Some years ago I conducted platform sales training for new blue collar sales employees at a large nationwide services company. During that multi-year assignment over 5,000 sales employees cycled through my classrooms. I certainly don’t remember most of these workshop participants, but I do remember Jay Swearingen from Sarasota, FL., who joined that company for a second career after retiring from another industry. He performed well in my 5-day new-hire sales school, but really struggled to get traction after returning to his west Florida sales territory.
A few months later Jay contacted me wanting to discuss his poor performance situation. I could immediately tell that he was overflowing with desire, but just wasn’t selling well. Since he was so coachable and always displayed such a humble spirit, I just couldn’t refuse his recurring requests for help, and so we became friends in addition to business acquaintances.
He maintained a great attitude and always attempted every sales strategy I would suggest during our phone coaching sessions. Very quickly his performance began to improve, and within a year he became the top seller in his branch location and quickly rose to regularly being one of the top three sellers each month in his region, consisting of about 30 reps up and down Florida’s west coast.
One day he informed me that he had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of terminal pancreatic cancer, but he continued to produce big sales numbers. Every few months Jay would go to Houston for special treatments, but upon returning home would always reclaim his top spot on the sales leader board. Most people in a similar situation would seek either a less strenuous job or retirement, but not Jay.
This guy was tough and refused to participate in pity parties. I remember him telling me about working one full month, in and out of residential crawl spaces and attics, with a catheter bag strapped to his leg! He told me how glad he was to be alive and able to help his branch team serve their customers. He worked long past the time when a normal sales person would have stopped working.
Jay was one of the most courageous men I’ve ever known, and when I received word that he passed away, I shut my office door and just wept for several minutes. I had been impacted so much by Jay’s life and touched by his death.
In the second part of this post I’d like to share some of the things discussed by Jay and me during our mentoring sessions over a two-year period. As Jay came to realize, he had to first sell himself in each of the areas I’ll discuss, before he would effectively be able to sell his products and services to buyers and customers. By the time you finish reading the eight things I’ll discuss in Part II of this article, I hope you will come to the same conclusion as Jay, and I hope your sales career will be as successful as his was.
—————Welcome to 2018—————
Don’t forget that, “If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.” Since most of us aren’t satisfied with that, why not start your new year with a new perspective on sales coaching for your people. Why not look at Doug’s suggestions HERE?
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