A Light Bulb Turned On

Robert Terson

On October 22nd I wrote a blog entitled “Are You Competitive?” In it I mentioned a young software salesman from Minnesota; he’s 28, the father of two, and when I first spoke to him he was already in the top 15% of his company’s sales force, but wanted to do better than that, which is why he reached out to me. We wound up having a lengthy conversation. His name is Garrett Kramer.

A few weeks ago Garrett sent me a progress report in the form of a letter, and today I want to share that letter with you. I’m hoping it’ll motivate you to emulate this sensational young man, whom I’ve become quite fond of. Here’s the letter:

Bob,

You may not even remember my name; however I am keenly aware that you remember my story. I read it in your blog on October 22nd and I thought due to that I should give you an update. As you know, I have been relentlessly chasing the expectations that I have as a salesperson for the company I work for. I want to be #1, period. Not real complicated, no Vision Statement, just a simple expectation that, as an athlete and a fierce competitor, comes pretty natural. These expectations spurred me to start following people like you on Twitter, read blogs, books and magazines, and really make an effort to hone my craft faster and better than everyone else.

What I realized was, that I was taking the road everyone usually takes, the road more traveled and the reason so many people decide to get out of sales…because it truly takes some time to get good at; and more often than not, that time is unpleasantly filled with a lot of rejection and failure. What I wanted to do was make it stop, and not continue to do what most other salespeople typically do. Why do I need to make every mistake, say every wrong thing, skip every needed step and continue to lose deals early in my career because I don’t hold my prospects accountable? Then the bulb turned on! I don’t!

That light bulb brings us here, a month after you and I spoke. You had invited me to call you, via a Twitter Direct Message, and I couldn’t believe it.  Seriously, this guy actually wants to help me? It’ll never happen, I thought.  But it did happen and you did help me. I took a lot of notes that day on a 3×5 notecard, wrote down all the books you suggested I read, and went out and applied all those snippets of wisdom to my daily workday for the last 30 days and I wanted to provide you some feedback about the positive results I’ve achieved since we spoke. I won’t go into too much detail because it really won’t take long for me to say what I need to say.

It flat out worked! Did I win every deal? No. However, did I win more and did I have more control of the process, the prospect and the project? 100% yes, absolutely and without a doubt! Most were wins, some were not, but there was clearly a visible and results-creating change in my game. My Director commented on it, my Solutions Consultant said something too, and I had my biggest quarter yet while winning an Eagle Award for it. Was I number one? No I was not. In fact I was number 11 and missed out on a Top-Ten prize by $1800 and a Presidents Club by $25,000. I’ll admit, I wasn’t thrilled in the year’s final total, but how it finished was the key, and I am stoked about the progress I made this past month!

Thanks for the knowledge you instilled in me, Bob, and I look forward to speaking to you again soon and updating you with further progress and a #1 status report.

Most of you know that I’m retired, that this website and the book I created fall under the purview of my retirement career; that I’m here to help you; that that’s far more important to me than making more money. And I want you to know what a thrill it is for me to get a letter like Garrett’s; what a thrill it is to know I’m still contributing, that I’m making a difference for some of you. A number of you have also let me know how much my book is helping, what a fun read it’s been, and that, too, has been gratifying. Write me, call me—I’m here for you.