One of the most important lessons that one can learn in life is to never give up and never surrender. I recall the years from 2000 through 2003.  I was in prison and was seeing the Parole Board every 6 – 12 months.  When I went to see them, they would deny me parole.  It was reminiscent of that movie The Shawshank Redemption where Red would go in front of the Parole Board every year, and they would deny his parole.  It was very frustrating.

Finally, toward the end of my sentence, with only a year left in prison, I was credited with saving a prison guard’s life.  It is a long story and you should read about it in my book, The Upside of Fear, but the reality of my situation was that I decided not to see the Parole Board anymore, which meant I was going to do my last year without having to go through the process of begging for my release.  However, after saving a cop’s life, my Case Manager came to me and told me that I needed to see the Parole Board.  He said, “You just saved a cop’s life!  There is no way that they’re not going to let you out!”  I agreed and then went to see the Parole Board.

I went in and told them my story.  Everything looked perfect. Later that afternoon I went to see my Case Manager and guess what… I was DENIED.  Even after all that effort, I was still denied Parole.  But here is the thing, I stayed focused on my Process.  By that point, I was so committed to building a life of Honor, Character and Integrity that I was not going to allow one disappointment and one setback undo all my hard work.  Even though I was denied Parole, one year later I got out anyway.  I believe because I stayed true to myself, because I stayed true to the process and true to my principles, within a few short years I had built an INC. 5000 Company and wrote a New York Times bestselling book.

Stay true to the process and eventually you will get the results you deserve.

Effective Sales is about High Service, never about High Pressure!

Let me share with you an example of one of the most effective LOW-KEY sales presentations I’ve ever seen in my life.  For number of years, I lived in a small town of Woodland Park, Colorado, just west of Colorado Springs.  It took about half an hour each day to drive out of the mountains and into town.  Every day I’d drive by this little restaurant called the Hungry Bear and each morning, I’d see the same white Ford pick-up truck with black lettering that simply said “Joe the Concrete Guy” along with a phone number.  I use to get a chuckle as I passed his truck and then one day, after living there for about 2 years, I was out in my driveway and noticed that I needed some steps poured at the end of my driveway.  Naturally, I think of Joe the Concrete Guy! I stopped the next morning to get the phone number off the truck, call the guy up and a couple of days later, Joe comes out to my house.

When Joe pulled into the driveway he was so down to earth, the basic “cool mountain guy”.  He had long bushy hair, a big beard, T-shirt, shorts and flip flops on.  There was nothing pretentious about him, nothing pushy, slick or super sophisticated. Joe got out of his truck and came down to the edge of the driveway.  I explained to him where I wanted the steps poured.

Every now and then, I looked at Joe and noticed that he was looking at my motorcycle trailer parked on the edge of the driveway on the dirt and the rocks.  I finally asked him if there was something interesting about the trailer.  He said to me “Why is your motorcycle trailer parked in the dirt and rocks?”  I looked at him and said, “As you can plainly see, the driveway isn’t wide enough for the trailer.”  Joe looked at me and said, “You know, while I’m here pouring your steps, I could widen your driveway.”  Instantaneously, my budget goes from 1000 bucks to 6000 bucks!  Was Joe high pressure selling like some kind of snake oil salesman?  Of course not.  Joe was all about High Service.

We wrote the paperwork up and at the end, I mentioned that he used a wonderful technique to get the average ticket up.  “What do you mean Technique?  It’s just common sense”, he said.  I replied, “I know that it’s just common sense, but it was a brilliant use of the technique.”  Joe looked at me and said, “Mr. Long, what does it say on the side of my truck?”  I looked over at the iconic truck and I replied, “Joe the Concrete Guy”.  He said, “That’s right. It doesn’t say ‘Joe the concrete, window, siding, roofing guy’.  It says ‘Joe the Concrete Guy’. That’s all I do. That’s all I’ve ever done in my life.  For forty years, I’ve been pouring concrete in these mountains. I learned a long time ago that the best way to serve my customers is that when I walk on a piece of property, I look for every problem that concrete can solve.”  You see, that’s the professional approach to sales.  You’ve got to look for every problem that your product or service can solve.  That’s how you sell like a professional and that my friend is not High Pressure, that’s about High Service!