Baby, You Can’t Drive My Car


test drove a car last week. I loved it! It had everything I’m looking for – a high performance engine, good gas mileage, all the tech gadgetry you could ever want and it’s small – like me!

bought the car this week. But, sadly, not from the dealership that gave me the test drive. Let me explain. After the test drive I sat with the salesperson and gave him all of my contact information, told him I wanted to buy a car “soon” and asked about pricing. I had a tight schedule that afternoon so I had to leave relatively quickly.


Within a few hours of the test drive, I had a text message from the dealer asking me to reply YES if, in fact, I had come into the dealership and test driven a car. I replied YES. The next day I had yet another text from the Customer Care Department asking me if I had any questions for the salesperson. I didn’t respond to this text. And, five days after the test drive, I didn’t have a text or a call from the salesperson. Very disappointing . . .

So, this week I went to a competitor. I had provided my name and email address (but not phone) on their website. Inbound marketing, I love it! Within two minutes, I had a response with a name and the direct phone number of their “Internet Manager.”  His smiling face was on his email as well. We set up an appointment online. When I arrived he was easily recognized and within a few moments he turned me over to a “Product Specialist,” their euphemism for salesperson. The rest is history.

The salesperson was friendly and solicitous. We did another test drive. He reviewed more of the car’s features and even told me about more benefits I will enjoy. He kept in touch with me every step of the way. (He even called me on Sunday to say that he tracked down the color car I want in Connecticut.) This was all done with a casual, professional, non-pressure demeanor. This is exactly how I want to buy everything – not just a car!


I know I’m super sensitive when it comes to sales. Because it’s been my career, I can sniff out a top salesperson in a nanosecond, and I have a hard time tolerating anything less.

Here are two ways to quickly decipher whether you’re considering a deal maker or an order taker:

  • FOLLOW-UP: Whether your sales cycle is one day, one month, or one year, (and everything in between), at every step in the process, follow-up is critical. It’s the same when you are interviewing. The candidates you interview should be following up with you after every step, from initial contact (web, email or phone) right through to an offer. Watch carefully what your candidate does during the process. Good candidates know that finding a new job has the same dynamics as making a sale. Good candidates ask for a clearly defined next step. Watch for this persistence in your own dealings with them. If they call you a day after the interview as a follow-up, that’s a good sign. If you tell him you’ll get back to him in a timely manner and you don’t, the persistent candidate will be emailing or calling you for the next step. Persistence during the hiring process is a clear indicator of how persistent they will be with your precious leads and prospects.
  • ASK PROBING QUESTIONS ABOUT LEAD CONVERSION:  Have a set of questions that focus specifically on the process the candidate uses to convert a lead to a customer. Some of these would be:
    • How many leads do you get in a month?
    • Where are these leads generated?
    • How many of the leads come directly from your prospecting?
    • How long does it take to convert a lead to a sale?
    • How many calls or ‘touches’ do you make before you drop a lead?
    • How many leads are typically in your pipeline?
    • What lead tracking software are you using?
    • What are your personal statistics for converting leads to sales?

Good salespeople will be able to answer questions like this. The best will have those numbers at the ready.


So, the car I bought is a 2017 VW Golf GTI SE, 2.0 litre, 6 speed manual transmission. She really moves! Thanks to the “deal maker” at the dealership, I went from a lead to a satisfied customer in less than a week. Here’s hoping all of your salespeople know how to make a deal!

Posted in Sales Topics


When an employee leaves unexpectedly, especially one that you particularly like and who has been doing a good job, it’s easy for a manager to view hiring a replacement as an un-pleasurable, possibly daunting, task. Someone you like must be replaced, you wonder if you’ll ever get an employee [...] Continue Reading…

Posted in Finding Great Employees/Recruiting, Hiring Process

4 Tips to Quickly Qualify Candidates


Years ago, when I told my now 98-year-old mother that I was headed up to Maine for a few weeks of vacation, she sweetly asked me, “Who does your job when you go on vacation?” My mother is a child of the Great Depression, a World [...] Continue Reading…

Posted in Finding Great Employees/Recruiting

Can You Fire Like George Clooney

I love George Clooney. He’s charming, debonair, handsome, smart and, oh yes, a good actor too. That is apparent in spades, especially when his role is the total opposite of charming George. In the 2009 film “Up in the Air,” George plays [...] Continue Reading…

Posted in Additional Topics

Four Ways to Spot a Diamond in the Rough

Whether you’re hiring someone for a senior, strategic position or for the lowest level position in your company, there is always an element of uncertainty when you make that final decision about who gets the job. You make that decision based on their past experiences, [...] Continue Reading…

Posted in Finding Great Employees/Recruiting

Eating Salad with a Spoon

A while ago I found myself forced to eat my lunch salad with a spoon. Have you ever tried to eat salad with a spoon? Probably not, I’m sure. But, if you did try, you’d see it’s pretty damn hard to do! Salad falls off a spoon. You need [...] Continue Reading…

Posted in Finding Great Employees/Recruiting

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

In the summer of 2000, a Boston-based, $240,000,000 software technology company was looking for a Regional Sales Director. They were a “hot” local company with a very good reputation for their products and their company culture. But, the market for top software talent was not great and they were [...] Continue Reading…

Posted in Finding Great Employees/Recruiting

Buy a House or Hire an Employee: Ignore the Job Market and You Lose

I have been living in my house for over 37 years. That’s a long time – especially considering the fact that it only took me four days to find it and wrap up the deal!

I live in a small town. In 1979 there were only about 4500 residents. Because [...] Continue Reading…

Posted in Additional Topics

The Plane Can’t Take Off – 3 Steps to Soaring Sales

It was a freezing cold January day. So, when I left my office a little after 5PM, I was really in no mood to drive to Cambridge. Going home, building a fire and reading my book was what I really wanted to do. But I had preregistered for an [...] Continue Reading…

Posted in Sales Topics

Put a Wrinkle in Your Hiring

Would you hire a candidate who was 70 years old? That’s a loaded question, I know. And I really don’t expect you to give me the answer. But this country just hired someone who is 70 years old for a job that is essentially 24/7/365 with about 40% international [...] Continue Reading…

Posted in Finding Great Employees/Recruiting