I was sad to hear that an old friend and mentor, Jeff Edman, passed away recently.

Jeff was the CEO of PC World Magazine, but was head of sales when I met him. I interviewed with him in his office one day for a role with his sales team.

It was the standard set of questions, but then out of nowhere, he pulled a list out of his desk and started reading it to me.

It was a list of the 10 reasons why I could be fired on the spot, without any questions. His reading of the list was quite stern and aggressive… and quite intimidating.

After reading the list, he wanted to know if I had any questions or foresaw any problems with my compliance to what he had read.

He would later tell me that he was trying to create a tense and uncomfortable environment to see how I would respond. His rationale was that in sales, you’re often in tense or awkward client moments, and it’s how you handle them that means the difference between a successful and unsuccessful sales person.

Jeff was one of the best salespeople, and sales trainers, I have ever met. He was a fantastic combination of logic and empathy. He knew and understood what people wanted, and he really understood setting up scenarios to which his products were the solution.

My contacts with Jeff over the years have always been helpful, and he made an impact I will always remember.