Succession Planning 101: Harvey is Retired.
My Genie (Harvey’s Son) is the Boss!
This is not a White Paper! White Papers pretend to be unbiased.
by Ted Steinberg, Co-Founder.
With the Rabbit on Ice, What’s Happening?
- I have a Genie. (Q: What’s he good for?)
- I have a Fantasy System. (A: Other than a great way to avoid reality, who knows!)
- The Genie granted me three wishes:
- I can sell anyone I want,
- I can sell anything I want,
- I could sell any way I want.
*So what? “Once you know what’s so, so what?” (Chinese Proverb.)
*I decide to stop trying to make sense of it and enjoy the ride.
Enjoying The Ride, I Have a Pastime for My Fantasy World
Since my Genie agreed to be my sounding board, too, I decided to turn my three wishes into a game. If the game became too complicated, I could turn to my Genie for help.
The game goes like this – you can play it, too, since it is practically guaranteed you will be able to sell anyone, anything, any way you want to – then:
- Who would you want to sell?
- What would you offer them?
- How would you go about it? (They’re going to buy, no matter what, so blow it up; take a deep breath and turn the balloon into a blimp, make your pastime pay off. It doesn’t cost any more to make it huge. The ticket to ride is limited by your imagination.
Here’s how I used my wishes:
1st Wish. I wanted to sell Eisenhower on hiring me as an advisor. He was wasting too much time playing accusational ping- pong with Kruschev.
2nd Wish. I wanted to sell something to the duPonts. Also, the Rockefellers. Old money and big money, why not? What would I sell them.? Not sure, I’ll figure that out later.
[Funny thing, 15 years later, I sold Cattle Breeding herds to Henry B. duPont III, and Mrs. David Rockefeller (Margaret = Peggy). Impressed? Don’t be, I didn’t set out to sell them. It was just one of those mysterious things that happened after I introduced Jimmy Stewart’s Rabbit, Harvey, to the mother of my Genie.]
3rd Wish & My biggest wish. I wanted my 285 accounts to buy Thermo-Jac Sportwear the way I wanted them to, without me having to haul in the samples and show them the line or discuss the merits of every garment. I wanted them to say, “Yes, Ted, anything you say. Yes, I will sign a blank order for the amount you say. You can fill it in later and send it to me. And, Ted, thanks for doing it your way; I can’t wait to get started.”
Because The Fantasy World is a Fantasy. Why not blow up a big balloon? Maybe it won't pop. If you are looking for the logic, all I wanted was a pastime. I never thought it would be good for anything other than a game for wishing.
Warning! The Fantasy World is for dreaming, do not, do not, do not try to turn it into anything useful while you’re playing your pastime. If you try and figure out what to do with it from a reality standpoint, like seeing if you can come up with something which fits into your present Reality World, like, having to make sales), you will: 1) lose the potential of personal expansion. and 2) be unable to properly apply it while you are dreaming. Dreaming and Reality are both processes and they only work well when they are not intermingled. If you are, heaven forbid, a multi-tasker, you will go broke buying training wheels. Both processes, fantasy and reality, must never be done consecutively within the same 24 hour timeframe!
It’s Time For Prospect Solitaire. Played Correctly, You Never Lose!
Prospect Solitaire lead me to The Reality World. It took me three months to realize that Prospect Solitaire was good for anything until I received a boost from my Genie and Tom Bradley. Tom was a Thermo-Jac Rep, just like me. Other than my father, Tom was my most important mentor,
- You and I are off the road. It’s late October, 1958, we’ve covered the territory. In a few weeks, the Spring line will be announced and we’ll be in the home office to see it. Four lines a year = four style shows a year = four sales meetings a year. There are 17 Manufacturer Reps. Each rep gets 15 minutes with Al Hoppin, the V.P. of Sales and longtime friend of Bill Upthegrove, who owns The Grove Company, which manufactured Thermo-Jac Sportswear for young women. If you and I are lucky we get to spend 5 minutes with Bill. Just imagine, we only have to attend 4 sales meeting a year, 2.5 days each, and we rarely ever hear from management, even though we are full time, independent, captive reps (captive = exclusive representation).
- We are independent. Nobody tells us what to do. We are paid a draw and commission. We must buy the samples. At the end of each quarter, we get our commission less the draw and the cost of the samples. If we turn in sufficient revenue and represent the company in an appropriate manner, we have good incomes and job security.
- Some of Thermo-Jac’s reps are well paid. Tom Bradley makes over $95,000 per year, about $800,000 in today’s dollars. I make $6,500, about $55,000. My expenses are $3,000. My car payment is $85 per mo. I live with my parents. After the essentials, I have $2,000 to spend on luxuries. It’s 1958: a porterhouse steak dinner is $2.50, a martini is 50 cents, a beer is 25 cents, you can attend a Louis Armstrong dance/concert for $1.75. What else is there? A Leica camera costs $450 including a great lens. I bought one. Today the same camera without a lens is $7K. The lens is $4K.
- Since Tom Bradley made 15 times more than I, although the population of his territory was only twice as big, what was I missing? I decided to study my accounts. This is how I learned about Prospect Solitaire.
- Prospect Solitaire – The Rules: (computer assistance will not be available for 25 years.)
- Using 5 x 7 cards, with one account per card = with minimal information included, other than who, where, type, and amount of annualized purchases, sort all your accounts (regardless of type) from highest volume to lowest, adjusted for a 12 month run rate.
- Divide your total accounts into 5 separate stacks; it must be 5 to get quintiles. In my case, 285 accounts yield 57 per stack = 57 per quintile. (The 80/20 rule is a joke, don’t think about it unless you don't care to maximize your opportunities or your customer’s value.)
- The 1st quintile = your top 57 accounts. Your top account, therefore, is card No. 1, and your subsequent accounts will likewise be in descending order. (Your 2nd quintile = your next lowest 57 accounts. Your 3rd quintile = your next lowest, and so on.)
- Here’s what made my eyes pop. Your 5th quintile contains your lowest producing accounts. Yes, I know a quintile is the same as 20% of something, but that’s not what you care about. You care about being a good detective who is in no hurry to prejudge a crime scene. As you will find out, when it hits you (just as I did) a crime is committed, when you rob yourself of your rightful earnings. Example? I looked at my 5th quintile and saw the names of retailers, who, by their size and potential, should have been in my 1st quintile. In fact, some of them should have been among my top 5 to 10 accounts. Holy cow, at the risk of promoting my post on “Cowboy Arithmetic.” Holy cow! Previously, I had been tending my cash cows by how much they were producing instead of how much they could produce. I wanted to improve the herd, but I didn’t know how. I ay have had the right customers, but most of them were not producing. If that’s not a crime, what is?
- Now, go to your 1st quintile, and you will notice how many of your top producers were not all that big in terms of size or potential. Many of my top accounts, including my father’s store, for example, were producing way more than what anyone would rightfully expect. What was happening? I had potentially big accounts who were under-achieving. I had potentially small accounts who were over-achieving. But, why? Attitude, attitude, attitude. Their attitude, and mine. My over-achievers were in love with Thermo-Jac; our company was important to them. My under-achievers were not in love with Thermo-Jac; we meant nothing to them. The accounts who loved us let me write up their orders; they wanted me to be fully involved. To them I was more than a salesman, I was an asset they could learn from, just like me learning from my Genie, just like Jimmy Stewart learning from Harvey. I had created an alter ego and I was not sure what to do with him.
Note: It took Prospect Solitaire to show me that, perhaps, I didn’t know: 1)who I was selling, 2) what I was offering, or 3) how to persuade customers, AND I thought I did, I didn't know what was happening.
Call it a paradigm shift, call it jumping outside my box, call it being tired of hitting my head on the wall, call it whatcha wanna, I was ready to rethink my world.
FWIW, the best relationships I have enjoyed with clients and sales producers were initiated when everyone was ready to rethink their worlds. Until I played Prospect Solitaire, I thought I knew the score. I not only didn’t know the score, I didn’t know what selling could be about. I didn’t know the revenue game, and I thought I did.
When Will Tom Bradley Show Us His Secrets?
Tom Bradley’s habits are revealed in Jimmy Stewart’s Rabbit – Part 3, coming soon, just you wait and see! Meanwhile, popcorn and double jointed peanuts are available in the lobby.
[Three months after I played Prospect Solitaire, Tom Bradley visited my territory, spending a day with me, calling on my accounts, showing me his way. Thirty days later, my annualized income increased 6 fold. Now, I had two best friends: Tom Bradley and My Genie.]