In between the regular interview episodes until the book is published in October you’ll find a sample story like this one. You can either listen to the episode and hear David read his story, or read the full text below.
Don’t Take it Personally; They Just Didn’t Want to Buy From You
By: David Weiss
What was I thinking? I just told my girlfriend, and future wife, that we could no longer go to her favorite Sushi restaurant—the only decent Sushi restaurant in Rochester NY—and she LOVES Sushi…She even has a song for Sushi (I will share this at the end). At this time in my career, I was working for ARAMARK selling uniforms and ancillary products like floor mats, bar / shop towels, etc.… It wasn’t the most glamorous work, but being the eager sales person I was, I tried to sell to everyone. I was always told if someone likes you and trusts you, they will buy from you. I believed that and still do to a point. I learned quickly though that nothing was a sure thing. In my sales career, I was still very green, and took things personally. So, when I felt someone should buy from me, and they didn’t, I would no longer go to their place of business. I felt as if they had personally rejected me, not my solution. Look…don’t judge me; I was a silly kid back then. I am grateful my now-wife stayed with me, and she made it a very clear point that I was no longer allowed to try and sell to places she liked to go, but that is not the point of this story.
This life we have chosen, this life of sales, is ranked among the top most stressful jobs you can have. It requires thick skin, grit, persistence, perseverance, and many other descriptive words that relate to mental and physical toughness. It is one of the only professions where your best day, and worst day, can be the same day.
Let’s talk about that, as I have many examples of this. One that is massive and particularly sticks out in my mind is a deal I recently lost with “the largest online retailer” on the planet. This company was looking for multiple providers to help support their growth. The deal was valued well into the seven figures. It was a deal that someone could retire from. The day couldn’t have been better when they told us that we were selected as a vendor they would use. They had given us the scope of work, and the final hurdle was the legal terms; legal terms we had been assured our competitors had signed, and that shouldn’t be an issue. I was elated, but by that point in my career, I had learned to be cautious. Ten years ago, my younger self may have bought a new car that day expecting a win. As we went through the legal language, one term stood out to us, and it related to the liability we would hold if something went wrong. I can’t share all the details here for obvious reasons, but this would be a hurdle we would not get past. I was devastated, crushed; I could see early retirement slip through my fingers. If you could imagine, this is not a company I could stop myself from doing business with. I consider that true growth. It only took ten years.
This was just another day in the life. Now these situations obviously don’t happen every day, and this was a particularly bad loss, but these situations will happen. Most losses won’t feel as catastrophic, but they will happen often. You will get a verbal on a deal that won’t pan out. You will get to contracting and have legal issues. You will get into implementation, something will go awry, and the client will back out. There are many areas of risk in our profession (see my story on MEDDPICC to minimize this risk). It’s important to know what you’re getting into. If this is your life’s path, be prepared for frequent ups and downs; learn not to take losses personally, and seek help…emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Maybe I’m just lucky, or maybe it’s because I have a keen awareness of my shortcomings, but one thing that’s helped me is that I married a psychologist. She is my rock. I have also taken up things like meditation and have a very good scotch collection. The point is, this is not a job to just go at alone. It’s important to have a support structure, and a healthy one at that. You will ride a roller coaster, and just when you hit your goals, the year will reset, and the what-have-you-done-for-us-lately race begins again. If you’re lucky, and have been prospecting consistently, you’ll start with a good pipeline.
This is one of the most rewarding careers you can have, but with all big rewards come risks and hardship. Be ready for that, and go into this life knowing that you must mentally keep it all together. You will have bad days, really bad days, and days that will change your life in the best ways possible.
So, if you take anything away from this, marry a psychologist. If you can’t do that, and understandably so, deal with the day to day challenges you will face. Otherwise, you will never be as productive, and happy as you could be.
Oh, and were you wondering about my wife’s song, it goes something like, “I want to go to the sushi bar, I want to go with you. Sushi, sushi, sushi, sushi, sushi bar. I want to go to the sushi bar…”
If you’re reading this before August 31, 2018 it’s not too late to pre-purchase the book. Otherwise the book will be available at your favorite online book retailer when we publish in October 2018.