahead of your peers 

Monday, July 15, 2013

How do you get into Outside Sales? Part 1

Coming fresh out of college, I knew that my goal was to end up into Outside Sales. To many outsiders, it is unclear onto why this is even a goal. If you want to end up in Outside Sales - why wouldn't you just start there?

The reality is, especially in high tech sales, that most people start in some type of Inside Sales role right out of college. The difference is generally entry level Inside Sales is  a position done over the phone that is based on activity metrics (i.e. number of meetings set for outside reps, calls per day, etc.). There are plenty of Inside Sales roles that are based on carrying a quota or a shared quota with a team where you are doing true selling over the phone. A lot of the quota carrying Inside roles are usually a level or two up from the activity based roles.

Outside sales typically means you are managing a territory or set amount of accounts. You are traveling (locally or hoping on a plane) to meet customers and potential customers face to face and have the ultimate goal of exceeding a quota. This position is generally much more high paying compared to Inside roles.

With that being said, most sales focused college graduates accept an entry level sales position knowing they will start in Inside Sales and move their way up over the years.

Here are a few considerations before moving into Outside Sales:

Do you really want to be in Outside Sales?

The question here isn't are you ready to be. The answer to that question is you are if you want to. The bigger question is do you want to take on the pressure, responsibility, accountability, and activity required. Once you move into this role, you have one overarching measurement - your % attainment of quota.

The alternative is continuing to learn and prepare until you are given the opportunity later down the road. There is obviously a balance of feeling uncomfortable (which is a good feeling to have in any role) vs. just not being ready. For example, if you would be entering a very complex, highly technical sales position where you are selling to Executives at F1000 accounts - someone with 1-2 years of experience might not be a great fit. However, if it is targeting smaller businesses with a smaller total sales price - you might be perfect for the job right now. But, do you want it ?

Why is this your goal?

If pride, money, or ignorance is what is driving you, make sure you take a step back to see if this is really what you want to do. A lot of young sales professionals spend most of their time plotting how to actually get in the role - not, what they would do if given the opportunity. Once you are given the opportunity, the rest of your plotting (i.e. effort and strategy put in place to get the job) is essentially in the past. You are now on the stage with the responsibility and spotlight on - what will you do now?

If you're comfortable, there are plenty of people who have found a niche in Inside Sales. They love the predictability of the job, clear metrics, and lifestyle. It can be easily over a $100k+ job and one you can do for a very long time. There are other options as well, such as moving into management, marketing, sales operations, channel sales, etc.

In the next post, I will focus on strategies on how to get there.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Jack: Straight from the Gut

It's been a while since the last post... I've had a lot going on and look forward to updating everyone on my transition ahead. Anyways...

I've been a little numb to business books lately, but really enjoyed reading Jack: Straight from the Gut. Being a start-up person and always finding ways to beat the big companies - it was really interesting to hear the perspective of one of the best CEO's of all time. I guess the overarching image that Jack Welch has is a no-nonsense / tough as nails CEO.

What I saw was a guy who wanted to make a big company (massive multi-billion dollar conglomerate) act like a start-up. He wanted to hold people accountable, make sure everyone knew where they stand, invested heavily in training, leadership, and six sigma. He took chances on people who were young and without necessarily the best experience  - pushing them to their limits and rewarding them incredibly well with money + stock. Jack was the ultimate deal maker - he lived for the sport. He took a bureaucracy and smashed it over a 20+ year reign.

One of my favorite takeaways was his take on self-confidence:

Arrogance is a killer, and wearing ambition on one's sleeve can have the same effect. There is a fine line between arrogance and self-confidence. Legitimate self-confidence is a winner. The true test of self-confidence is the courage to be open - to welcome change and new ideas regardless of the source. Self-confident people aren't afraid to have their views challenged. They relish the intellectual combat that enriches ideas. They determine the ultimate openness of an organization and its ability to learn. How do you find them? By seeking out people who are comfortable in their own skin - people who like who they are and are never afraid to show it.

Don't ever compromise "being you" for any damn job in any institution.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

My experience with VUDU - putting my DVD's in the cloud

I heard about VUDU a while back... probably around the time when Wal-mart acquired them in 2010. VUDU is a streaming video platform that has a component called "Disc to Digital" which allows you to digitize your DVD collection. That's right, put those suckers into the cloud.

As I stared day after day at my unused DVD's, I finally decided it was time to do something with them.

I read a bunch of online reviews of people's experience with the VUDU conversion process and got mixed reviews. I decided to go for it and it turned out to be pretty awesome. VUDU charges $2 for Standard Definition conversion and $5 for HD (I believe a big part of the buzz is their HD streaming format of HDX - not really sure if it matters). You don't pay anything to sign up for the service.

Here's how it works:
  • Sign up for VUDU -
    • Automatically got 10 free movies in my account. High five!
  • Click the "Disc to Digital" tab and start to inventory your DVD collection (simply click "add to list")
    • VUDU has agreements with various large studio's - allowing you to find a majority of major titles (tons more than Netflix & Hulu). However, no TV shows.
  • The output is a list of DVD's - around 80% of my collection were available to convert - print this list out
  • I took the DVD's (no cases needed) & lists to Wal-Mart's Photo Center
    • Moment of truth - would the associate know what I was talking about / what to do?
  • The associate had a bit of confusion, but jumped into action...
    • Once you "convert" your DVD's - all they are supposed to do is stamp the DVD's. They still work to play in your DVD player, but they stamp to prevent others from double converting them.
    • They couldn't find the stamp (or didn't have one), so they converted my collection without doing anything to the actual DVD's. By converting, I mean the lady clicked what movies I had in a portal to give me access to them.
  • I paid the $2 per DVD at checkout - went SD only, which looks great!
  • And within minutes, I had full access to the DVD's online. See below.

This is interesting in a few ways. I think iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, and traditional cable/satellite are exposed with this feature. VUDU also allows you to rent and buy movies too - I think you can do a subscription service as well. You can play VUDU movies online or to your TV via AirPlay (if you have an AppleTV) & their iPad app, stream from most major game systems or a Roku type box, or a smart TV with the app on it.

Best Buy also got into the game with their purchase of Cinema Now - this allows you to do the conversion of your DVD's at home* (if you still have a DVD player in your computer). Overall, neither big box store markets this awesome consumer option very well. It was a scavenger hunt to do this on my own.

Anyways, I wanted to share that with the interweb's as a cool consumer project that pays off. Hope this helps.

* Quick update - @VuduFans tweeted to me that they will offering in home DVD conversion options soon as well. Nice.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year

Today marks the start of a new working New Year... time to briefly reflect, set goals, chart your action plan, get back in shape physically & mentally. Go crush it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

You can't be afraid to lose

"You can't be afraid to lose! You will not win all the time in life. Sometimes the other team's gonna lick ya. But you have to believe you will win. You know who wins in this world? I don't care if it's football or politics or business. The bold people win. The audacious people. People who are afraid to lose, beat themselves. They lose before they ever get started. They have their excuses before the game is even played." - Joe Paterno

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Successful people everywhere have at least one thing common

"My experience with thousands of people across the globe has proven to me that successful people everywhere have at least one thing common: They never make excuses to explain why things are the way they are or complain about the way things should be. Successful people just take charge and make things happen. Of course, they don't always succeed the first time around, but winners never give up. If they stumble, they get right back in the game.

I've found that although most of us aspire to greatness, too often we settle for second place. We want to live our lives to the fullest, but so many of us end up just surviving. Most people find a comfort zone, get used to it, and before long discover that all the great things life has to offer have simply passed them by. One of the lessons I've learned is that the very first step toward achieving spectacular results in life is eliminating all of these excuses that keep us from achieving our true potential."

Mark Victor Hansen, Foreword from "Once Upon a Cow: Eliminating Excuses and Settling for Nothing but Success"

Sunday, May 20, 2012

What The Schey Sales Centre means to me

I'm just getting back after a weekend at Ohio University (my alma mater) for events tied to The Schey Sales Centre.

This program is unreal and I'm incredibly proud to graduate from it and still be a part as an alumni.

The statistic I always lead with is 75% of business school graduates end up in with their first job in sales. Sales is something that very few universities teach. MBA programs hardly teach it. Why is that?

How can a profession that so many graduates go into can rarely be taught or even discussed?

The goal of getting a college education is to learn & have exposure to a variety of disciplines that in turn you use that skill set to begin a career & series of jobs in a field that you love. On top of that, a student pays upwards of $20,000 - $75,000 for this education.

And then you graduate... and all the time you spent test taking, study, completing projects, presentations, etc. completely overlooked the field you enter!!! How do I get a refund? This should be a black eye on the higher ed system - this is a serious failure.

And then comes in Sales Programs like The Schey Sales Centre that actually teach you a field that not only you might enter, but a field that you prefer to enter because you love it? Wow. Ground breaking.

Here's the other thing, The Schey Sales Centre is free to students. It's a student run organization that allows you to graduate with a Sales Certificate (certificates can be pursued independent from a degree).

When I say student run too by the way, I mean they run it like a business. There's an org chart with sales teams to HR to Marketing. Budgets. Sales goals. Decisions to be made. Programs to run.

I think the one reason teaching students sales is overlooked is because professors have no professional selling experience.

How do you gain that expertise & guidance? The Sales Centre built a Professional Sales Advisory Board of sales & sales related professionals. A mix of Presidents of F1000 companies, VP's & Directors of Sales, Entrepreneurs, Sales Trainers, Sales Authors, etc.

Here's the kicker - most of the board members aren't even alumni of Ohio University. Executives are traveling multiple times a year to school they never went to and donate their time, talent, and money.

Why? Because sales education is important and no one is doing it right.

Think about it... I'm a College of Business Dean at another school sitting in a conference room with a team discussing how to increase funding & gain alumni involvement. He picks up the phone and calls one of their heavy hitter alumni - a Sales VP that says, "I can't talk now.. I'm at Ohio University helping teach students sales."

So now the program has smart, successful professionals guiding the program and students in classrooms being taught sales. What else?

I mentioned the students run this as a business. This is not a lemonade stand operation. Here's what they do. They prospect & leverage references, book campus visits, and the students sell companies large & small why they should pay a multi-thousand dollar sponsorship to exclusively recruit from the program. Here's a list of those partners.

That's cute, right? A nice friendly way to get some real world experience for the students.

Let's look at it a step further... how about EMC ($20+ billion tech monster)? EMC has 50+ Ohio University sales students that currently work for them. A Boston based company, surrounded by Boston College, Harvard, etc, comes to Athens, OH to help fill their Sales Training program every year. Unreal.

To round it all out, the students work with the PSAB & others to put on regular Signature Events & Personal & Professional Development days. When I mean days, I mean Saturday morning at 8am. Future sales superstars all suited up, with pad-folios, and business cards voluntarily sacrifice a hangover to sit and learn about interviewing techniques, how to find jobs in various cities, sales strategies, investments, how to build a network, 401k's, how to find your 2nd & 3rd job, how to leverage social media, etc.

Notice what they're learning isn't all sales related... you're telling me an Art major couldn't benefit from that information? They can with this program.

These students are dangerous. Hire them at your own risk because you will need to promote them fast. They might even be your boss one day.

Since The Schey Sales Centre was founded in 2000-ish, it is also building an army of sales people around the world. 12 years of sales dedicated alumni that is growing each year. We're all connected. We help each other & others find jobs, give advice, and find ways to continue to grow personally & professionally. It's fantastic.

There are plenty statistics to share on the successes these students have & will continue to have, but it's important to think about this.

A Schey Sales Centre grad is considered to have a 2-3 year advantage over their peers in their first job. Ramp time is considerably less. Awards & honors keep piling up. Promotions are never ending. Pay grades constantly rising. Very cool.

Just think... a student who was a Political Science major (who could get a Sales certificate btw) graduates and can't find a job. The only job openings are for sales. He takes it. It's hard, there's cold calling, it's a competitive environment, he quits.

Let's look at a Sales Centre grad - they have 3-4 job offers 6 month prior to graduating. He already knows he wants to be in sales. He's been trained, groomed, is networked, and incredibly polished. Oh.. and he's had 3 sales internships before joining your company. It is night and day.

I would not be where I am today without this program. The ROI is huge. Life changing.

Every time I go back I am more and more impressed with how the program continues to evolve & grow - I'm glad I could share more background with you.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Getting Naked

I just completed reading "Getting Naked - A business fable... about shedding the three fears that sabotage client loyalty" by Patrick Lencioni.

Definitely one of the best sales books I've read in a while. Very refreshing, but it was at a different level of selling. It is written as more of a consultative & advanced methodology of selling that is incredibly difficult to execute - something I'll be working on the rest of my sales career.

The naked part refers to being vulnerable; simply a metaphor for this sales & consulting style that leads to ultimate client loyalty & trust.

This book tells a story about a big time consulting firm that acquires that little, mysterious, & annoying consulting firm. They are mysterious & annoying because the consistently beat the big firm in almost every deal they are in together. How is that possible?

There is a hatred that has grown for the little firms salespeople (I think we can all name an arch-nemesis sales person we compete against). Conspiracies that they are doing crazy things to win the business. Then finally, they acquire them & get to learn what is going on.

Turns out, as the big firms lead integrator dives into the little firms operations, the little firm has higher prices (say what?), better margins, gives away free advice & ideas, turns down clients that they can't give their full attention to, have stronger customer relationship, rarely discusses price at all, and is gaining new business consistently via customer references at the CEO to CEO level.

Definitely recommend you read it (a very quick read). I attempted to sum up the key principles below.


There are three fears that prevent us from building trust & loyalty with our customers (and earning their business). They then give bullets on how to counteract them. I might add that there is not a simple blueprint to follow to eliminate these fears (i.e. this isn't a training course you do once), they provide a mindset & tactics to get over these. I attempted to simplify it below...

#1 - Fear of Losing the Business

How to counteract: 
- Always consult instead of sell - don't speak in terms of "this is how we'll treat you if you're a client", just start treating them as if they're already one
- Give away the business - lead with generosity & value; be more interested in helping them than charging them. The rest will fall into place. If there's a discrepancy, take the clients side. You need to be more concerned with a long-term client than a short-term gain.
- Tell the kind truth - confront your client with kindness, empathy, & respect (yes, call them out when necessary)
- Enter the danger - have the courage to deal with an issue that no one wants to confront

#2 - Fear of Being Embarrassed

How to counteract: 
- Ask dumb questions - ask questions the others in the room are afraid to ask. People will thank you later.
- Make dumb suggestions - make suggestions others in the room are afraid to say.
- Celebrate your mistakes - don't hide or downplay your mistakes with clients; call yourself out & take responsibility. This earns trust.

#3 - Fear of Feeling Inferior

 How to counteract: 
- Take a bullet for the client - this has to be done ethically. Just know you might need to step into an awkward, confrontational, or receiving end of something that might not be your fault.
- Make everything about the client - leave your ego at the door (past accomplishments, roles, successes, etc.), make it all about them. Every client is different.
- Honor the clients work - take a sincere interest in the client & their clients. This can't be faked.
- Do the dirty work - be humble and ready to roll up your sleeves and do work that may seem "below your pay grade". You'll earn loyalty & gratitude.

And finally, admit your weaknesses & limitations. Be honest about mistakes (even simple ones) and admit your weaknesses (don't cover them up as most do).

Pretty in-depth. Let me know your thoughts.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Should I give up?

Should you give up or not? The answer is yes. Quit.

Pack up & walk away.

Life is hard. Too many ups & downs; highs & lows. Just when things are going good, you get punched in the gut. That other company is really good. Solid benefits - stable - predictable - immune to economic circumstances.

There is always an easier route... a protected environment... places full of guarantees. My advice to you is to take it. Take the road more frequently traveled. It's paved, has signs, safe places to pull off for breaks, and is full of standards, policies & rules. It is the best and safest for you.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Attain, achieve, and maintain a positive attitude

A little Monday morning inspiration from my favorite sales author, Jeffrey Gitomer...

"Most everyone thinks they have a positive attitude, but they don't. Usually not even close. They don't understand the essence of "attitude". It's not a feeling - it's a state of mind that is self-induced. You are in complete control of it. You determine what your attitude is.
  • It has nothing to do with what happens to you.
  • It's not about money or success. It is, pure and simple,
  • the way you dedicate yourself to the way you think.
Here's the formula to attaining a positive attitude:

1. Surround yourself with positive things and positive people
2. Read and listen to positive books, CD's, tapes
3. Say all things in a positive way. How you can, not why you can't
4. Believe you can achieve it.
5. Don't listen to other people tell you you're nuts. They're just jealous.
5.5 Start now and work at it everyday. Simple? Yes. But it does take hard work.