Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:January 30th, 2007 13:10 EST
Judyth Piazza chats with Christopher Cunningham the Salesman"s Little Blue Book

Judyth Piazza chats with Christopher Cunningham the Salesman"s Little Blue Book

By Nancy Lee Wolfe (HR Development/Content Manager)

Hi, Christopher, it`s a pleasure to have you on the show.

Hey, Judy, thank you.  How are you doing today?

I`m doing great!  Well tell us about the Salesman`s Little Blue Book. [of Daily Inspiration]

Well, the Salesman`s Little Blue Book of Daily Inspiration is a book which I was inspired to write.  I`m in sales for a living.  I`m not a sales guru " I do training and I do speaking, but, uh, I`m a regular working sales stiff just like every body else out there who has to sell something every day for a living and who has a number.

And the book was written from a time where I really was having a pretty tough year selling and I was inspired to try and figure out what was making it so tough and try and come up with some answers to make the next year even better.

And what are some of the strategies you talk about in your book?

Well, the book is all about " uh, the world will tell us out there, managers and corporations and big sales gurus, that if we can just think hard enough or be smart enough or work hard enough " that, by elbow grease or moxie " that we can probably make our own way through the world.

And this book actually seeks to look within first and ask some tough questions about your own spiritual life and about really what it is you want to get out of life and what kind of legacy you`re going to leave behind.

Once you start asking some questions like that, you begin to deal with some of the reasons that you`re mis-stepping or missing a forecast or missing a sale.  So, that`s some of the strategies that we deal with in the book.

I`m amazed that there are so many people out there who really don`t know what they want out of life.

Yeah, what a great question -- you know, in sales " a great comment " because in sales a lot of times we, without focus or without knowing what we want at the end of the year, we just run out and start making our calls.

My faith -- through this process -- has grown and I found instead of making the call first maybe to call my Maker first.  And that perspective that God cares about me " a lot " is one that I think is important because once I have that opportunity to engage in a dialogue with this incredible Being " God of the universe " my perspective changes as to how " what I do what and how organized I`m going to be and how I`m going to go about accomplishing it.

What key quality do you believe that all successful people share?

All successful people share a desire to provide for someone.  The most successful people in the world have figured out who it is they want to provide for " whether it`s themselves, whether it`s their family, whether they want to provide for somebody they know to be able to take a trip or to help somebody that`s ill, they have a goal that drives them beyond the day to day " beyond the lifestyle that just says, I need to get more.  I need to acquire more.  I need to be the most famous person around. "

If a young person were to approach you today and say that they wanted to write a book, what advise would you give them?

Well, I think a great way to start writing a book is to find out what`s missing in your life.  I know, a couple of years ago, I had a fantastic sales year.  And then the next year, I really had a poor sales year.  I found that, whether it was feast or famine, I still had a sense of emptiness in me that I wasn`t resolving.

When I started to take a look at that sense of emptiness, I realized that there was a book that needed to be written.  That there were already answers that were provided out there that I could come up with just by my relationship within my faith.

And I think that that person that wants to write that book has a void " there`s an emptiness that they need to satisfy.  And if they can take a moment to deal with that gnawing pain that is within them that other people will relate with that same gnawing pain.

Well, I know that you`ve been in sales for many years and there`re a lot of people out there who fear sales.  Tell us a little bit about that.

Well, people hate to be told no " " except for my 6-year-old daughter, Kate, who, you know, she`s going to be a great salesperson because she just keeps asking until she gets what she wants. 

But the fear of rejection is one of the greatest fears of all.  That this person isn`t going to like me or that they`ve told me no " before or that my competitor is, you know, bigger, faster, stronger, cuter, you know, more brilliant or a has a better product " so all of that psychological game comes into play when you`re in the midst of trying to convince somebody to do something.

And that`s why a lot of times, salespeople, you know, that idea well, you`re in sales " --that`s sort of a maligned idea for what`s going to happen.  And I think that`s because people, at that point in their life, put their integrity on the line.  They decide that it`s going to be OK to stretch the truth or to tell a lie or to miss-ship product or just to hit a number or just to satisfy that fear of being told no. "

And, you know, in this book, what I deal with are those kinds of things.  And they help people overcome that fear of rejection, that fear of asking questions that they have to; and, beyond that, I think people pick up some bad habits, Judy, along the way.  I think that`s when people get into substance abuse or that`s when people get into not spending the time with their family when you are a workaholic " and they start to fill that void of rejection with some things that just aren`t healthy and then they find themselves in a downward spiral.

And, so the book not only deals with the surface issues of being rejected but how we respond to that rejection -- whether it`s positive or negative -- as we try to become more and more successful.

Who are some of your mentors who have helped you along the way?

Well, I`ve got to tell you " the book is dedicated certainly to my parents who are heroes of mine and to my granddads who are heroes.  And, it`s just " I`ve been very, very blessed to have a wonderful family who have pushed me along the way and continue to say, Christopher, I know you can do it.  Whatever it is, just keep going. "

And I think you need to find family members who support you " whether it is your children or your spouse or a grandfather or a long-lost aunt " you need that connection, by blood, to help you be motivated.

But, beyond that, my grandmother, one of my heroes, gave me a book which was written a long time ago by William Danforth.  And that book was called, I Dare You. "  And it`s an old school book written back during the fifties saying, I dare you to be successful. "  And I`ll pull that book out at least once or twice a year and just thumb through the yellowed pages when I need a good dose of motivation.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of your career so far?

The most rewarding thing for me right now is balance.  In sales, you may find yourself out of balance.  And what I mean by that is when things are going great, everybody`s patting you on the back, you think you`re the king of the world; and, when things are going poorly and people have said, well, what have you done for me lately " or your products ship the wrong way or your customers are getting ready to buy a competitors products " it`s in the midst of both the highs and the lows of what a day-to-day sales job bring " you can find balance and a peace that passes all understanding.

And you know you`re relying on something besides the sales job.  You`re really relying on your faith in who you are as a man or a woman on this universe and the incredible gifts that you`re able to share and provide with other people.

Can you tell our listeners how they can find out more about you and your new book that`s coming out?

Yes, absolutely, thank you.  If people are interested in finding out more about me, they can contact me at And I always return Emails and always follow-up with people.

And, of course, The Salesman`s Little Blue Book of Daily Inspiration will be available at your favorite book store in the next month and, of course, on line at your favorite on-line retailer as well.

Christopher, it`s been a pleasure to have you on the show today and I hope that you`ll come back.

Judy, thank you so much for the time that we got to spend together.