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I was having one of those days, in the life of the salesperson, where you just need a little pep talk. Or, more bluntly put, a good kick in the ass. I just couldn’t seem to get focused and moving.
As these things happen when you need them, and least expect them, I found myself in an engaging phone conversation, in the middle of a Monday afternoon, with the founder of HMI Performance Incentives, Paul Ferreira. I had met Paul several times. Up until this point had had only two detailed conversations with Paul. Yes, I remember specifically it was two because casual, conversational conversations with individuals like Paul are few and far between.
What I knew about Paul was the canned elevator speech. Paul co-founded HMI in the early 80s providing the service of trip management and travel sales for businesses in the Boston area, blah, blah. My impression of Paul, blueblood, silver spoon, country club with an Ivy League education. The type of individual who is groomed for success from birth. We all know the type.
So, back to the Monday afternoon spontaneous conversation. Paul and I were discussing how sales have changed. Both Paul and I started our career in the 80s. I guess, in a way, we were reminiscing about the evolution of our profession. Paul had commented on what seemed to be a bit of frustration or was it uncertainty, how these changes would affect his business today. I commented, “it sounds like your three feet from gold, you know, Napoleon Hill”. Paul responded with the enthusiasm of a young child on Christmas morning, “have you read Think and Grow Rich? let me share a story”, and he did.
I was 31 or was it 30, whatever, I was living in a tiny apartment with one of those beaded curtains dividing the room creating some privacy. I had my MBA, no job, living on unemployment and teaching tennis for extra money on the side. I had been working for a real jerk in the travel industry and just couldn’t take it anymore. I needed to be working for myself – that I knew. I came across the book Think and Grow Rich, it resonated with me in a big way. I wrote down my goals in detail and read them and believed them every day. It wasn’t easy, but the thought of giving up never crossed my mind.
I eventually hooked up with a guy in the travel industry who let me set up a desk and work for free. Not a real tough decision on his part. I began my quest for opportunities selling travel management and fulfillment services. I was good, so good that I was offered a job, $27,000 a year plus a car. Tempting? I told Holly, my wife, I’m now married, about the opportunity. My supportive confidant encouraged me to follow my dream. Which I did and turned down the job. Two weeks later, I got my first significant opportunity, shortly after, the second. The rest, yes, it is cliché, is history.
Paul ended the conversation by saying, When I hear people say, I have a great idea and I’m going to give it six months. My immediate reaction, “you don’t put a timeline on passion, you give it everything takes.”
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