Fun facts and info on advertising, marketing, business, and life in general

Category Archives: Funny Business Stories

MotivatedPpleThere are many, many different ways to #motivatepeople to work, especially salespeople.  Management knows you have to amp them up and get adrenal going to be able to cold call and sell – it applies to any type of work. Unmotivated is Unproductive!

If you’ve ever been in a sales position where you had to go out and cold call, walk in to businesses without an appointment and try to get time to present your product or service, you know how hard that first step can be.  There are more reasons NOT to walk in or call, than to just do it.

Here’s a story of how one method went a little too far and was sort of funny in a “you have GOT to be kidding” way. 

A memo was on everyone’s desk first thing one morning.  It said that spiderpeoplefaces“Giant Spiders” had been spotted in the offices and that exterminator was coming, but had strongly suggested people leave the building asap.  Oddly it seemed only the spiders were after the salespeople!  Management didn’t have to go out?

Someone had the not-so-bright idea that this memo, what they thought was funny, would get the sales team out early and motivated!

2 things happened, and neither was what management was hoping for. A salesperson that was on the phone getting closing a large contract was told to hang up and get out of the building due to the “Giant Spiders.” Having to hang up with no explanation, or the weird explanation, on a potential big buy did not help close the sale at all.

And, although the salespeople all left, they gathered at a local fast food place to complain about the whole issue. So the motivation turned into negative attitudes, a very hostile work environment, and was counterproductive to both the staff and management.

This was a case of not thinking it through and managing to get the exact opposite results than were expected. The giant cans of bug spray some of the salespeople put on their desks the next morning was kind of funny! 

Sometimes you have to think ideas through all the steps to the potential outcomes and decided if it is wort i.


ilaughingmagesWe all know what NOT to say in front of kids – but we forget they hear the things adults say differently than adults mean sometimes.

Years ago I did training sessions for a group of Tupperware salespeople in my home. Most of the dealers were female and Tupperware Parties were held at night, making it a good way for moms to make some extra money; they were very popular and a way of socializing.

A lot of the training was motivational. We used the pat business and training lingo, and terms of the day. Things like Time Management, the do’s and don’t of Closing a Sale, and some Important Tips to Being a Good Salesperson, KIS (kiss) Keep it Simple, etc.

I touched on personality and relationships with the customers.  One of the things we talked about was selling yourself as a salesperson, and not only the product.  The most successful were the people that formed good relationships with the customers, who then referred them to other customers.

Kids of course heard a lot of what we were saying, without us adults realizing it.  In school, the kids were 44-447110_shocked-clipartasked to tell what their parents did…many different answers; fireman, doctor, mom is a shopper, dad drives to work, I Don’t Know was a big one, (not many were too descriptive, because these kids were maybe 8 years old).  One answered, My Mom goes out at night and sells herself!  You can imagine what the teacher thought, and the note sent home.

Of course, once explained that the kid had overheard a motivational sales talk, it was funny – but not when teacher first heard it.  Luckily, most of the kids did not get what was so shocking or funny.

I used this in later years to also illustrate to salespeople in any product or service line, that WHAT we say is not always HEARD the same way we mean it.  So Watch How You Say Things…applies to life and business alike.  Life is funny!

MMyersCropYears ago,  a restaurant client of mine asked for help in reviewing his menu. We gathered a lot of info, listed the most ordered dishes, and did a cost analysis of menu items.

I found that one item’s cost was way over the normal acceptance %  – it was at almost 85% cost! He was losing money every time it was served. ilaughingmagesWhen I suggested to owner that he do away with the item, wait a while, then either add it back or offer as a special at higher more cost-efficient price,  because he was losing money whenever it was ordered, he said…….and this is priceless – I CAN’T DO THAT —  LESS PEOPLE WILL ORDER IT AND IT’S MY MOST POPULAR ITEM!  

After trying not to LAUGH out loud, I said, with a semi-straight face… so you want a lot customers to order an item that you lose the most money on???  So you can lose more money??

He looked at me like I was crazy, then the “light” went on and he looked shocked!  Needless to say we went over the menu more carefully, and adjusted the item to keep it popular but not a loser.

Reviewing a menu and knowing what the data means, then correctly using the info to make changes, is really important! Having an outside eye look at it sometimes can shed a different prospective.  Just because it’s popular, doesn’t mean it’s good….for business.

FREEbuttonA semi-funny story, with a point that advertising salespeople can use. You can credit me or not (Jean Best, Best Marketing)  This is something I have used in my career in ad sales and as a sales manager for a couple of newspapers, radio stations, and ad agencies, both here in Raleigh area, as well as back in NYC.

Many sales people have business owners say their ads do not work OK, let me prove ads work!  Lets run an ad and give away a FREE item to first (10, 20, 100) customers. Absolutely FREE with the ad or mention of ad, BUT the salesperson gets to pick the item.  Here’s where you, as the salesperson, pick an expensive item, say for example a $300 TV.   The store owner, OF COURSE, will have a slight fit!  They usually then say – are you kidding ( Crazy!?) I’ll go broke giving away thousands of dollar$$ worth of products.  Let’s give a $1 or $2 item!

My answer was sooooo – you are saying the ad will work?!  IF the ad isn’t going to work, why is it a problem to advertise to give away an really expensive item? If the ad isn’t going to bring people in asking for the item, then why worry?smiley eyes

The point of this is, WHAT you advertise, not IF you advertise, makes the difference in response to advertising.

But, a word of caution, be careful how you say it – don’t make an enemy of the business owner.  Better to be laughing when you say it, and still get the point across.

This little story has resulted in closing many, many sales for me, and my sales staffs. Oh, and the use of the word FREE often and boldly helps too!