Monday is my day. It is the day I should be pursuing my sales career, but for the moment, I’m taking the daylight hours as my own.
Work demanded a lot of time in the last month, so I’ve been blessed with only…let me count…two full days off in the last thirty-five. It shows that we can be flexible about sleep and fatigue management for a while, but eventually the brain and body need rest. So I’ll take a couple of weekends to do just that.
This beautiful Monday morning, I indulged one of my favorites – a sunrise walk along Lido Beach. Spring it might be, but the chill of winter is still here, although the hint of humidity is in the air. Florida’s like that, always tempting you into thinking things are just right, only to flip you around.
Mornings on the beach are best, weekday mornings better, and cooler mornings better still. Having the beach more-or-less to myself is a luxury worth the early start. And you get to see things that crowds tend to hide.
This photograph is of the weight and chain of a buoy that must have been washed ashore in one of our recent frontal storms. The buoys delineate the ‘swimmers only’ area from the ‘vessels permitted’ area. What interested me was the way in which the chain was partly covered by the sand. Here’s my analogy: that it’s important to not drag our yesterdays into today. Like lots of folks, I find it easy to entertain regret, regret that is chained to all our yesterdays. Spending our todays looking rearwards toward something we cannot change is utterly wasteful. You’d be better going for a walk along a beach.
So I choose to bury my chains, or, better still, to cut them. My day begins at the beginning of the day, and ends at the end. And each new day offers new hope, and the opportunity for a different, better day. Or not. Either way, dragging yesterday into today is never productive.
Tragedy is unavoidable. Disasters happen. Failure is inevitable. And yet for the most part we all find the will to carry on. It’s the way we’re built.
We can, however, mitigate bad things. If we control that which we can in our lives, there is less room for the destructive and dangerous. That which we can control – and choose not to – raises our risk. Failure to tend your garden encourages weeds.
Here are some very specific examples, a big picture view of the ways you can court big problems:
If you fail to become literate and numerate, you put yourself at risk
Choosing not to continue your education throughout your life puts you at economic risk
Failing to acquire marketable skills is a risk
Habitual drug use clearly raises your risk profile
Avoiding two hours of exercise per week risks your health and longevity
Overeating and eating junk obviously isn’t good
Spending all your income and not saving any is risky
Not planning for (the inevitable) emergencies of life will catch up eventually
Ignoring the fact that life is capricious is risky
The trouble with all of these actions is that modern media and social pressure works against them. Folks selling you stuff tell you how much you need a new big-screen television every three years, or a new car every two. Fast food advertising encourages you to avoid the drudgery of home cooking. Visa and Mastercard will help you get whatever you want now…and why worry about the interest?
Any way you slice it, if you want to give yourself a chance at keeping disaster from ruining your life, you’ll need hard work, discipline, thrift and a plan. Observing the people around me, few see the importance of this, and fewer still the reward.
If I think a particular way about something, others do too. It’ll be an unknown percentage of any population, but I’m not deluded enough to think my ideas are any different from the bloke or bloke-ette ahead in the coffee line. He or she is wondering the same thing as me: Why is the coffee line taking so long?
Selling to me is actually pretty easy. I’m interested in new and different and shiny, but I am annoyed by the subterfuge of tricky sales maneuvers. The first new car I bought, a Mazda MX-5, back in 1993, was my first experience of “the grind”. In the car business, the grind is the time-wasting and frustration-inducing process that some salespeople use to manipulate you into taking their finance deal, or otherwise get more money. It didn’t work on me, because I had cash, and knew a fair price for the car. The guy had no leverage. I left feeling he was a fool for not being honest with me. His loss.
Now that I do selling for myself, I took that lesson to heart. I’m as upfront as possible. Yes, this is a request to give you a sales presentation. Of course I’m planning on making money by selling. Naturally I want you as a customer. What’s the point of me doing this otherwise?
The corollary of this brutal honesty is the following:
The products I sell are ones I use and love myself. Yes, love.
I believe my company’s products can (and more than likely will) improve your life.
I know my company’s products are at least as good as any supermarket brand.
I know my company’s products are a better value than any supermarket brand.
I know my company’s products are better for you, better for your household, and better for the planet.
Hello. I’m Tim. Are you interested in my sales presentation?
It is likely true enough, that people are skeptical of being sold to. Even though there are millions of people who buy the trinkets they see on the twenty-four-hour shopping networks, there are multiples of those millions who aren’t into it, who just want to be left alone.
I don’t need anything, new, I’m happy with what I have. I am not interested.
That’s probably an accurate summary of the attitude of the majority of people. Accurate in the sense that they are not in the mindset of being sold to, they are unwilling to endure a sales pitch, no matter how much the product might improve their lives. The QVC network’s patrons are the opposite; they’re looking to be sold to, whatever the product.
Let’s tease this out. There is an entire supermarket aisle between “…not needing anything new…” and “…I can’t be bothered thinking about this right now…”. One is a flat-out rejection. The other is a conditional rejection based on a crowded life.
The truth is that most people are interested in change and improvement, but aren’t prepared to spend the time or the brainspace required to do so. We can all keep this kind of opposing thought process in mind. We know that we should be doing two hours of exercise a week, but we’d still rather watch Netflix in bed on our iPad. This, the salesman’s dilemma. How to connect a stranger’s underlying logic of moving onward and upward with the motivation to do so?
How can I reach these people? Well, there probably is no way to reach most of them. But I believe the sales-resistors form a spectrum – it’s not a binary, yes/no reaction. Some will under no circumstances be tempted into considering our products, but there will be others more easily convinced. These are the folks to find.