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Seviour Books

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I don’t know your reason for looking at my book, but before going any further, I do hope it’s not because you or a person close to you has cancer; it’s a horrible disease. My story is about my own experience of stage 4 throat cancer and what I have learned by researching – I’m not an expert; this isn’t a medical textbook and my description won’t necessarily match how things go for other people, but it should give you some insight and forewarning of what to expect. Some of it was frustrating, some painful and surprisingly other parts which went far better than I expected. This book is what I would have been very happy to read before the start of my encounter with cancer. Despite the serious nature of the topic, I think you’ll find plenty of moments which make you laugh.

“Not the most cheerful of topics – cancer – but Robert is able to put a lighter spin on the whole experience, without losing any of the gravitas.

For anyone who has just received a cancer diagnosis – or is fearful of one – reading Roberts story may well answer many questions and worries they have. Of course, everyone’s cancer journey will be different but it is heartening to read how Robert faces up to the more unpleasant aspects of his treatment with cheerful resilience. I never thought a book about cancer could be funny!

It is not just a narrative about his illness, however. There are fascinating facts and figures that certainly opened my eyes. Robert is never shy of giving his opinion (see ‘Robert’s Rants’!) and is the kind of person who is forthright enough to ask the doctor the questions we all want answering!!

Some may say it’s not for everyone. But I disagree. Considering about half of us will experience cancer in our lifetime – with the rest knowing someone who has – I would argue that it makes essential reading.”

Review Verified purchase.Charming and enlightening.

Please note that this book is not about self-anger management.It is for persons who encounter angry people in their work. It explains how to reduce the problem and stay safe.

Here’s an armoury of witty, crude, lewd, sharp and nasty put-downs. Comebacks you can draw on for next time you are in an argument. A resource for writers, speakers, jokers, those who love language and have time on their hands. A certain type of reader will enjoy these humorous, witty, insults and irreverent quotations, others will be appalled. NOT FOR CHILDREN or sensitive flowers.

Thoroughly recommended for all companies who have engineers in the field! “I am an engineer, and also an entrepreneur, and I have always struggled with how to approach sales. “Selling” is against the nature of most engineers. I find that Roberts approach is a handy guide for nerds and geeks like myself. Following his simple steps takes away the fear and uncertainty of how to approach a sale, and even to close a deal. I will buy a copy for all my engineers! They are the ones closest to my customers’ pains and, since their opinions are trusted, are ideally placed to pitch solutions.”

ReviewMichael ConnellyVerified purchase.RATING ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sales-led companies use prospecting as their standard way of winning business because it is simple and has been proven effective over decades. But very few technical organisations have followed this example. That’s a shame because  Continue reading

Finding the right parking, spot if you want to camp, takes time. You need a place where ….

Hello, my name is Hans, I am coming from Tschermanny. Oh you guessed?I vont to …..

In this town there’s not much to do after dark if you’re trying to stay sober. And …..

It was Terry Chan who suggested that I get into carpet cleaning, the idea had never …..

Copyright © 2022 Seviour Books

Finding the right parking, spot if you want to camp, takes time. You need a place where the neighbours are not going to feel intruded upon, and, at the other end of the spectrum, where the locals have some inhibition about putting a brick thru your window to snatch the change from outa the ashtray.

That said, I thought I done good. Nice spot, away from the residential, coupla other vans, dark. Yes!

So I tidy up the day’s chaos and sort out my sleeping arrangements; any wise man will tell you; ‘Make your bed well, before you get really drunk’.

Time to relax, there’s enough alcohol in the fridge to keep a convent happy for a year. And I just bought a litre of fruit juice for 99 cents.

Drink and refill X 3, then a nasty moment.

A sleek black car pulls in alongside. OOOOh I am not sure if I like this, could be cop in some form or other. Just this morning, a nice gentleman with an automatic pistol, asked us if we were camping – ‘because that is illegal’.

As an experienced neurotic, I feast with the possibilities; the minimum; ‘drinking while in a parked car’, thru ‘death by lethal injection’, perhaps with Guantanamo torture.

I keep it right down, no lights, move silently – like a trained killer. Open the fridge, take out the 1.75 litres of vodka like a man who does this for a living. Glug and repeat, splasha juice and down the hatch. Yeeha! Que Bueno!

15 maybe 20 minutes pass. Did they leave without me noticing? Couldbe / maybe. Thanks to the wonder of C2H5OH this no longer seems so germane. Fuck it, why worry, bee happy – (lucky species).

And at this exact moment, the entertainment starts. No violin tuning, opera-style; the black luxo vehicle starts to jigger, (The correct technical term).

Relax; it’s only a couple, without anywhere better to go, playing, ‘Where does your zucchini want to visit today?’

Jiggy, jiggy, with many repeats, and the car rocks to the fundamental harmonic of its springs. Nice demonstration for physics students.

The jigginess briefly changes to a faster frequency; I’m taking notes because at my age it would be easy to think that the young bucks were so much better that my opportunities were all over. But no!

Maximum 2 mins of spring fibrilation and we are back to nuttin, nada, finished, kerfuckt, (sprechen Sie Deutsch?).

My little dilemma is resolved; they did what nature wills, then motor on.Only question in my mind; what do you say, after the volcanics?I’d really like to know.

Oh man,you don’t wanna know that one.Ok, I was doing a James Brown rendition on stage, in front of about five hundred and fifty people. And I did a spin and I said, ‘Hey_ee_uh’. . . and my wig fell off.Never forgot that, man.And everybody jumped up and started screamin. And I looked down and I said, ‘Oh man, ma wig fell off. Ma wig. Ma wig fell off.How I’m gonna get ma wig back on ma head?’

So I said, ‘I just can’t reach down and get it, ah’l look like a clown’.So what ah  did, I said, ‘I gotta be creative, so ah spinned around, did the splits an’ ah grabbed it on my way down. And on my way up, ah put it back on my head.Ah said, ‘Yaaa_heey_ee’.And they just fell out, man. The whole crowd, pandemonium. An’ I jus’ kept on dancin’. Doin ma thing . . . got outta the situation.

It was Terry Chan who suggested that I get into carpet cleaning, the idea had never occurred to me. Thinking back, perhaps I should have been less impetuous. When I first met Terry and his wife Priscilla, he had a pizza outlet and a little later his wife opened a fashion boutique. Both shops failed. It was a curious thing, Terry thought about very little other than how to make money, and he already had plenty from his parents, but he didn’t seem to be much of a businessman.

Anyway, he’d bought the necessary gear and in the evening when he’d finished serving up slices of dough-with-cheese, he’d go out with a helper or two on carpet cleaning missions. He told me about this one day when we went skiing together. He was enthusiastic, ‘Easy money’, he said.

I decided to give it a try, but out of caution, I thought I’d attempt to sell a couple of jobs before spending money on equipment. At this point I knew nothing about how you clean a carpet, but I did have a lot of experience of making sales calls. My philosophy was (still is), ‘They can’t punch you on the nose over the phone’. So I got a local directory and started making calls;

‘My name is Robert, I’m a carpet cleaner. Do you have any carpets or rugs you’d like to have cleaned?’

That isn’t too hard is it? Guess what, it didn’t take long before someone asked, ‘When can you do it?’ And if you’ve spent any time in sales, you’ll know that a good way to answer a question like that is with another one. ‘When would you like to have it done?’ The lady was looking to have her whole house cleaned the next day and I agreed that I would come and do it.

Not having a carpet cleaning machine was, of course, a bit of a problem. But there was a big Janitor’s Warehouse store on Marine Drive so I went down there and spoke to the boss. ‘I know nothing about cleaning a carpet but I’ve sold a job and I need a machine’.

Lyle, the owner, seemed impressed by this and promptly signed me up for a hire-purchase agreement on a portable machine. He threw in five minutes of instruction too. ‘Use the hottest water you can get, a couple of scoops of detergent, then one wet pass and two dry’. Not exactly a three year university course, but enough to be able to make a thousand bucks a week.

Next morning, at the appointed time, Adam, my assistant, and I are at the lady’s house. There is some trepidation about how we are going to do the job, but, glory be, she says, ‘I’ve got to go out. Can I pay you now?’

So, she’s away and Adam and I put our new equipment together. Not that complicated actually. What it comprises is a tank which we fill with hot water from the tap, and a long hose which connects a vacuum pump to the ‘wand’.I liked that word right from the beginning. Not many trades use a wand. As far as I know, it’s limited to magicians and carpet cleaners. I’d sooner be a magician, but there’s a little problem with talent and practice.

The gear’s ready, so power on and blast-off. It’s fun; hot soapy water squirts out of the jets within the wand and once you’ve gone over a stripe of carpet pulling the trigger for the water, you dry the same area using just the vacuum. That sucks the dirty water out of the carpet. It definitely works, the proof is to be seen when you empty the dirty-water tank; very unappetizing dark, dark, grey water, with added nasty bits.

The logic is: if the dirt’s in the water, the carpet must be cleaner. Sometimes you can’t really tell, though and that’s a shame because if the difference is dramatic, it really impresses the customer. The most spectacular example we ever had was a Chinese restaurant on Lower Lonsdale. It was quite a big place and it took us most of the morning to do, what made it memorable was that the carpet, which on our arrival was brown, was sky blue when we left. The owner expressed his astonishment; he’d been there for a long time with a gravy-coloured carpet. That got us pay and a Chinese meal. A few years later I found myself in the neighbourhood and looked out for the place, but it had burnt down.

We scrubbed merrily at filthy carpets for two or three seasons. It was making money, but nothing special, and there is one aspect of the work that wouldn’t occur to you unless you try it; the machine fills the room you are in with moisture-saturated air. If you are exerting yourself agitating carpet with wand, this is as good a way to sweat out body water as a Turkish bath. We worked in white cotton coveralls, after twenty minutes they were soaked.

With an eye forever open for additional business, we thought up the idea of using dry-cleaning stores as our sales force. I laminated some notices saying, ‘We clean rugs’ and went round the mostly Iranian establishments which offered dry cleaning. They liked the idea; they took in the rug, we cleaned it, and they got paid by the customer. So far, so good.

But the blithe confidence in being able to do our part of the bargain was ill-founded. One day I was given a rug to work on and I attacked it the way we always did, with the machine and hot soapy water. This, I can tell you with authority, is not a good idea on a delicate, hand-woven, silk carpet. Can you guess what happened? The reds, bled into the blues, the blues into the yellows. If it had been in the sixties, you might have got away with explaining that melting colours was groovy. Thirty years on, I didn’t have the face to try that one. So then it was a rather forlorn and desperate series of bleaching operations to try and recreate something like what we had first been handed. In the end I convinced myself that it wasn’t too bad, dried the rug and went back to the merchant. Next time I saw him he went nuts, and that was only a shadow of the performance that the rug-owner had treated him to.

Didn’t get paid on that one.

Nor did we see any money for our efforts on another exotic item of underfoot padding. This one was some kind of Afghan, shaggy white special. The reason we got it to clean was that the owner’s shaggy white Afghan doggy had peed on it. Men, if you’ve ever written your initials in the snow with the warm and yellow, you have some idea of what it looked like.

At that time Juan, a Peruvian was working for me; I took him to this job and left him to get on with it. When I got back later on the lady of the house was having puppies. ‘You’ve destroyed my rug’. That was a bit of an exaggeration; there were still quite a few square feet of ruggy substance remaining. But she did have a point; there was a conspicuous bald patch – formerly the yellow area. ‘Juan, what have you done?’ ‘Robert, I worked on it until the yellow was gone’. Couldn’t fault that; definitely no yellow, unfortunately, no white, shaggy pile either.

Tried thinking of a brilliant excuse to cover this. Standard procedure, for workers, of course, is to blame another trade, failing that, the customer. This, I have to admit, is one area that I’ve never managed a pass mark in. The old mea culpa tends to slip out with very little prompting. Fat lot of good it does, though. In the end I think I issued a hundred or so, ‘Sorry’s’ and then we did a very speedy runner. Although threatened, didn’t get sued, yeeha.

I told another carpet-cleaner about our incident and he recounted his worst moment in the game. He’d had to clean up the rather dirty premises of a printer. It was on an upper floor and there had been enough ink spilled over the years for the cleaner to spray out a lot of soapy water in an effort to get a good result. So he’s conscientiously scrubbing away, well into the job, when there is a knock at the door. It’s the guy from the suite below. He’s pretty mad, ‘Do you know what you’ve done?’ Daft question of course, but understandable; inky water was flowing in some volume out of the ceiling light fittings in his apartment. And from there, all over the fashionable white carpet and furnishings.

Later on, my various assistants had found other employment and I was going out doing the work on my own. It’s harder of course, but you don’t have to split the money. There was one downside I hadn’t thought of though.

On this very sunny day, I’ve got an appointment at the top of Lynn Valley, It’s an unusual house, most of the front is glass and it’s blindingly bright inside; pretty straightforward cleaning job though. And I set up, fill the tank, plug in the electric lead and switch on.

I liked to start at the far end of a place and work back towards the front door. So I’m in a bedroom on the third floor and using long hoses, I’ve left the machine one level down. It’s the usual, energetic scrub action. By now, I’ve done so many homes, there’s no thinking needed, my head is on holiday. But now I dimly register something intruding on my dream. It’s the homeowner, she’s saying something, but I doubt it matters much, so I pretend I haven’t heard. Now she’s tapping me on the shoulder, urgently.

‘Your machine . . .’ something or other which I couldn’t make out over the noise.

So I go and have a look. She wasn’t wrong to call me, there’s flames coming up from out of the base. Never seen that before.

She’s screaming now – quite appropriately. And I am trying to think what the hell to do. I dash to the kitchen, grab a big bowl, fill it with water and chuck that over the fiery carpet sucker. Doesn’t achieve a bloody thing, flames not impressed. With courage which comes to the valiant in dire times, I now grab the blazing machine, dirty water and all and dash for the stairs, through the door and out on to the grass. It’s still burning nicely, and one more bucket of water doesn’t change that. Finally a little logic creeps in and I realise that I have to turn the thing upside down so that water can actually get at what is on fire. That does the trick, now there’s just a stink of flame-grilled rubber and plastic.

I did a post mortem; an electrical connection that I had made when installing a replacement pressure pump wasn’t waterproof. It had started sparking and one little thing lead to bigger, hotter ones.

The lady was still wailing and shaking. I stuffed my gear in the van and shoved off quick . Didn’t even charge her.

Took it as a sign to quit carpet cleaning though.

Finding and keeping an outstanding sales producer isn’t easy. My experience is that many technology companies, perhaps most, don’t set about hiring a salesperson in an effective way. You are going to need the right strategies and, be warned, they may clash with the ideas you hold now. Have you have tried hiring salespeople in the past and failed to get a good one? Then you’ll know the cost and frustrations of getting it wrong. Perhaps you have never needed to hire a salesperson before, but want to now. Much of the first part of this manual is about the problems you may face if you give the wrong person the job. But if they are already sickeningly familiar, you’ll find the later sections describe steps you can take to improve your chances. It’s worth doing properly, there’s a big pay-back. In a hurry? If you need to hire a technical sales person quickly, go straight to the section: Hiring Checklist for a step-by-step process. Are you wondering, ‘Can I be confident that your advice is right?’ It’s based on my 27+ years of selling and recruiting and managing salespeople for my own businesses and the experience of sales managers and company owners I’ve met. In the last 13 years I’ve trained sales teams for technology companies large and small worldwide. During that time I’ve had the opportunity of meeting some excellent sales-people and seeing which companies are able to recruit them and how, and which businesses fail to and why. I think you’ll agree once you see the reasoning behind the process that it’s common sense and it leads to predictably good results. Read this manual, with an open mind, and you’ll get an understanding of what it takes to find your own champion salesperson.• You’ll get a strong flow of profitable orders• Leads are turned into business, not wasted• Your company grows• You don’t have to invest much of your own time, which frees you up to develop other parts of your business• It inspires your other employees by demonstrating that excellent sales results are possible. • By the same token they render invalid the usual excuses.

You don’t need me to tell you that having a team of energetic, capable and motivated salespeople is going to be good for your business. An effective sales force is a huge competitive advantage. You may make great products or provide fine professional services but without enough customers, your company won’t last long. If you are reading this because your sales team’s performance is disappointing, that’s usually a symptom of weak leadership or inadequate support. And be aware that for the company, firing the sales manager might look like a quick solution. As business owner or sales manager it’s your responsibility to maintain and increase sales volume, motivating the sales people is one of the main methods of achieving this. Money is the conventionally assumed to be the key stimulant – but there’s less of it around right now and it’s not the only, or even the best way to incentivise to produce a really strong sales force. As long as pay is sufficient for normal needs, appealing to and satisfying each individual’s internal drives is a more effective motivator. That’s mostly what this manual is about, understanding and creating the conditions which catalyse strongly positive motivation.To succeed at motivating your sales team, you need to possess appropriate personal characteristics and your own efforts must also be supported by people with other roles in your organisation. The extent to which that will occur depends very much on the style of the company and the personalities of those who direct it. Achieving change in this area may involve you in some challenging negotiations.Since effective salespeople tend to be independently-minded, strong characters – they have to be or they wouldn’t put up with the harder parts of sales work for long – they don’t take kindly to being told what to do. Unlike the army, you can’t issue an order and get unquestioning compliance. If only!No, you have to employ carrot, stick and a good deal of psychology to lead a squad of big, tough egos. On the way you’ll need an open mind, self-discipline and persistence.Got those ingredients in stock? Then read on.

Sales-led companies use prospecting as their standard way of winning business because it is simple and has been proven effective over decades. But very few technical organisations have followed this example. That’s a shame because the method works for any activity and it can deal with some otherwise difficult problems:• If your business has times when there’s too much work and others when there isn’t enough, prospecting can regulate the workflow and make it more manageable• It can improve the profitability of the jobs you win and increase the proportion of quotes that turn into orders• If you are in a competitive market, competent prospecting gives you a potent advantage.The reason ‘techie’ companies don’t do much prospecting is mostly because they don’t realise its potential and they are deterred by an inaccurate view of what it entails. If you have been reluctant to start prospecting, I sympathise. There was a time when the idea had little appeal for me, but after having done a lot of it, I’ve changed my mind completely. It really does work extremely well and if you go about it professionally, it’s not hard.I won’t wish you good luck, because if ever there was a field where it’s true, in prospecting, you make your own. This manual explains how.


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Seviour Books is backed with a 60 Day No Questions Asked Money Back Guarantee. If within the first 60 days of receipt you are not satisfied with Wake Up Lean™, you can request a refund by sending an email to the address given inside the product and we will immediately refund your entire purchase price, with no questions asked.

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