Sales & Sales Management Expertise

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 tell my sales and me develop experts the same thing. They set goals, have goals for 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 and if companies managed performance to that expectation 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 leaders want 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 this readership 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 have 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, or buy tickets to a prom or our 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. The 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. 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 and 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 - You 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. If you are looking for a solution on how to keep from chasing every chicken you see then I’m sure there is good information to be gleaned from the book. 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 Detail$. I purposely made the last word tiny to see if you caught the $ in the word detail$. Not that it matters but here is what I found when I ‘googled’ Wikipedia:

Origin:  The idiom "God is in the detail;" has been attributed to a number of different individuals, most notably to German-born architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886–1969) by The New York Times in Mies' 1969 obituary; however, it is generally accepted not to have originated with him. The expression also appears to have been a favorite of German art historian Aby Warburg (1866–1929), though Warburg's biographer, E.M. Gombrich, is likewise uncertain if it originated with Warburg. An earlier form "Le bon Dieu est dans le détail" (the good God is in the detail) is generally attributed to Gustave Flaubert (1821–1880).[1] Bartlett's Familiar Quotations lists the saying's author as anonymous.[2] Google Ngram Viewer reveals that the phrase "the devil is in the details" does not appear in its digitalized collection before c. 1975. The phrase first appears in the collection digitalized by Google Books in 1965;[3] in 1969, it is referred to as an existing proverb.[4] 

What does this have to do with you and the title of this short article? Everything. Take a look at the following Success Formula designed to help an individual sales person figure out what they need to be doing day in and day out to be successful.


This sales person is using personal income as their metric for success. Their success standard is $58,800.00. 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 sales person 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 sales person is off of target by just 1%. As you can see that 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%.sweat_the_small_stuff_SF_with_underwriting.png

Look at that impact! This is the scenario that is more likely to happen. We know this because we have evaluated dozens of sales organizations and the company we use to evaluate sales organizations has evaluated literally thousands of sales organizations and one finding that always jumps out from the findings is that less than 10% of the sales people evaluated are using a consistent sales process. FYI 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 mis-interrpret this as something that only applies to companies that are failing to grow sales!

It is a staggering percentage that is less than 10% of all sales people 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 It happens for several reasons but the one I’m talking about today is:  Sweat the small stuff. IT MATTERS


Additional resources – Free Download – Success Formula

Grade your sales process – Free Sales Process Grader

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


If you could use some help now – text me at 513 226 3913, subject help sales process, 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

Keeping An Eye Out For Sales Talent

Tags: sales talent, hiring salespeople, managing sales teams


I had to find some way to work my current hospital stay into my blog post. I promised on my signature that I would keep you posted and figured I better get a post in today.

Here’s the quick story of why I’m here:

  • I had a healthy eye
  • I had vision symptoms
  • I was diagnosed with uveal melanoma
  • I had plaque radioactive surgery
  • I hope my vision returns and the tumor is gone

The long version of the story can read something similar to what sales managers face when they hire salspeople and anticipate those sales people to be successful.

Kind of like this progression:

  • I hired my next superstar salesperson
  • Everything was good for awhile, not perfect but good
  • We had a meeting when sales goals were not being met
  • Things got better
  • Things got worse
  • I put them on a performance improvement plan (PIP)
  • Things got better
  • Things got worse
  • We adjusted the compensation model down because of lack of performance
  • Things were okay
  • I put the producer on a PIP plan with a 3-strike rule
  • Yesterday was strike three, my superstar sales person has left the building

Sound/look familiar? What I know, or at least think I know, is this:

  • Your sales team, assuming you have at least 10 salespeople, is represented by the 80/20 rule. 80% of your results/revenue is being generated by about 20% of your team. (Give or take some percentage points – maybe 70/30)
  • If you plot your sales team in a bell curve many, if not most, of the people in the middle standard deviations set up tent there and never leave.
  • You have some people to the far left of the bell curve that have retired and just haven’t told anyone or are failing and you are looking for a miracle.

What I also know is this: Performance improvement plans, compensation changes, re-forecasting, waiting for them to make the turn and threats don’t work. What does work is this:

5 Steps For Building a More Productive Sales Team:

  1. Hire better salespeople
  2. On-board them better
  3. Coach them more/better
  4. Catch them early
  5. Let them go as soon as you know

Additional resources:

#1 Hiring Tool In The World - Stop making hiring mistakes

Bill Eckstrom – Coachign Best Practices

Tony Cole Blog: Performance management that works

Why Companies Struggle with Hiring Quality Salespeople

Tags: managing sales teams, sales success, hire better salespeople

Putting the best people in the right seats is the biggest problem identified by most business owners, especially as it applies to critical sales roles. Here are the 5 most common reasons most companies struggle with hiring quality salespeople.


#1 Companies outsource their recruiting and the responsibility. Recruiting is something that a company has to own. They can no longer outsource the work and the responsibility. That makes it too easy for people internally to throw up their hands and transfer failures associated within the hiring process to the outsourced firm. If companies are going to improve the quality of their hires, they have to own the process.

#2 There is a lack of a consistent process for constantly searching. Most, if not all, companies make the mistake of looking for candidates only when they have an opening. This leads to many problems:

  • Being held hostage by salespeople with “large books”. Companies feel they cannot do anything about them for fear of losing the “books” since there aren’t any replacements.
  • Feeling desperate to fill a chair with a warm bottom when there is a vacancy. A body,
    any body, is better than no one sitting in the chair (branch).
  • Not replacing underperformers because there isn’t a pipeline of candidates to choose from. The underperformers stay around too long; others know it and realize that they don’t have to perform to keep their job, so overall team production continues to decline.

#3 Companies are not getting quality candidates entering the process. The traditional model of recruiting today is one where the placement firm tries to convince their client why a candidate should be hired. Companies should, on the other hand, work extremely hard to disqualify candidates because there are specific skills that apply for that sales job and many/most candidates do not have those skills. Bottom line, the company has to assess at least two things: 1) Do they have enough of the right strengths to be successful? 2) Will they sell versus can they sell?

#4 There is poor communication about the specific role and expectations of this new hire. Too often, everyone is so excited about putting the deal together (getting the seat filled) that no one takes the time to get into the details of the day-to-day requirements of the job. This leads to early misunderstandings about the role and eventually, failure on the part of the new hire to meet the expectations of the company. Failure to “negotiate on the 1st tee” leads to misunderstanding and failure to execute on the sales goals.

#5 The on-boarding process is inadequate. Most companies are ill-equipped to effectively on-board new sales people. They spend time introducing them to the “culture” of the operation, the mechanics of the job and how to get things done. They introduce them to HR, their support team, marketing and their partners. And, yes, there is discussion about goals, sales activities and how to enter data into CRM. And then… the new hires are on their own.

Companies think that they have hired their next sales superstar and then, 12 months later, they cannot figure out what went wrong. They look at the numbers and discover that the new hires are producing “just like everyone else in the middle of the pack.” The process most companies have in place currently to recruit and hire salespeople perpetuates this problem.

If you need help or more information on hiring better salespeople, we have many resources available for you. You can also text me directly at (513 226-3913) and type Hiring in the subject line. You will get my undivided attention!



Does Your Sales Team Have "Swagger"?

Tags: sales success, building successful sales teams, highly successful sales people

 Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic" – Theodore Roosevelt, delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910   
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

What does it take for a salesperson/sales team to live that life?

1. Goals – Not just any goal(s), but goals that, as Walt Disney stated, drive you from the inside: “Dream the big dream, there is nothing in small dreams that stir the blood.”

2. Passion – A passion that emanates from you whenever you are doing what you love to do or talking about what you love to do. When others are in your presence they are compelled to stop and listen and watch/listen while you “burn”.

3. Commitment – The kind of commitment that is best described as “willing to do everything possible to succeed.”

4. Integrity – The determination to do what should be done even if no one is watching and no one will give you credit as a result of doing the right thing simply because it was the right thing to do.

5. Skills – Maybe not all the technical skills required to perfectly execute a behavior, but they have skills like intuition, high “figure it out” ability, stick-to-it-tiveness (not sure that’s a word) persistence, and determination.

6. Willingness to Take Risks – Some people just take shots and decide to aim as they go knowing that they may not at first hit the target but, eventually, they will get sighted-in and hit the objective.

7. Lack of Fear of Failure or Success – Truly, the ability to move on regardless of an outcome is required if you are going to keep going even after you’ve been marred by blood, sweat and blood.

8. Discernment – Those that keep going understand the difference between failing to accomplish an object and being a failure. They understand that a failure is something that occurs in one of their “roles” in life, but who they are on the inside stays intact.

9. Discernment, Part II – They know what shots to take, when to hold them and when to fold them. They estimate the chances of winning and know what they are willing to risk. They stack the deck as best they can and take action knowing full-well they cannot account for every incident that might keep them from success.

10. Ownership – They give credit to others for success and own the outcomes of failure. They don’t blame other people or things; they simply think and or say, “I failed to…”

Imagine just these 10 characteristics, traits or skills all wrapped up in a human being. And that, even with all of these strengths, they continue to grow through risk, success and failure. As a result, they have confidence. They have a sense of invulnerability when it comes to doing the tough stuff. When they walk into a room and start to speak, they own the room. They command attention and they say and do things that others admire and wish they could say and do.

They are people that you want to have on your team and would rather not have to compete against because you know they will do everything they need to do to win. They will be relentless in pursuit of an objective and, while they occasionally lose, most often it is a loss they were willing to suffer in order to do the right things, the right way, for the right reasons.

These people have earned the right to have swagger, to be courageous, assertive and brave because they have fought the fight, they have actually been in the arena, and have had their face marred by dust and sweat and blood; they strove valiantly, made errors, came up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who actually strove to do the deeds; knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; spends himself in a worthy cause; and at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement

Do you have these people?

Additional Resources:

How to Build a Motivated Sales Team



Would You Like to Increase Your Sales by 34%?


This is kind of like asking someone who is out of shape if they would like to get in shape – “in shape” meaning good blood chemistry, appropriate body weight and body fat, a solid level of cardio vascular fitness and muscular strength. The answer to that question is almost always – “Yes, I’d love to get in shape but…”

The “buts” are:

  • I don’t have time
  • I don’t know how
  • It’s hard
  • I cannot change my DNA; I am who I am

You see the problem? The answer is “yes” but, to get “yes”, the person has to sacrifice, change, commit, have great desire and take responsibility. They also have to have specific objectives, a plan to reach those objectives, accountability to the plan and a clear idea of reward and consequences for success and failure.

So, back to my original question, would you like to increase sales by 34%? If so, here’s the activity and math to get you there:

  • Identify the 8 to 10 steps in your sales process
  • Identify the current 12-month sales result
  • Identify the average size sale (Don’t make excuses for “our people sell lots of different products with different price points.” Add up all the sales, divide by the number of sales and you have your average size sale.)
  • Identify the conversion rate of all the steps in the process starting with step #1 in the sales process – calling someone or having contact with a prospect – and ending with the last step – someone said yes and paid you for your product or service. If you don’t know the conversion rate of each step at this point, you just have to do your best estimate.
  • Working with each sales person in your organization, identify 4 steps in the process where they believe they can improve by at least 10%. (Ex: 10% increase in effort – instead of 10 conversations a week, have 11. Increase average size sale – instead of averaging $2,000 per sale, increase to 2,200.)
  • Once you plug these 4 improved steps into a new formula, you will see the sales result increase by a minimum of 34%.

But, that’s just the math – the easy part. Suppose that:

  • 66% of your team are farmers instead of hunters
  • 50% of your team are not very good at closing
  • 1/3 of the team lacks either desire or commitment to be successful in selling and…
  • Up to 25% make excuses for lack of success
  • 66% of the team struggles with recovery from rejection or have beliefs about sales and selling that do not support sales growth

See? This takes us back to:

  • I don’t have time
  • I don’t know how
  • It’s hard
  • I cannot change my DNA; I am who I am

If you find yourself attempting to increase sales by sitting down with your sales team every year and discussing the new goal, this process is probably met with skepticism and reluctance. My bet is that, sometime over the next 12 months when you are doing a performance review with someone who is not at goal, you will hear “That was just the goal you gave me, not what I thought I could do.”

If you are sick and tired of that process and of pushing that rock up the hill, then consider a different approach to getting a much better outcome. There are some things that we do that might be of help to you. Additionally, here are some resources you can find on our website: