Sales 101

John Rossi, YSU Marketing Faculty:
Winding Down the Year and Wrapping Up Gifts

November 14, 2018

I can’t believe it. The end of the year is already approaching. It feels like time is moving much faster than when I was a younger man.

Older people, such as myself, tend to perceive time as moving more quickly. The experts say the reason we feel time is flying by is that we have collected and assembled so many memories that when we look back, our mind treats all those events and recollections like a Rolodex and scrolls through them all to get back to the present moment.

I wonder if modern technology will advance enough to help us apply another metaphor, given that most salespeople know the actual Rolodex is somewhat antiquated.

I do hope that the technologists invent a plug-in to allow me to download my “gray matter” hard drive to help me make room for what’s next.

Regardless of the future innovations and advances in technology, we can favorably alter our perceptions of time by keeping our brain active, continually developing skills and ideas, and exploring new places with those we love.

During the past few years, the holiday gift-giving season has forced me to become more attentive to relevance and the real value of the gifts I give to others, both those close to me and those with whom I have a business relationship. This year is no different. So I would like to offer some suggestions that may be of interest to you and other business people you may be thinking about this holiday season.

Although the kids, including my nieces and nephews, still prefer money, I love books and often give them as gifts, along with books-on-tape or music CDs which are great for drive-time commuting.

A couple of authors and their books to check out this holiday season include:

Daniel Pink

Pink is the author of four bestselling books, including “To Sell Is Human,” about the changing world of work. There, he posits that while one in nine Americans work in sales, “so do the other eight,” discusses keys to a successful elevator pitch and how to better frame sales messages. He also has a “Pinkcast,” which is a favorite 90-second video that offers tips for working smarter and living better.

Daniel Kahneman

Kahneman, author of “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” won the Nobel Prize in economic science in 2002. The book covers behavioral psychology and the dichomoty between fast and instinctual thought and deliberate and logical thought. Since he’s a psychologist, it was unusual for him to earn a prize in economics, so there is something clearly of value here.

Sheryl Sandberg

I was so very fortunate to find the right woman over 30 years ago (thanks Sue), and have two great daughters – Alison and Hilary, both of whom are successful in academics (lecturer of fashion at Ashland University) and business (product manager for Smucker’s), respectively. As a father, I have a keen interest in continuing to understanding the role of gender in business disciplines. So I often recommend works by Sheryl Sandberg. She is the chief operating officer at Facebook. Before that, Sandberg was vice president of global online sales and operations at Google and chief of staff for the United States Treasury Department under President Bill Clinton.

Her best known book is “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.” Other works include “Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy” and “Lean In for Graduates: With New Chapters by Experts, Including Find Your First Job, Negotiate Your Salary, and Own Who You Are.” She also helped launch LeanIn.org, an initiative of the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation aimed at networking and professional development for women.

Walter Isaacson

Isaacson is the author of best-selling biographies. They include “Leonardo da Vinci,” “The Innovators,” “Steve Jobs,” “Einstein: His Life and Universe,” “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life,” and “Kissinger: A Biography.” He also co-authored “The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made.”

In addition to writing, Isaacson is also a professor of history at Tulane University and has been CEO of the Aspen Institute, chairman of CNN and an editor of Time magazine.

Jim Collins

Collins’ bestseller, “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t,” examines why some companies make the leap to superior results, while “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies,” explores how some leaders build companies that remain for generations.

He also wrote “How the Mighty Fall,” which delves into how once-great companies can self-destruct, and “Great by Choice,” which is about why some people thrive in chaos and others flounder.

Collins began his research and teaching career on the faculty at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1995. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematical sciences and an MBA from Stanford University, and honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Colorado and the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University.

We now have smartphones that allow us to “carry a thousand songs in our pocket”; credit to Steve Jobs, who I was fortunate to see with my daughters in San Francisco at MacWorld 2007 at the introduction of the iPhone. As a result, I would also recommend digital downloads and digital gifting from any of the commercial platforms such as iTunes, iBooks or Amazon’s Kindle.

If you’re not into educational gifts, you can always count on the traditional business favorites.

I would suggest that wine makes a great business gift. The Business Journal’s Michael Moliterno and Jeremy Lydic covered the wine trails in northeastern Ohio extensively this past summer and several great selections on their travels on the Northeast Ohio Wine Trail page under the Lifestyle tab at the top of BusinessJournalDaily.com.

In particular, I would suggest a gift of both Red and Rosé from the Lowellville-based RedHead Brands Wines. These are always good holiday choices, or even the gift of a night out (we can all use that) at L’uva Bella Winery & Bistro on state Route 224 in Poland Township.

I’m hoping (hint-hint) for a box of my favorite cigars from Cordy’s Cigar Box in Girard, or any of the Havana House stores in Boardman, Niles or Bath.

I think (hope) Santa will get the message.

Happy holidays to all of The Business Journal patrons, as well as the Business Strategies – Sales and Marketing readers. I wish you all the best for a successful 2019.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.