Russ finds out how high his heart rate runs


Click Here to Buy

Sales Autopsy
by Dan Seidman



I'm cold calling a "hot" lead on a humid summer day with an associate in rural Iowa.

Driving up to the farm house, the crunch of dirt and gravel is the only sound we hear. The land looks desolate and lifeless - like a scene from one of those movies where the world ends and all that's left are a couple of humans (us) and a bunch of mutants.

We look at each other and I tell my partner that I'll see if anyone is home. If you're into scary sci-fi movies, this is the part in the plot where you realize, "Okay, this is the guy who's gonna die."

I gather up my briefcase, straighten my tie and start the 200 foot trek to the front door.

Halfway to the porch a movement catches my eye. It's behind a grain bin, kitty corner to the house. Maybe someone is home. I'm about to discover it's not someone, but something. Like a scene straight out of that "B" rated horror movie, a deranged dog, the size of a small horse, comes skidding out from behind the bin at full bore - headed straight for me.

The sight of that mutant beast is permanently burned into my brain; mangy hair, huge fangs, moving at mach 3 toward me, his next victim. In less than an instant, I move from frozen to frantic and start my life-saving sprint for the car. My partner, overcome in a complete fit of laughter at my certain demise, gains enough control over himself to roll down the passenger window. At the last second I literally dive into the window with the monster at my heels.

Sweating and safe inside the car, my heart continues to pound as we watch the dog eat my briefcase.

POSTMORTEM: Russ! Great story! Our fleet-footed sales pro learned to call first and qualify the lead, then to set an appointment. Cold-calling can be an exhausting and discouraging activity. Please reconsider whether this investment is a good use of your time. However, if your company requires it, consider this work an investment in your selling future. Great salespeople attain success by combing a foundation of hard, consistent activity with the ability to handle objections. These come quicker through lots of cold-calling, by phone as well as face to face. And Russ' tale also reveals a hiring secret of great sales executives. You now know why companies love to hire athletes.

Jason's office call is gruesome

I was standing in a London morgue and the doctor was doing what doctors do in morgues.

How did I get there? It's my first job selling for an American company in the UK. We supply a variety of voice recording equipment to businesses. So I'm normally pitching hand held devices to lawyers or call logging products for stock brokers. Then my firm introduces a new device that allows one to operate the equipment with a waterproof foot control.

So I'm with a customer in a hospital and mention this new equipment to him. He sits up in his seat and says this is perfect for a colleague. Cool, a referral. He then picks up the phone and arranges a meeting that afternoon. Very cool, a referral with a happy ending, a close.

This is going to be a breeze, so I duck out for a hearty lunch and then head back to meet my new customer. The physician is very interested and asks if I could set up for a demonstration and a trial use. With a spring in my step, I go to my car and grab the equipment. I'm shown to the room where I'm to set up - it's the morgue.

I'm asked to suspend the microphone from a lighting boom over an exam table and to place the foot control below the table.

At this point I'm still expecting a "dry" run. I was not that fortunate.

My prospect walks in wearing surgical greens, closely followed by his assistant and a porter pushing a body on a gurney. I fly through a two minute rundown of how to operate the equipment and he (gulp) asks me to stay while he gets the hang of it. I know I can cope with anything, I'm adaptable, so I tell myself, "No worries, I can handle this."

The sheet is drawn back and he starts his work. No way I'm watching this! I find a point on the wall to fix my eyes and begin to answer questions. As I relax a little he asks me something about how waterproof the foot control was and if it would stand up to hosing down. I turn to answer and catch a full view of the body, with internal organs sitting neatly atop and around an exposed cavity.

The words for the answer never made it out of my mouth, but my lunch did.

I later managed to close the sale, although I can't credit my sales technique. We were the only supplier of this type of equipment.

POSTMORTEM: Jason launching himself and his lunch into his new sales career! He shared how he learned a couple lessons. Prepare - I had foregone the questions about intended use of the equipment. Things were moving too easily so I skipped part of my sales process. Celebrate - but not too early. Treating myself to a good lunch was instrumental to my downfall. Dress for success - but don't wear your best suit in a morgue, the smell never did quite disappear.


"For lack of training, they lacked knowledge. For lack of knowledge, they
lacked confidence. For a lack of confidence, they lacked victory."
-- Julius Caesar, internationally acclaimed dead guy


Contact Dan Seidman, living, award-winning proof that great sales training increases revenue. 1-847-359-7860 or