Sunday, December 20, 2009

Have you Hugged your Salesperson today?

If you are in any sort of corporate buying position - ie you have had a call with a salesperson this year then...

Do them and yourself and favor - If they are constantly contacting you over and over - then you have given them some sort of signal that there is a little window of hope that you will sign a contract.

Just answer their emails or call them back and tell them:

"NO, we wont be signing a contract before the end of the year and there is nothing - no discount, no plea, no promotion - that you can say or do that will change that".

Followed up with either:

"I did have some interest but the timing is off so call me next year in X time frame"


"Take me off your list, you persistent pest"

***See disclaimer

Most evil sales managers and bosses put in comp plans that force these poor salespeople to act like desperate children at the end of the year. Ignoring their calls and emails will just make them call you again and again and again and again until they have a definitive answer.


I KNOW there are annoying sales reps out there and they bother me as much as you cause they give me a bad name. This is a profession like any other and there are people who work hard and in earnest because they think they have something that can help people and, wow, they can make a good few bucks fixing someone's problem or helping someone's business too.

Anyway, here is my Christmas Poem to all those prospective buyers out there:

On the 12th day before year end my prospect gave to me….

12 reference requests from current clients

11 new requests for things we don’t offer

10 ignored phone calls

9 out of office email messages

8 cancelled phone calls

7 contract changes

6 more staff to buy in

5 “How about a dis-coooooount?”s

4 Can I have this in 30 days?

3 More hoops to jump thru

2 Questions I already answered


***Disclaimer - there are a lot of pushy, poorly trained sales people out there. I know, I deal with them too. And many of them deserve the phone or door to be slammed on their faces. But be nice to the ones who have treated you with respect and have been persistent but not pestering and just let them know your position either way. If you keep ignoring them - any sales person worth their comp plan is still going to put you in the maybe column and continue to contact you until you just say NO.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Up in the Air

Go see this movie...Especially if:

1. You have been laid off (Its like a badge of honor these days?)

2. You travel a lot for work (I mean A LOT, not the annual trade show once a year)

3. You are female (George Clooney = 1 hr 49 minutes on a 30 x 70 foot screen, yum)

The movie is about a consultant (dreamy George Clooney) who is hired to travel around and “downsize” people. Part of the movie focuses on a new strategy for firing people - over web conferences vs. in person.

I didn't quite rack up the miles Clooney’s character does in this move but I traveled at least once if not twice a week for the better part of 4 years for work. I became a whore for loyalty points at hotels and have reaped the benefits of lots of free vacations. I am such a sucker for the contrived loyalty they talk about in the film (What?! A chocolate bar on my pillow and free bottled water! Sure, I’ll drive an extra 25 miles to stay at a Westin!) I actually recognized and/or stayed in at least 2 hotels in that movie. I hope to never travel that much again unless it is by the private jet of my sugar-daddy.

Anyway, there is a scene where they are firing a middle aged guy and he is understandably distraught and upset and asks what he is going to tell his kids.

George Clooney looks at his resume and noticed that a long, long time ago the guy had majored in culinary arts but is some sort of mid-level office worker. Clooney is trying to explain to him that now that he was downsized he had an opportunity to go do what he always wanted to do with his life. He asks the guy a great question:

"What did the first pay you to give up on your dream?"

On the even of my move, forced upon me by the economy, where I have to rent my own home to strangers while I shack up in an apartment - this question really got to me. I cringed as I remembered that wide-eyed idealistic little 21 year old who sold out to the man for a similar salary in 1998.

That scene made me realize that I have had a gnawing sense of failure about this whole move. I mean, 11.5 years ago I graduated from college and came to DC to go do something B-I-G. It’s been so long I don’t even know what hat something is anymore but it’s certainly not close to anything I have been doing for the last few years.

I came here to change the world but 11 years late the world changed me. And I am not sure it was for the better.

I earn a living. I may even have passed on much of a social life for a few years to earn an even better living. I’ve been good at all my jobs – varied as they have been. I work for a great company with a friend who threw out a life boat to me when, as they say in the movie - my old company put me on boat, took me out, pushed me off and let me swim for my life (paraphrased).

So I sit here in my little condo I was so proud to have bought myself 3 years ago and go thru my stuff as I pack and toss out the old box of business cards that had that lofty VP title on them.

As I get ready to start over in a new place, I’m surrounded by moving boxes. I’m getting ready for the move with a little bit of hope, a lot of uncertainty, and a dash of fear.

I’m trying to get through this major change - and resist the urge to build those boxes into a little fort and hide away and never come out...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Artificial intelligence is so smart

I just got one of those fancy new Verizon Droid phones which is supposed to be a knock off of the iPhone.

For the first few days I could check my Facebook, send emails, use the GPS feature to find out where I was, play a cool golf game, and check out the stars above me with a Google app that maps out the night sky. Pretty cool. Too bad I was unable to make actual phone calls. I finally had to bring it to the store to get fixed. Remember the phones that were connected to the wall and just called people?


The new phone has nifty auto-correct feature when you type out messages that guesses what word you are trying to type and fills it in for you to save you keystrokes.

I must not speak Droid because it never seems to get my words right.

Case in point:

I was sending a text message to my 13 year old nephew to ask his shirt size for his Christmas gift.

My original message was:

"What is your t-shirt size - Aunt Melina"

It came out as:

"What is your re-birth size - Aunt Melons"