Obstacle Racing ROCKS!

Survivor Mud Run with my Wife Kristi and we had a blast… So much that I think I found a new hobby! (click here for the Survivor Mud Run Seattle Race Report) I am REALLY excited about obstacle racing first because it is a HUGE challenge both physically and mentally, and second because it tests every aspect of your fitness. If you have never seen an obstacle race or mud run before this video will give you a little taste of what the Warrior Dash is all about:

If that doesn’t get you excited to work out and have a blast with a few good friends I don’t know what will! I’m also planning on doing them all in my Vibram Five Fingers, because after last weeks mud run I really feel like they offer a HUGE advantage in traction, ground feel, climbing ability, and weight when wet. Anyways, I am REALLY pumped up and excited about the upcoming race and am adding in some additional elements to my routine now including some body weight exercises, kettlebell swings, plyometrics, and weightlifting to help me drop more weight quicker and get over those BIG obstacles a bit quicker! Have you ever done a mud run or obstacle race? What was your experience like and how did you train?

Running Every Day Isn’t Easy, But It’s Worth It! – Survivor Mud Run

Survivor Mud Run LogoRunning every day isn’t easy… and some days are harder than others. June 18th’s Survivor Mud Run Seattle was one of the tough days! If you have never done a mud run I highly recommend you try it out! It was an EPIC day of showing the world how tough you are in the 60 degree pouring rain. With 3.3 miles of mud, rivers, and mayhem including 14 obstacles you absolutely got your moneys worth! When the race started a 9 am I saw the first finishers coming over the line and thought to myself these people do not look too muddy! By the time my 11:45 heat started and close to 2000 people had covered the course it was a pure mud-fest.

Brad, Krisy, and Sophia before the Seattle Survivor Mud Run.
Brad, Krisy, and Sophia before the Seattle Survivor Mud Run.

This was my first race as a barefoot runner, and I used my Vibram KSOs. People looked at you a bit weird, but I really feel like they were a HUGE advantage. My ground feel was awesome and not running in waterlogged trail shoes was totally worth it even with the rocks and gravel roads. They also stayed on amazingly well in the deep mud. There was one point in the bog where myself, Krisy, and a guy we had never met were mired so deep in the mud we were unable to free ourselves. It took a solid 10 minutes of pushing, lifting, and pulling to get all three of us free. I was literally up to my hip in mud so deep I could not move and had to crawl on my belly to avoid sinking deeper. My first thought when I sunk that deep is this is how dinosaurs got fossilized! The 10-foot wall was awesome, the pipes were cool and a bit freaky, and the other racers were awesome!

Survivor Mud Run Seattle Post Race Photo
Brad, Krisy, Solomon, and Alyssa after the Survivor Mud Run.

For the $60 entry fee you got to race (obviously) a shower! a free beer, a free Brat,  t-shirt, and a finishers medal. Well worth it in my opinion. My only gripe was that there could have been a few more course safety people on hand as there were a few injuries and I saw one girl wait a very long time to get help for an injured ankle after jumping off the 10-foot wall. Overall though, the available staff were nice, friendly, and helpful. The DJ was good and the event was well organized and planned. my only other gripe was the volume of showers available… it was a LONG line to get cleaned up and even after we did we used two 2 1/2 gallon jugs for a sponge bath at the car just to get sort of clean. I needed one more real shower and Krisy needed two to get her hair clean. This race is on my must do list for next year…

No iPhone GPS tracks with Runtastic though! No way I was going to carry it on this course. I saw too many people looking for gear in the thick soupy mud! I uploaded the time and distance manually: 3.3 miles in 1:50:30. Most of that extra time was spent waiting to get over crowded obstacles, but it was a welcome break, and I was BEAT when we finished! This isn’t a course to set a new personal best on… It’s about covering the distance and I think most reasonably fit people should be able to do it if my tubby butt could! 🙂

Survivor Mud Run with Finishers Medal
Krisy and I after a shower and an additional sponge bath in the parking lot. Sophia was MAD she was too young to run!

I Thought You Were a Customer???

NoI’d like to share a classic story of how to NOT close a sale. I was shopping at Costco with my friend Terry the other day for a few things we needed for the office, and like most people, I love Costco because I generally find several things I never knew I needed until I serendipitously stumble upon them. Such was the case on this day. While walking the isles looking for external hard drives, and a few other relatively inexpensive items I stumbled across a special events vendor selling a Murphy Bed that was built into the coolest book-case/ cabinet I have ever seen. This thing was beautifully designed and engineered and I REALLY liked it. I spent probably 10 minutes looking over the three display models, commenting on the features I saw particular value in and complementing the salesman (who I later found out owned the company) on the quality of the product. I was even talking about where I would like to have this product in my house. I was basically sold on this product, but now I will probably never buy one!

Why might you ask?

I ask the man for some sales literature and a business card and as I walked away he said “That’s too bad… I thought you were a customer!” My first thought was What the hell! Are you serious? Do you REALLY expect me to drop 5K on a product I just stumbled upon in Costco without talking to my wife or making some kind of plans for how to pay for this? The words that came out of my mouth as I looked over my shoulder were briefer though…  ”I was…”

Not “I am” or “I will be” just a simple “I was”.

I understand what he was trying to do, he was trying to close a sale, but a close like this almost never works. In fact, its poor sales skills like this that got this blog started nearly 5 years ago. What he should have done was temperature checked me before I left with a simple question like how would you like to have one of these in your home, and then saw where I was in the buying process, collected my information and followed up in a day or so. This simple change could dramatically improve his close rate and the reputation surrounding himself, his company, and sales force. People don’t generally spend 5K on something they saw for the first time in a Costco. They may on your sales floor, but that’s a different scenario… I came for that product, I am interested in it, and I wouldn’t be there if I did not on some level want to buy it. It is important as sales people to understand the purpose of each event you are in. Are you generating leads or closing sales? When you are asking yourselves these questions keep in mind your customer, your product, and your venue. you could have a very different sales cycle on your showroom floor, at a home show in a high-end neighborhood, and in a suburban Costco. That doesn’t mean there are not buyers in all of those locations. What it means is that you may have to approach buyers differently in each location understanding the individual wants and needs of that market.

I am sure this guy was just frustrated… He had probably shown that product to 500 people who were all very interested and didn’t buy. What I experienced was the result of that frustration. However, what he should have done was stepped back and analyzed what was happening and come up with a new strategy. My suggestion would be lead generation, I would still close for sales, but if I couldn’t get it I would go back and add 400+ names to my database and follow-up with great customer service. It’s not a fast buck, but I am SURE my way would have sold a few more beds and at 5K each I think it’s worth the effort.

What would YOU do?

Have you had an experience with a salesperson for a quality product that went terribly wrong? Share your experience in the comments. I’d LOVE to hear about it!