Sales Talk Blog

Tips, Tools and Coaching to Enhance Your Effectiveness!

Ed Harper
Ed Harper


As a consultant and creative designer, I utilize more than 30 years of experience in working with Fortune 50 class organizations to create effective results. I can personally point to outstanding results in sales programs, sales training engagements, sales management, sales consulting services, and strategic planning. In addition, I’ve had the benefit of practicing these skills in international consulting and training engagements throughout Europe, Australia, Asia, Brazil and, of course, North America.

As Chief Development Officer within Growth Development Associates, Inc., (GDA) I oversee the design, development, customization, and (at times) the delivery of instructor-led training events. I coordinate the design and facilitation of self-paced on-line courses and webinars, and I’m currently managing the language conversion of our online training programs, the indoctrination of new GDA resellers, and the development of GDA’s 30-day Immersion program for 2014... Tapestry.

I am one of three co-founders of GDA still active within the company. Clients choose to engage GDA services so that they might:
1. Improve sales and coaching skills for corporate sales and service organizations;
2. Change corporate behaviors to reflect those of a sales focused culture;
3. Apply proven strategic and tactical planning services to achieve record-level growth; and
4. Establish the infrastructure needed to preserve and build upon these changes.

To learn more about GDA, go to and follow us at GDA On-Line @salesimmersion.

A Fortunate Reversal

A Fortunate Reversal

He was a large man.   He was out of shape and had a tendency to lumber when he walked.  He had longish, jet black hair that was unruly and strayed down around the corners of his eyes at times.   I remember thinking on more than one occasion as he was instinctively brushing his hair off of his face, that he probably needed an introduction to a good barber, but it would not have done much for his appearance.   He was not a handsome man.   

Prior to meeting him, I had only heard rumors from the more senior account team members.   Actually they were all more senior than I was.   I was the newest member of this large account team, and fresh out of the company’s Entry Level Training Program.   I had done well throughout the training program and was highly regarded by the company and my branch, so much to my surprise my first active assignment was to be assigned to one of the premier accounts in the branch.  That was the good news.  

The bad news was that I had yet to prove myself to the members of the team.   I therefore got the assignment that no one else on the team wanted.   I was assigned to cover the downtown data center, which meant that my primary customer was the downtown Data Center Manager that I began describing to you in the opening of this article.  
He was infamous for his abuse of end-users, data center engineers and technicians, peer managers, and sales people in particular.   I use the term “abuse” figuratively of course, because he was a smart man and he knew just how far he could go.   In fact, to be perfectly honest, he was more than just smart… the man was very likely a genius, who could do amazing things in planning, designing, and managing that data center and all of the related systems connected to it.   You just had to be able to put up with his quick wit and his lack of tolerance for anything less than perfection.   
As one of the principle vendors supporting the data center, he had already run through just about everyone on our team.  Each of them had their own horror stories of either watching him seek and destroy someone during one of the weekly operations meetings, or of how he personally took them to task himself.   So they could not wait to throw the new guy to wolf in this case… namely me.   

I’ll never forget the first day I met him.   I was nervous, but confident in my skills and in my training.   He kept me waiting for almost a half hour beyond the time of our appointment.  When he administrative assistant showed me into his office, it was a shock to the system.   I was all prepared to find photos or pictures on the wall to use as the basis for establishing rapport.   Instead, the walls were full of white-board with various systems diagrams and charts that I did not understand, piles of books and magazines and clutter were everywhere.   There was no empty chair for me to sit in so I just stood there looking around kinda wide-eyed.   

He was looking me up and down like a bad caricature, and literally sneering at me but he didn’t say anything.   When I offered my hand to shake as I introduced myself, he didn’t really shake my hand as much as he dwarfed the whole thing with fat fingers and a hand like a catcher’s mitt.   He still hadn’t said anything. 

Finally, in something that sounded a lot like the cartoon villain in a bad “B” movie, he grinned while saying, “What the “#&$%” did you do wrong to get assigned to me?”

I remember thinking that he was wearing a really ugly tie, as I explained to him that I was fresh out of the company training program and newly assigned to the team.

He responded with something like, “What makes them think that I want some squirrelly rookie hanging around who doesn’t know his ‘@$$’ from a hole in the ground?”

My reflex reversal was spoken from the heart.   I said, “That while I had no idea what they were thinking, but that I was thinking that I couldn’t wait to show whoever was lucky enough to be my first customer all that I had learned in training and everything that I could do.  And if you’re looking for someone with absolutely no baggage and willing to do anything he can to prove himself, then I am the guy for you.”

With that I began taking him through a classic, highly interactive sales call like I’d been taught, and the rest is history.   He decided he liked me and we put in more equipment in that data center under my watch than we had in the previous five years.  I was there for about three years before moving on to a new assignment.  I caught more than my fair share of abuse during those years as well, but it was worth it.          

Comment (0)

b i u quote

Enter the code shown above in the box below.
Save Comment

Watch GDA Sales Bites

Search Blog

Recent Posts

Read More »

About GDASalesTraining

Growth Development Associates provides dynamic, customized, face-to-face sales and management training and business consulting services. Every delivery is designed to produce results that help you grow your business. Through the GDA On-Line site, we extend our expertise to reach thousands of sales professionals without the cost and complexity of face-to-face training.

Find Out More

Full Skills Immersion

How would you like to make every sales and customer service call you make an "in the zone" conversation?  Tapestry webinars give you an opportunity to learn and practice the key concepts that will enhance your career in multiple ways!  Packed with weekly webinars, weekly GDA Sales Bites, success stories, blogs, tweets and downloadable coaching guides, Tapestry allows you to immerse yourself in training while producing career results.

Find Out More

Free Sales Resources

We're so confident that you'll love our training we want you to take it for free. Gratis. Zero. Zilch. Here's what people are saying about GDA Sales Bites:  

"Just a short note to tell how fantastic your sales bites are!  Learn so much every time.  Thank you."  -- Rosa Esparra

What are you waiting for? Just one of our free samples may result in a huge payoff for you! So go ahead!

Free Sales Resources

Free Sales Tips

Subscribe here to receive your weekly video copy of the GDA Sales Bites!


Subscribe for Free!

Address: 2338 Immokalee Road, Suite 109 Naples FL 34110
Phone: +1 800 966-4321