Sales & Sales Management Expertise

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Tags: managing sales people, meeting sales goals, setting sales goals


Time to Make Sure that You have Set Your Goals for 2016!

When asked, most sales managers say that one of their greatest challenges is their ability to motivate their salespeople. If a sales manager can figure out what makes his people “tick”, he can better help them hit their goal numbers. Motivation seems like hard work because salespeople often value different things. There are however, several steps a sales manager can take to establish a motivating environment.

The first step is to recognize that motivation is an “inside-out’ job. When the topic of motivation is discussed, we typically think about incentive compensation, sales contests and recognition programs. All of these certainly encourage sales teams to focus on generating new business because these are rewards. However, you will gain true engagement and enthusiasm if you create an every-day environment which encourages each individual to identify and visualize his own internal motivation.

Do you remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pyramid? The bottom two largest tiers are Physiological and Safety because these are the most basic needs of every individual. This same concept holds true for new salespeople. Hopefully they will make their way up to self-actualization at some point, but they must first have income for food, shelter, safety, etc. Only once they realize they have attained all of these basic necessities and have established a cushion, can they turn attention to the higher tiers of Self-Actualization and the bigger dreams and goals to which they might aspire.

To put it another way, salespeople do not care about corporate shareholder value unless they are shareholders themselves. What they care about is food, shelter, clothing, recognition, paying for college education or wedding, buying a vacation home, etc. These are personal desires and make up the vast majority of things that are important to people. So the solution is to create an environment where this internal motivation can take place. See The Dream Manager book by Michael Kelly.

This means that it is up to you to help your salespeople identify what is important to them. Make the effort to set up time off-site that is dedicated to planning and spend time developing each individual’s dreams and goals. This is time that you will spend ON your business instead of in it. Take a day or two that will help you and your team take a giant step forward to plan for the future.

Create a process where people can establish personal goals because this is where true motivation, passion and desire are born. Hence, it is from this process that each salesperson’s business plan must evolve.

You might position this process as though you are the coach and the salespeople are players on a competitive baseball team. Each of you has a part to play so that the whole team wins. When someone objects to the dream building exercises by saying something like “You are just going to provide a goal for me anyway so why do I have to do this?”, tell him that, as with a baseball team, each player must excel at his job so that the team can win and go to play-offs.

Say to him or her “Pretend that you are my ace shortstop and you want to be the best shortstop in the league. As coach I will do everything I can to help you attain this goal. But understand that I too have goals and my biggest is that we get to the World Series. We are working together, heading in the same, not different directions, to accomplish the same goals. This is a win-win for both of us.”

Salespeople will understand this. If someone does not get this, he or she may not be suited for selling. Selling requires desire, commitment and a need to win. Selling is a competition.

Create an environment where people get a chance to unplug, sit down and outline their goals and dreams; a time when both of you can establish timeframes and attach financial values to these items. Once you have attached financial values, you will know what level of prospecting and selling activity is necessary for each salesperson.

Reward yourself and your people when they have a success. Many years ago, when just my wife and I were running ACTG, we celebrated every time we sold a new account. But over the past 20+ years, selling new accounts has become business-as-usual. We stopped celebrating our successes along the way. So, as your people go through this process and identify their goals, as you sit down and establish your own personal goals, be sure to specify how you will reward yourself and your people as each of you achieve these goals.

Download Tony Cole’s eBook The Extraordinary Sales Manager

Addtional Resources:

Need help setting goals? Get YOUR copy of our Goal Setting Toolkit!

Effective Selling - Are You a Good Pitcher?

Tags: closing sales, effective selling, sales pitch

Great closing pitchers get batters out. They always don't get people to strike out. Sometimes runners get on base, but then the next batter hits into a double play and now there are two outs and no one on base. The third batter hits a fly ball to the outfield, the outfielder catches the ball – ballgame. Another save for the closer.

Everything started with the pitch; the same is true in effective selling. Take a look at the cartoon from the Cincinnati Enquirer in November of this year:


Lt. Fuzz is the salesperson. Imagine you are Lt. Fuzz and you are calling the general on the phone instead of face-to-face. Or you are meeting someone on the chicken dinner tour and you are introducing yourself and what you do. Your initial “pitch” is “I have some nifty ideas that will do -, I’d like to come by and show you/tell you more about how this can save you money, improve effectiveness, reduce risk…”

Until you identify a benefit that benefits the prospect directly – something that has personal impact/appeal - then your pitch will miss the mark.

Several years ago, I heard Matt Hogan talk about the concept of “thinking presidentially.” I have often shared this concept with sales people and sales managers over the years during training sessions and keynote speeches. The idea is to think like the president of the company you are calling on.

Think about the things that matter most to the president. Yes, saving money is important, but why? Yes, reducing risk is important, but why? Yes, managing cash flow is important, but why? If you understand the why and address the why when you initiate the call, you are more likely to get the “I’m all ears” response rather than “I’m not interested.”

Additional resources:

Ted Talk – Simon Sinek – The Golden Circle of Why

Tony Cole Youtube Video – What’s Important to Your Prospect

Sales Process Grader – Is Your Sales Process Being Executed Effectively?

God Bless The U.S.A.


Song written and recorded by Lee Greendwood

If tomorrow all the things were gone
I worked for all my life
And I had to start again
With just my children and my wife

I thank my lucky stars
To be living here today
'Cause the flag still stands for freedom
And they can't take that away

And I'm proud to be an American
Where at least I know I'm free
And I won't forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I'd gladly stand up next to you
And defend Her still today
'Cause there ain't no doubt
I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.

I'm not one to make political statements in a public forum, so I don’t want to make this sound like I’m tooting the horn for any specific political agenda or platform. I’m just sitting next to my fireplace, drinking my morning brew, checking email and thinking about the next couple of days.

In two days we will, once again in the U.S., be celebrating Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a federal holiday every year since 1863 when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens", to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November.

All of a sudden Lee Greenwood’s song popped into my head. Specifically, the opening verse when he “thanks his lucky stars”.

I don’t know about lucky stars and, as most of you know, I don’t believe in luck. I wrote a post several months ago about luck and “unluck” (The word “unluck” drove Pam crazy). If you believe in being lucky, then you have to believe in being unlucky. I don’t believe in being unlucky. I believe in cause and affect. So, I don’t thank any lucky stars. I am just very grateful to be living in the USA.

I’m grateful and thankful for many things. Nightly, when I go to bed, I thank God for all the things of that day and all the things of the coming days. I ask to be smart enough to deal with whatever comes my way and to have enough courage and wisdom and strength to do His will no matter what may come. And I’m thankful that He provides me with what I need. Not always what I think I want… but certainly what I need.

I am thankful for a family that stands with me. I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with people at Anthony Cole Training Group that are wonderful, dedicated, loyal stakeholders and friends. I am thankful for all of you who read these posts, hire us to help you and your organization and thankful for all the opportunities I’ve had to travel and meet people in workshops and conferences all over this country. I’m thankful that I get a chance to share in your life and that you share in my dream and my life.

In the words of Tom Cruise in Jerry McQuire – “You complete me.”

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and God Bless Us One and All.

Sales Management - Recruiting is just 1/5 of the Job

Tags: successful on-boarding, recruiting, Coaching, sales recruiting

There are several things that an effective sales manager must do day in and day out to be successful. In our Sales Management Certification program we’ve identified and certify a sales manager ready to perform by covering 5 critical functions:

  1. Recruiting
  2. Performance Management
  3. Motivation
  4. Upgrading the Sales Team
  5. Coaching

Specifically with recruiting the right talent selecting the right person is just ½ of the job of recruiting. Kind of like club selection in golf.


In July I started to play golf. I joined a local club – Bel-Wood and have played enough times (20 rounds) to establish a handicap. My golfing partners would describe my handicap in golf as something other than a number but that is for another time. My handicap is quite high and I know the solution. Buy a new set of clubs. I did that and discovered that more is needed. So this week I will begin lessons.

Last week I played a round and I managed to par the first hole. Not something I have been able to achieve yet this year. I was thinking, finally! I normally hit a 3 wood or a rescue club off of the tee because I just cannot hit a driver with any consistency. I hit the ball to the right into another fairway. I had a tough shot to make next – under a tree limb, over the next set of trees. I hit the rescue club and landed safely on the fairway about 120 yards from the green. I selected my pitching wedge; hit it to the green and two putted for par. I knew I was going to have a great round.

On the 3rd hole once again I selected my rescue club to hit off of the tee (When I hit this club well I hit it between 210-220 yards). I swung and watch my ball safely land – in the water to the right. My point here is the club selection, just like talent selection is just part of the job.

The job in selecting the right people actually starts with the profile you establish. Much like getting fitted for the right set of clubs based on your swing. Once again my golf partners had a suggestion for this – try tennis. You have to know what the right fit is for your organization and the job required and then you find the people that ‘fit’. Once you find the ones that could possibly fit then the selection process begins. But that alone will not bring you, guarantee you success. You must now execute!

In this case execute means on-boarding them and coaching them effectively. Failure to do will result in another quality hire ending up safely out of your company.

Additional resources:

Tool for selection: Free Trial for Pre-hire assessment

Improve your process for recruiting – Hire Better Sales People Whitepaper

Improve the execution of sales management – Sales Management Certification


Sales Management:  Want More Success? Set New Standards for Success

Tags: sales culture, sales succes, sales management, motivation

One of the problems facing many companies today is getting more from what they have. In a time of economic pressure to manage the profits companies have become very creative in finding solutions to manage the burn rate of their cash. The solution that many, if not most, struggle with is how to get the cash generation rate to meet and exceed the burn rate. In our Sales Management Environment Certification program we take sales managers through a process to help them raise the standards of their sales organization and address that problem. Before we get to the solution let’s deal with the problem.


Almost every organization we talk to tells me and my sales development experts the same thing. They set goals for their sales people and expect the team to meet those goals. I would agree that they set goals but the real expectations are not that every one meets the goal. If that was the real expectation, if companies managed performance and managers coached their people to meet those expectation, then more people would be hitting goals.  That isn’t happening. There are many explanations for this but for today I want to focus on just one contributing factor that is difficult to manage – Internal motivation.

Here are some comments by other thought leaders on performance:

Mark Victor Hansen – “Motivation is an ‘inside – out’ job.” - mo·ti·va·tionˌmōdəˈvāSH(ə)n/noun: the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.

Ken Blanchard – “When you want to succeed as much as you want to breathe then you will be successful.”

John Maxwell – “Unmotivated people give the required effort. Motivated people give the inspired effort. The first group looks to do the minimum, the latter group seeks every opportunity to add value to the team.” (The myth of motivation)

Tony Cole - "Your actions are reflective of your motivations and commitments".

For as long as I have been seeking solutions for improving personal performance – over 25 years – the quote by Mark Hansen is one I have quoted over and over again. Almost every time I do a keynote or a workshop for a chamber, an association or industry group leader wants to know – how do I motivate my people and keep them motivated. My response has always been – “You cannot”.

What got me thinking about this again was this; I was flipping through channels on Sirius and I came across Joel Osteen’s channel. The first thing I heard him say was this – “Don’t make the mistake of settling for good enough. Good enough is not your destiny.” (Watch video on YouTube). Wow! So I kept listening. For those of you that may not be familiar with Joel he is the minister / pastor of the Lakewood Church in Houston Texas. Every Sunday you can watch him on TV. Just for the record I am not a regular follower of Joel’s so I didn’t purposely seek to find him speaking on Sirius, I just happened to find him, or maybe, he found me.

I believe in destiny. I believe that when we are launched into this world and God breathes life into us we are made to be magnificent. For most all human beings there aren’t any deficits that exist at that time. For most people all the things we need to succeed are available to us and so we begin the journey equipped with what we are born with – nature and what we have access to – nurture. Somewhere along the way we begin to develop our own unique identity and begin to make decisions that take us either closer to our magnificent destiny or take us away from it.

Joel goes on to say that there was a time in our lives where we thought the big dream, craved for the next level of success and worked to climb the next mountaintop. It might have been to earn money to buy a bicycle, buy tickets to a prom or purchase your first car. It might have been to put enough in the bank to buy the ring to give to that special someone that share your life with. Maybe it was the house you saw and you said "someday" and you began the path required to move into that house and have that life style. And then ‘Good’ became ‘Good Enough’.

I’m not talking about the material things that make our life 'Good Enough'. Surely that has happened for you or is happening for you but do the material things in your life really define your highest and best? Do they represent that awesome, magnificent life that you have available? Are you able to look in the mirror every day/week/month/year and say to yourself that what you did represents your highest and best? Does it represent all that you can be to your family, your community, your friends, your company or does it represent ‘Good Enough'.  If we think back to when we are in school 'Good Enough' meant enough to pass the class or grade. What did that take? C’s and D’s. Those grades represent average and below average. B represents just above average. Really, is that why you chose the business you are in? Did you really say to your self that you were going to pursue and professional career in sales or sales management so that you could be average or just above average?

I’m not pointing my finger at you directly. I’m making the case for "why aren’t we growing based on the talent, resources and market presence we have"? The answer can simply be that your people are just not motivated enough to be any better then they are today. They stopped dreaming the big dream; they have fallen into the rut of defining their success by what they have versus what their parents or other friends have. They compare themselves to others and as long as they are doing better then others and they are comfortable then that is 'Good Enough".  It all starts with you. If you are settling for hitting the company sales goal on the backs of a few then you have to stop. That is not 'Good Enough'. You are one or two departures away from being way off of your sales goal.

Start dreaming the big dream for your team. Start thinking about how you can dominate your market place, how you can be the best-maybe not the biggest but the best. Start wondering what the next extraordinary level of performance might be for you and the team and what it might be like to have that level of achievement.  Create an environment where your people can start dreaming the big dream again. Challenge them on their thinking about 'Good Enough' and settling. Challenge them the way I’ve challenged you today by asking them if their performance represents their highest and best. Tell them that that is the type of team you have to have because that is how you are thinking. Tell them that you love them and care about them and hope that they will join you on this journey but assure them that you will have a team that thinks and pursues the big dream.

This, out of all the things you can do as a manager to drive performance, might be the most difficult because it is so personal. But difficult does not mean impossible.

Additional Resources:

Do I have motivated or inspired people – Sales Force Evaluation Study

Personal Goal Setting – A facilitated workshop

Call me right now to talk about motivation – Tony’s mobile 513 226 3913. Text message: motivation, your name

Sales Managers Must Sweat the Small Stuff!

Tags: sales management, sales development, performance management, sales assessments

I’ve not read the book Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson. It’s a catchy title and I’m sure a good read. But, if you are a sales manager responsible for developing your people and for driving sales growth, this is awful advice. I subscribe to the theory that the devil is in the detail$. I purposely made the last letter the $ sign and here’s why.

Take a look at the following Success Formula designed to help an individual salesperson figure out what sales activities they need to be doing day in and day out to be successful.

This salesperson is using personal income as their metric for success. Their success standard is $58,800. In order to do that, they must perform the formula as it is expressed here starting with averaging 20 dials per week to perspective buyers. (Do NOT get hung up on “this is cold calling and I do not cold call.” Regardless of how your leads are generated, you must do something proactively to reach out to them either by phone, text, email or other methods of initial contact. For illustrative purposes, I’ve used the word “dials”.)

Here are the details: The data tells us that this salesperson must have a certain level of effort – the 20 dials a week (average) and a level of effectiveness – the conversion ratio from one step to the next. What I am demonstrating is what happens if, instead of performing to plan in effort and effectiveness, this salesperson is off of target by just 1%. As you can see in each individual step, a drop in performance of just 1% has a negative cumulative impact of 7%. So what?

It may not appear to be much, but here are a couple of things to think about:

  • Suppose the number was 10 x greater and now the miss was over $30,000.00 instead of $3,000.00.
  • Suppose you had a team of 10 producers and 7 of them missed the mark by $30,000.00 in personal income. Their commission payout is 33%. That means each individual is missing a sales goal of $100,000.00 and you have 7 people missing the mark. Where is the $700,000.00 of sales going to come from?
  • Suppose the miss on effort is 5% and the miss on average size account is 5% and the miss on submissions to approvals (for those of you that have a product that requires underwriting or approval) is off 10% but all the other conversion ratios are met at 100%.

Look at that impact - a loss of more than $8,000 to goal! That is the scenario that is more likely to happen. We know this because we have evaluated hundreds of sales organizations and the company we use to evaluate sales organizations has evaluated literally thousands of sales organizations. One finding that always jumps out is that less than 10% of the salespeople evaluated are using a consistent sales process. (Note: we work with mostly successful companies that are trying to figure out how to be more successful, how to eliminate the variability in performance or how to maximize potential of the sales team. We don't commonly work with sales teams that are broken, so don't misinterpret this as something that only applies to companies that are failing to grow sales!)

It is a staggering percentage that less than 10% of all salespeople across all industry segments use an effective sales process. How can this be given the billions of dollars spent on sales training and sales enablement tools like But, that is the big stuff to be tackled another day. What we know is that a sales manager can make a huge impact today by sweating the small stuff. IT MATTERS!


Additional Resources

How good is my sales team? – Free Sales Achievement Grader

Success Formula (Free Download)

Grade your sales process – Free Sales Process Grader

The Extraordinary Sales Manager eBook - Download your copy!


If you could use some help NOW, Text me at 513 226 3913, Subject- Help Sales Process. Please include your name.

Your Sales Management Pitch to Hire Better Sales People

Tags: sales management, hire better salespeople

There isn’t a single sales manager, sales executive or company president that tells a prospective new hire that the compensation program is poor, there is a lack of support, the company does not occupy a strong position in the market and there is no chance for professional advancement!

Anyone talking to any candidate has a ‘sales pitch’ to attract new hires. How good is yours?

I was watching City Slickers, again, and I happened to turn on the movie just as Curly is explaining that most problems would be solved it people just focused on the “One Thing”. This isn’t a new idea but certainly an idea worth re-visiting. The one thing in business that is supposed to describe what a company does can be described by any one of the following:

The elevator pitch

The value proposition

The 30-second commercial

The unique sales approach

The brand promise

“It’ has many names but in a nutshell what sales and marketing attempts to do is to communicate to the consumer, in a brief but effective approach, what it is that they do and why the consumer should entertain doing business with them.

Apple We make great computers that are beautifully designed that are simple to use, user friendly.

The Late John Savage (Insurance professional) – I deliver buckets of money when people need it the most.

Coors Light The world’s most refreshing beer

Geico15 minute or less can save your 15% of more on your car insurance

That's the external brand. I was interested in the internal brand and the impact on results. I did some googling and came across the ‘better brand’ blog. The author talked about the internal brand promise and the external brand promise. Your external brand promise should elicit a response(s) such as:

Tell me more

How do you do that?

That’s me?

Your internal brand – the brand you promise to current and potential sales professionals should do the same thing!

What is your internal brand promise? What is it that you bring to the table that inspires and motivates your sales people to follow you, ‘buy’ you, your message, your coaching and your teaching? What is it that you say to prospective new hires that would cause them to say or think?

Tell me more!

How do you do that?

That’s me!

When you consider the role and responsibilities of the sales executive:

Tony Cole - Put the best team into the marketplace – Video

Dave Kurlan - Execute the 5 functions of sales management – Video

Bill Eckstom - The importance of coaching - Video

You might consider this – How well are you selling and delivering on your internal brand promise? To answer that you must back up the video a bit and identify what it is you are promising prospects when you recruit them to your organization:

  • Strong market presence
  • Internal partners to generate leads
  • Support for your growing business
  • Systems and processes that drive efficiency
  • You can earn >>>>> dollars with our incentive compensation plan
  • Run your own show
  • Access to unlimited resources, markets
  • Get the BIG deals
  • Great environment

I don’t know all that you promised them or implied when you recruited them, contracted them and on-boarded them but you do and so do they. You must have said something that caused them to either join your team or stay on your team. If you are delivering on the brand then turnover and discontent should be minimal. If you are not delivering on the promise then it is important for you as the sales leader to assess that internal brand promise:

  • Is it legitimate or is it propaganda?
  • Have you fulfilled the promise?
  • If not why not?
  • What would your team say?
  • What impact is this having on results?
  • What is the one thing you need to do now?

 For improved sales performance contact us about the NEW Sales Managed Environment Certification Program - Text me at 513 226 3913.  Subject line SMEC and your name.



Whacky Idea for Sales Management - Terminate Under Performers NOW!

Tags: sales management, successful new hires, terminaation

I’m finally going to finish the book American Icon.  It's the story of Ford and how Alan Mullaly helped the auto dealer regain its swagger. Time after time Ford and Mulally have to make tough decisions on underperforming business units and automobiles. If the car or unit isn’t performing, if the buying public is no longer buying and if the manager of the unit isn’t getting progress or growth – they get cut.


The first time I applied the 80/20 rule was when I was asked to attend a meeting with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Ohio. I was going to conduct a workshop with the reps in the state on how to more effectively build productive broker relationships.  One of the principles of the process is to identify (using the 80/20 rule) those brokers that were getting you most of the business and those brokers that were licensed but essentially doing nothing.  The idea was to spend more time with those doing more and on time with those doing nothing.

Jim Barone, then sales manager for Anthem in the state of Ohio provided me a list of all the wholesalers in attendance. In addition to the list of names was information about there production year to date. Just for the heck of it I applied the 80/20 rule to his group just to see what I would come up with.

The group consisted of somewhere between 25 and 30 wholesalers.  When I did the math, sure enough, Pareto’s principle held true. About 7 of the wholesalers were generating about 80% of the premium.  When I took another piece of the remaining group I found that about a total of 12 people were responsible for over 90% of the total premium. When I arrived at the meeting I found Jim and shared this information with him.  His response was something like “holy crap”.

The problem that Jim had and the problem that anyone has in the channel development business or in business where you have to have representation where ever you have a ‘branch’ is that there is a believe that you have to have a body in the seat where the desk is. Twenty years ago when I was working with companies like Anthem that was true.  With technology today I’m not sure it is.

Here’s my whacky idea for sales managers. Terminate those bottom 20% that are not producing.  Not in 30 or 60 or 90 days.  Right now. Ohio is an employment at will state. Meaning that unless you have a contract for a stated specific time period an employee can be terminated without cause. If you have to, give them 30 days to find a new job, but get rid of them. They are costing you time, money and effort.

Now start replacing the bodies. But don’t replace them with high cost sales people that won’t be any better then what you just terminated and take a long time to break event.  Instead, look to your top producers and those in the 2nd and 3rd quintile and ask yourself this question – How much more effective, productive could this group be if I provided them with the right sales support?

Why would you do this? There are several reasons but the one I’m thinking of is this - to build your own sales team instead of trying to draft one.  Think about how hard it is to find really good, solid sales people that can have an immediate impact on your sales people.  Think about all the ‘stuff’ you’ve heard from your top tier sales people about support, paper work, meetings etc.  Yes I know they are excuses but suppose you put an end to them?

Suppose you went out and found people that were talented and account management and farming books of business. They know the technical side of the business but maybe they aren’t great at hunting, networking and developing new relationships.   Or, maybe they can become that but they are new in their professional careers and just need exposure and experience to sales!

To do this you need to do more then just go out and hire them.  You have to have systems and processes in place to make sure your sales people are using the support talent and stop making excuses.  You have to have a development plan for these new hires so that they learn selling. You have to make sure you have data collection systems in place so that you can more effectively coach sales people you have today that are not reaching their potential.  And, you have to have the career advancement process in place so that your new support people know what they are aiming for and your experienced sales people don’t think that the only way to advance is to become a sales manager.

I know this is whacky.  But how whacky is it to keep 33% of your team that represents less than 10% of your revenue?

Hire the right people –

Building your sale environment – Sales Managed Environment Certification

 Free book download - Effective Sales Management

Key to Successful Selling – Manage Your Players to These 5 Rules of The Game

Tags: Sales, SME, Selling Success, sales management

I’m reading Fast Company magazine this morning and realize I don’t get out of it what I used to.  It’s probably a combination of how I’ve changed, how our company has changed and how the magazine has changed. This got me thinking about articles I’ve ready about how selling has changed and the ‘keys’ to selling in today’s market.


I did a quick Google search; ‘keys to sales success’, and here are some of the articles.

But this is what I think – the keys to successful selling really haven’t changed that much if at all.

In 2005 I read Dave Kurlan’s book Baseline Selling.  Dave took the fundamentals of effective selling and used the baseball diamond and baseball terminology to explain his sales process.  He have If you think about baseball, or look at old baseball videos or pictures you will find that today the game is essentially exactly the same game that was formulized in New York about 1840.

I am convinced that the ‘game’ of selling is exactly the same game that Frank Bettger (Author of How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling) was playing in 1952.  I read this book over 15 years ago but I didn’t know this fact about Frank until today – He play professional baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals. With that in mind let’s stick with the baseball theme.

The Rules of The Game For Successful Selling (even today

  1.      Take batting practice every day - practice
  2.      Take what the pitcher gives you – focus on what problem your prospect has to solve.  Leave your product briefcase and brochures in the car.
  3.      Swing at YOUR pitch – Just like a batter faces lots of pitches and only are a few are ones he can really connect with, you will face lots of prospects but only work with those that you can really work with and help.
  4.      When the 1st base coach is waving you to keep going, go to second base. When you find out that your prospect has a ‘have to fix’ problem that doesn’t mean you try and steal home.  Go to second and make sure they have the money to fix the problem. Go to 3rd to make sure they are committed to investing the time, money or resources to fix the problem.  Before you head for home make sure you can score when you get there – the prospect is committed to making a decision.
  5.      In the first inning you might strike out, hit into a double play, walk to first, get hit by a pitch get stranded on first etc. – you have to shake all of that off because you have 8 more innings to play – anything can happen as long as you keep going and getting at bats.

Additional Resources:

Drafting better players –

Sales Management – 9 Keys to Coaching Sales Success

Free book for your salespeople – Why is Selling So Damn Hard?

A New View for Evaluating Sales Effectiveness

Tags: sales management skills, sales management, sales management success, Sales Management Training

What you cannot see can kill you.  If you don't see the car to your right about to run a stop sign, you might be in trouble.  If you cannot see a clogged artery, you might be in trouble.  If you cannot see that your sales team is failing to execute the fundamentals of an effective sales approach, then surely this will kill your chances for consistent sales growth.


Effectiveness as a sales manager requires many skills, tendencies and attributes.  Working with Objective Management Group (The #1 Sales Evaluation and Assessment Tool), Anthony Cole Training Group has identified 5 “musts” for a sales manager:

  1. Recruiting
  2. Coaching
  3. Motivating
  4. Managing Performance
  5. Upgrading

These 5 functions plus some additional content related to systems and processes and effective selling make up our Sales Managed Environment® Certification Program (SMEC).  

I have recently gone through ocular plaque radioactive surgery.  It's a procedure where Dr. Augsberger knocked me out, pulled the eyeball out of the socket (maybe just turned it a bit) and sewed a gold-plated disc to the back of the eye.  The purpose was to kill the cells associated with a choroid melanoma. Post-surgery included placing an antibiotic cream under the lower eyelid, covering that with a patch and then covering that with a lead eye cover.  It also, in the state of Ohio, mandated that I stay in a room with a lead door for 4 days.  After 4 days, they took me back to surgery, removed the disc, let me recover and sent me home.  That is when I really began to notice the importance of two lenses to view the world.

I cannot see anything on my right unless I turn my head.  I have some peripheral vision to the right, but really just beyond my nose.  The other night, Linda and I were walking the dog and I turned my head to the right to talk to her and she was gone. I had to do about a 270 degree turn to find her.  

Since I've been home, it has become very apparent that, in order for me to function effectively, I have always counted on two lenses to see, work and enjoy the world.  Without both lenses, it forces me to work harder and not nearly as effectively as I did prior to surgery.  So… what does this have to do with sales management effectiveness?


I've been teaching and coaching our SME™ program for a dozen years and my personal experience is what is driving me to see our approach a different way.  Each one of the components of SME™ is really a lens for a company sales leader to use to “see” how the sales group is performing.  Kind of like my doctor used a blood test, a C-scan, and a biopsy to determine how well my body is functioning.  One data point alone doesn't tell the story.  Another analogy to use would be to look at the scoreboard at the end of the game to determine how well the game was played.  The score is a lagging data point and only tells you who happened to win.  It doesn't tell you why one team won and why the other lost.

Using all five lenses in your organization will tell you several things.  In the words of Seth Godin (must watch video), you will know:

  1. Why they are racing to the top or the bottom
  2. Why they will continue to race to the top or the bottom

For more information on these five lenses, feel free to pull down our most recent eBook, The Extraordinary Sales Manager.   This new view just might give you what you need to see your team’s activities from a new perspective and tools to execute on the necessary changes.

Additional Resources:

Download the Extraordinary Sales Manager eBook
Evaluate Your Team with the Sales Force Grader