About The Founder

“People need more to be reminded than informed.

S. Johnson, 1766 or so.

All sales professionals have time to think. Artificial Intelligence can’t do that.

Covering a five state territory selling to hospitals, I had windshield time. Screen time now all but blots out the sun. What worked and why were the questions of the day, every day.

I had to become a student of my customers business. Each situations was different and each changed on every sales call. Asking questions became the skill required. Fitting the answers into each situation became the challenge. It still is.

Thinking about all of this resulted in a long list ideas that had to be applied to the changing times we all must deal with. There is more to what we do than most imagine.

My business evolved to professional development for sales reps and their managers. To differentiate my keynote address to national sales meetings, titled: “How the Best Get Better in Sales” I would ask each client if I could work with one of their reps for a day in the field before I did their meeting. They obliged by sending me to work with their best producers. Doing this for many years updated the ideas in this program.

Taking each concept one day at a time fits with how we process information and come up with original thoughts and applications.          

Thinking about the other person is what I did on the road and what you must do to make your numbers.                                                  

Both time and learning work best one day at a time. That fits in perfectly with working every business day of the year to learn how best to fit this into how your customers do business.

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In Defense of iGen

By: Jack Falvey
Oct. 24, 2019 6:10 pm ET

A student at an academic dinner sent a photo of her entree to her boyfriend in China. A couple of months later he dropped by to visit our class. Twentysomethings have always traveled crazy distances on such adventures, but I’ve learned it can be just as interesting to send them places locally, then ask what they’ve discovered. They see things you and I often miss, and they write about them very well. Not all have evident promise, but late bloomers are nothing new.

Jean Twenge calls these postmillennials “iGen,” after the smartphones over which they constantly bow their heads. They can assume the praying position while walking, talking, eating and lying in bed. It’s a little dangerous sometimes, but so were hot rods, sex and drugs when we were young. (I’m 80.)

In many ways the iGens are no different from you and me. They don’t know much about history, but few 22-year-olds ever did. Many seem directionless, but we forget that with youth comes great uncertainty. Almost everyone who isn’t committed to premed will have to pick a new direction once the sciences find them wanting.

They’re no more lost in space than we were, but they look as if they are. That’s because they often have real difficulty communicating, in spite of having mastered the greatest communications technology in human history. Most can write, because they had to learn to do that. The challenge is the spoken word. Eye contact and shaking hands aren’t in their skill set. Small talk is mostly missing. But all that comes to them if given the chance. I’ve learned to manage this with students; you can do it in the workplace.

Some of them embrace simplistic ideologies, but that’s true of every generation. With all human history a click away at all times, they don’t click as much as they should. Yet Andrew Carnegie must have been chagrined when long lines did not form outside his libraries. Not to worry. As always a select few have found their way to the treasures of the ages—now on screen. How many of us mastered the card catalog? Some iGeners can find their way around to places and things you and I can’t imagine.

One approach is to ask them endless questions: Why would you say that? What do you think that means? Who says so? Telling and explaining will get you nowhere. Going Socratic isn’t easy, but it works. It’s also appreciated, because as they answer your questions they hear their own thoughts—sometimes for the first time. You need to engage iGeners as people and not space aliens. Who ever listened to us? Try listening to them.

Mr. Falvey is an adjunct professor at Boston College.

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