If memory serves me, I’ve known Jeff Bajorek since seventh grade, when we played on our middle school’s basketball team together.
Due to his superior athletic abilities (and ability to throw a curveball) our athletic careers diverted, then joined together again on the varsity baseball team, where we spent two years sharing quotes from Bull Durham and discussing the intricacies of the game of baseball.
Today he is one of the few people I stay in regular touch with from high school. (Facebook doesn’t count.) He’s a real gentleman, and the fact that he loves golf as much as I do helps.
I wanted to get him on the world famous Five And One to discuss why a medical sales pro feels the need to blog, as well as how his personal and professional lives intersect.
Brad: You sell ligaments to doctors. What could you possibly get out of writing a blog?
Jeff: Lots of things, actually. The fact of the matter is, I really don’t care if anybody reads it. I write it for me. It’s an outlet for all of the ideas and thoughts swirling around in my brain. Getting those down on paper, so to speak, helps me make some sense of them.
Some of the articles are clearly me coaching myself up under the guise of providing help for others in the same situations. Other articles are just about things I find interesting. The professional benefit is really one of exposure. The sales profession is all about relationships. It’s not just who you know, but who knows you, and how well they know and thus trust you. I link to my blog on LinkedIn and Facebook every time I write because it gives people an additional means of getting to know me (if they so choose) in a medium that allows for that level of intimacy.
During a sales call, I rarely have time to talk about the lessons my kids have taught me. Everybod’;s busy, and I’m competing for time. I try to get my message across and get out of the way. The blog gives the people that want to get to know me a way to do so on their own time and at their own pace.
You’ve mentioned to me that you want to model your social media presence after guys like Jeffrey Gitomer. But a quick glance at his Twitter profile shows that he tweets at his followers, not with them. I’d argue he’s the wrong guy to mirror. Tell me why I’m wrong.
Well, ‘model’ may be a loose term, but he’s the guy who convinced me that a social media presence is really something you can’t ignore. If anything, I’d model his presence rather than his style. He’s very blunt, in your face, and that works for him. It’s actually what I like about him, because he knows what salespeople are doing wrong, and he tells them how to stop and doesn’t give them any excuses for their behavior in the mean time.
It’s hard to argue with the guy. He’s written nine books which have gone on to be best sellers on Amazon.com. The people that subscribe to him on Twitter and other social media outlets are looking for that. They want to know what he has to say.
The toughest thing for me is to assume that I’m interesting enough for people to care that much about what I have to say. So I write what I feel I need to write rather than what I think someone would want to read.
You like to use golf and your kids as examples of how we should conduct ourselves in a professional environment. Do you purposely seek out these correlations? Or does it just happen?
Most times it just happens, but I don’t think it’s a matter of coincidence. Sports and kids are real. We can all relate to one or the other.
I read a great article by Bill Simmons last week that tied them both in, and I really connected to it. Not everybody who reads my blog is in sales, so I try to still make it relatable, make it inspiring.
Kids are born without pretense, they do things without fear of failure, and in many ways are perfect little human beings. Athletes deal with adversity and overcome it on the biggest of stages. We can all take something away from these lessons. I just try to point a few things out here and there that resonate particularly well with me.
How important is social media to your business success?
I think it’s important. In the medical industry, we’re very slow to adapt to it, but it can’t be ignored. You really have to harness it at the very least to keep it from working against you. It’s the way things are headed in any business. My presence is somewhat limited right now because it doesn’t need to be more pronounced, but when you’ve got nations of young people overthrowing governments by way of status updates, you can’t deny the power in that.
It can be very difficult to get a blog to take off. It took Chris Brogan eight years to make any type of impact. How hard are you prepared to work to see your blog take off? Or is it just a place to put your thoughts down on paper?
I just searched for Chris Brogan, and even after seeing him, I have no idea who he is… Maybe that speaks to how much more impact is out there for him to make, or I just offended 80 percent of your readership… [Editor's Note: Don't worry - those 13 people probably won't care.] It’s going to take some time, and I’m really not making a serious effort at it right now.
My goal for 2012 was to write 50 articles. I’m behind pace, but not to a point where I can’t recover. My biggest issue is that I try to make everything perfect and complete. I really think Seth Godin has a better approach. He gives you two or three paragraphs a day, and like clockwork, they come every day. But he’s also Seth Godin, and he writes for a living. Could I spend fifteen minutes every morning putting something down? Probably, but my expectation is not to make a living from doing this.
Finally, the random question:
You are, admittedly, obsessed with golf. Who would be in your dream foursome?
This one’s easy, because it was going to eventually be an article, but I didn’t take those fifteen minutes this morning…
Rory McIlroy- what a fresh-faced, immensely talented, and good-natured kid. It would be difficult not to enjoy the time spent with him, and his golf swing is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. Poetry in motion, a sight to behold (I’m done gushing now). We’re going to be watching him win big tournaments for a long time.
Tom Watson- Class act. Quality human being. Eight major championship victories. He reminds me of a wise uncle with a lot of experience and a willingness to tell the stories. I couldn’t come away from that round without being a better golfer and a better person.
I’m going to go in a different direction with the third person but I’d have to say my golf buddy Steve. I’ve never had a more intense rivalry on a playing field of any kind, and we have an even better personal friendship off the course. A situation like this would be too good to experience alone, and I’d want someone to relive it with time after time.
Thanks to Jeff for taking time to answer my questions.
You can read all of the interviews in the series here.