For his first day of work, he wore a tweed sports coat with velvet patches on the sleeves. He would soon find out it wasn’t a good dress choice.
This was Bob Lasher’s (see photo above) first day as our newest sales rep at Management Control Systems (MCS).
Learning to Sell
Our VP of Sales at the time was a former sales trainer for IBM. He was top drawer and created one of the finest sales forces in the software industry. He was also IBM buttoned up and conservative.
After speaking with Bob for just a few minutes, he asked him to come with him. They ended up at the monthly sales board which was at the center of the sales department. He called all the salesmen from their cubicles. There must have been twenty at the time.
He said, “I would like you all to welcome Bob Lasher as our newest salesman. As you can see, Bob did not come to work today dressed to sell software. He came dressed to go hunting.”
He then turned to Bob and said, “Go home. Put on a suit and come back to work, and I’ll teach you how to sell software.”
That was my introduction to Bob Lasher back in 1981. He was twenty five, and I was twenty seven. It’s been thirty six years, and we are the best of friends. We built our lives together.
From Hunter to Performer
Over the next three years, Bob became one of the top sales performers. He also proved himself to be the salesman’s salesman. Everybody loved and respected Bob and would seek his guidance on deals and career choices.
With this following, it was an easy decision to promote him to regional sales manager. Within a short amount of time, he built a team and led them to becoming the number one region in the company.
When the VP of Sales position opened up, he was my choice. That’s when we really started to work closely together. This partnership eventually achieved multiple annual profit plans, two earn outs, one turn around and two new businesses.
If I learned anything about business and life in the last forty years it is this: It is all about relationships.