As some of you may know, Stan Billue, “Mr. Fantastic,” passed away yesterday, May 11, 2015, of pancreatic and liver cancer. In the 1980’s, Stan was my mentor, and I attribute much of my early success to his sales training materials and techniques. Later, in my career as a sales trainer, Stan and I became colleagues and worked together on sales webinars and such. He will be missed.
One thing I always appreciated about Stan was how he was always closing. It didn’t matter what the subject was, or what was going on, Stan was always looking for the angle and trying to close. I’d like to relate a story he told me a few months ago about what happened the day he was officially diagnosed:
Back in February this year, Stan sent out an email saying he had just been given three to six months to live. This was on a Sunday, and I immediately picked up the phone and spoke with him. He told me that when his primary care physician saw the results of his tests on that Friday, she directed him to go to the hospital and so he went right over.
While at the hospital, they ran some further tests and confirmed that he was gravely ill, and told him he needed to stay in the hospital through the weekend and then go through some tests the following Monday. Stan didn’t want to stay in the hospital, and he started closing the doctor to allow him to go home. Here’s how it went, according to Stan:
Stan: “Well why don’t I just go home where I’ll be more comfortable, and I’ll come back on Monday for the test?”
Doctor: “There is a wait for two weeks to get this particular test, but if you’re a patient in our hospital, we can get you scheduled in for Monday.”
Stan: “Doc, let’s cut the bull here – isn’t it true that you have a lot of pull around here and if you scheduled me for Monday, they’d run the tests on me on Monday, regardless if I was staying here or not, right?”
Doctor: “Ah, I guess so, but in order for you to get the medication I’m suggesting, because it’s so strong, you’d have to be here to get that…”
Stan: “O.K., Doc, but, again, excuse me, but let’s cut all the bull again, and I’m sure if you prescribed this medication because I needed it over the weekend, heck, they do it, right?”
Doctor: “I guess so, but…”
Stan: “And besides that, when I’m at home, I can be with my kitty cat, my family and I can smoke. I mean, you wouldn’t let me smoke here in the hospital, would you?”
Doctor: “Well, no, but we could have a nurse wheel you off the hospital grounds to have a cigarette.”
Stan: “You mean not right in front of the hospital, but ‘off the grounds’? What do you mean?”
Doctor: “Well, the nurse would have to wheel you across the street because you’re not allowed to smoke on the hospital property. And then she’d have to turn around because she’s not allowed to see you smoking…”
Stan: “That sure sounds like a lot of trouble. Why don’t you just schedule me for the test on Monday, send me home with enough medication for just the weekend, release me now, and I’ll come back Monday. Doesn’t that sound much easier?”
Doctor: “I guess so, let me see what I can do.”
Stan went home for the weekend, got to be with his family, and then went back for the test on Monday. Just like that. Stan told me that all his sales and closing skills came into play in that situation, just like in every other situation he found himself in. Always Be Closing.
Stan will be missed, but he will not be forgotten. His sales techniques will live on through my teachings and through many others as well. If there are Pearly Gates up there, and if they refuse to let him through at first, I know Stan will find a way to close St. Peter. Heck he’s probably doing that right now…
Rest in Peace, my friend….