Friday, September 18, 2009


You know, you've got to be somebody. You've got to stand for something. It's okay to be definable and predictable as long as you are defined as respectable, trustworthy, caring, indefatigable and dependable. Tall order? You bet. But a well thought out code of behavior (your personal core values), internalized over time because you tenaciously adhere to them regardless of obstacles, temptations and momentary failure, will get you there. They'll get you there because unlike the vast majority of sales folk, you will approach everyday with a purpose that fires your imagination and energizes every cell in your body. You will be a zealot, but not in the service of a polemic ideology, but rather in the service of the success of others, all others, everyone you interact with. And over time, I promise you will radiate that commitment, and your customers, and prospective customers will lower the buyer/seller barrier, and work with you to solve their problems which will inevitably involve you and your product or service as a meaningful part of the solution. YOUR FIRST CORE VALUE: SERVE DON'T SELL!

I'll bet I can find any number of chapters in any number of text books and "how to sell manuals" about how to get appointments with influentials via the telephone. I am convinced that no phone technique is more effective than a well researched reason to call and an introduction that includes the sincerely delivered phrase, "Mr. Jones, I am calling because I believe I can help you." Your time with Mr. Jones will be in his service.

Did you know that in Feudal Japan, the second richest class of folk were the Samurai. The translation of "Samurai" is "one who serves." And serve they did. By dedicating their lives, quite literally, to service, they grew rich. Now these Samurai weren't punching time clocks, negotiating compensation or attending union meetings. They were too busy serving, parrying and thrusting. They weren't focused on how much commission they would earn each day. Rather they were focused on keeping the Boss alive and filling his coffers. But the Samurai got rich as incidental by-products of serving the master. If the Samurai mused or schemed for his own benefit as he defended his Lord and plundered, he'd likely miss a parry and lose a head. Again, by focusing instead on the service to be performed, he got rich. SUCCESS COMES FROM SERVICE TO OTHERS, FIRST AND WELL.

At AOL, Vice-Chairman Ted Leonsis struck me as having it right. During the post Internet implosion, when the entire sector was on a downward spiral, Leonis was addressing a meeting of some 250 managers. He said, "Listen every one. The Internet is not only still the wave of the future, it continues to change the way people organize their lives and communicate with each other. What we have to get back to," he continued, "is to re-learn how to love and serve our customers." Ted Leonsis understands that selfless service to others reaps the greatest rewards; first a fulfilling satisfaction of work well done for others--and quite incidentally, personal riches.

Great Selling! Uh, Serving.

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