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23 Jun

According to the Boston Globe, June is shaping up to be the gloomiest month in Boston since 1903. Perhaps a joke is in order, this one from “Advanced Sales Skills Guidebook” by Daniel Farb and Bruce Gordon. Thanks to my buddy Mark for telling it to me yesterday.

A keen sportsman spent the weekend at a hunting lodge and bagged a record number of birds with the help of a dog named “Salesman.” The man was so impressed that when making his reservations for the following year, he specifically requested the services of the same dog.

“Too bad,” said the lodge manager. “Six months ago, some jerk who was here kept calling the dog “Sales Manager” by mistake. Now all he does is sit on his tail and bark.”



Happy Ears Are Bad For Forecasting

15 May

Alyssa Dver is author of, “No Time Marketing” and was recently on Barry Moltz’s Business Insanity Radio show again. She had a great quote that was both funny and deadly accurate.

She said that “Happy Ears” is her term for confusing prospect enthusiasm with purchase authority.

What a great quote! It should be one of your top concerns when submitting your forecast to management. And management should be filtering forecasts with same consideration.

What about your forecast, does it have too many opportunities in it based on Happy Ears?

Even the Post Office wants to use email

12 Nov

I received a telemarketing call today.  When will telemarketers ever learn?  I first get the silence as their auto-dialing software realizes I picked up the line so it transfers me to a call center rep.  Then he mispronounces my last name and company name.  That’s 3 strikes right there.  But I’m usually interested in the pitches of others, especially cold callers, so I told him to continue.  He was pitching mailing machines.  I told him we do everything electronically and weren’t interested.  So he looked at his script and asked, “Can I send you an email about our services?”  To his credit, he laughed with me after realizing how absurd his question was.  If they don’t use their own service how can they expect their customers to?

Dilbert-style management from the manager's point of view

6 Sep

Do you have a pointy-haired boss?  Have you experienced the kinds of bad management shown in the Dilbert comics?

How does management feel about this? Now management has their own vehicle to express their feelings about employees.  Just check out these videos from Despair, Inc! They are (I hope!) a tongue-in-cheek view of how management should deal with employees.

The picture above is not clickable so click on here instead.

Thanks to Geoffrey James and his recent blog post for pointing me to Despair’s site.  I’m still LMAO!

Seth calls it "intangibles" I call it "reputation"

14 Aug

I met Seth Godin years ago at one of those kids activity centers where parents host their pre-schooler’s birthday parties. If you have kids, then you know that pre-school birthday parties means “no drop-off” thus you can’t run a few errands or stop by Dunkin Donuts. I was reading his “Permission Based Marketing” book amongst the happy screams of little kids and I notice out of the corner of my eye that 2 people keep walking past me and smiling. One of them finally approaches me and says, “My husband wrote that book!” The other person walking past me turned out to be her husband, Seth. You’d think that I’d recognize him since his handsome dome was right on the front cover of my book!

I was reading this while my kid was here

Seth’s recent post is about how intangibles are what allows you to charge more for your service vs the commodity-oriented competition. Some of his ideas include participation, enthusiasm, speed, focus, generosity and hope.

Hope? No, not “I hope this deal will close” as that’s not an viable or effective tactic for beating the competition. Instead, “is your offering going to be something great.”

As I’m reading this blog, it struck me that I consider all these intangibles to be my reputation. Just like an intangible, it’s hard to quantify reputation. You either have it or you don’t. Your reputation with your customer is what keeps them coming back to you instead of saving money with your competitor. Your reputation is what gets you the warm welcome when you meet with prospects.

Here’s a few suggestions of mine on ensuring you have the intangibles, the reputation, it takes to compete and win.

Used car and software sales reps

17 Jul

I overheard a CFO and CTO of a software company talking to each other at the airport. The CTO says to the CFO, “Hey, do you know the difference between a used car sales rep and a software sales rep?”

The punch line was, “A used car salesrep KNOWS when they’re lying!” and the CTO laughed at his own joke.

To the CFO’s credit, he did not laugh. I was certainly tempted to confront the CTO myself. He thinks he’s putting down the sales reps that work for his company. That’s a big issue. A bigger issue is WHY the company’s software sales rep don’t know they’re lying.

I say it’s because at the company sales training, they tell the reps, “Our solution does A, B and C while taking out the kitchen sink!” Of course the reps are going to share that line with their prospects while believing it to be true. Why wouldn’t it be true? Doesn’t the company want to be successful?

But the solution does NOT do all those things. And then the prospect evaluates the solution and finds that it does not do feature B. It certainly doesn’t touch the kitchen sink. Thus, it’s the sales rep that’s accused of lying when the fault really lies (no pun intended) somewhere else.

So who’s the joke on?

Please…something new

22 Mar

Enough already

An insides sales expert who I’ve known for almost 10 years and started blogging around the same time as me called me up recently. She said, “Don’t be offended by this but your blog is getting boring.”

I’m thinking, “Boring?!? It may not be as funny as Ken Sasser over at The Sales Wars but boring?” Alright, wait a second, let me give her a chance to explain what she means. So instead of saying what I was first thinking, I asked her why.

“Your blog is always about referrals. I get it, referrals are important. But does it always have to be about referrals? I know you have more things to say that readers will find interesting. How about writing something new?”

So I did a quick mental review of the blog and realized, “Hey, she’s right!” I’ve been so focused in building Inquisix and explaining how referrals from fellow salespeople are just as important as customer referrals that I got caught in a loop. Time to get out of that! So I’m working on some new posts that will discuss my thoughts on other parts of the sales cycle. And maybe Trish will start reading my blog again instead of just skimming titles!

As a closing, let me point you to one my favorite posts from Rick Roberge about not getting emotionally involved. I think I passed that test!

Humor From SalesLadder – part 3

18 Feb

Just in time for spring training…..let’s see if my accountant is as creative as this one!


Humor From SalesLadder – part 2

15 Nov

The SalesLadder emailed me this funny comic today, although with my need for coffee, it’d be a nice keyboard to have!


Speed Networking vs Networking While You Sleep

27 Oct

I attended a speed networking event held by a local chamber of commerce in Central Mass. They had a great turnout for a 7.30am breakfast event the morning after a late World Series game! I’d say over 200 people attended and participated in this well run event. For those of you not familiar with speed networking, it’s similar to speed dating. You sit down at a table for 10 and each of you spends a minute on a “commercial” about yourself. You exchange business cards with each other and then move to another table to sit down with a new set of people. You go to 3 tables so you’ve met a minimum of 27 new people to network with. It was a great event and I met a bunch of really nice people.

So where do we go from here? I will touch base with the people I met to trade information and maybe help each other out. But I wonder if there was any person in the 150+ group that I did not meet that would have been the perfect person for me to network with? I would have to attend 8 of these events and always sit with new people so that I could meet all the people in that room.

Inquisix is a great compliment to speed networking. What if we all put our speed-networking commercials online and let Inquisix set the seating chart? That way, we’d meet the people in the room most able to help us and vice-versa. And then Inquisix would continually monitor our commercials as new members came or current members met new people so we’d be informed of new networking opportunities. Even as we sleep.