Russell’s Ramblings

Those who do not hear the music might think the dancer mad

The sale starts with you!

Russell thoughts 1Recently I had the privilege of speaking to students at a local Career Day at Bradley Middle School in Huntersville. One of the questions asked was, “Outside of your family, who had the most impact on you for the career you have today?”

While attending college, I worked at an office furniture and supply store delivering case goods and supplies in Rock Hill, SC. The store, Harper Brothers Office Supplies & Furniture, was managed at the time by one of my father’s closest friends – John Teague. John later went on to be one of the company’s vice presidents. After graduation, I went to work for Harper Brothers as a marketing representative.

I could cite dozens of people who have had a profound impact on my life. That said, perhaps no one person shaped who I became as a sales person more than a working mother of two with a limited resume but a ton of confidence.

She walked into the store one day and admitted, “I don’t have any previous experience. I’ve never sold the first thing but I’ve raised two kids, and a husband.” Then she added, “Give me a chance and watch what I can do.”

Shirley Lineberger is not a name you’ll find in any business books.  I doubt she’s taught the first seminar or written a column.  Yet, when I think of successful sales people – I think of Shirley.

As an office supply company, some of the industry representatives would place incentives or “spiffs” on selling products.  Sell a dozen rolls of tape, you earn an extra silver dollar. At the end of the day, those dollars really added up. I will never forget the afternoon Shirley walked back in the delivery room and split her dollars with the delivery crew. She thanked each of us for the jobs we did, taking care of her customers.

A coffee cup and candy jar  we gave customers of Harper Brothers - circa 1985
A coffee cup and candy jar we gave customers of Harper Brothers – circa 1985

A few years later, when I had moved from delivery to sales, Shirley took me under her wing and we made calls together.  One particular day we planned several calls showing various lines of furniture to prospective customers.  The first three of the morning were spent with little results.

I remember feeling a little dejected with no orders in hand.  Shirley observed my rejected look and then reminded me, “Cheer up! I normally get one great sale in every five tries.  Now that we’ve got those out of the way, we’re gonna’ sell something after lunch,” … and sell we did!

Shirley loved her customers. Filled with confidence and optimism, she taught a young kid to begin each day believing great things were going to happen – and they would.

Love your job, take care of your people, and remember every rejection is just another step closer for you to reach your goal. Treat it as an opportunity, not a setback. It’s a lesson I learned along the way from a mother of two who understood the most important part of the sale starts with you.

Bill Russell

June 24, 2015 Posted by | Leadership Lessons | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce Members: Take Advantage of Tax Free Day and Office Depot Savings Plan!

This weekend, Friday Aug. 3 to Sunday Aug. 5th, North Carolina citizens get a break on taxes for Back to School supplies.  The savings covers: Clothing, footwear, and school supplies under $100; Sports and recreation equipment under $50; Computers under $3,500; Computer equipment under $250.  While it is a great time to stock up for Children’s “back to School” supplies, you can also save money yourself.  Lake Norman Chamber members can also take advantage of deep discounts we have established with an Office Depot Savings Plan.

 As a member of the Lake Norman Chamber, you can enjoy these benefits: An average 51-83% discount off the list price on 235 key items on the “top buy” list, which includes paper and an extensive selection of toner. FREE next-day delivery of in-stock items for orders of $50 or more. Additional discounts on large orders … the more you buy, the more you save! Extra 1% off orders greater than $150.  Extra 1.5% off orders greater than $200 Extra 2% off orders greater than $300.

In addition, the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce receives a small percentage of the total purchase which helps offset the cost of our business development programs. So while you SAVE money, the Chamber makes money to put back into programs that benefit your business.  So start saving today and particularly this weekend when you can save on your tax bill.  If you like to purchase your supplies on line, simply follow the instructions on our website at: Office Depot Savings Program.  If you prefer to shop at the store in person, swing by the Chamber and pick up Chamber Member Discount Cards.  We will also be happy to mail them but they may not arrive until after the tax holiday.

Bottom line – start saving money today and in the process contribute to a program that helps our local economy by investing money back into local business development.  The Chamber is also exploring other programs that can save our members on their office expenses.  This program is not limited to the business only!  Share this card with your employees as a company benefit.  The more people use the plan, the greater dollars are received by the Chamber.  Thank you for your support of the Chamber and have a happy Tax Free Shopping Weekend!

August 2, 2012 Posted by | Chamber of Commerce | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment