• Mike Burke

Did you ever feel like someone didn't like you, and everything you did and said made it worse?

The saga begins.

A week into running my first sales team, the regional president came to work with me.

This guy was responsible for over two billion dollars in revenue.

About 15 minutes into our meet and greet, he firmly told me that he didn't want me to get the job.

I remember sitting there wondering, "what did I do to this guy?"

The challenge.

Before he left, he told me to hire a top salesperson he knew from our competition.

I knew him, and my boss had been trying to hire this guy for over five years.

On his way out, he said, "good luck" and gave me a sarcastic smile.

A headhunter that I had used in my past life out of the blue called me and said he could help me hire the competitor.

A couple of hours later, I got a message to call my region president.

I couldn't wait to tell him I was pursuing his idea to hire the guy.

Somehow, he heard I was using a headhunter, and to my complete surprise, he hated headhunters.

Sitting in a CVS Pharmacy parking lot, I got an earful.

The only time someone talked to me with such anger was when I was a kid, and I did something unbelievably stupid, and my dad let me know it.

When I hung up, I called my boss, who, by the way, authorized me to use the headhunter, and he didn't know what to say.

I could tell he felt caught in the middle, and I'm sure he was questioning his decision to hire me.

Change of strategy.

A couple of months later, the regional president was making his rounds, and it was my turn to "host" him.

I took him to see a large potential customer that my salesperson and I were trying to earn business.

He liked the customer a lot and almost complimented me.

After that day, he started calling and emailing, asking what the progress I was making.

The next time he was in town, he made a point to make sure we saw the customer again.

During our meeting, the customer committed to giving us significant business the following week.

The next Monday, I called the customer to set up a meeting to move forward.

His secretary told me he died over the weekend playing basketball.


I was in shock.

Immediately I called my regional president to give him the news.

Expecting sympathy for the guy that died, he asked me what other contacts I have.

When he heard that I didn't have any, I immediately went back into his doghouse.

When we hung up, I picked up the phone and called the president of the customer's company.

Honestly, I didn't expect a callback.

Two days later, the president called me and apologized for taking so long to call me back.

On that call, we set up our first meeting.

Fast forward six months.

My regional president was coming into my division and wanted to see the customer.

I asked my boss to take him to see the president without me.

When they got back to my office, it was wild.

He said the president of the company walked him through their entire one million square foot manufacturing facility and warehouse while raving about me.

By now, we had earned over a million dollars in business, and he told them that we were going to double that in the coming months.

Then there was light.

In the end, this new customer brought in more sales than we would have had had if I hired the other salesperson.

Over the next six years, the region president became one of my biggest supporters.

He was instrumental in getting me the opportunity to run entire divisions of the company.

What's the point?

So, what's the moral of this story?

Am I bragging?

No, not at all.

Honestly, I'm having heart palpitations reliving the experience as I'm writing this.

The reason I'm sharing my story is that I want you to know anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

Sure, you will have dark days that seem unfair, and they probably will be.

But don't give up.

Develop a plan and relentlessly put all your mental time into it.

That's all I did.

If I could do it, you can do it.


©2020 by Mike Burke Management.