Merging: It is a sales tip.

The Richardsonian Romanesque Pillsbury Hall (1...

Pillsbury Hall. U of Minnesota. (I couldn't find a merging photo.)

Clearly I am in Minnesota.  Where else would I be?  All the beautiful pictures posted throughout this blog could come from nowhere else.  But there would be another way for me to identify my location, but it is a little difficult to do via the internet and a blog.  I could let you experience the driving here.  Unlike the scenery, the driving here is not beautiful.  In fact driving skills in Minnesota border on criminal incompetence.  The list of offences is long and comprehensive.  As a rule, Minnesotans cannot drive. 

I want to focus on one particularly common poor driving skill:  Merging.

This post is all about sharing experiences of a salesman, correct?  (You could hardly tell, I’ll be the first to admit…but, hey, I said I would share what I know about sales and often that’s pretty lean.)  So this morning while standing on the brakes for the umpteenth time while someone tried to merge onto the freeway it occurred to me that a salesman’s success or failure in his career could depend a lot on his ability to merge. 

Let me explain.

The most common mistake people here make when they enter a freeway — or any moving lane of traffic, for that matter — is not getting enough speed to properly merge.  I guess I’ll never understand why someone would think they should slow down before entering a lane of traffic that is already moving faster than they are moving.  But see this all the time.  The diver will come speeding down the entrance ramp then hit the brakes, slow down, and start looking around for I don’t know what.  Eventually they find a space large enough for them to slip into without getting killed and they move over a lane causing everyone behind them to brake while the driver then gets his car up to speed.

(An aside:  Does anyone hate it that I keep using masculine pronouns?  My grade school teachers would humiliate us if we didn’t…and I am a guy…so I could almost be taking a sloppy first person perspective.  Anyway, back to the post.)

This morning I began to have serious thoughts about merging as an illustration for all kinds of things we do well or poorly in life.  In that matter of sales, for example, it occurs to me that there is A LOT of stuff going on out there in the business world.  Don’t let any little — or big — recession get you down.  Believe me, the aggressive business owners are scooping up market share right now.  This is when the bold get ahead.  So if you’re a little sales guy puttering out into traffic at half-speed because you don’t think you have the power to keep up, you’ll get squashed.  Think of it as opportunity rolling right over you.  Plus you’ll piss off a lot of business that might be backed up by your lame half-baked sales pitch.  Get into the sales lane to win!  Build speed.

So my take aways:  Don’t pitch silly little penny-wise proposals.  The real players will look at you like slow traffic in the fast lane.  And stay out of the slow lane if you want to move fast.  There is business out there.  In fact, the fast lane is less crowded now.  A lot of people are huddled up on the shoulder waiting for a big gaping space open in the traffic flow.  Hell’s bells!  Get into the fast lane.

So…let’s see how it works.  Tomorrow I am going past the clunkers and chase the big overpowered sedans.  I’ll report later.

(What’s this?  DC has the worst drivers?  See below.  I don’t believe it.)

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