Mileage Driven in 90 Days: Traditional Sales 12,430, Virtual Sales 1,624

Posted by John Scranton on October 10, 2011

90 days ago I purchased a new vehicle.  This was the first car I acquired since I transitioned to a virtual business model, which made me wonder how this vehicle’s first few months as a member of my household compared to my last new car purchase, when I still followed the traditional sales model.  Lets take a look at the numbers.

In the first 90 days that I owned my last vehicle, the mileage increased from 33 to 12,430.  That is 4,100+ miles per month on the road a traveling salesman.  My new vehicle has aged from 6 to 1,624 during the first 90 days of ownership.  That represents a nearly 90% drop in miles driven per month.

Now let us explore how that translates to fuel costs.  The traditional sales miles were covered in an economical sedan which averaged 27 MPG.  12,430 / 27 X $3.50 per gallon = $1,611 in fuel costs.  Meanwhile, my virtual miles are driven in an SUV which averages 18 MPG.  1,624 / 18 X $3.50 per gallon = $316.  This equates to $1,300 in my pocket, while making no mention of maintenance costs, even while driving a much less efficient vehicle.

This simple example illustrates just one of the many challenges created by a traditional sales model that puts people on the road.  By leveraging a virtual model, people have more time to work and their businesses are significantly more profitable.

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From the Archives: Virtual, Retired or Professional Gambler?

  • Posted on August 14, 2014
  • by John Scranton

Virtual, Retired or Professional Gambler?

Posted by John Scranton on August 31, 2011

There is an older gentleman in my neighborhood who leaves his house at exactly 11am each day during late July and August.  These happen to be the 40 days that Saratoga Race Course is running.  At first I wondered if it was coincidence, but I have seen him at the track every time I have attended.  Always in the same spot, with the same guys and the same beverage.  He must really enjoy that routine.

This prompted a question – is he a horse racing fan who is making the most of his retirement or a professional gambler who is actually leaving for the office each day at 11?  I don’t know the answer and I don’t know him well enough to ask, but I assume the latter since it is more exciting.  Either way he appears to be paying his bills and having a blast – so kudos to him.

Although this thought process prompted an additional question – what do my neighbors think I do?  Some we know personally, but many are only acquaintances.  How many of them realize that I manage sales and marketing for StartUpSelling from my virtual home office?  How many think I am unemployed and playing computer games all day?  How many think I am retired or a professional gambler?  Maybe I should take an informal poll at the next block party.

The results of the poll would be interesting but not relevant.  The point of these observations and questions, as the author Thomas L. Friedman might say, is this: The democratization of technology, information and finance has created the opportunity for many Americans to build a successful career from their virtual offices – including two on my street – whether they choose to work from a spare bedroom, or next to the margarita bar at the track.

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From the Archives: Virtual Sales

  • Posted on May 9, 2014
  • by John Scranton

Virtual Sales

Posted on May 9th, 2011 by John Scranton

I am currently writing a chapter in a book about virtual sales as a guest author.  It is actually very interesting and thought provoking work.  I share the seemingly infinite stories, anecdotes and examples from my successes and challenges as a salesperson.

As I review my work, I am noticing a common theme.  I illustrate several concepts in a similar way.  I will begin by explaining how well something worked in a traditional sales environment, then recount an instance where the same technique or tool was even more effective during a virtual sale.

For example, I share a story about how a certain closing technique worked during a presentation to the board of an entity.  This group had told me prior to the presentation that they would not make a decision to buy during that meeting – but during my drive home I received a call telling me that they would like to sign.  The closing technique had done the trick.

Most salespeople will quickly grasp this story when ready the book, but may or not be able to envision this same method working effectively during a virtual presentation via GoToMeeting, WebEx or Skype.  So I elaborate and share a virtual example as well – a more powerful story that proves the same technique was amplified by the virtual model and our cloud presentation.

Writing this story the same day that LinkedIn announced their upcoming IPO continues to prove that the virtual paradigm shift is upon us.  Sales, marketing, networking all can be accomplished effectively via Web 2.0 methods.  Prior to that, where would I tell this story?  In a newspaper editorial which could take weeks to process and may be irrelevant by the time it prints or rejected all together?

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From the Archives: My Virtual Commute vs. Your Traditional Commute

  • Posted on February 17, 2014
  • by John Scranton

This morning on LinkedIn I read a post from Richard Branson where he asks: “One day offices will be a thing of the past. But is the move towards flexible working too slow?” The answer is clearly yes. At StartUpSelling, we have employed a 100% virtual model since our founding over a decade ago. The benefits are clear, as explained in this post From the Archives from March 2011.

My Virtual Commute vs. Your Traditional Commute

Posted on March 31st, 2011 by John Scranton

Across the country, business executives spend most of their morning in the car commuting to work.  Maybe a 15 minute ride into Boston, or a 30 minute train ride into New York, or an hour long trek through gridlock into Los Angeles.  This is not uncommon – the bulk of American professionals drive, ride or fly to an office each day.  They invest personal time to seek greater opportunity.

I understand the concept, and engaged in the practice for many years.  The problem is that it is a waste of time.  Lets look at a snapshot of the traditional commuter’s morning I experienced for several years while living 20-30 minutes from my office:  Wake at 6:30 to leave the house at 7:30.  Possibly a stop at Starbucks or for gas.  With a little luck, I was fully caffeinated and ready to begin working by 8:00.

Now let us review a snapshot of the same time frame, as experienced in my virtual lifestyle.  Today I woke up at 7:00 and began the day by having coffee with my wife and giving my dog a belly rub.  I grabbed the paper and gave it a glance as I poured a 2nd cup of coffee and sauntered into my office.  By 7:30, I was working at full speed.  Here is what I was able to accomplish during the time slice that I previously spent weaving through traffic:

  • Cleaned out my email Inbox
  • Posted a New Blog Entry
  • Shared that Blog with thousands of professionals on LinkedIn
  • Emailed an opt-in list of 6,000 in-profile prospects
  • Reviewed a PowerPoint presentation for an upcoming meeting
  • Reviewed and edited an article for a colleague

After accomplishing all that, I was fully caffeinated and ready to begin “working” by 8:00.  Now I can spend my entire day focused on revenue producing activities instead of playing catch up and trying to shake off the stress of a hectic commute.  Imagine how much more you could accomplish if you were able eliminate your commute?  Not to mention the distractions that constantly occur in the traditional office environment.

I challenge all of you to analyze your responsibilities as an employee or employer, and determine what sections of your business could be virtualized.  20%? 50%? 100%?  Allowing an employee to work virtually just one day per week would give them enough extra time to accomplish all of the important tasks I listed above.  The more virtual, the more effective and efficient.  The more effective and efficient, the more profitable.  And do not forget about starting off your day by having coffee with your spouse and giving your dog a belly rub.

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Posted in: Virtual Business
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Virtual Business Isn’t Just Great for Me, It’s Saving the Planet

Posted on October 22nd, 2010 by John Scranton

I recently read Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard.  A friend recommended it to me and I found it very interesting.  Chouinard is the founder and owner of the outdoor company Patagonia.  Prior to reading, the only knowledge of Patagonia I had was that they made expensive outdoor equipment that I heard was high quality.  And there is a Patagonia fleece jacket in our coat closet which my wife occasionally wears.

My initial reaction to the book was that I love Patagonia’s business concept.  They aim to produce the highest quality products in their field, designed with unmatched expertise and simple elegance by people who use the products.  Patagonia’s premium products and tremendous customer service allow them to grow continuously, but they choose to manage their growth strategically – aiming to be great rather than huge.  These are the exact goals of my organization – deliver a high quality product, exceptional service, and strive to be great not big.

As I read on, I learned more about Chouinard’s philosophies toward environmental concerns as well.  He has a very pessimistic view of the resource consumption and waste created by the citizens of the world and hopes to be a catalyst for change.  To lead by example, Patagonia donates 1% of their total annual sales to environmental causes.  I found this to be very impressive, but it also led me to be reflective.  I have never put much consideration into my environmental impact.  I recycle – but is that enough?

I then realized that I made a career change that had an unplanned yet significant environmental impact.  As a traveling salesperson, I was driving 30,000 or more miles per year.  Wearing out suits, cars and diners while consuming vast resources.  Now that I have transitioned to a virtual organization, this consumption and pollution had dropped by approximately 80%.  Maybe more.  This virtual opportunity was great for me personally, and in a very small way is helping save the planet.

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From the Archives: Working Harder versus Working Smarter

  • Posted on September 9, 2013
  • by John Scranton

My career as a salesperson has always included a constant desire to be better. Try, fail, try something else. Try, succeed, repeat, refine, repeat… I have always sought feedback from more experienced salespeople to accelerate the process of continuous improvement. Many gave me interesting ideas, but many gave me a common response when I shared my goal of greater achievement: work harder.

Candidly, I disagree. If what you are doing is not providing the level of success you seek, doing it more often for more hours is not a long-term solution. If you are cold calling an hour per day and need more appointments, calling for two hours might solve the problem this week. But do you want to incrementally increase your cold calling hours each year as you expect to increase your income each year?

Instead of working harder, work smarter. Instead of calling twice as many people, try a new script or a different time of day. In my case, I rarely cold call at all. I only make warm calls to people who have shown an interest in the concepts and solutions we offer via our eMarketing or web seminar campaigns. The only cold calls I make are to organizations I know are firmly in the bulls-eye of our prospect profile, and who I believe are in need of our services.

Smarter – and my calling efficacy reflects that.

So next time you decide you want to a better manager, salesperson, or employee – search for a way to complete your task in a more intelligent fashion. Instead of throwing 60+ hours per week at the problem, invest 45-50 high quality hours. If every day you are a little smarter, you will continue the upward climb toward the success you desire.

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My Virtual Success: A Life Changing Career Transition

The CEO of my company, Alan Blume, recently published a book titled Your Virtual Success: Finding Profitability in an Online World.  Since he signs my paychecks, any reader of this blog would assume that a book review would likely be biased (and they would be right).  So instead, I will simply introduce the book’s content and share a personal story relating to the concepts shared in the text.

Your Virtual Success provides business people with a how to guide to virtualize your organization.  The reader is exposed to web-based cloud computing tools that allow businesses to grow faster, more profitably and with less risk.  Resources are shared showing how to hire and manage talent effectively in home-based offices without ever meeting employees in person.  This model has dramatically increased the productivity, flexibility and responsiveness of the author’s business – while also improving his lifestyle.

Now lets talk about MY virtual success.  I spent five years working as an insurance agency producer.  I enjoyed the work and was never unhappy with the requirements of the job, although my efforts gradually increased as my book of business grew.  By my last year, I was driving 40,000 miles annually.  I left home at 7am and did not return before 9pm most days.  I accepted this as the requirements of success.  My wife was very supportive, but I am sure she did not enjoy eating alone most evenings.

Fortunately, I was introduced to StartUpSelling, Inc. – a completely virtual business.  It did not take long to see this was a tremendous opportunity for both career advancement and a lifestyle upgrade.  In my new role as VP Business Development for StartUpSelling, I still spend as much time as possible trying to generate sales.  However, I am able to be significantly more productive in a 40 hour virtual week than I was in a 60 hour week on the road.  I am more responsive to clients and prospects and my closing ratios have improved.

Most importantly – I eat dinner with my wife every single night.  All other factors aside, this reward alone has made going virtual a great success for me.

If you would like to learn more about the virtual business model and how it may help you and your business, please visit Amazon or any major book retailer.  Heres to Your Virtual Success!

http://www.amazon.com/Your-Virtual-Success-Finding-Profitability/dp/1601631014/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275918854&sr=8-1

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Posted in: B2B Marketing, Business, Sales, Virtual Business
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Things I Need to Succeed

  • Posted on April 4, 2013
  • by John Scranton

LinkedIn is currently running a campaign titled “Things I Carry” that highlights the items most critical to the success of various entrepreneurs and thought leaders. Smart phones, mementos, assistants and food are all mentioned.

Since I am 100% virtual, I don’t carry anything. Keys and a wallet are even optional. But the concept got me thinking… What are the elements most critical to your success? Here are a few of mine:

  • The Internet – The virtual business concept would not exist without the web, and this would have a massive impact on my career, my life and my family. Thanks Al Gore!
  • StartUpSelling’s Webinar Campaign – This lead gen campaign provides us with a consistent flow of new, in-profile prospects. This took time to cultivate, but now yields an abundance of opportunity.
  • A Cold Beer – Specifically an Ommegang Abbey Ale while I cook a steak on the grill. This could also be a trip to he gym, walking the dogs, a good cup of coffee, writing or reading – whatever creates a peaceful state of mind.
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Posted in: Business, Virtual Business
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