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What You Want

Keith Rosen is an executive Sales Coach.  I found this article on All Business. Keith has listed a few questions for you to answer to “attract” this reality towards your being. Check out the article here. In the name of transparency for myself, I answered the questions.

1. How many hours in a typical workday?

4 hrs

2. What is your desired salary?


3. Who are the people you are working with?

ex-restaurant employees, laid back, enjoy life type of people

4. What type of clients do you want to serve?

ex-restaurant employees, laid back, enjoy life type of people

5. What type of product/service do you want to offer?

books, booze, burgers, bungy, whatever

6. What is your day filled with or what type of activities you are responsible for?

Making sure my folks fill those four hours completely…it’s only four hours!

7. What type of industry?

Entertainment, food, leisure

8. What is the level of autonomy?


9. What type of growth opportunities exist? 

Extreme, but franchised

10. What kind of supervisor do you want to work with (if any)? What’s that person’s management style?

Laid back, but with an edge when necessary

11. What are your co-workers like (if any)?

Artists with other skills

12. What benefit/incentive package is offered?

Full paid insurance, the whole works

13. What type of environment/corporate culture do you thrive in (fast paced, stressful, relaxed, quiet, etc.)

fast paced, but relaxed

14. What are you passionate about?

poetry, music, adrenaline, and good food

15. What type of career would be a reflection of who you are?

Entertainment with education

16. How does your career complement your lifestyle?

Talking with and entertaining many folks that are like me

17. What are the demographics of your clients and co-workers?

Adventurers, free spirits of any age, with a passion for good food and the arts

18. What are your strengths and talents that you would like to orient your career around?

Poetry, conversation, and charm

19. What do you do great?


20. What don’t you like to do?

Convince people of something they don’t believe

21. What needs to be present in order to make a smooth transition and be financially responsible with the least amount of risk or error?

Very talented staff and a prestige about our establishement

22. Who do you have in your circle of influence to support you through this transition? (family, friends, coach, etc.)

Lukas, Hannah, several famous slam poets and musicians, several guest chefs, and sports stars

23. Who do you need to be (or become) in order to achieve, create or succeed at this?

A well known poet with a very trained pallet and an appetite for adrenaline

24. What are the fears or limiting thinking that’s keeping you from moving forward without hesitation? 

A need for money now

I only fell at the end…now what?

Try it, you’ll like it

Where have you been?

I am reminded of a time when I was a young teenager. I had my alarm clock set to play the radio at some point in the morning hours.  One particular morning, the d.j. must have taken an extended cigarette break or what have you. Kathy Mattea sang “Where have you been” over and over and over for the whole hour my alarm clock played.  For this reason, I have always remembered the chorus. For balance, I looked up the lyrics. They are as follows:

Claire had all but given up
When she and Edwin fell in love
She touched his face and shook her head
In disbelief she sighed and said
In many dreams I’ve held you near
Now at last you’re really here

Where have you been?
I’ve looked for you for ever and a day
Where have you been?
I’m just not myself when you’re away

He asked her for her hand for life
Then she became a salesman’s wife
He was home each night by 8
But one stormy evening he was late
Her frightened tears fell to the floor
Until his key turned in the door


They’d never spent a night apart
For 60 yrs she heard him snore
Now they’re in a hospital
In seperate beds on different floors

Claire soon lost her memory, forgot the names of family
She never spoke a word again
Then one day they wheeled him in
He held her hand and stroked her hair
In a fragile voice she said


Where have you been
Ive searched for you forever and a day
Where have you been
Im just not myself when your away
Im just not myself when your away

So, I’ve been away for a while. I’m back. Do you think we can all get back to being ourselves now? I hope so, because December was a huge slump for me! I probably won’t say anymore about that, because I definitely don’t want to relive it.

Until Next Time…

Keith Porterfield

A Student of Sales

I’ve a Net After All

As I rode along with Steve Trevillion Wednesday…

 I realized, by something he said, that…

I’ve a net after all. 

My mother reminded me also when she sent me this e-mail…

There’s no way I can fail!!! 


Top Salesman-

A young guy from Wisconsin moves to Seattle and goes to a big
 everything under one roof department store looking for a job.

The Manager says, “Do you have any sales experience?”

The kids says “Yeah. I was a salesman back in Wisconsin.”

Well the boss liked the kid and gave him the job. ” You start tomorrow.
I’ll come down after we close and see how you did.”

His first day on the job was rough, but he got through it.

After the store was locked up, the boss came down. “How many customers
bought something from you today?”

The kid says “One.”

The boss says “Just one? Our sales people average 20 to 30 customers
a day. How much was the sale for?”

The kid says, “$101,237.65.”

The boss says $101,237.65? What the heck did you sell?”

The kids says, “First I sold him a small fish hook. Then I sold him a
medium fishhook. Then I sold him a larger fishhook. Then I sold him a
new fishing rod. Then I asked him where he was going fishing and he
said down the coast, so I told him he was going to need a boat, so we
went down to the boat department and I sold him a twin engine Chris
Craft. Then he said he didn’t think his Honda Civic would pull it, so
I took him down to the automotive department and sold him that 4×4

The boss said ” A guy came in here to buy a fish hook and you sold

The kid says “No, the guy came in here to buy Tampons for his wife,
and I said, ‘Dude your weekend’s shot, you should go fishing.’ “

You’ll never be a failure if you keep trying.

We are not human beings going through a temporary spiritual experience. We
are spiritual beings going through a temporary human experience.

See what you’re getting into…before you go there.


Until next time…

Keith Porterfield

a Student of Sales

Ride out!

Ride out!


Since I got an earlier than expected start to my ‘No Net’ sales experience, I requested a ride along with a team member.  Richard Howell set me up to get with Steve Trevillion.

I plan to ride out with Steve in Carthage, TX Wednesday the 18th.

I’ll post when I get back to document the trip.

I have to get out of the house by 5AM to make it to Carthage at 7AM.

Until next time…

Keith Porterfield

a Student of Sales

No More Net!!!

O.k. people…it’s on!!!  It’s time to start documenting my true journey into the world of sales.

Until now it was all theoretical.  I studied and studied and did not much in the way of selling, because I had a net.

Now, I have NO NET!

I want to tell you all about it.  It’s the reason blogs exist.  I can say what I want here and no one can fire me!  Which brings me to my first point.

I am so glad I left my hourly job!  I can honestly say that I don’t care right now that I have no guarantees for next week’s pay check.  I don’t care that I’m having to pay for COBRA a month or two.  I’m just so glad to be out from under the rule of my immediate supervisor there…I’m actually happy to be unemployed.

Here’s the story…

The company is a pretty good place to work.  They take care of their employees.  My division just hired a new V.P. of Wholesale.  I think he’s a great addition to the team.  He’s really got a great vision for the sales team.  Unfortunately, I was not part of the sales team at this company. 

I worked for nearly two years under this guy who’s name is not worth mentioning (NName Small Man from here on out).  I did my job and I did it well.  I have a college degree and I was working the graveyard shift for hourly wages.  I work twelve hour shifts and had about two hours worth of work to do.  I like to think I used that down time nicely.  I studied and studied and finally built up the courage (with the help of Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist) to step out of my comfort zone.

I waited and consulted several people before sending a respectful “form letter” two-week resignation letter to NNSM, V.P. of Wholesale and H.R. Director.  This was not accepted well from NNSM as I had told him previously I would probably be out around August 1 (the notice put my last day as July 20).  He didn’t speak to me for the entire week after I submitted my notice.

The last night I worked I made a mistake that could have happened on any night.  I slipped up and made an honest mistake.  It wasn’t huge and has been made by myself and several others many times in the past.  When the morning guy came in, I told him about my slip up.  I told him I wasn’t going to beat myself up about it and that at least I couldn’t get fired over it.  Well, guess what…the morning guy is trying to work his way up the ladder in this company.  So, he’s buddy-buddy with NNSM.  He tells NNSM that I popped off about not being able to be fired and that I wasn’t doing my job.

So, I get a week of un-paid vacation.

So, here’s to No Nets!  Wish me luck.

p.s.-I also went to my MySpace page and found that NNSM had deleted me from his ‘Friends’ list.  What a tool!

Until next time…

Keith Porterfield

a Student of Sales

My take on Spin Selling (part 8)

Spin Selling

by: Neil Rackham

Neil Rackham is a best selling author. You can read more about him at his website linked to his name.

Turning Theory into Practice

One of Rackham’s favorite words: Entelechy

def. the becoming actual of what was potential–turning something into practical usefulness as opposed to theoretical elegance.

It is the subject of this cahpter.

Improving your skills is hard work; there’s no instant formula for better selling.

The Four Golden Rules for Learning Skills

How can you learn any skill efficiently and with minimum pain?

Stick by four simple rules.

Rule 1: Practice Only One Behavior at a Time

Mr. Rackham met Tom Landry on a plane and asked him which one principle was most important in learning a new skill. Landy was quick to say, “Work on one thing at a time and get it right.”

Start by picking just one bahavior to practice. DOn’t move on to the next until you’re confident you’ve got the first behavior right.

Rule 2: Try the New Behavior at Least Three Times

The first time you try anything new, it’s bound to feel uncomfortable.

The new skill needs to be “broken in.”

Never judge whether a new behavior is effective until you’ve tried it at least three times.

Rule 3: Quantity Before Quality

Huthwaite’s studies have consistently shown that the fastest way to learn a new sales behavior is through using a quantity method.

When you’re practicing, concentrate on quantity: use a lot of the new behavior. Don’t worry about quality issues, such as whether you’re using it smoothly or whether there might be a better way to phrase it. Those things get in the way of effective skills learning. Use the new behavior often enough and the quality will look after itself.

Rule 4: Practice in Safe Situations

If you’ve just finished Rackham’s book (or this outline) and you’re about to visit your most important account, then forget everything he’s written.

Always try out new behaviors in safe situations until they feel comfortable. Don’t use important sales to practice new skills.

A Summary of the Call Stages

Four Stages of a Sales Call

  • Preliminaries
  • Investigating
  • Demonstrating Capability
  • Obtaining Commitment
Preliminaries (Chapter 7)

The opening techniques suggested by traditional sales training:

  1. relating to the buyer’s personal interests
  2. opening with a benefit statement

should be used with caution.

Investigating (Chapter 4)

The SPIN sequence instead of traditional open and closed questions develop customer needs best.

  • Situation Questions
  • Problem Questions
  • Implication Questions
  • Need-payoff Questions

Spin isn’t a rigid formula. To be effective, it must be used flexibly.

Demonstrating Capability (Chapter 5)

A Benefit in this right shows how your product or service meets an Explicit Need expressed by the customer.

Obtaining Commitment (Chapter 2)

The simplest closing technique is the most effective:

  • Check that you’ve covered the buyer’s key concerns.
  • Summarize the Benefits.
  • Propose an appropriate level of commitment.

A Strategy for Learning the SPIN Behaviors

Huthwaite has found the following four pieces of implementation advice very helpful.

Focus on the Investigating Stage

If you know how to develop needs–to get your customers to want the capabilities you offer–then you’ll have no problem showing Benefits or Obtaining Commitment.

Develop Questions in the SPIN Sequence

  1. Decide whether you are asking enough questions. If you are telling rather than asking, start by just asking more questions.
  2. Next plan to ask at least 6 Problem Questions per call. Focus on quantity, not quality.
  3. Once you are satisfied with your abiliity to uncover customer problems. Carefully plan your Implication Questions. Reread the example transcript in Chapter 4 and substitute your own problem in.
  4. Finally, when you are comfortable with all the above, start into Need-payoff Questions. Try to not tell the customer the Benefits of your product or service. Try to get them to tell you the Benefits.

Analyze Your Product in Problem-Solving Terms

Instead of what Features and Benefits your product or service offers, think of the problem it solves.

Plan, Do, and Review

The most important lessons come from the way you review the calls you make. After each call, ask yourself such questions as these:

  • Did I achieve my objectives?
  • If I were making the call again, what would I do differently?
  • What have I learned that will influence future calls on this account?
  • What have I learned that I can use elsewhere?

Rackham says that of the salepeople he’s observed, the most successful do two thing:

  1. Make it a point to reveiw every call.
  2. Realize the importance of getting the details right.

Final Words

Rackham pointedly states that he has learned that sales success is not in generalities as he first thought.

Increasingly our research has shown that success is constructed from those important little building blocks called behaviors. More than anything else, it’s the hundreds of minute behavioral details in a call that will decide whether it succeeds.

Rackham quotes William Blake:

He who would do good to another must do it in Minute Particulars.
General Good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite, and flatterer;
For Art and Science cannot exist but in minutely organized particulars.

Rackham urges you to use the results of Huthwaite’s research to examine, develop, and improve the minute particulars of your selling skills.


Rackham has much more in the Appendices of this book. He includes much of the research referenced in the body of his work. He commends anyone who reads it. Rackham says that he finds the appendices the most exciting part of the book: the PROOF.

I won’t include them here due to time constraints. However, they are quite interesting. This book is well worth your time and money. Quite frankly, it is worth having in your personal library as a reference tool. I have outlined the book for those salespeople who don’t have time to read it fully at present, but wish to learn the principles set forth in it. I will advise, to fully appreciate this book…you might consider studying it as opposed to briefly reading it.

Remember- The work you’ve just read is Neil Rackham’s. I have simply outlined his book. Most of the words above are his own. At times I paraphrased.

Until next time…

Keith Porterfield

a Student of Sales