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The $52,000 Cocktail Napkin



Author:   Glenn Shepard
Date:   July 15,  2014
Category:   Sales & Customer Service




Wichita Falls, TX July 22
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Waxahachie, TX July 24
Lewisville, TX July 25
Ithaca, NY July 29
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Dear Glenn,


I run a dental practice with several doctors and whenever something is amiss with one, I'm told “this is your job.” I guess it is correct.

    However, we have managers at each level for the doctors and they are given the title and money to “manage.”

     I’m a little tired of the garbage. I love my job and most of the time, the people are who make it rewarding, but the patients are the reason we have a job.

    I focus my work on making the best possible care available in the best circumstances.

   I would love a “I’m not a baby sitter” mug!


Sam in Seattle



Dear Sam,


This is one reason I subscribe to Dave Ramsey's philosophy of "The only ship that won't sail is a partnership".

    The problem here is simple but not minor, and that is that the chain of command isn't clear. Sit down with the docs, preferably on a day they're not seeing patients and are relatively relaxed, and have the discussion about job descriptions and responsibilities, chain of command, and boundaries.

    No organization can be successful if its chain of command looks more like roots growing in every direction than a straight line.

     Thanks for your question.


- Glenn in Nashville

Click here to submit a question. If yours is selected, you'll win your choice of the "I'm the Boss, Not the Babysitter" or "Work Is Not for Sissies"  coffee mug.

I detest people who don't put their money where their mouth is.


In the 26 years I've owned a business, hundreds of sales reps have tried to sell me everything from $900 fax machines (which is what I paid for our first one) to mailing machines that cost $75,000 (of which I've bought many, though at lower prices).


I ask them if they’re sure their product will do what they claim, and they all say yes.


I then ask if they’ll pay me back out of their own pocket if it doesn’t. Only about 1 in 10 says yes to this.


When the other 90% ask if not being willing to provide a personal guarantee means they lost the sale, my response is, “Not necessarily, but you have lost credibility”.


I don't actually want a personal guarantee, and it wouldn't be worth much anyway. I just want to see if they really believe in what they're selling.


I came up with this technique by accident, when I was on the other side of the table.


While in my early twenties, I made a presentation to a group of engineers at a Fortune 500 chemical company. I was trying to sell a $52,000 filtration system that was more than twice what our competitor was quoting.


I told them I was 100% sure our product was what they needed, and one responded, “We’re just skeptical of a salesman asking us to spend an extra $30,000 of our money”.


I naively responded, “It’s not your money, it’s your company’s money”.


He explained that as loyal employees, they treated it like it was their money, and asked if I’d be so confident if it were my money.


I asked to borrow the napkin under his coffee cup, wrote out a personal guarantee, and got the sale.


I continued doing this with other customers, and our region was #1 in the country that year.


To this day, I still use a variation of this technique.


When trying to land speaking gigs I really want, I guarantee the event planner the evaluations of my speech will be the highest they’ve ever had. If not, I’ll waive my fee and pay them what they would have paid me, to cover the cost of hiring a better speaker the next time.


(I've shared this with the over 300 speakers I've trained, but not one has been willing to try it.)


It works even better today than it did nearly 30 years after I first began using it. I’m not sure why, but suspect it’s because integrity isn't as common as it used it be.


The next time you have a sales rep call on you, try this technique and watch how many say one thing when they’re spending OPM (Other People’s Money), but change their tune the minute you ask them to put some skin in the game.


Nothing reveals more about a person than what they do with their own money.




To Your Success,



Glenn Shepard




P.S.  This also works for job seekers. Tell an employer you’ll work for one month at no charge. If they don’t think you’re awesome at the end of the month, you’ll pay them one month’s salary for the training. But if you’re as great as you say you are, they agree to hire you at the end of the month, and pay you for the time you’ve already put in. Most won’t take you up out of fear of violating the FLSA, but you’ll immediately shoot to the top of their list of applicants. The great Napoleon Hill, author of "Think and Grow Rich", used this technique to get his first job over 100 years ago.



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