We all sell something for a living -- whether it's a brand, a vision, an education, a direction, or a service. We might even be selling a set of numbers to a board meeting, learning to a student, or cereal to an infant. This eye-opening parable is about harnessing natural energy -- yours and that of those around you -- in order to take your sales, and your satisfaction to the next level of success. In Top Performer, you'll meet Jim, a disciplined but uninspired sales manager. In London on vacation -- his first in years -- he meets a gentleman named Top Hat. In an engrossing conversation, Top Hat tells him about a legendary Dublin busker/street performer called the Rat Catcher, who engages his audience and effortlessly charms them into parting easily with their change. Top Hat then gives Jim an envelope to bring to the Rat Catcher as a form of introduction. Jim is incredulous, and even a bit suspicious. But after a trip back home, he's willing to do anything to break out of his rut of good-to-average sales and dogged but unfulfilling perseverance. Jim travels to Dublin, where the Rat Catcher tells -- and shows -- him some surprising secrets of his work ethic and his selling style. Jim ultimately realizes that he needs to Claim the Pitch, Mine the Mess, Choose the Close, and, most importantly, Juice the Jam. When Jim returns home, he's re-energized, having learned how to Build a Circle and Pass the Hat where it really counts -- in his life, his relationships, and his workplace. Full of action-packed and sometimes hilarious descriptions of the real like adventures of street performer, this engaging metaphor will appeal to anyone in any position -- and in any field, from banking to baking to busking. In the tradition of the bestselling Fish! series this is a deceptively simple story that contains profound advice -- advice that will help make readers into Top Performer themselves.
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January 02, 2007
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Excerpt from Top Performer by Carr Hagerman
BURNED OUT AND NEEDING A BOOST
My name is Jim and I sell for a living. Actually my name is Bartholomew James, but I prefer Jim. When you get right down to it, I think we all sell for a living. In a sense we all sell ourselves if nothing else.
I'm not a complicated guy. I took a good upbringing, complete with having to do regular chores; the traits I developed as an athlete; and my competitive spirit, and found a place in sales. While I have a business degree, it was my minor in science that guided me in choosing the industry in which I work.
I sell pharmaceutical products, some of which find their way to oncology patients who are provided a measure of hope that was not possible just a few years ago. I find that satisfying, although I sometimes get caught up in the selling process itself and forget some of the great things we do for people. The pharmaceutical industry has been portrayed somewhat negatively in the news lately, and it can be easy to forget the important role we play in sustaining a healthy society, but seeing the positive results on a daily basis helps.
And I think you sell, as well. I already said that, but it bears repeating. You might be selling a brand, a vision, an education, a direction, a service, the credibility of a set of numbers, learning to a student, or cereal to an infant, but I think we all sell for a living. Just my opinion, but that's what I believe.
I have done well in sales. In other words, I make good money. I have had the discipline to make more calls, send more letters, sponsor more events, and give more presentations than most of my colleagues. I have put in long days and worked on weekends. I almost never take vacation time, and I am proud of that fact. That has been my life. The founder of Radisson Inc. once said, "I keep up with the competition during the week and use the weekend to move ahead." I have tried to emulate that philosophy.
But recently I arrived at a place in my life where the discipline and willpower upon which I have built my success aren't enough. Longer hours don't seem to help at work. And in my life, what life I have, things are going in the wrong direction. I feel like I have reached a plateau at work and fallen behind in life. And to tell you the truth, I'm scared.
Today I'm starting a journey in search of a new source of energy. The problem is, I don't really know where to start. Perhaps something will show up if I pay attention. If something doesn't show up, I'm toast.
We typically use discipline and willpower when we start a diet, begin a self-improvement program, or want to sell more stuff and make a lot of money. Discipline and willpower almost always deliver, for a while.
A few monks can maintain a life based solely on discipline, but for most humans the price of a life ruled by discipline and willpower is simply too great over the long haul. There is just not enough juice to keep you going. Witness the dismal failure of more than 95 percent of those who attempt to lose weight by disciplined dieting. Eventually, another source of energy must be found.