Monday, January 6, 2014

Failure Coach VI

Cheers! - April

“Sazerac Brands are unique. You guys have been around this business long enough to know the threats we face. Our approach is going to be one of fundamentals. We want sell-in but more importantly we want the product to sell through. That’s why marketing is going to play a bigger part in the coming year. We have challenger brands. We are, in most cases, the David with a sling shot aiming to defeat the giant. Hey, we aren’t running scared. What we are gonna do is leverage social media, promotions, point of sale, sampling, word-of-mouth and guerilla tactics to win. Our sales organization needs to work smarter, not harder. Now I ain’t gonna ask you to give 110% on every play. That’s not realistic. What I am gonna do is ask you to listen carefully to Alan Edgewater. He will tell you how failure is something from which to learn. He’s not going to give you a rah rah pitch about being the best….”

Joseph Fontenot is proud of his ability to motivate sales guys. He absolutely loved the Alan Edgewater Failure Coach approach when he picked up the best seller It not easy being anybody and anticipates the Fall release of You can’t give 110%. The battlefield is changing rapidly. Fontenot knows this, especially in his current role. He wants to leverage this rhetoric because it is fresh. It is a wakeup call to all those underdogs... The big guys are getting bigger. The channels are getting tougher to crack but….but ….but if you can be motivated by disappointment and make adjustments you will be stunned at what can happen. That is what Bluestone found out about Fontenot during the previous conference at the Marriott downtown in New Orleans. The two became fast friends. They hit the casino black jack tables. By chance they ran into Coach Siena who was happy to join them for a cocktail. By the time the seminar launched at the Marriott, Fontenot was able to turn the entire event into a promotion. The attendees didn’t know what hit them when Coach Siena told the audience that everyone in the room would get a coupon good for a free Sazerac drink redeemable right there in the Ballroom (at any of the four bar stations which had been stocked with Sazerac product).        

“Did you know Fontenot is a name that has a French orientation and it means fountain? I’m a damn fountain of knowledge.” Says Joseph Fontenot as he sits at the bar now with Coach Siena and Daniel Bluestone in New Orleans again, only this time they are together at the Tavern on the Park where Fontenot it treated like royalty. He has been over-served a bit but he is still gracious. The trio are celebrating a successful sales meeting a safe distance from the Marriot. Fontenot was so impressed with the venue and hotel staff at the Alan Edgewater Failure Coach program in January, they were back with their sales meeting in April in the same ballroom with the same classroom seating and four bar setups. Coach Siena was now a regional manager in the Midwest because Fontenot liked him. Siena didn’t need the job but found the trappings of running a small distributor operation allowed him room to explore a business life that has eluded him as a high school teacher and coach. Fontenot liked his ahhh shucks candor and was confident that he was honest enough. The Sazerac position was good copy too. Alan Edgewater could count on Coach Siena to say something in such a way as to guarantee an illustration of failing your way to good fortune. “You know the people at Sazerac are like a family. Fontenot is a fountain of knowledge and always supports our sales network of direct and broker personnel. Shucks. And I owe everything to Alan Edgewater. A.E.I.O.U.!”

“Ladies and Gentleman, my next guest had become a fixture in our seminar series and is an inspiration that exemplifies our approach. Bob Siena understands the fundamentals of failing forward. DO NOT let failure discourage you. Remember always that it is the most probable outcome of a lifetime of goal setting. In the nearly immortal words of 1983 North Carolina State national championship coach Jimmy Valvano, ‘Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.’ Having the heart of a champion is not about expecting victory as much as it is about working against insurmountable odds. Siena used part of his lottery winnings to fund an undersized high school football player with average ability to a full ride at the University of Miami and the kid is already in his second semester as an undeclared major. Stay tuned. Maybe that kid will be a case study in my next book after the release of You can’t give 110%...    

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