A few years ago, I had an idea for a sales conference. I asked my friends Jeb Blount, Mike Weinberg, and Mark Hunter to join me in building a conference, believing that there was an appetite for real sales content at a real sales conference. There are a lot of sales conferences, but most have morphed into technology conferences, and in a lot of cases, the tech sponsors provide the content in what amounts to a demo from the stage. We agreed that the conference would provide content for salespeople, sales managers, and sales leaders.
As the two-day OutBound Conference came to an end, I had a few thoughts about my friends.
Jeb Blount is the hardest-working man in sales. He reached Diamond Status on Delta in January. I don’t know how many miles you have to fly to reach that status, but no one I know who reached it did it in a single month without traveling internationally. Jeb and his team carried the heaviest load when it came to putting on the OutBound conference, and the work they did made it an exceptional experience for everyone who attended.
Jeb’s keynote was a mix of this last two books, Sales EQ (for which I wrote the foreword) and Fanatical Prospecting (with a foreword by Mike Weinberg). Jeb’s delivery reminds me of Zig Ziglar, and not just because Jeb leaves the letter “g” off the end of a lot of words, being a southern boy, but because of endless stories and funny anecdotes. I am honored to call him one of my best friends.
Mike Weinberg is the honey-badger. I think I might have given him that name on a webinar because of his ability to dole out the blunt truth with a demeanor and honesty that draws people to him. He’s a truth-teller in a world of charlatans. Mike’s work on prospecting is so fundamental and so well designed, that his keynote is a workshop by itself.
I was fortunate to write the foreword for Mike’s book, New Sales. Simplified. It has something North of 500 reviews on Amazon.com. Mike is a good man with a good heart. I am happy to call him my friend, and I even more pleased that he is in the business of helping people get better sales results. He is needed now.
Mark Hunter is the most polished keynote speaker of our group. I want to call him, “The Voice,” but that hasn’t stuck yet. Mark’s work around High Profit Selling and High Profit Prospecting (with a foreword by Mike Weinberg) is only a part of what he delivers from the stage. A bigger part of his message is around leadership, including leading yourself. Mark came to OutBound after being all over the world the week before, and he showed up as charged up and fired up as I have ever seen him. He is a true professional in his craft.
I’ve been friends with Mark for so long I can’t remember how or where we met. All I can tell you is that whenever there is something to do, Mark will be the very first to go joyfully into the endeavor with the belief that it is going to be excellent and that it deserves his best energy. He’s taught me much about speaking, and I am happy that he is the kind of friend that will jump off the train trestle with you—even when you can’t see the water below.
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