Dead Fish in a Box

The chronicles of a suburban fishpimp trying to keep it rural.

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Location: United States

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Dallas Dandy

I just got back from an interesting week in Dallas, TX. I have been nominated and accepted into my company's Sales Management Institute, this was the first of four week-long classes. The further I get into this program the more honored I am to be part of it.

Late in 2006 I was identified by my former sales manager as a candidate for promotion, which was a first since joining the non-seasonal workforce. At the quarterly sales review my presentation got the attention of the Western Regional VP of Sales and the NW Director of Sales who stated to the room "I've been going through these reviews across the country for a month now, and that was by far the best I've seen." Later that summer he and I closed down a very large piece of business after which he told me if he were going to make a training video of how to sign an account he'd have taped the call we just completed. So I've got him fooled...

I ended up finishing the year in the top 20 reps out of over 400, and was nominated to the SMI. I flew to the corporate HQ for a day of interviews with 10 other people out of which they selected 5 of us to attend this series of classes on managing, coaching, hiring, public presentations, and business strategy.

Looking around the room this week it was a amazing & humbling feeling knowing that in the eyes of the company's senior leadership I'm in the top 1% of talent; especially since it appears that I may be the top candidate in the class! Not bad for a short white guy with glasses!

But what really blew my mind was hearing more about the company's training program. I work for a Fortune 500 company with annual sales in excess of $13 billion. One of their goals is to build us into a "world-class sales organization" The foundation of that building is the training program which has been recognized inside and outside the industry as one of the best in the world; and the SMI is the pinnacle of the program. And I am one of 5 salespeople who has the privilege of attending!

I never imagined I'd be here. Not when I was wearing a trench coat in high school, not when I was goofing off in college, driving a tour bus in Alaska, and certainly never when I was selling dead fish in a box. Which leads me to ponder the power of positive feedback; it all started when my manager told me she though I'd be a good candidate for promotion.

So here's your homework: read this book: How Full is Your Bucket by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton

It'll take you 2 hours at the most to read, but it will change your perspective on all your relationships. Seriously.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Pro Sports Effect on the Community

Nick Licata, the Seattle City Council's chair on culture is on record as saying the Seattle Sonics, our NBA franchise, add no cultural value to the community.

He is wrong. Pro and college sports have a tremendous impact on the psyche of the communities they play before. They draw a community together and focus its members against a common foe, giving people who would otherwise have nothing in common a reason to gather side by side.

I experienced this in person last week. The Seattle Seahawks were preparing to play the Green Bay Packers in the NFL's divisional playoff, and the entire community was gathered in solidarity behind our team. The Governer of Washington declared Friday January 11th "Blue Friday" and extolled all citizens to wear blue in support of our Hawks.

I only had a couple of sales calls scheduled on Friday, so I did some "in-person prospecting" (formerly known as cold calling). In a normal hour of IPP's I get 3-4 hostile "F*&$ing Salesman" reactions. However, this time I ended each cold call with a "GO SEAHAWKS!" and twice the person's hostile demeanor immediately disappeared as they smiled and responded in kind.

What else can bring a community together like sports? There's nothing else this community can a gree on. Our intolerant "tolerance" prohibits us from gathering in accord on anything; art, politics, celebration of religious holidays, etc. Nothing binds us together like one of our teams in the playoffs.

Now if only the defense had shown up on Sunday.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Go Seahawks!!!

Nintendo bought the Mariners 10 years ago, are they now in the market to buy the Seahawks?