Better Together: Reflections From the Tropical Sales Training Retreat

Every day this week in Florida, I’ve woken up at 2am. And then I start reflecting on the day, the week, and really this entire year. It’s amazing how much planning goes into an event like the Tropical Sales Retreat. And I also reflect on how grateful I am on so many levels.

  • Grateful to Roland Nairnsey for taking me up on my offer to do an OSC track at the conference.
  • Grateful for my friends in the industry – Alexis Udine, Heidi Schroeder, and Lauren Loy who helped teach the track and brought a depth of knowledge and experience to keep the energy high during our 2-days of OSC training.
  • Grateful for other friends and mentors who were at the event including Kimberly Mackey, Anya Chrisanthon, Myers Barnes, and Ben Marks who are always my cheerleaders.
  • Grateful for the OSCs who signed up for the event.
  • Grateful for all the people who came out to take in our training program and takeaway information to further their success.
  • Grateful to all the new people I’ve met through this experience.

This week I’ve gotten to positively impact the lives of 13 online sales counselors from all over the country, and to speak to over 60 salespeople and leaders who have invested in themselves in order to be better, and to come to this educational event. It was wonderful to see ah-ha moments from some of the most seasoned agents and OSCs. And to know that as much as we learn, there is always more to learn.

On my last night, once all the training was over, I woke up again at 2am reflecting upon the entire week.

It had me thinking of a joke one of my sisters told like 38 years ago (I was still a teenager). In true Jerry Kaiz fashion – my dad is the master of shaggy dog story jokes – my sister Niomi began her story, “Did you hear about the missing turtles at the zoo?”

The whole family’s response, Nooo, “Yes there are at least 20 turtles rumored to be missing from the zoo and the police showed up to interview the last zoo keeper to see them,” she said as she began to tell the story.

“This 84-year-old zookeeper was being interviewed by the police to try to figure out what happened – was it theft, was it fowl play? How could 20 Turtles escape from the zoo?” She emphasized the questions like a true story teller, pulling the audience in.

“So as the police arrived they summoned the 84-year-old zookeeper to come over and explain what he saw…

Slowly he walked over to the police. Walking gently and deliberately with a bit of a limp. Every few steps be paused to get his bearings. A few steps more and he leaned against a post to catch his breath. Gingerly he stepped around a rock on the path. Again, he paused to lean against a wall as he rubbed his aching back.

This progress toward the police went on for quite a while as he made his way the 50 or so feet from the Turtle enclosure to where the police stood.

The impatient police officer said, “what can you tell us about the Turtles?” Slowly the zookeeper turned and pointed to a spot about 100 feet away from the turtle enclosure and said, “we’ll officer, I was standing about there when I noticed the gate to the turtle enclosure was opened. I hurried as fast as I could toward the gate but when I got there – *wooooosh* they were gone. They took off like a herd of turtles.”

At this point in the story my other older sister Mimi is laughing so hard she can barely breath.

My mom and dad were belly laughing, and my sister Niomi, was so proud of herself for telling the shaggy dog story – dramatically drawing it out – I mean there were grand hand gestures, dramatic facial expressions… and me – about 14 years old – I didn’t get it.

I’m sure I was looking puzzled – Mimi is laughing harder and sputtering, “wooosh they were gone.”

Me, just a kid, trying to understand the punch line, “like a herd of turtles, wooosh they were gone.” My sisters are tearing up with laugher, Mimi can barely breath.

While I finally got it, that those turtles were moving fast in comparison to the old zookeeper, when they are traditionally thought of as slow animals, other than my sister’s theatrics, voice overs and expressions and flourish of her arms with “wooosh they were gone” the story itself – I didn’t get.

It wasn’t until my midnight musings (okay 2am) on the last day in Florida that I finally understood it.

That turtle story was actually a parable about the passing of time and anticipation of important events in our lives.

The planning of the OSC track for the Tropical Sales Retreat began in February. Though in reality it began much longer ago than that, pre-Covid I had an idea for an Online Sales Counselor retreat that had to be put on hold when the world locked down.

Taking the time this year to put together all the details:

  • Building a curriculum that would resonate with multiple skill levels and OSCs from different environments
  • Assemble the team of trainers that could get along well and present a cohesive program
  • Working with Roland and Probuilder almost weekly on marketing
  • Doing countless webinars, blog posts, and podcasts this year and promoting the event
  • Presenting Better Together webinars with Roland, Kimberly Mackey, and David Hagan for different venues these action-packed events were educational, informational, and so much fun!

Then getting to spend time with friends, speakers, clients, and meet new people.

And then WOOOSH. These 3 days were gone…like a herd of turtles.

My cup is so filled up from this experience of helping to put on a conference. I think the last time I felt like this was when I put together the Blue Gypsy Blues Fest in year one of Blue Gypsy Inc for Habitat for Humanity.

The collaboration. The camaraderie. Bringing together so many great educators and industry leaders. We truly are all Better Together.