Welcome to The Sales Experiment
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I’m Brett and this blog is all about learning to be a more effective sales and marketing professional (and person). Sales is, ultimately, about creating value and learning to create more value will make us better people.
Join me as we learn how to create as much value for others as we possibly can.
My education? English literature and ministry (I hold a master of divinity degree from seminary). My first 10 years in the workforce? Nonprofit and ministry work (unless you count the years as a Cracker Barrel server while attending seminary in Tennessee).
I wasn’t intending on being a sales professional. Yet here I am. Many of you sales and marketing pros also might not have started out on the path toward a sales career. Yet here you are.
When I first pulled up to my desk back in 2004, a green, first time salesguy, armed with nothing but a phone and a directive (“Get leads!”), I felt completely out of place and ill-equipped.
Since then, I’ve slowly come around to understanding the mindset and strategies needed to approach sales in a way that makes sense for me. I experimented, read, listened to podcasts, talked to others in my industry (and outside of my industry).
I realized that if I’ve had some struggles coming around and finding my legs in sales, I’m not alone.
Why “The Sales Experiment”?
In an effort to be more successful and to make up for my lack of training, I decided to create this site to track my self-education and to provide a place where others can come and hear from someone like them:
A reluctant salesperson who had to learn to find his own sales voice.
I’m committed to sifting through the resources I read, listen to, and watch, along with my experiences and stories, to help further develop my own sales voice. As I go, I hope to help you find yours.
Join me. I’d love to hear about how you were able to find yourself as a sales or marketing professional.
How did you find your voice? What resources and perspectives have you brought to the table to help you approach sales in a way that is unique to you?
Much of the sales literature out there would have us believe that there are certain personality traits or tactics and strategies that are required to make hay in sales.
My belief is that you can find success in sales and marketing regardless of your natural skill and personality. You might need to tweak some things. You might need to put on your big boy or big girl pants and develop habits that aren’t always fun. But that’s true of anything you want to be good or even great at.
You just need to play around with it some and find the approach that suits you and the types of clients that you enjoy working with.
So let’s experiment together. Let me know what works for you and resources that have informed your success. Take what you can from this site. Let’s enjoy sales in whatever unconventional ways we find to enjoy it!
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Some notes about current blog posts (early 2015)
In Dan Miller’s 48 Days On-Demand Radio Show (or podcast), he issued a challenge that if someone would listen to or read 30 minutes of positive, skill-sharpening, mindset shifting content a day, that that someone would double income in 6 months.
I’ve been listening to and reading such content for some time (nearly 5 years now). In some ways, I’m an addict.
Merely listening isn’t enough.
Don’t get me wrong. Consuming content is huge and it has been ridiculously helpful to me in so many ways. I know I’m more positive, hopeful, and even more effective in work, faith, and relationships because of the books and blogs I’ve read and podcasts I’ve listened to.
But there comes a time when a guy has to kick it up a notch in order to bust through plateaus.
I Accept Mr. Miller’s Challenge – With a Twist
Just listening to content that will help one be more productive in sales or marketing or building a business doesn’t make one great in building a business or marketing or sales.
Watching a Show about a Horse Makes NOT an Equestrienne
This fact hit home today when my sweet daughter announced she wanted a horse. I went through a couple subtle financial reasons why we can’t go grab a horse at the present time. And then I said that perhaps we should start with riding lessons.
Her response: “I know how to ride a horse.”
My response: “When did you ride a horse?”
Her response: “I haven’t ridden a horse, but I learned how to do it on Fetch with Ruff Ruffman.”
The moral of the story: Just consuming content (in her case a very positive, educational kids’ show) doesn’t make one an expert (an equestrienne, again, in my daughter’s case).
It takes much more than head knowledge and even repeated reminders of what to do. While I accept the content consumption challenge (although I’ve been listening for nearly 10X the time that Dan encourages), I feel compelled that I add some additional requirements.
My Counter Proposal – How I Will Take on This Challenge
Here is how I plan to approach this challenge:
- Listen to or read 30 minutes of content a day starting September 1, 2014
- Select one action item a day from the reading or audio content (or video)
- Implement that one action (update: sometimes same action for a few days to gain some traction)
- Write about what I consumed, the action I selected, how I implemented it, and the results – whatever the results might look like (although this might be tricky given the nature of my work – I will have to juggle priorities here).
- My goal is to keep this up until March 1, 2015
- I’m giving myself the option to take a break on Sundays from the whole action selection, implementation, and writing thing. But I’ll still give it a shot – consumption, I’m sure, will still take place. Family and recoup time is necessary even for the hardest drivers among us.
What Content Will I Consider Worthy?
I have a shelf full of books on sales, marketing, productivity, and mindset. If it’s on that shelf, and fits those categories, it’
The first two books I’m conquering (due to the fact that I’m actually reading them right now and need to finish before I move on):
I will continue to listen to the podcasts that I’ve been listening to. I assume that my podcast listening will take up at least 30 minutes a day due to Atlanta area drive time.
If you happen upon this blog post and have suggestions for books that don’t just contain good ideas, but that are highly actionable, please feel free to drop a few suggestions in the comments. I’ll consider them.
Mr. Dan Miller… if you have a top 3-5 books you’d suggest, please drop them in the comments. I’d be honored!
Why ‘Sales Experiment’?
I am in sales and have a side marketing project or two, so most of my efforts will be in sales and learning how to create value for folks. Hopefully, the old Zig Ziglar mantra ‘You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want’ will hold true.
In addition, selling is big with Mr. Miller. And I agree. We are all constantly selling. In other words, we are all trying to help create value for someone else or for a group of someone elses. (Or we’re smarmy and trying to convince someone to do something whether it’s in their best interest or not).
As a matter of fact, I was telling a friend that now that I’m older, I think every person would be better served to serve two years in the military and then sell for 5 years prior to going to college. Something tells me our country would be much more awesomer (grammar misstep intended) if we were to enforce such requirements.
I do intend on having clear monthly experiments or projects that will fall well within the purpose of Dan Miller’s challenge.
How to Judge My Results
I’m a family man who holds things like income close to the vest and work in a relatively conservative environment. I’m no Pat Flynn or John Lee Dumas. I can’t be overly transparent at this point in my career around my current income situation. Let’s pretend, though, that I’m at 25 Challenge Points. I need to get to 50 Challenge Points. We’ll let you know how things go.
It won’t kill you one way or the other if I make it. Mr. Miller has been informed of my goal. You don’t need to know. Pick your own goal and work your tail off. That’s the only number that matters. Go for it. Let’s kick each others’ butts until we accomplish what we want to….no NEED… to accomplish.
Thanks for Reading!
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A little more about me…
I have a wife and three children. I love fall. And I like to cook pulled pork and baby back ribs. I’m a homer and dig the Georgia Bulldogs, Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Braves, and even the Hawks. Here is what I look like:
I tweet, sometimes too much.
If you care to connect anywhere else, you can just Google my name and you’ll find me pretty easily.
Affiliate Links: Most links to Amazon will be affiliate links. In other words, if you purchase a product after linking to Amazon, I would get a small commission. If you do so, thank you very much! I also might add other affiliate products as we move along. If I know of and use products or services that are helpful that I think might be helpful to others, I will pass the word along.