Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Improbability of Practicality

The Improbability of Practicality


I want to have a round table exchange with those few of you all who run across my internet leavings.  Since I was a kid, I’ve had a contempt for things that seemed impractical and irrational.  I’ve also desired to know why these things that seemed idiotic to me were in practice.  I asked often, but received a lot of those answers like… “Because it’s always been that way.” or .. “If it ain’t broke..”


Here are a few of the impractical things that bothered me as a kid.  Daylight Savings Time, Neckties, Itchy Sweaters, Standing in Lines….


Let’s talk about neckties for a second.  This article of clothing makes about as much sense as a powdered wig.  Maybe less.  You know what does make sense?  A bib.  Babies and lobster eaters wear those with some measure of success in keeping their shirts clean.  Ties take longer to get around your neck and only guard a small portion of your shirt.  They’re uncomfortable, and restrictive and they cut off oxygen to your brain, which makes you stupid.  I have no concrete proof of the stupidity but I have met many tie wearing dummies.  And anecdotal evidence counts for the purpose of this article.  


Let’s say it takes 2 minutes to tie one and you wear it to work for 50 weeks per year.  That means that you are wasting 500 minutes per year putting on a tie.  Seems pretty dumb to me.  Look up the origin of the neck tie if you don’t know it.  


Here are a few of the things that bother me now...some more than others.  Daylight Savings Time, Neckties, I can wear whatever I want so the sweaters don’t bother me, Standing in lines, Interactions with scripted worker bees, red and green on port-a-potties but not on bathroom stalls (my wife’s gripe), Cranberry Sauce, Car Speedometers, Banker’s hours, Settled science,  Double doors and one is locked, This page is intentionally left blank, Bad Grammar, Backing into parking spots, Irrational fears, vanity, The cable and internet bill creeping up while new customers pay half, talking to the scripted cable company worker bees.  There are many more.



I better say that there are lots of impractical things (by some measure) that have value, like art and sports, but we accept that because these things entertain and inspire.  And they are fun.  We need fun in our lives.


Daylight savings time.  What benefit could it possibly have nowadays?  Time is relative, so just pick a number that matches where the Earth is, in relation to the Sun and stick to it.


Cranberry sauce.  I have no problem with it at all, but why is it only served at holidays?  It actually makes a pretty good “poor man’s currant jelly.”  It’s good on venison and pork.



Speedometers.  I drive a ford explorer.  I doubt it can achieve 160 mph.


Banker’s hours.  Let the bankers have those.  Otherwise work should be performed at each individual’s most efficient time of day.  What’s so special about the hours of 9-5 that work must be performed then?  What if you want to get done early or start late so you can do something else in the same day?  Inflexibility stifles productivity. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwDMFOLIHxU


Settled Science.  During 90% of our recorded history, the Earth was flat.  50 years ago, smoking cigarettes was good for you but cannabis would kill you and make you kill others, 40 years ago, Time and Newsweek printed articles on Global Cooling, yet many people still use the words “settled science.”


This page is intentionally left blank.  No it isn’t.  It has “This page is intentionally left blank.” written on it.  And why do you hate trees?


Double doors and one is locked.  Is this a candid camera trap or something?


Backing into Parking Spots.  How could this possibly make sense unless you are planning a quick getaway with your stolen merch?  These people are like the ones who are lurking around the parking lot for a better spot.  For what?  Are you planning on buying an anvil?  Because if you are trying to save time, well, you aren’t.


We don’t have to accept any of this “that’s just the way it is” bullshit.  We can eat ice cream for breakfast or have a beer at 4:49.  We can make changes to things that make no sense to us or just ignore them.  Every time I pull into my driveway, I wonder why the hell I bought a house that has 8 different roof lines.  I don’t recall having a few thousand extra dollars burning a hole in my pocket that I couldn’t wait to spend on impractical architecture, but here I sit.


Tell me about the things that make no sense to you.  And let’s talk about how to change them.

-Insurance Professor

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Overcloser, The Undertaker and Other Nomenclature

Ever wanted to tell someone to shut the hell up?  I have.  This is not because I’m an asshole, though that could be argued.  It’s because I have a desire to help.  We can talk about why some people like being helpful while others prefer to see their peers fail at a different time.  


The best salespeople stop at “Yes” instead of rambling on.  Why?  Because after the “Yes,” anything you say in an attempt to strengthen your client’s conviction has the opposite effect.  Think of the Overcloser as a clingy girlfriend or boyfriend.  These people tend to be insecure, suspicious, and too accommodating.  The things you found attractive about this clingy girl, guy or salesperson get eroded by their own exaggeration.  

It isn’t always what they say after the close has been made.  It is the way they are making the client feel about them.  And the feeling is pursued, or let’s say overpursued. You don’t have to attain the level of Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction” to make your prospect feel overpursued.


People want what they can’t have.  You can create power in the ability to deny access to yourself.  You have to make yourself desirable.  Then you have to hold something back, or at least seem like you are.  You have to be a little mysterious if you want to be the best at sales.  The Overcloser reveals everything and saves nothing for a later time.  All used up, the Overcloser gets tossed out with nothing to show for his efforts but a new hatred for white bunnies.


Let’s talk about what’s at the other end of the spectrum.  The Undertaker.  Yes, the wrestler.  I wouldn’t say my 11 year old son has revived my childhood interest in professional wrestling.  However, I noticed as he is watching the WWE on Hulu, that The Undertaker is still just as I remember.  He is a man of very few words and in the business of sports entertainment, he seems much less clownish than the rest.  Here is what is important.  Among his peers, he seems to carry uncommon credibility.  His character/persona has worked for over 25 years making The Undertaker the longest running character in pro wrestling.  Take it for what it’s worth, but you can draw inspiration from some pretty varied sources.  In this instance, we can use some characteristics in our practices.  Here are a couple.



Stoic:  He takes blows without showing pain, emotion.


Laconic:  Using few words to make a point.



Look, even if you do know everything about your product, that does not mean the client wants to know.  Your best clients don’t want to know how the sausage is made.  If you force too much info on them, they will lose their appetite.  Be strong, but welcoming.  Ask perfect questions and give anvil solid responses.  Learn how to sell the right way so you don’t show the anxiousness of the Overcloser.  Be a Goalminer (Or a Goalminer's daughter if you're a country singer).  Dig through all the worthless info and figure out what your client’s goals are.  Then put something in place that helps the client achieve them.

-Insurance Professor