For most of my business life I have been blessed to have some outstanding mentors.
The earliest sales mentor was Sam Kligerman. I met him when my career was just beginning and his was winding down. I was the marketing director for all of the Wendy’s in South Jersey along with some advertising properties owned by our parent company (a franchise holdiing company, not Wendy’s International).
Sam — then in his late 70’s — was the sales director for a division of our company called “Supersign”– a lighted sign aboard a boat that sailed up and down the Jersey shore broadcasting advertising messages.
Sam was the consummate professional. He always wore a suit and tie even on the hottest summer days. He would plan very carefully how to approach every prospect. He was polite and direct. He said “please” and “thank you.”
But the thing I remember most about Sam was his huge sense of optimism. As a person, he was bigger than life, and much of that was driven by a pure, unadulterated sense that everything would turn out okay. He expressed that through almost everything he did.
The thing I remember most, though, is walking to the door of the office with Sam to go out to make sales calls. He would get to the door first, grab the doorknob, turn to me and say, “Hey, son!” and I’d say, “Yes, Sam?” and he’d growl, “Let’s get one!”
His optimism was infectious. During a sales presentation, no matter what the client’s initial concerns or objections, Sam’s pure conviction and confidence won them over. He was an “old school” master and I feel privileged to have known him.
To this day, when I reach my own office door I think of Sam.
I think of how he approached every day.
And before I open my own door to go into my own world, I hear his voice saying, “Let’s get one!”
It prepares me to succeed and handle any obstacle.
Sometimes, in business, it’s the little things that mean a lot.
Thank you, Sam, wherever you are.