Thursday, January 15, 2009

Seven Deadly Sins… The Qualifications of a Copier Salesman…


Never mind that he is hundreds of miles north of the Gulf of Mexico, he lives on a boat, sells "big-iron" copiers...and has a blog. Introducing Pirate Mike.

I received a "hit" today from one of my internet-search-spiders-thingies, and read the resulting post while waiting for the Rover to be washed - it was 86 degrees and sunny - as I scrolled along the post I literally laughed out loud.

Upon further research, all good bloggers do this, research that is, the story of Pirate Mike unfolds.

I will not steal his thunder. Instead I recommend you read his post here, then go to his site - all of four posts - I am sure with the eyes of the world upon him, he will blog with the best of them...

I have copied, edited slightly, and pasted his post here on my site.

Enjoy:
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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Seven Deadly Sins… The qualifications of a copier salesman…

I have uncovered or become aware of some odd understandings relative to work over the last couple of months. I am not sure really sure how to articulate them, but what I can do is describe them to you and you can figure them out for yourself.

The idea of 7 deadly sins is not spoken of in the bible directly but was used in early Christian teachings to illuminate the idea that man was prone to sin. Catholic teaching broke sin into 2 classifications, venial and mortal sin. The 7 deadly sins are capital or mortal sins.

Listed in the same order used by both Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th century, and later by Dante Alighieri in his epic poem The Divine Comedy, the seven deadly sins are as follows: luxuria (extravagance, later lust), gula (gluttony), avaritia (greed), acedia (sloth), ira (wrath), invidia (envy), and superbia (pride).1

Every day I walk a simple path.

I talk to people and listen to their problems. After considering the causes and effects of their situation I ask them questions to probe into what they have done to fix their problems and how that effected their situation.

I pay close attention to the things that bother them the most and try to get them to prioritize their problems and find out what they are willing to do to fix or remove the problems. I identify the people involved in the problem and the people that are affected by it. I try to assess how much the problem costs them in both hard and soft costs.

Once I get a picture of who is involved and the process that they go through to solve their problems, I get an idea if this is something that they want to fix now or in the future.

At the end of the day I have to sit with myself and put together a plan of action and present it to the people that are responsible to fix the problem. If they buy into what I have put down they agree and act, if not they disagree we discuss it further. If we cannot come to an agreement we both go our separate ways and they continue with the situation that they have as it was before I came along.

This is the life of a document management equipment and services professional.

We are sometimes referred to as the "copier guy." I am sure that in this day and age we should be called the "copier person," as the gender reference is quite unnecessary. In this game either sex has the same opportunity to participate in the 7 deadly sins that are so profound in this industry.

When I talk about being a corporate pirate most laugh and think I am joking or exaggerating the situation but if you could be a fly on the wall in our building and the many buildings just like ours you would not sleep at night.

Ok, that is probably an exaggeration, but it would shock you and in many cases disgust you. After almost 5 years in this industry many things make me feel ashamed of the people I work with and for.

I have said that your success with a company like mine as a customer is dependent on your connection to it. If your rep is not good, neither will be your experience with the company they work for. Manufacturers and dealers of office equipment and document management services work on a very basal level. And in many cases the parent company or distribution organization is quite evil by nature. Your only hope is to have a buffer "rep" to keep you whole in the experience, or at least minimize the beating (both financial and emotional) you will take from it.

I most of the time try to overlook how others act and the underlying tones that are so prevalent in my business. I try very hard to balance myself and offer solutions to problems and charge people a equitable price somewhere between the extremes that are going to be presented by my counterparts. I also try to the an expert in the areas of topic so that I bring value and am not making money without earning it and putting in the work needed to earn the business for the long term.

I was privy to a conversation which displayed the ugliness that is so frequently seen that makes even the most native business person wary of people in our industry. When dragged into the conversation I was a presented a scenario and asked a question. I answered, "oh that is greedy you can't do that well I mean you can but you will be exposed and the customer will hate you for life."

Everyone looked at me like I was a Martian speaking Swahili.

I for a brief moment remembered why I consider leaving this business almost daily. The sad thing is it is the culture that has been fostered for many generations of salespeople and managers and is not needed at all.

You could almost say the 7 deadly sins are the 7 needed qualities of a "copier salesperson."

Companies interview perspective employees and make sure that they have ample quantities of each of the 7 deadly sins and forgo any real qualifications.

My first boss said, "Michael even a monkey can do this job." He further illustrated, "I could tape a lease to the back of a blind dog, kick him out of the building and eventually he would come back with it signed." He would later prove himself correct and become wildly successful as a salesman, sales manager and then a branch manager for a fortune 1000 company.

So let's for fun look into the world of a copier salesperson just briefly and examine the qualifications first hand shall we.

Qualification of a good copier salesperson 1

Latin: luxuria (extravagance, later lust)

In copier sales an effective sales manager will show a young salesperson how to drive their desires for things which of themselves are not evil but to excess are lustful. Whether it is sex, money, power, control if you are still breathing surely you don't have enough of any of them.

A good copier salesperson will never be satisfied, and will always be disappointed with how much they sell, how much they make (see greed), how quickly they get promoted, how long their vacation is. A great copier salesperson will stop at nothing to further their lust of all things corporate.

Qualification of a good copier salesperson 2

Latin: gula (gluttony)

In copier sales the best sales representatives will be easily identified by how well they gorge themselves on all things corporate. Copier salespeople are not temperate or aware that they should have any natural limits to anything the desire (see above).

A good manager will gather his or her sales people together on a regular basis and teach basic gluttony. This is really quite a simple thing to learn, you just take your newbie's out and feed them a $200 dinner, drink 2 or 3 bottles of very expensive liquor/wine, and have grand discussions on how they too can have more than they can legitimately use for themselves. A good sales manager will take the new people out shopping and show them how to buy things they don't need or will ever use.

The virtue of overkill will be a daily practice until they even employ it in their own lives.

Qualification of a good copier salesperson 3

Latin: avaritia (greed)

Money is just the beginning of greed. A good sales manager will make sure to teach the principle if the customer is spending $10 and is unhappy they will gladly spend $20 to be happy, even when the solution costs $2 and can be sold at a profit for $4. Why would you save the customer $6 when you can increase their budget based on the pain they have and make an extra $16, $8 of which you will get to keep.

Managers are quick to instruct their salespeople to get what is theirs and a bit more. It is so bad that over time it becomes so common that the goal is to see how much you can charge someone without them going bankrupt before they make their first payment and lock themselves into the deal or before they realize how bad they got screwed.

Greed goes way beyond the customer but reaches into the team that they are on and the associates that they work with. Greed says that you must sell everything in your neighbors' pond before reaching into your own. A good manager will promote greed as it facilitates the need to sell more and makes everyone more competitive as they must to survive.

Qualification of a good copier salesperson 4

Latin: acedia (sloth)

This is a principle that is taught by the manager that has to be managed all the time. It is the manager's job to manage focus of their salespeople and ensure that their needs are met first. Sloth is taught as a privilege. If you over achieve and sell more than anyone needs, and ensure the managers needs are cared for you can do absolutely nothing.

They are taught to sleep in, stare at their computers, take time off. It is the reward for proper lusting, greediness, gluttony as well as the other 3. When you have overloaded on the other 6 deadly sins you must Sloth. Slothing becomes a way of life. You wake up driven by the lust of being over full (gluttony) and greed and the reward for over achieving is Slothfullness.

Qualification of a good copier salesperson 5

Latin: invidia (envy)

A good and experienced manager will stack rank their salespeople and grade them against all of the other salespeople across the organization regardless of how much of an apple vs orange comparison it really is.

A good copier salesperson cannot stand to see another have success and becomes driven by the lust of success to overachieve and be as greedy as possible so that they can overcome and surpass all of their comrades.

A quickly rising manager will ensure that every one of their sales reps cannot stand to even hear of someone else's success or participate in an activity with someone they think could possibly out do them.

Envy resents anything that is good that happens or is good about anyone that they see. Envy is very closely related to Pride, and it drives the lust of self worth which is the fuel that makes pride gluttonous.

Qualification of a good copier salesperson 6

Latin: superbia (pride)

A sales manager cannot graduate until they are good at making each sales person believe that they are the best and deserve everything and more. Days of sloth are awarded to those that can be the fullest of themselves.

Copier sales people gorge themselves with the lusts of the flesh and material goods until they cannot move or afford to move then are pushed out the door with belief that they are the only person alive and that they deserve more. They are rewarded for becoming a prima donna. A good manager will know how to control their prima donna's and let them all think they are 1. A practical organization will parade their top performers around and show them that they are invaluable and that they can have anything they desire fueling their lusts.

Then the manager just begins over and finds new untapped desires and drives them to gluttony with greed, and keeps them competing with envy in the fearlessness of their pride. When they fall over from exhaustion they give them days to recuperate by awarding them time to Sloth. If they are having a bad month they will use their pride to control them with the envy and wrath of their fellow associates.

Qualification of a good copier salesperson 7

Latin: ira (wrath)

Wrath is a byproduct of the final two deadly sins Envy and Pride. It is quite ugly and not as common but is a product of greed and envy.

When someone else has success a good copier sales person becomes instantly envious and because they are excessively greedy they fuel this emotion with wrath, which satisfies their pride in that they should be the only one that can be so successful or rich or whatever the deadly sin promotion is for the month. It is most obvious when the greed of one sales person takes an account from another to fuel their lust of one of their desires. Since they cannot satisfy this gluttony with their own accounts they must do it with someone else's. It is much more pleasurable to satisfy themselves with someone else's accounts.

This lust and greed creates the wrath of the sales person that is feeling envious of the success of the greedy and gluttonous sales rep. A good manager deals with wrath in the most obvious way, with a good dose of pride. "You are not going to let so and so do that to you are you?" "You know you are twice the sales person they are!" Then an experienced sales manager will look for a lust that can fuel the envy and promote the rep that has wrath to go out and be greedy enough to show up the original rep. Wrath is a great way to push someone to compete with the others when the other 5 are having little effect. Sloth is reserved for those that have been over gluttonous for some time and had a lot of success being lustful and greedy.

The seven deadly sins require a lot of effort to perfect so typically a good manager will only focus and practice one at a time till they manage a group of major account executives or specialists. In which case the sales people are quite advanced and can practice multiple sins at a time.

This requires a very greedy and prideful manager that can truly harness the energy of their people and use it to fuel their own desires (lust) and gluttony. And of course a good manager works their sales people to death chasing after the dream while they practice the greatest of all sins; Sloth…

In the end a good copier salesman or saleswomen (which there are many) are taught that they deserve whatever they can take from someone else and that it is ok at any cost. They are taught to pull out the stops and go for broke. They are taught how to gamble as professionals and to know when to risk it all for the payoff of the ultimate permanent full time sloth which is held as a carrot to a donkey.

I hope you have enjoyed this enlightenment…

PS – There are organizations that promote the 7 virtues and moderate their sales people keeping them "connected" and customer centric. But they are far and few between, and almost nonexistent in the copier business.

This is why I live a simple life on a 34 foot boat, forsaking the trappings of Dallas and all that is offers. Not that I haven't had my moments being caught up in the limelight. I was after all a 2 time president's club winner and a 1 time circle of excellence winner for that unnamed fortune 1000 company that way talked about above. I am the prodigy of that sales manager that eventually became a branch general manager ;)

Life is fast, life is hard, life never lasts long enough to learn how simple it really is. We complicate it so that we can feel superior to everything else that God has created, when really we were created from the very dust that everything else walks on - Pirate Mike

I am sure that this is considered blasphemous to those that are in my industry as we all want to believe that we are saints. (It is part of our pride) – Pirate Mike

1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_deadly_sins
Posted by Pirate Mike at 1:41 AM

Mike's Blog



See also:

The Death of the Copier Sales Person - The Return

Damn The Torpedoes, Fire Your Customers!

Are Customers Smarter Now?

The New SalesPerson - Death of the "Close"

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1 comment:

  1. Oh man, thats some deep deep sutff, I'm thinking he worked with some real winners.

    ReplyDelete