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The Aftermath of Flight 1549 and How the Lessons He Learned Pertain to Sales w/ Dave Sanderson [Episode 137]

Dave Sanderson is an inspirational speaker, author, and survivor. He is the author of Brace for Impact and Moments Matter: How One Defining Moment Can Create a Lifetime of Purpose. He was the last passenger off the US Airways Flight 1549 “Miracle on the Hudson”. Dave could’ve saved himself first, but instead he stepped up and helped everyone else off the plane.

Listen as I chat with him to discuss his chilling efforts to put everyone else’s safety above his own and how this has impacted the way he leads his life with purpose.

Imagine, you are in sales, on a routine trip that you have made hundreds of times, when suddenly something goes very wrong. Dave Sanderson, on January 15, 2009, was on US Airways Flight 1549. The flight was in the air for a total of 6 minutes before. The plane lost both engines and impacted the Hudson River at 120 miles per hour. Dave heard the words “Brace for Impact” by the captain and initially, at first, all he could think about was that his number was is up. He tried at that moment to get things in order, both in his mind and with his maker. There was a deafening silence because both engines had blown. All of the sudden the water started to rush in from the back and the bottom of the plane.

There was controlled chaos, no one was losing it, but people were moving with a sense of urgency. His thought process was to get to the aisle, get up, and get out. When all the suddenly he heard his deceased mother say to him “If you do the right thing God will take care of you.” Dave went to the very back of the plane and started helping everyone else off the plane. He was knee deep in frigid cold water. Dave couldn’t think of anything else, but to get everyone else to safety. He was later admitted to Palisades Medical Center in Hoboken, NJ overnight, due to hypothermia.

What’s the lesson Dave learned from the Flight Attendant, that which relates to sales?

The number one lesson he learned is to listen to the flight attendant. Paying attention! Be aware of what your customer is asking for and what they want you to do. If something does hit the fan, because he has been there, those are the people that are going to have challenges. Those are the people who will that will be the ones that have the meltdowns.

You have to win the sale before you win the order.

You have to do what you can to accelerate building the rapport and the trust, in and the early part of the sales process. If you do, then you’ve got that relationship.

Listen to the podcast to hear more in-depth about the events that happened on that fateful day.

Learn More About Dave Sanderson:

What’s the most powerful sales tool?


Name the one tool you use for managing your own sales that you can’t live without.

Century Acuity: The ability to understand what modality a person resides in most of the time.

Who’s your sales role model?

Tony Robbins

What’s the one book that every sales person should read? 

The Fourth Turning by William Strauss & Neil Howe

What’s your favorite music to get you pumped up?

70’s Rock & Roll

What’s the one question you get asked most frequently by salespeople?

How did I get in front of CEOs and CFOs so quickly?