Saturday, August 4, 2012

Chicago and Sales Meetings

Nope, it isn't Chicago but it is a Sheraton. A very nice Sheraton at LAX.

Before GSA taught us how to waste money we use to have Sales Meetings.

The purpose was to make as much money as possible playing poker and prove that you could drink and remain fairly coherent.

The secondary mission was to train us in all the latest sales technique and let the engineers lie to us about when a new product or feature would be available. I mean those engineers had no shame.  “Keep those R&D dollars coming folks and the Widget will have self wiping paper dispensed on wrinkle free rolls.”

I think that is how I knew immediately that man made global warming was a lie.

If the economy was good we’d have’em in Chicago in January at a Sheraton. There was one  near the airport that was across from Stromberg Carlson’s regional office. Bad news and an undoable quota?? Just stroll on over and see what the boys from Syracuse had available. If the economy was bad we’d have’em at a Day’s Inn in Nashville. Trust me. The Sheraton was nicer.

At one meeting we had A Professional Sales Trainer train us on how to get a customer interested in your sales brochure.

The guy spoke fairly well but he had a cross between a nose suck and a snort that appeared often but irregular.

This was fairly distracting and may have been a technique to keep us awake and listening as there were continual bets on the number of Sucksnorts with the attendant discussions, claims and disputes.

“Damn it Ray! I had the over and I counted 14, not 13.”

“Naw, Bill. That last one was a throat clearing and hacking up a booger, not a Sucksnort.”

You can see there were many areas where a dispute could occur. We often made Congress look good.

Anyway, the Professional Sales Trainer’s theory was that you never handed the customer the brochure, you just extended it and then pulled it back.  He called it the tease technique to build interest and create positive tension.

Now laying aside the fact that our customers never paid any attention to brochures… I mean if they were thinking about dropping a few million on a new switching system it took a bit more to get and hold their attention.. Anyway, at some point one of the old guys who had had a knock dead great year and thus could whip out his dick and piss on the floor and management would pretend he was just  pre wetting the carpet for the cleaners opined, “If a salesman did that to me I’d kick his ass out of my office.”

The Professional Sales Trainee couldn’t ignore that so a back and forth quickly developed.

Somewhere in there I couldn’t help but ask, “Have you ever sold anything?”

“Well,” he said, “I sold this course to your corporate.”

Ray chipped in, “That only proves they are stupid.”

We were a grumpy bunch proud of our success and we didn’t suffer fools gladly.

An early cocktail hour was announced as it was obvious the training was over.

It was at lunch on day at the Sheraton that we discovered the sensitivity of some waitresses.

There were three of us and one was Dave. Now Dave was basically a good guy but he made micro management an art form. Give him a wine list and thirty minutes later he would be discussing the summer temperature and rain fall on the slopes of the vineyard. Knowing this I’d just say, “Bring me a Bud.” Plus, he called all the girls Honey, Sugar  or Sweetie.

Now we know that Obama can do that and the Lefties swoon. But this was Chicago’s northwestern burbs and Obama  was being schooled in a Muslim school in Indonesia.

Anyway, Dave read the wine list, commented on menu, dispatched our waitresses for fresh bread wondered if the butter was real butter, all to the tune of “Honey, will you….” Finally the young lady had had enough. Fixing him with a laser beam gaze that would have killed a mere mortal she intoned, “It’s honey this and honey that and honey could you…. Well honey, kiss my ass, I ain’t waiting on you.” And stalked away in high dungeon.

The manager took her place. Dave was embarrassed and couldn’t understand the problem. We didn't try to explain.

"Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them." - Karl Popper

 “It’s the presumption that Obama knows how all these industries ought to be operating better than people who have spent their lives in those industries, and a general cockiness going back to before he was president, and the fact that he has no experience whatever in managing anything. Only someone who has never had the responsibility for managing anything could believe he could manage just about everything.” - Thomas Sowell in Reason Magazine