I wrote a blog post back in March 2010, I revisited today as an update to a wonderful story that’s still unfolding. The blog was called:
A rather ridiculous thing, running and sales and was an introduction to my monthly newsletter at the time, because I had a rather ridiculous story to tell.
In May 2009 I received an email from Ian Kinsella pictured above, the content of which I’m going to reprint for you. It’s inspirational and its genuine. After you have read it there’s a YouTube link to a presentation that Ian has just delivered that I recommend that you share as a reminder of just how much your chosen attitude can influence your life.
An inspirational email
I want to give you a little background to the email. It’s from a salesman that I have worked with for a number of years. He’s in his mid-20’s and he lives and works in Dublin. He’s been one the best delegates that I have trained (and is to this day), he’s enthusiastic about training, he likes to learn and he’s not afraid to try.
This is his email exactly as he wrote it:
How the hell are you? I had to email you as I did something that is rather ridiculous in the current economic climate and if anyone would appreciate it, it’s you.
As you know, I’ve had a difficult year; in fact, about a month and a half ago I lost my Grandmother too which was like rubbing salt in the wound after losing my mother. Basically I hit an all-time low and didn’t think I could pick myself up again, I had no interest in selling cars because it all seemed so insignificant……………..so I made a decision, to try beat the sales record in the middle of this recession, I thought that setting such a crazy goal would keep me focused and make me get back into selling again, I also knew that I can do anything if I put my mind to it.
So I gave up drink, I worked every day and every hour I could, I answered every phone first, got to every customer first and I started to get back in the groove very quickly and before I knew it I had delivered 60 retail cars in 26 days; breaking my old record of 58 set back in January 2007.
Maybe in these depressing times when your training around the world this story could be worth telling other sales people who are struggling and think that you can’t make money in this recession.
From the 9th of April until the 7th of May: 61 Hours a week, 244 hours in the month, 2.3 sales a day over 26 days – Record broken by 2 units.
Hope your well,
This landed in my LinkedIn feed this morning. Please take some time to watch it.
Its Ian’s story in his own words 7 years on , its 15 minutes long and one of the best presentations I have seen delivered in a long time. Its professional, its motivational, it’s real and its meaningful. It’s worth sharing with your sales people, it’s worth sharing with your friends and with your family. It’s truly inspirational and for me was a great way to start my day. It should be a TED talk on a much bigger stage.
When I wrote the blog I was concerned that people would think that the story was an imaginary tale! Well I think you can see it’s clearly not and if you are a salesperson or manager then you need to take on board Ian’s message.
Ian had focused on what he could do, he had set himself a goal and he had worked hard to achieve it. He had focused on his activity and he had taken every customer inquiry seriously. Perhaps that’s why he and his team are still breaking sales records in his new career.
I love the line that he soon got back into the groove, because that’s exactly what we all need to do. Back in 2009 Ireland was rocked by the recession it faced, and it really is only coming out of it now in 2016. Stay focused. Lift yourself up, challenge yourself, rev your motivation and point yourself in the right direction, that’s what Ian did and look what he achieved.
Running and sales targets
If you know me well you know that I get off on running. I completed my first half marathon in 2009 coming in at 2.00.52 on the clock (Ian’s marathon times put me to shame but then again he is 25 years younger than me :-). I’ve done many half marathons since but not a full one and I think Ian’s gentle reminder to me today was just what I need to get me back on a full marathon track.
So what’s running got to do with sales? Well targets for most things in life fall into the categories of quality, quantity, cost, profit and time. Running is said to be simple to measure; you have a distance and then complete the distance in a time (the 100 meters for example). It’s not that simple though; what if the distance is all uphill, what impact will that have on the time? What if the temperature is going to be high or the humidity high?
The conditions will have an influence over the result and you will have to work harder in tougher conditions (and smarter) to achieve similar results to the race before. It will have an impact on your time as well unless you train differently for the different conditions (and as Ian points out you have to have the right gear and training to truly compete.
Well that’s the same in sales in my mind, if the market conditions are tougher so we need to work harder and train differently. If there are fewer prospects around so we really need push the boat out with every customer, give them the best presentation we can, present the offer in the most enthusiastic way, communicate all of the positives and really do our best for every customer. The market today needs us to treat every customer like they are gold (because they really are) and treat them to the very best of our ability.
I truly believe that we all need to train harder for these changing economic conditions. I train 5 days a week for the reward that it gives me. I train to make sure I’m prepared. I do it because I love it not because I’m forced to do it. I make time for it because if I didn’t then I might either injury myself or fail to meet my goal. Now there are people around me that say I’m mad (which is probably true), why bother, what’s the point. The point is that I’m doing it for me, the point is that enjoy it and the point is that it is rewarding for me.
And that’s exactly the sale in sales, if your salespeople don’t enjoy it, don’t find it rewarding, if they don’t want to work harder in a tougher environment and they are not prepared to train (or for you to train them) then don’t be surprised if things don’t improve.
I think that Ian’s email and his presentation says it so much better than I do. Nobody forced him to work so hard, he did it because he wanted to, to challenge himself and to see what he could really achieve. He achieved his goal and I know that he got his reward as well.
I hope that Ian’s story has touched you, it did me. I can’t wait for the next chapter!
P.S. His Berlin time was under 2 hours 46, 8 minutes under his personal best. Way to go Ian!