Sales tips for the aspiring rock star!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Play #27 The Janitor & The Jedi Master

Many years ago I watched a great Jedi Master wow his customers, go to bat for them and provide a wonderful living for his family. He knew the names of all his customer’s secretaries (this was before the birth of admins) and he took a personal interest in each of their lives. He knew kids names, birthdays, anniversaries, hobbies and genuinely cared. He had fun in the process and had a smile that could light up a room.

He taught me my first lesson in sales way back in the 80’s which was simply “All sales is problem solving” He also taught me that if we can't laugh during our day (especially at ourselves) we needed to find a more suitable livelihood.

I watched him practice diligently for his reading at Sunday mass and help countless unemployed people in the parishes throughout Long Island. A big part of the reason for doing this was because that was just who he was. There was another reason .. . He never forgot what it was like when he was unemployed and felt honored to give back.

I believe that every human being comes to the cross roads in their life at least once. For me it came in the form of self doubt, shyness and a feeling that I wasn’t deserving of success. I hadn’t a clue what I would do with my life. Neither did he; but pushed me nonetheless. There were times where I pushed back, said some disrespectful things among them . . . “Are you suggesting I become a salesman like you?

He was relentless and won.

And one day I decided to become a salesman like my Father.

It was on this day in 1988, that our time together was cut way too short but what happened next summarizes who my Father really was.

At my Dad’s wake, there was a man waiting patiently to talk with us. I didn’t recognize him but extended my hand to introduce myself. He almost seemed apologetic for stopping by and maybe he thought he didn’t belong with us. He told me he was the janitor in my Dad’s office building for over 20 years. With tears in his eyes he told me that my Dad would always stop to talk with him, knew his kid’s names, always asked about his family and made him feel like somebody.

That, ladies and gentlemen was how Des Castain rolled when he wasn’t conquering the world!

Newsday gave him a third of a page obituary. I believe the headline summed up who he really was for it didn't say star salesman, conqueror of his chunk of the world it read . . . "Champion Of The Unemployed".
That was Dad's final lesson to me. Give something back!

Today’s blog is about encouraging others, showing genuine interest in the things that are important to those around you, remembering to thank those who encourage you, giving something back and quite selfishly it was about my Father!

For you Dad!


  1. That was awesome :) I miss grandpa, and I wish that Jay and AJ couldve gotten to meet him :)

  2. Nice one Paul - My Dad died just about 1 year ago, career salesman as I've explained on LI (somewhere!).

    Spreading the philosophy here

    and Warren Family profile is archived but summarised on this page (4th from bottom), if you're THAT curious...

    Some of it is "in the blood" though, either way.

    Best regards - Neil

  3. paul,
    this is very nice.
    Everything you said makes me wish I met him.

  4. Paul your father would have been so proud of your accomplishments. "If he could only see you now!"-I guess with the economy the way it is today we really could have used him now.-your sister-in-law Kirsten Castain

  5. pablo gotta be one of your best!
    with a lump in my throat

  6. To my wonderful family:

    This is what happens when you've had something to say for 21 years!

    Been waiting for the right time and place to say it!

    Some how "Miss you Dad" seemed a little light!


  7. Paul,
    Thank you for the story today...
    Your father would be proud!
    I lost my father too early in life, but stories like this always bring him back in my thoughts and what is important in life.


  8. Neil and Ruth:

    Thank you for your kind words!

    Neil, I read the nice testimonial you wrote for you son on linkedin. Well done!

    I will finish my warm and fuzzies for the day by saying this is why we work, to celebrate life with good family and friends.

    Makes the journey that much more fun. Don't you think?

    Paul leaving his I need a hug hat and locking and loading to kick ass and conquer the world. You're all invited when it happens :)

    With appreciation and respect . . .

  9. Paul,

    Thank ou for the story and it really shows your love for your Dad.

    All the best, Andy

    PS: Laughing a little every day is the only way to go!Lowers the blood pressure!

  10. Thank you Andy, he was a very special person. I'd be lying if I told you that he didn't inspire me!

    As for your comment about laughing, I don't want to live in a world where I can't laugh each day. The guy who invented that whole "pull my finger" thing knew a thing or two about laughing thats for sure!

  11. Thank you for this beautiful post, Uncle Paul! I am the proud daughter of an amazing man who worked hard and long hours as a janitor for over 30 years. He would appreciate this story very much because he has always been a strong proponent of "being good" to others and expecting nothing in return; one of my biggest role models, indeed!

  12. Thanks Berni!

    No doubt our Dad's really influenced us!

    To them and to bright futures because of their example!



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Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics (CGX) one of North America’s leading general commercial printing companies. Paul has over 25 years of sales and sales leadership experience. He has trained, mentored and coached over 3,000 sales and sales leadership professionals. An accomplished public speaker, Paul has delivered numerous key note addresses. He has authored numerous training manuals, articles, blog posts and is currently working on his first book for release in 2011. Feel free to email Paul This has been a paid announcement by the friends of Paul Castain!

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Paul Castain's Sales Play Book is blog dedicated to strengthening our sales game, supporting rock star development and developing jedi like skills. All that is required is a willingness to learn and a sick sense of humor!

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