Monday, 25 July 2016

Mike's Story

In 1996 Mike was working in England as a petrophysicist for a large corporation supplying software to the Oil and Gas industry when he was asked to take on a sales role and move to Norway.

Mike absolutely did not want to be a sales person but he had the travel bug and the allure of Norway was strong. So with his eight-month pregnant wife, and their two year old son, he moved country and took on the new role.

In that first assignment, Mike was extremely fortunate and helped win a major corporate deal. That early success gave Mike the (false)confidence to take on more sales roles until in 2002, when Mike was managing a  sales team in Russia, it became necessary to return home to Australia for family reasons.

After seventeen years of international travel, Mike and his family, now with three sons, chose to settle in Melbourne where he had few contacts and not much prospect of Oil and Gas industry employment. After a fruitless search for an oil and gas role and some anxious months, Mike re-wrote his cv to focus on sales and was fortunate to land a sales role in Telecommunications selling mobile networks.

Mike likes to joke that he was perfectly suited to that role, apart from the minor impediments of, no knowledge of telecommunications industry no understanding of the customer or his employer's products and services!

Despite those limitations, things went well and by 2007, Mike was posted overseas again, this time to Malaysia to manage a team of 140 technical sales and sales people for the Asia Pacific Region and having successfully changed industry once, Mike subsequently chased sales management opportunities in four other industries.

From a fateful decision to take a sales role in Norway and an industry change forced by relocation, Mike has had the opportunity to lead sales teams all over the works in diverse industries for Schlumberger, Siemens, Nokia, Halliburton, Spotless and Motorola. Collecting a lifetime of sales stories of outrageous good fortune and his fair share of less desirable business outcomes.

During that time Mike steadily developed his sales and sales leadership skills but the process seemed more like an art than a science. As a former engineer, Mike needed to know exactly how the best people sell and whether the formula can be learnt. How to distinguish skill from good fortune?

There is no shortage of books and training programs for sales and Mike has studied them but when he observed great sales people, it was the incredible stories that featured most strongly in their conversations. Good sales people make masterful use of question technique but it is their stories that really connect and do the selling.

Mike has learnt that the missing element for sales success is purposeful, well prepared stories that engage emotionally to teach and persuade. A communication mechanism handed down to us over thousands of generations of oral history and the tool of choice for every great sales person and one that anyone can learn with immediate positive results.

Company: Growth in Focus
Source: Mike Adams
Story Type: Personal

For Story Students

The Setting: England and Norway, from 1996
The Complications: Outrageous good fortune in his first sales assignment, a forced repatriation and the need to change industry
The Turning Point: A realisation that sales is the same in every industry - its a transferable skill - and a highly developed sense of what that skill really is
The Resolution: Mike is doing what he loves - teaching and coaching sales people and sales managers to succeed.
The Point of the Story: Mike is doing what he loves - teaching and coaching sales people and sales managers to succeed.
How to use this story: Mike uses this story, or versions of it during introductory meetings. Mike normally finishes his story with..."well enough about me, what about you? how did you get to where you are?"

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