Friday, June 17, 2011

Best Moral Orel Quote Ever

From the episode "Maturity"
Clay: I don't know what's gotten into you lately, young man. Our talks just don't seem to be helping.
Orel: But Dad - I thought I was doing what you wanted.
Clay: Why on Earth would I ever want you to take my precious alcoholic beverages?
Orel: Because you wanted me to be more adult.
Clay: Orel, drinking on a daily basis is not the only way to be an adult.
Orel: Well I tried not talking about my feelings, too.
Clay: Oh son, behaving like a grown up is many things. First and for most it means doing things that you hate doing.
Orel: Like what, pop?
Clay: Well like dealing with people who make you unhappy, being stressed about things you have no control over, working soul-numbing jobs.
Orel: Ooh
Clay: Then gradually as we endure these hardships and accept them as normal, that's when we finally earned the right to get drunk and be emotionally distant from our families.
Orel: Just like my father. I love you dad.
Clay: I'm hungry too. Let's go eat!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

812 Reasons I am under construction.

Yesterday was a rather intense day.  I got to hash out my strengths, weaknesses, and such with both an esteemed sales consultant and one of my product reps.  So, after being built up and torn down multiple times in one day paired with financial/professional worries and general road trip strain, by the time I got home I just couldn't brain anymore.

Having had a 4 hour drive back and a relatively sleepless night, I've had some time to obsess over my faults and gotten a fresh perspective what I do well.  But, in typical Jennifer fashion, I'd rather focus on the negative so I'm currently processing the criticism - once I've come to terms with it and begun making progress towards correcting them then I'll be able to look at the positives and enjoy the fact that at least there are a couple of things out there I'm doing right.

Most of the feedback I get about myself is either glowing praise (from friends, company representatives/other agents, and clients) or harsh criticism.  Now, I come from a hypercritical family so I don't take criticism very well - I take it very personally and it destroys what minute level of self esteem I may have.  Now, the two people I talked to yesterday had constructive criticism - it wasn't meant to be hurtful or insulting and it was at my request for my own personal growth and improvement.  So, despite wanting to make excuses and defend myself. I did actually listen and take these things to heart.  Of course on the way back I was talking to 'The Boyfriend' and he decided to jump on the criticism bandwagon too.  His wasn't as much constructive as much as it was deprecating and insulting though.  Which made me realize - my professional faults are very much carrying over into my personal life.  So it's going to be a war on two fronts to retrain myself.

Well, I did a lot of ruminating on what the sales consultant had to say and have been formulating my game plan. 

I’m gonna ramble here for a moment so feel free to stop reading now.

I did a brief inventory of my bookshelves and home and realized that I only had 1 book that was strictly about sales.  Now, I have a plethora of books about interpersonal communication, neurolinquistic programming, and conflict resolution – including my Dale Carnegie books and Napoleon Hill; but only one damn book about sales.  I own more books about winemaking that I do once a year and I can’t even sell but only one book about my profession that is supposed to be paying my bills.  Hell, I have 3 books about CLEANING.  Yes, 3 books about cleaning. 3 books about coffee and 1 about caffeine. I have an entire shelf of just cookbooks.  But the only book on sales that I owned was one that Dad had me order for him, he took a glance at it and said it was the same rehashed shit he already knew, and then told me to read it.

I didn’t.

So, why is it that I read every article I can find, hoard brochures and product literature, and obsess about knowing my products inside and out, but yet I do nothing to improve my skills as a salesperson?  I've gotten lazy.  Salesmanship comes easily to me so I've not done anything to really train and hone my skills as a salesperson.  But, I want to take it to the next level - not just training my agents on the product but training them on how to be fantastic salespeople.  So why have I not put that same level of time, effort, and dedication into working on myself? 

I'm an incredible singer.  But I couldn't give voice lessons - I don't know how to explain to someone else how to improve their voice.  It's just something that I do that I do well and comes easily to me.  Therefore, I don't even attempt to teach others.  Why should sales be any different?

I've trained coworkers before - but showing someone effective ways of demonstrating the features of a pair of sunglasses or what questions to ask to figure out what kind of coffee someone will enjoy isn't the same thing as teaching someone how to walk into the house of a total stranger and go over their health, their wealth, and their needs to determine what type of health plan is their best fit and how to build a dedicated, lasting customer service relationship with that client. 

I just kind of assumed that sales manager was the next logical step up from being a salesman.  It seemed logical that moving forward would mean moving in that direction.  But, you've gotta dress for the job you want, not the job you got; and I need to do my own self-motivated training if I want to get there. 

Things I learned:

1. Listen
2. Slow Down
3. You can't be good at everything.
4. Focus on what you are excited about, not what you could force yourself to be excited about.
5. Don't get arrested or run away from the cops.
6. Find out who the right person is.
7. Be consistent.
8. Don't bullshit.
9. Hire the right talent.
10. Don't get knocked up.
11. It's not what you've done, it's what you can do better.
12. Professional Cat Snuggler is not a job.
13. The coach stays on the sidelines.  If things aren't getting done right, he can't just throw on a helmet and put himself in the game. Neither can you.
14. Just be on time.
812. Don't look down your cohosts' blouse on national television.

So, I've got a lot of work to do.  Work that isn't going to pay off immediately.  Work that is going to be double plus hard because it is working on myself.  So, I need to tear down some old ideas and rebuild faster, better, and stronger.

And, if all else fails, at least I can rest assured of the fact that I do make a damn good cup of coffee.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Marketable Talents

My job has been going through a tremendous amount of change lately due to healthcare reform.  In light of this, I've had to do quite a bit of soul-searching and have really needed to focus on what my marketable talents are.  So, I wrote to a sales consultant I know and respect to ask him what to do.  Clearly I must have made some kind of an impact because we're getting together for coffee on Wednesday.  So, with personal information edited, here is the letter I sent:

Subject: You've had 5 minutes of my time, now I want 5 minutes of yours.

Hey ### –

I know you’re the busiest guy in the world and you meet way more people than you could even hope to remember 30 years ago but I am vain enough to believe that if you met me again it might at least spark some recognition.  We’ve met at a couple of @$^**$#@@@^& seminars I’m a 29 year old female (I don’t know if I should refer to myself as a girl or a woman or what anymore) that likes to blurt out things like “blow shit up”.  We did have a chat after the last time and I told you the story about my friend’s nephew that took 12 hours beating down every member of his household (he worked the entire chain of command at least twice) until he finally got his way and they let him hook his Nintendo Wii up to the internet.  I still consider it to be the best lesson in “never accept a No from someone that couldn’t give you a Yes in the first place” and “never underestimate the power of persistence” I’ve ever seen.

Anyway, I wasted that time trying to remind you of who I was in the hope that it might convince you to keep reading.  The point, if I have one, is that I am finding myself in a unique (and by unique I mean slightly desperate) situation – (&%^@%^%*&^(*())@.  Being that I like things like food and hot water that puts me in a bit of a predicament.  So, for the first time ever, I think I need to job hunt. 

I’m rambling on like this to you because I’m hoping you have idea of how I should market myself.  I’m brilliant and talented and easily bored so I need something that is interesting and challenging that won’t end up with me having to move back in with my parents.  I just have no idea where to start, what to do, or what to look for.  I am afraid that if I just start sending out resumes to a bunch of companies I’m going to end up landing in a cubicle somewhere earning 30K a year and I know that I can do bigger and better things than that.  I’m sure I probably sound like a jackass but hey, there is a time for humility and it’s not when you’re in the middle of trying to sell yourself.

Jobs have never been an issue for me – I’ve always been hired just based on reputation and word of mouth.  So, this does give me an opportunity to auction myself off to the highest bidder like some kind of show pony based on my sales prowess and my Rainman-like Medicare knowledge.  I’ve always said there are 3 things I do GREAT and only 2 of them make money – singing and selling health insurance.  But, I figure I shouldn’t limit myself to that so I started thinking of other marketable talents that I possess.

Things I’m Good At –
Bringing energy and excitement into the thrilling and fascinating world of health insurance (yes, it can be done)
Product Knowledge/Development
Teaching and Motivating Others
Public Speaking
Pitching products/ideas
Travelling (I’m not married, don’t have kids, don’t own a home, and don’t have any high-maintenance pets)
Pretty much anything that involves having to think on my feet and work with people – for some reason, people tend to like me (I still can’t figure out why) and I tend to inspire confidence; so I play well with others.
Fixing wayward office supplies MacGuyver-style with paperclips and duct tape

Things I’m not so good at –
Cubicles/sitting at a desk 8 hours a day with my only view being a computer screen and a wall. I need some kind of variety/stimulation or my brain turns to moosh.  I’m a momentum person.  The more stimulating my environment the more productive I am.
Punctuality unless it’s for a meeting or something important.  Then I’m early.  If not, I tend to run about 2 minutes late.
Accounting.  I can do it it’s just not something I’m naturally good with.  Sometimes I get angry at numbers.

All I have is a $3000 car and a $30 cat (estimated retail value).  I’m not married, don’t have kids, and don’t have any high-maintenance pets.  So I am willing to move if necessary.

So that is my predicament.  Now, I don’t expect you to think for free – but as $$$ is a bit of an issue for me at the moment I’ve had to be a bit more creative in how to compensate you for your time.  Compensation is negotiable and including but not limited to:

Wash up to 3 of your cars
Clean up to 3 of your bathrooms
Help you dispose of up to 3 bodies

So if you have ANY idea of what I should do, please, either drop me a line, send me a text, or give me a call.  My cell number is ###-###-####

If you made it this far, your time and attention to my plight is GREATLY appreciated.