sales advice

What to do if You’re Offered a Promotion

A wise man once said to me, “Sooner or later you’re going to get offered a promotion. Whatever you do, don’t take it.”

At the time, I was a salesman for a pesticide manufacturer. The senior sales guys told me how much they made and it was mind-boggling.

“Yeah, when you get promoted you get a higher salary, but for what?” He continued on, “with this job when you want a raise, you just work harder and smarter and sooner or later bigger commissions show up in your bank account.”

“But don’t you want to climb the ladder? Become CEO?” I asked.

I was a young 25 year old at the time and didn’t realize he was giving me both prescient and shitty advice at the same time.

Being a salesman is, if you’re smart, the best job ever. And the best sales jobs are those that have a small or even NO salary. Everything comes from commissions.

It’s the best because you make your own life. The harder you work, the more you make. And if there’s no shortage of product, that is you’re selling software or cars or chemicals, you can make a killing. Mid 6 figures and above.

The reason you don’t want a high salary is because it’s easier to have a flexible schedule when the company only pays you if you produce. They don’t care if you start work late on a Tuesday when you’re making them boatloads of cash. But if they’re giving you a high salary, they expect you to be around at all times.

When I asked him about climbing the ladder he said, “being a CEO takes an inordinate amount of time, the stress level is through the roof, and most CEO’s only last a few years before they’re fired.”

He was right. Let me make myself clear…there are times when it’s stupid to turn down a promotion. But you really have to consider if it’s really something you want….

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sales advice

Teaching kids to sell is smart and fun

My first experience helping my son with sales was when the YMCA guides group we go camping with told us about their annual wreath sale.

The wreath sale is their only fundraiser and it helps to send kids with special needs go camping.  I wanted to help with this fundraiser…

The first thing my son and I did was come up with a script for when someone answers the door. He and I worked on it and came up with, “Hi, my name is Joshua Di Gennaro, I live on Mulberry Dr, and I’m in the 2nd grade at Baker Elementary. I’m selling Christmas Wreaths for the YMCA. Would you like a small wreath or a big wreath?”

Asking if you’d like a small wreath or a big wreath is a little bit of a sales tactic where you work to prevent the, “no”.  It’s  a little gimmicky, but under the circumstances I knew it was going to be fun to see how people reacted.

The first house we stopped at the Dad immediately saw through the close, but invited us in and bought a large wreath.  On top of raising money for a good cause, it’s also good to make contact with your neighbors.

The lessons I wanted to teach my son was to make eye contact, to speak loud enough, to learn how to quickly build rapport, and, probably the biggest lesson I wanted him to learn was rejection.  We ended up selling about a dozen wreaths in an hour and called it quits, but it was a great first step into selling and being able to go up to a house and recite a script at age 7 is definitely brave.

This past weekend I was in charge of a raffle and I had Joshua selling again.  I reminded him to make sure to make eye contact, to smile, and to speak loud enough.

I do feel like some people are born with natural sales abilities, but that anyone can learn good techniques if you want to.  Making eye contact, smiling, and speaking loud enough are three life lessons that will help get you wherever you want to go in life.

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401K – Common Sense Advice

Sign up for your 401K at work, get yourself a Roth IRA, and make sure you’re saving at least 10% in 2019 with a goal of 15% in 2020 and 20% beyond that.

My 41 year old self is thanking my 31 year old self for saving and now I’ve technically become a millionaire. Most of my money is tied up in 401K’s and my equity in my house, but I’m there.

I would not have gotten there if I didn’t save.

I also could’ve saved a lot more. A LOT MORE.

sales advice

Why you need to hand-deliver your proposal

How long does it take you to get a proposal for any sort of work you want done at your house? My experience is that if you call 5 people, 3 will call you back, 2 will show up, and only 1 will give you a proposal.

Who do you think gets the job?

That’s why it’s so important to get back to your customers as soon as you can, and, if possible, hand deliver the proposal. When you do this, you are building a relationship and you are giving the customer the opportunity to provide you feedback.

When you meet with someone in person, it shows them you want the business and it immediately starts to develop that relationship where they trust you.

Try hand-delivering your proposals and let me know what your win rate is compared to the ones you don’t.

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How to Simplify Your Life Financially

Early last year I decided I wanted to simplify my financial life. I had a bunch of bills and felt like, while I was making good money on paper, I didn’t have a lot (or any) left at the end of the month.

First I cut out my lawn guy at $60/mow. He would mow my lawn roughly every 10 days from mid-April to November….20 or 21 times. That’s approximately $1200/yr saved. I’m now on my second year of mowing my lawn myself and will have saved $2400 by the end of this mowing season.

Next I sold my truck, boat, and airplane and bought a ‘98 Acura as a beater. I’m not sure this was a good idea, but I sold my truck for $6500 and bought my beater for $1000. I’d rather have my truck but I did use some of that money to invest in my children’s 529 college plan.

I really enjoyed owning an airplane, but the honeymoon had worn off and a 40 year old airplane is a money pit.

The boat was just stupid.

I got rid of Netflix but that only lasted a few months. I have it back now, but we haven’t had cable since 2006 and we don’t miss it.

I also got rid of an old refrigerator through the power company. It was using $5-$10 month of electricity, but West Penn Power took it away for free and gave me a $50 check for it. Nice!

I also feel that term life insurance is extremely important and while this added to my expenses, an additional $500K policy for $36/month is must-do for every husband. Get 10-12 times your annual income in term life.

Just getting rid of stuff is an amazing feeling. Some stuff I sold and other stuff I simply gave away. Having less stuff frees you and it feels great.

What are you doing to simplify your life?

My former plane
sales advice

To Sell More….Talk Less

Almost every sales person I’ve ever met talks a lot. I don’t just mean a lot, I mean they talk too much.

In sales, the customer wants to be the focus of the deal. The customer wants to be the focus of the conversation. The customer wants to be the focus of the relationship. When a sales person comes in and all they do is talk about themselves, it turns off the buyer. BECAUSE, it’s not about you! It’s about them!

Think about your last buying experience and think about a sales pro that really made you feel good about yourself. Was it because they told you what they had for dinner last night? Or how many countries they’ve been to? Or was it because they asked you questions and were honestly, genuinely, interested in you?

I don’t have the gift of gab. I don’t talk too much. Quite frankly, there are times when I don’t talk enough. But I’m genuinely interested in other people’s lives and experiences to where I have an easy time building and fostering relationships. It’s not because I don’t talk too much, but that helps. It’s because I want to know my customer’s likes and dislikes, cares and worries, what they do for fun, and how I can serve them.

If you want to sell more, you need to learn to talk less, listen more, and have a genuine interest in your customer’s life, goals, and company.