How Jim Estill’s business went Zero to $2 Billion

Jim EstillAuthor (Time Leadership) and Blogger(CEO Blog-Time Leadership), and CEO and President of Danby, The Leader in Refrigeration and Specialty Appliances based out of my home town of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, has been in the local news a lot lately for his generous funding (personal donation of over one million dollars) and efforts to help over 50 Syrian refugee families settle in Guelph.

But what some may not realize is that Jim started a computer business EMJ Data Systems and later Synnex which he took from 0 – 2 billion dollars.

I have had the pleasure to meeting, connectng and being mentored by Jim on several occasions (as well as following his career from Guelph to New York and back to Guelph).

He shares several of his secrets and insights in this efficient and effective (just like Jim) Ted Talk.

If you own a business, run a business or even work in a business, and want to learn at the feet of one of the masters, it will be well worth the time investment.

How Sales is JUST Like Dating!

Sales is like dating. It’s a chase. It’s an intricate dance. Sales, like dating, takes finesse and an instinct to know when your customer is into you or not.

couple-relationship

The first sales call is like a first date. There is excitement and fear of failure or screwing up. Extra preparation takes place. A little more time is spent on the presentation. Pre-sales meetings are held. Research is done. You put on your best power suite, shine your shoes, wear your favorite tie and get dialed in. You show up early. You put on your best performance. Sometimes, like flowers on a first date, you bring company swag. The first call in sales is just like a first date, you want it to go perfect.

When the call is over, just like a first date, you call someone, your boss, or a co-worker and tell them how it went. You’re either on cloud nine and excited or you’re bummed out second guessing everything you said and what you didn’t do. After the first call, like a first date, you know whether or not you’re going to get a second date.

If you don’t get a second date, your devastated. Your ego takes a whacking. You beat yourself up. And many times you desperately try to get a second date, telling your prospect over and over how it will be different this time and how your product really can help them out. Only if they’ll give you a second chance. Like dating, it ain’t going to happen.

If you do get a second date, and it goes well, you’re now officially dating. The dance is under way. Just like dating, each encounter brings the relationship closer, more information is shared, the tone becomes less formal, and the excitement level of an impending deal grows. Just like dating, it’s palpable. You can feel it. They like you and your solution. They want more. They’re calling you and asking you out. Its bliss. When this happens you get closer, trust is built, comfort levels grow and usually the sale is made.

Just like dating however, things can change. You have a great first date, and even a good second date, things seem to be going well, when all of a sudden they stop calling. They don’t return your calls. They keep telling you they are interested and that they like you, but you can never seem to get another date. They tell you that everything is fine. They say, it’s just they’ve been busy. But, they just don’t seem that into you and the problem is they’re not.

Just like dating, your prospects or your customers may lose interest and not want your product anymore. They aren’t going to buy what your selling. They may have been just shopping you around to make your competitor jealous. The person you’re dealing with may not have authority to buy. They’ve changed their minds. They have an alternative solution but don’t want to tell you to go away just yet, because they’re insecure. Like dating the reasons are endless. Just like dating you have to see the signs and walk away. You’ve got to stop calling. You’ve got stop begging for one more date. You’ve got to stop acting like a desperate freak stalking your prospect like they are the only one you have. You have to know when to walk away.

Just like dating YOU may not like the first date. Unfortunately this is rare. Sales people are notorious for wearing beer goggles. Rarely does a sales person not like a first date. But if they were a bit more selective with their dates they might be a bit more successful. Too many times sales people chase dates that just aren’t going anywhere. They should have seen it wasn’t a good fit right away and saved time for good dates. If it weren’t for those dang beer goggles.

Selling is just like dating. You’re going to get rejected. They’re not going to like you. You’ll be strung along. You won’t like some of your dates. You will keep going out with some of your dates knowing it’s not a good fit. But, like dating. you will find some great prospects that like you and want to work with you and they will grow into fantastic relationships.

Just like dating you need to know where you stand. It’s not worth it to waste your time with a date that’s just not that into you!

This post written by Jim Keenan, Author of the book, Not Taught

Not Taught

and CEO/President and Chief Antagonizer of A Sales Guy Inc.

How to get employees to care about your company

This excellent post was written by Karin Hurt, CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders

happy-employee

Great commercials, strong PR, a brilliant social media strategy all warrant effort when building your company’s reputation. But there’s no better PR than an army of loyal employees living and breathing your brand. You know the type–folks with enthusiasm bursting from their veins–talking up your products and services with their friends at every bar, baptism and bat mitzvah they attend.

“No, I’m telling you this works, I’ve seen it from the inside! This product has changed my life! Let me show you.”

Or  “I’m so sorry you had that experience, it’s not usually like that.”

Yes. Define your image. Yes, yes, advertise it. But don’t overlook the power of your employees to tell your story.

7 Way To Turn Your Employees into Advocates

Your best employees want to be part of the inner circle. If you want them to act like owners, treat them that way. Here’s how.

1. Acknowledge Reality

Don’t blow smoke. They know the truth better than anyone and how it’s been received. Don’t sugarcoat the issues. Share your concerns and get them involved to fix them.

2. Listen to What They Hear

Don’t discount their feedback as “noise” really listen to what they’re hearing from customers. Nothing is more disconcerting that watching employees share relentless feedback in focus groups and having execs finally pay attention when the consultant comes in and says the same thing.

3. Give Them Context

Share the bigger picture and dynamics of the parameters you’re up against. Creativity comes best when the constraints are clear.

4. Treat Them with Deep Respect

“PR or HR or Staff or the VP knows best” never really plays well at the front line. Respect their perspective, and they’ll respect yours.

To read the final 3 ways to turn your employees into advocates click here.

And I will add an eighth way:

8. Show them how they personally win

Employees make decisions based on how they win in any given situation. By showing them how the companies success can help them achieve their own personal goals, you make it an easy decision to care about the companies success. When the company wins, they win.

You Inc.

One key to becoming a success in sales is to approach your career as if you were running a business… You Incorporated.

Just think you are the CEO of your company (you get to make the overall, big picture decisions.)

You are also the VP of Sales and Marketing (You have to market and sell yourself )

You are the VP of Finance (Responsible for your finances)

And you are also the VP of Human Resources. (Responsible for your own Training)

And you can decide what kind of Education and training you are going to need.

You are in control!!!

Oh and by the way, you are also the VP of Operations, which means you have to do the work as well.

Good Luck!!!

Because

Motivational Quote: Vision + Action

“Vision without action is merely a dream.

Action without vision just passes the time.

Vision with action can change the world.” 

 -Joel Arthur Barker,  Futurist & Author “Paradigms”  http://www.joelbarker.com/

The Key to Reducing Employee Turnover

Employee turnover is crippling many organizations.

Here are some thoughts on this subject from Leigh Branham, Author of the book titled: Keeping the People who Keep you in Business. http://www.keepingthepeople.com/ (excellent book)

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Which is more expensive, the cost of doing the things necessary to retain your most valuable people, or the cost of losing and replacing those people?

The companies that achieve dramatic reductions in turnover are often the ones at which the top executive or owner makes the commitment to do something about it.

When the CEO is committed, the organization usually falls in line.

If your CEO is not committed enough to retaining the right people as a long-term business strategy, it may be only because he or she has not yet realized the cost implications and long-term business consequences of continuing turnover. If you run the numbers, most CEO’s and CFO’s, of course will pay attention to them.

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In my experience, I have found this to be true, because as I often say,

“The number one sport in business is watching the boss.”

And when the boss see something as important, the employees take it a lot more seriously.