Monday, December 22, 2008

A Gift of the Season

Last week I was single-handledly trying to prevent a global recession by injecting some hard-earned capital into local merchants' pockets.

Bouncing off various shoppers, strollers and seniors in a local mall, I sought the perfect holiday gift.

An amazing array of colourful shawls, scarves and hats caught my eye. As I was fondling the merchandise (are we still allowed to say that?) the vendor let me know she had more varieties on the other side of her booth (Tierra Sol Crafts).

"These are beautiful, are they are from South America?" I enquired.

"Yes, most are from Bolivia and Peru."
"Is that home originally?" ( I'm a curious guy!)

"No, I'm from Equador."

"Equador! I've always wanted to go there! It's supposed to be a beautiful country.

"Yes" she replied "It has so many different ecosystems, from the mountains to the jungles to the Galapagos Islands."
"I used to teach scuba diving, I've always wanted to go there! So how did you end up in Canada? Oh, I'm sorry, my name is Dave."

She smiled, "I'm Patricia. My husband and I emigrated here a number of years ago, first to Toronto and then to Vancouver. I must admit, I didn't like Toronto when we moved here, too cold and the impersonal...Vancouver was much nicer."
"But you're back here now?" I countered
"Yes, and I must admit, I really like Toronto now. I suppose it is because I have friends who come from so many places that it's really hard to be racist when you live in a city like this. Back in Equador, there was a lot of racism. But it is hard to be racist when you know so many people who are white, black, brown and all different shades. So...I guess you could say I don't see colours any more."
What a beautiful irony. Surrounded by a shades and hues...Patricia finds happiness by not seeing colours.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A watch success Story

Hey Dave,

Thanks for showing me the blog about Diana. Some times I wish I had an agent helping me [as well as a scuba instructor in Tobermory, Mike has an art gallery] , but for now it is my good looks and charm that gets me around. If that counts for anyhthing.

I wanted to tell you that I got the new truck and was in Barrie about ten days ago. Friday morning I donated my hair to Kids with cancer. The woman who owns the Hair Prosthetics shop is also collector of my artwork and my good friend's mother.

She was having an open house at her house that evening. I put on my best sweater and want to the occassion to show off my new hairdo. Her son, Jerritt wanted me to meet this one gentleman who was a very wealthy contractor and had high end clients. But just as Jerritt was going to leave we were unable to make the introduction.

BTW I was a litte uneasy about being sold on the spot as an artist ...which may have been just talking about me and what I do.

However as Jerritt was leaving he ended up shaking hands with the contractor. I noticed he was wearing a Rolex and complimented him on it as I have the same one, (mine is a very good fake!).

We talked about watches, which led to the subject of scuba diving. Apparently he had taken a 65 foot yacht to Tobermory, stayed for a week and was unhappy with the service of some local boat captains. I let him know how our boat captains were helpful and gave interesting descriptions of local dive sites and aquatic life. Then his wife appeared and mentioned how bored she was in Barrie; that there was nothing to see, I mentioned my Art Gallery and she was overwhelmed that she had neve heard of it and would love to go there next year.

Then we talked about their art collection as well as Italy (she is Italian and I have spent time there painting.)

Suffice to say I had an enjoyable evening and made a good aquaintence without trying to sell myself directly, and it could even payoff next year. Have a great day and stay super, Dave.

Cheers. Mike

Monday, December 15, 2008

Agent? What agent?

I admire people who take control of their own life.

Two business associates and I were intent on enjoying a cool beer and a light lunch at a Toronto pub. The waitress swung by our table with a smile on her face and asked how we were doing.

I admire serving staff; their incentive system means that their compensation is a directly result of their behaviour. If you’re surly, tardy or unknowledgeable (what stops us from being good guys or amazing women) …you make less money.

I try to practice what I preach (watch your weekend challenges) and I looked for something to make a connection (compliment their taste and not their genetics). Diana was wearing a beautiful Celtic cross as a pendent.

First gear – I would be self-involved and wouldn’t say anything
Second gear – I would pay her a compliment and want something in return
Third gear – I would pay her a compliment. If I got the wave (better service) I would be appreciative but that’s not why I complimented her.

The conversation quickly turned to what she did when she was not serving drinks. (watch your weekend challenges) Diana informed us she was a singer and songwriter and had just returned from a multi-city tour in Alaska. By the way, this was all happening while she was serving a number of tables!

“Do you use an agent?” I enquired.

“Why?” she responded, “I book all my own business.”

Impressive! Too many people (especially artists) put their destiny and business development in the hands of others.

As the meal progressed, Diana and I had made an arrangement to swap her CD (All I Want) for my new DVD (Knocking down Silos).

I listened to her CD on the way home. Diana has a beautiful voice, an energetic personality and a “can-do” attitude. I asked her about her biggest challenge (watch your weekend challenges) If you need a singer at your next corporate function or want to order a CD for a holiday gift, check out her website.

People tell us we need to “network” for opportunities and friends. In reality, we are surrounded by amazing people. You just need to look up and they are all around you. Like Diana.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

3rd gear gets a RHB his dream job

Michael Yang is one of those people who makes you look good and so is the type of guy you like to help.
Mike and Chelsea Smyth helped organize a Knocking down Silos event at the University of Toronto/Mississauga in the Fall of 2006 (both were completing their Masters of Biotechnology degree.)About 250 people from the business and academic community showed up and we raised a significant amount of money for a local charity.

Mike found work at GlaxoSmithKline shortly thereafter. Then he and did something smart.
He kept in touch.
I'd get an email from him every once in awhile saying hello, or connecting me with an opportunity, or he'd leave note on my Facebook wall.

A few weeks ago, I got a call from Mike asking for advice about an upcoming sales position at GSK. Mike has no sales background and wanted to ask me a few questions while preparing for the interview.

I'll let his email finish the story:
Dear Dave,
I hope you are doing well.
Three weeks ago I was suprised to find out that I landed an interview for a pharmaceutical sales position. As you know, I am currently a Master of Biotechnology student with zero sales experience and have only been in the pharmaceutical industry for less than 1 year. From the outset, I thought I wouldn't stand a chance in getting this job, even my current manager did not believe I will land the job.
After talking to you three weeks ago, you taught me that "you can explain and predict human behaviour if you understand their incentive system" and how important it is for a pharma sales rep to be in the "3rd gear" mode.Taking your valuable advice, I went out and spoke to many doctors in order to understand what their incentive scheme is in Canada.
I learned that most doctors are paid by the number of patients they see per day. Have you ever wondered why your family doctor is always trying to get you out of their office as fast as possible? Well, thats because the less time they spend on you, the more patients they can see and therefore make more money. This means, docotors will spend very little time talking to pharmaceutical sales reps! Because they don't make money talking to sales reps.
By understanding their incentive scheme I was empowered to come up with strategies to overcome this obstacle and I was able to leverage this information during my interview. Even though I had zero experience in sales, I still ended up landing this dream job!
My current manager was shocked that I got the job because she didn't think that a person still in school, just completing his Masters, with less than 1 year of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, and have absolutely zero sales experience can land a pharma sales job especially in GSK. She was telling me that these jobs are usually filled with people who at least some business-to-business selling experience, and a couple of years in the pharma/medical device industry, all of which I lacked.
Thank you very much for all your advice Dave, you've helped me to see how this world works from a different perspective and helped me move up one step in my career!
Michael Yang
Congratulations Mike, I'll take 20% of the credit and your enthusiasm, personality and hard-work gets you 80%!