On Sales, On Business, On Family

How much of our life are we counting down? Or are we counting upward? It’s a puzzle. Life is a mystery. The scholar who wrote "The Book of Tea" is so dignified, smoking his cigarette, both contemplating and relaxing, but also alert. It must have been the effects of his brew. Tea really does both soothe, and relax as well as stimulate and wake. It is so strange that the tea plant can create a connection between relaxation and alertness, two states that seem to be opposites.

Part of the ironic aspect of me selling tea is that I have always had either a lot of energy, or I can be described as intense. Apparently this is the opposite of what people think of when it comes to a tea person. I love tea. I am a tea person through and through. And being a little less intense is something that I am working on.

On Sales

As stated in Seth Godin’s “The Practice”, sales isn’t ringing someone up. Ringing someone up is taking an order. Though this is a tremendous opportunity to up-sell or accessory sell.

Sales is moving from: “I’ve never heard of you.” to “No.” to “Yes.”

Sales is a craft that can be practiced the way a locksmith goes about finding the right master key. Unattached. Beating the streets. Doing the research, doing the legwork, following up. The work of sales is brutal. The upside of sales is pretty difficult to ignore. I can still feel the high of a sale call going extremely well. So the highs and the lows are intense. But the kind of plan based approach and having something very helpful to offer smooths out the process. Sales isn’t for everyone.

On Business

Relationship, communication, relationships, communication. Rinse, repeat. Try again. It is really pretty simple and fun. It does take time, and if you already know what you need to know, you can really speed things along. I started with very little knowledge, but I had a willingness to put myself in the environment which ultimately forced me to learn. I was also a slow student, reluctant to dawn the cloak of responsibility. It’s a weird level of maturity that I have grown into, and that has helped me a great deal. It is only really life events that thrust me into a different mode. Having a family is the greatest thing you can do to improve your business. I didn’t have a family when I started. At the time of writing this I didn’t have a family for the first nine years of operating the business and I did for ten years. It was having kids that kicked it into high gear. And it’s not high gear in that I am doing so much more because I am so much more efficient. It’s more that I know what I need to do and I do that. Prioritizing is clearer. At the end of the day, what I want most is to share some special moments with my family.

There are certain perspectives that can act as a guide ie. the Hell yes or no. I first heard of this from Derek Sivers in "Anything You Want". If we live our life according to the principles of hell yes or no… everything is better. Obviously we still have to do a lot of things that we don’t necessarily always want to do. But then there are the things that we sign ourselves up for.

All of the roles that we play and relationships we nourish all add up to something much greater than the individual parts. Being a business owner makes me want to be a better father and being a father makes me want to be a better person.