Business

I Am Not A Hunter

What are you great at?  I know if you asked me that question, I would say building relationships and sharing in peoples stories.  I love getting to know people for who they are and seeing how we can best partner up and help each other.  Not everyone is wired this way and that is what this article is all about, sorry outdoor enthusiasts or folks who love posts about gun regulations.
We need to fully understand what we are great at, which is part of our personal brand, if we truly want to  make the most sales and have the biggest impact.  If you find yourself as the proverbial “hunter” in sales, then by all means, go out and do your quick kills and bring that back to the “family” so we can eat.  If you are a farmer,  then understand you still have great value for the “family.”  You are playing the long game as you cultivate relationships.  You are the ones that have the opportunity to yield more than what you have “planted.” 
Please do us all a favor and be uniquely you.  Learn what you can from others and books, but apply that with your own personality, shake it up, and see what comes out.  If you want to have more sales, a giant impact, and know what opportunity to choose, first figure out what your great at and then do all you can to do more of that in your job.  Don’t try and be someone else.   Be you through and through and opportunities will start to come about.
Business

A Dream That Took 2 Years To Accomplish

A couple of weeks ago on June 6th, 2019 a dream was accomplished.  Even though to the handful of folks who heard about the event or attended may have thought it appeared in happen within the matter of a month, it took over two years to come about.  During this two year period I failed multiple times, frustrated a few people, made a handful of amazing relationships, and learned a ton along the way.  Part of me hates that it took over two years to have this event come to fruition, and the other part of me wouldn’t have it any other way.
The real question is WHY on God’s green earth should you or anyone else stick with something for two years or more? I believe that can be best explained from what I learned over this time period.
The first thing I learned is that to accomplish anything of impact you have to surround yourself with an amazing community.  This event all started with someone who has become one of my best friends.  This man is a champion and crazily enough has been supportive of all my harebrained ideas.  Bo Cordell is a huge reason why this event even happened.  It was because of our monthly coffees that we started having over 3 years ago that an idea, to help the logistics and supply chain community, turned into this event .  A little over a year and a half ago we tried to start this community, but our relationships, time and capacity we had to offer were not enough.  Even though we had a little success in the beginning, the momentum, support and knowledge wasn’t there to keep it going full steam.
The second thing I learned is that you have to be mindful that you are not sprinting past your family and friends.  There were a handful of times when I could have pulled this off earlier, but I would have had no one around me to celebrate with.  I remember countless conversations and nights having tough and frustrating conversations with my wife.  I was leaving hear and my kids in the wake of my dreams and ambitions and that only would have ended in frustration and pain.  I am so thankful that  if I listened to hear and took a moment of rest.
The third thing I learned was that to accomplish anything of impact or importance it is all about taking small steps.  From the very beginning I wanted to be surrounded by a huge community that made the other good ol’ boy clubs look outdated and weak, make an impact in legislation around logistics and supply chain, and have a large and well attended event.  All of these things are great, but to do them all at once and right away is ridiculous.  The bigness of the idea was too much for us to handle, and over time it was whittled down to the carrier community event that happened on the 6th.  It’s this last idea of small steps that actually saved this ambition from falling away for another two years.
Why stick with something for two years… because you have no idea of the amazing places it will take you, the lessons you will learn, and the adventures you will have along the way.  Without this experience I wouldn’t have realized those three lessons:
  1. To accomplish anything of impact it takes surrounding yourself with community.
  2. Don’t sprint past your family and friends towards your goal. You don’t want to accomplish anything and realize you are at the end all alone.
  3. Don’t go for broke. Instead, start walking and figure out the next small step that will be a great foundation for the next step and the one after that.

Business

5 Words I Despise

The five words that I hate the most are, “Let me have a chance.”  Whenever I hear these, and it happens frequently, it makes me want to hang up immediately.  Why should you avoid this phrase?  Let me explain.
This phrase comes up in sales all the time.  It is something that is taught and for the life of me I can’t understand why.  When I hear this, I hear extreme desperation and the possibility that what you are promising won’t come to fruition.  Then when something invariably goes wrong the follow up is “Let me have a chance to redeem myself.” To that the answer should almost always be “Ummmmmm Heeeeeelllll no.”
When this phrase is used, it means there are other fundamental things not being met for anyone in the conversation to feel safe and that this is actually a good idea.  The biggest ingredient missing is trust. Trust takes time and experience, both of which you clearly do not have when these worlds spill out of your mouth.
Do everyone in this world a favor and remove this phrase from your speech.  It doesn’t show grit or determination, but desperation and an ill guided hope.
Better phrases you could use are, “ What are the obstacles that are keeping you from using us? What is the best way to get an opportunity to do business with you? How can I build trust with you outside of doing X?”  These three phrases are massively better than the “just give me a chance,” one.  If you ask any of those three phrases, you need to make sure you listen and then deliver on what your contact tells you.  Then, and only then, do the fundamental building blocks for a sale start to form so that all parties feel comfortable and confident that this is the right decision.
Business

Why Personal Brand Is So Important: People Buy You, Not Your Company

I have a friend who works for a large carrier and has absolutely been crushing it. Recently, she got a promotion and has already been making waves and getting stuff done. Now why is all this important? You’re about to read why.
My friend has been in the supply chain and logistics world for a bit and has built up an amazing reputation which I can personally attest to. I was thrilled when she said she was moving into a new role, yet also a little sad because it meant that she would no longer be in charge of my account. Now that she has been in this new role for a couple of months, it seems my feelings of sadness are not exclusive to me.
As we recently connected over the phone, she mentioned a few customers had requested, on pain of losing their business, that she stay as their rep. This is huge! Why, because it clearly shows that people are buying her, not her company.
You need to realize that when you are selling something, that people are buying you and not your company. Oh… and by the way, no matter who you are and what your position is you are selling something. The company’s name and reputation may get you in the door, but it certainly won’t close any deals for you or keep customers.
People are buying you and the experience you are giving them. NEVER… forget that.

Business

Don’t Ever Say Never:

You want to know why you are losing sales? It’s because you don’t think that deal is possible.  Heck, we all do it. We have that conversation, look over the details, crunch the numbers, fail time and time again and we decide that whatever it is, is just impossible to get.

The real issue, it’s that we don’t have realistic expectations of what it will take to accomplish that goal / task / ambition.  Plus, we try and push too fast in the relationship and instead of finding out their actual needs and how we can help, we just make the offer… which falls on deaf and/or angry ears.

Please, take a moment to read to this quick story because I promise it will help, even if not right now.

I just closed a deal with someone who has become a great friend over the past few years. His name is Bo Cordell and he is a freaking champion, you should get to know him.  Around three years ago he stopped by Tip Top and it was a great meeting.  He left with no business in hand, BUT he had started some key relationships with our company.  As time went on, I became the traffic manager with sole responsibility of bringing on new carriers and the needs of our company started changing.  Beyond that, we spent about a year and a half getting coffee once a month just to shoot the shit, talk shop, and get to know each other even better.

About a year ago he received a fantastic promotion, just another reason that shows how much of a #boss that he is, and he moved back to his home town.  Since then, we have had fairly regular calls, one of which further cemented our professional relationship.

After three years, we just closed a deal with his company. It never felt forced, it always felt natural, and the whole time we talked biz we grew our friendship.  I can’t wait to see how it continues to grow, especially as we are potentially starting another exciting adventure together with a few others. More details on that to come at a later date.