Am I at the Right House?

This weeks guest post was written at my expense by fellow Healthcare Sales Professional and good friend, Mark Schwab.

You’re stuck in a third world jail and the jailer gives you one phone call – who would you call? For me, I don’t tick through a list of my friends because there’s simply one person at the top, John Crowley. Crowley would drop everything, pop some Cipro and get his ginger ass to whatever hell hole I’ve gotten stuck in.

John and I met about 9 years ago through our wives and kids. Our friendship has gone through births, deaths, sickness, joy, and more job changes than is reasonable. Several threads weave their way through our friendship: respect, honesty, trash-talking, practical jokes, and sales. We have a passion for sales and the sales process, so naturally we take moments from our lives and use them as analogies for sales.

John and I consistently screw with each other. We’ve created fake ads on Craigslist for a “free refrigerator” so the other person is bombarded with calls from strangers; changed license plates from a Yankees plate to a Red Sox plate; and put incredibly embarrassing bumper stickers on each other’s cars.

Three years ago, John decided he would chain an old toilet filled with flowers to my mailbox. I can just imagine it now. John giggling as he pulled the flower filled toilet out of the back of his truck; quietly setting it down in front of the mailbox; snaking chain around and locking it. Every little sound probably made him jerk his head up because he was so excited and didn’t want to get caught. He was sending pics to our friend Ray, both laughing hysterically.

Just one problem- he chained it to my neighbor’s mailbox.

So why am I writing about this now? Three years later? I’ve included the text thread:

For three years, one of the smartest guys I know thought he had gotten away with a pretty damn good practical joke. If this isn’t an analogy for what we do wrong in sales- I don’t know what is. I can’t count the times I’ve come up with a great plan, executed flawlessly, and waited for results that never come through. I’ve used sales language that didn’t work; I’ve invested time and money in the wrong customer; but when it comes down to it, I neglected details that had previously been successful.

John has been to my house hundreds of times. He had a plan, he executed the plan, and three years later, he realized he failed. In healthcare sales, we often forget who the decision makers are (it’s rarely the physician) and who we need to be selling. We don’t ask enough questions as simple as “am I at the right house?” We stick to our plans and wonder why they don’t work.

Today I realized two things. First, that I got to call my friend and tell him he was an idiot. But more importantly, all of the plans I’m making for my next professional role need to be analyzed, adjusted and/or scrapped. I need to ask more questions, thoroughly understand each process, research, and most importantly, make sure I’m at the right house.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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