Sales tips for the aspiring rock star!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

When Life Throws You Curves . . .

Life throws you curves but you learn to swerve – Rascal Flats

Looks like the dude in the picture didn’t swerve, huh? Can I get a group “Ouch!”?

Seems like lots of curves being thrown at us these days from personal challenges to client challenges. Just to make it interesting, I’m sure there’s a curve ball or two being thrown at you at work these days too.

So how ya doing in the remembering to swerve department?

Thought today might be a good day for a quick pep talk from Uncle Paul.

There are many famous companies that began during a “curve ball fest”:

HP began during the depression of 1939
Microsoft during the recession of 1975
Half the companies which comprise the Dow Jones Industrial Average were formed during depressions or recessions

They have all had to swerve several times in their history!

Henry Ford: failed 5 times before the Model T took off. Did he cry about it? I don’t freakin know because I wasn’t there but I do know that the mofo swerved!

RH Macy struggled with the 34th St Store in NYC. It took 7 attempts before it caught on. I don’t recall any picture of Mr. Macy catching one in the meat and two veg, do you?

In the early days of Bell Telephone they discovered a tiny problem. They needed to wire a country and that required a butt load of money. They went to Western Union asked for 100,000.00 and were promptly turned down with a kind F You which stated something along the lines of there being no need for an electrical toy such as the telephone. Did they learn to swerve? I would offer an emphatic Fo Shizzle!

When FW Woolworth began; an established retailer on the same block put a sign outside their store which read “Been in businesses more than 50 years” Woolworth swerved and put one of their own out which read “First week in business. All new inventory!” Damn, that was some fine swerving FW!

Check out how this retiree learned to swerve

Click here to see how Edison responded to thousands of curve balls:

Sylvester Stallone was rejected more than 1300 times when he wrote the Rocky script. He was so poor he even sold his dog. Probably should have swerved before selling the dog, dill weed, but it’s a swerve nevertheless!

The Beatles were rejected by Decca records and were told that guitar music was on the way out. A billion albums later, I believe those lads learned to swerve!

The thing they all have in common is a willingness to embrace the curve ball and do something with it. Easier said than done? Perhaps, but if we chose to go to the sidelines and wait and see, "sit this inning out", complain, worry etc we have zero chance of hitting a ball we have chosen not to hit.

I believe there will be many folks that reinvent themselves during these challenging times. They will be forced to get back to the basics. The same basics that either brought them to where they are today or that they abandoned somewhere along the way because of being too "basic".

As stressful as these times can be, they are filled with opportunity.

How will you chose to swerve?

In 1995 I noticed my driveway had gotten bigger over night. It had gotten bigger because both my cars were repossessed! I lost my cars, my business and was over $60,000.00 in debt. Eventually, I would learn how to swerve and come back stronger than before the curve was thrown.

But that’s a story for another day!

Today is all about you, reaching down deep into your soul, pointing to left field and slamming the shit out of the next curve ball that comes your way!

You know you want to!

Keep swinging for the fences. Your best innings are ahead . . . I promise!

Please hook a Jedi up and pass this along to your teammates!

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  1. Paul, I am always amazed how you are so positive and refreshing! Indeed, there are more curve balls in our life today, but I am gateful that I can get up to bat and swing at them every day. Thanks for the reminder to swerve and stay in the game!

  2. Sometimes you don't need to look any furture than your own home. I went to a sales conference this past weekend, and was not looking forward to it. Being selfish I was upset I was going to miss my son's baseball tournament. Working all weekend as opposed to watching him play ball was killing me. Saturday in between breakouts I was calling to see how they did. Finally Saturday afternoon. we spoke. He went 3-5 with two walks. "Nice" I said. "We are 0-2" he said. Sunday brackets came out and they are the 12th in a 12 seed tounament. Sunday I called franticly trying to get an update. Voice mail.....voice mail...voice mail. I landed back in Denver at 5:15 and was pulling out of the airport when the call came. We are in the Championship game at 7:30. I raced home. to the field and hour away to watch them win the championship. This team after being down, going 0-2 in qualifying, beat the number 5, #3, #2and #1 team to win. Not only that they handed the number 1 ranked team their first USSSA lose. Just goes to show never giving up and believing in yourself can make you a winner. Keep kicking us in the pants sometimes we need it. Wayne Pratt Tewell Warren Printing

  3. What a terrific post, Paul. You had my attention with the picture of the guy taking a ball abaft his dillweed. Your positive view should buoy a myriad of sales critters battered by the current economy. Good on ya.

  4. Paul, Love the post. What other choice do people have right now - lay down or swerve, fight, get creative, come out stronger, better, wiser. Thanks for the reminder of all the other swerves in history - just think - one of us could be the next swerve story for future generations.


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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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