The year was 1989 and I had just started working for Furrow Building Materials in Findlay, Ohio as a supervisor.
Our management team consisted of a Manager, Assistant Manager, 2 Supervisors, and a Yard Foreman.
Together, we managed a multi-million dollar lumberyard and home center.
Our boss was a man by the name of Ed Craig.
Ed was a tall skinny dude with short spiked hair and a mustache held over from the 1970’s. He was ex-military with a drill sergeant’s attitude.
Our Yard Foreman was a guy by the name of Gomer Withrow.
He was a thick dude with big arms and no neck. He was your typical biker dude with tatoos, a Fu Manchu and an angry disposition. Think Paul Teutel from Orange County Choppers.
Every Monday morning we would have a 6:00AM team meeting where we would discuss the week ahead and our primary objectives. Each week Ed would push the team on our sales, inventory, and expense budgets.
During one of our meetings Ed was pressing us about our sales numbers when Gomer chimed in with a line I’ll never forget– “F*ck our budget, if we give 110% everyday then the numbers will take care of themselves!”
Gomer had an endearing quality–No filter. Gomer thinks something, Gomer says something.
Most of the time it worked for him as he dealt all day with forklift operators, truck drivers, and lumber “dogs” as we called them. You know, the guys who loaded and unloaded trucks and worked in the cold and heat of a lumberyard.
Barking at lumberdogs is one thing. Barking at your boss in a team meeting at 6:00AM on Monday morning when he’s barely sipped his first cup of coffee is another.
Ed, the drill sergeant, lit into Gomer with equally colorful language and attitude. It was EPIC!
Gomer never made that mistake again.
Numbers do matter.
Giving your best without knowing how you’re doing is foolish. If you don’t know how sales are doing then how do you know what adjustments to make? How do you know when it’s time to work harder? How do you know when it’s time lower expenses?
After Ed and Gomer’s explosive confrontation, Ed shared with the team one of the wisest pieces of advice I’ve ever heard -“Sales cures all.”
His point was that if your expenses are out of line, and your inventory numbers are over budget you can still sell your way to success.
If you know the top line number and you work to achieve it, everything else will take care of itself.
It was his way to say, stay focused on the goal, but not just any goal, stay focused on what’s most important.
Sometimes the difficult thing for us to do is to understand what’s truly important. What does “Sales Cures All” look like in our daily lives? Said differently, what’s most important?
Over the years I’ve discovered that the only thing in life that truly matters is people.
My wife, kids, dad, mom, sisters, brothers, friends and business associates.
What’s my version of “Sales Cures All”?
Stay focused on PSI. Physically fit. Spiritually fit. Intellectually fit.
Once I have these in order I will have the energy, love, and wisdom to share with my friends, family, and clients.
Question of the day: What is the one thing you can do that will have the most positive impact in your life?
What’s your version of “Sales Cures All” ?