Sales & Sales Management Expertise

11 Sales Lessons – What I learned During My Summer Vacations (Part 2)

Tags: sales lessons, successful selling

As I mentioned in my previous article, I’ve had two vacations this summer. One trip was to Canada for fishing and another to Falmouth, Massachusetts to relax and visit our niece and her family. While there we relaxed, had some great meals, walked all over Falmouth, visited with a client, and ate lots of ice cream. All the while, I continued to be amazed by the sales lessons I learned during our daily adventures.

Here are the 6 sales lessons I learned while visiting the Cape.

#1: Small sales can be very rewarding as you watch them grow

Linda’s niece Laura and her husband Sebastian have an infant boy: Javier Miguel Fuentes. He is 9 months old and a delight. We met him when he was a month old and now he is crawling. It was a blast to spend time with him and see how he continues to develop and grow. Yes, there is lots of pressure to make ‘big sales’ but you can choose smaller ones when you believe the growth will be worth all the effort.

#2: Little things do matter and make a difference

While dinning at Anejo Mexican Bistro, not only was the food delicious but the staff was exceptional and paid attention to the little details. It made our visit and experience exceptional and Anejo become our ‘go to’ place to eat during the trip.


#3: If you want the right kind of clients, you have to be where they are

The picture here is of ‘The Knob’. The Knob is a piece of land donated to the Audobon Society by Miss Cornelia Carey in 1973. To get there, you have to go to Woods Hole, find the little out-of-the-way road to Buzzards Bay. You may have to park ½ mile away and walk to get to the Knob. But if you want to see the beautiful sunsets from the Knob, you have to go to the Knob. It won’t come to you.

#4: Take risks

We are creatures of habit. We go to restaurants and order our favorites, our standbys, because we know what we like. I ordered a mahi mahi fish sandwich with aioli sauce and a slice of pineapple on a brioche bun. Those who know me know this isn’t my go to meal. It was great. So great that when we got home that was the first meal I prepared for our Sunday family dinner. We spend a lot of time in training sessions with ‘seasoned’ salespeople who have been doing what they’ve been doing for decades. Some of these people fear taking the risk of trying something new. What is interesting to me is that those that are most successful are those that always take the risk of trying something new.

#5: When on vacation, you can eat ice cream anytime

Linda and I managed to find lots of places to eat soft serve ice cream. Normally it didn’t matter what time of the day it was. When we found ice cream we would stop, consider and buy. In your sales day, there is never a bad time to prospect. Anytime you spend prospecting – just one call between other ‘things you have to do’ is time well spent. Anyone you meet might be someone that needs to hear your story. Don’t convince yourself that prospecting is something you just do on Thursday. That prospect you are looking to connect with on Thursday may not be there.

#6: You really can’t do it alone.

Salespeople have huge egos and believe that ‘they’ are the center of the sales universe. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. We have a client in NYC that has an extraordinary sales support structure. Without it much, if not all, of the recurring revenue wouldn’t happen. The ‘expertise’ of their product specialist is exceptional. Yes, the producers hunt and develop relationships and that is no doubt a BIG part of the job. But the rest of the team fulfills the promise and is always there to pick up the pieces when something goes wrong. It took a number of people to pull off the wonderful trips I’ve had this summer. Special thanks to our family: Jeni, Steven, Alex, Ireland and Mike for taking care of things at home and watching over Anthony. Thanks to our people at Anthony Cole Training Group for taking care of business and my clients while we were away. The guys I fished with have been doing this trip for 30 years. Without Gerald, Bob and Barry and their expertise there is no way the trip would have been as extraordinary.

So there you go, vacation sales tips from Canada and Cape Cod. Enjoy the rest of your summer. Send a picture of your summer vacation to and you will receive a free, 30-minute pre-call strategy session with me to discuss a sales meeting you have coming up or a post-call debrief for a prospect meeting you already had.

11 Sales Lessons: What I Learned During My Summer Vacations (Part 1)

Tags: sales lessons, successful selling

In June, I went on a 7-day fishing trip to Lake McCrae Ontario, Canada with 3 friends of mine. 2 weeks later, Linda and I spent 5 days in Falmouth, Massachusetts and 2 days in Boston.

My vacations have provided some insights that correlate very well to what it takes to be successful in selling. To make this a little easier to digest I will take the 11 Lessons from my summer vacations and break them down into two articles.

The 5 Sales Lessons from My Canada Fishing Trip

#1: Anticipate an unexpected turn of events and prepare to respond

Lake McCrea is very remote. There is no cell or phone service. Last year was my first trip there and I was concerned that if something happened or if something happened at home there wouldn’t be a way to get help or leave if I had to. To prepare, I rented a satellite phone.

#2: If you change how you view things, you will see something different

Gerald was pointing out to me the structure of the rocks below the surface of the water. The sun was shining, the water was crystal clear and I could see in detail what I needed to see in order to be more successful at casting in the right areas. I immediately thought of salespeople and their relationships with prospects. I thought “if salespeople would just change how they view selling, they would see better what it would take to convert a prospect into an opportunity and perhaps a client. But many salespeople have a myopic view and look at all prospects the same and thus treat them all the same. Example: If the view is ‘prospects want to save money’ then the sales person will approach all sales the same way.

Dad and fish

#3: You can’t force big sales to happen

I managed to hook 3 monster Northern Pikes. The first was 40 inches long and at least 15 pounds. I was fishing with gear suited for fish that might have been 3 pounds. Not wanting to risk losing the monster fish, I set my drag and took my time. This catch took 50 minutes to boat.

#4: Learn from mistakes and successes

Two days later, I hooked another fish about the same size but learning from the first big catch I managed to bring this one in the boat in 25 minutes. A day later, I caught the granddaddy –a 48” Northern. I managed to get that one in the boat in 20 minutes.

#5: Create more opportunities – make more sales

My fishing partners have been making this trip for over 2 decades. They are really experienced and rarely get their fishing jigs caught in the rocks hidden beneath the water. I, on the other hand, had some trouble in this area and so I spent more time re-tying jigs and lures then they did. Subsequently they threw more cast and caught more fish.

So there you go, my sales tips from my 10-day vacation in Canada. Be on the lookout for part 2! Send a picture of your summer vacation to and you will receive a free, 30-minute pre-call strategy session with me to discuss a sales meeting you have coming up or a post-call debrief for a prospect meeting you already had.

Sales Training Lessons - Generating More Sales, "Problem" People & The ONE Thing

Tags: Sales Training, sales lessons


Additional support information for this topic:

I conducted a sales training session yesterday for Central Investment Advisors.They are the investment division for Central Bank which is based in Jefferson City, Mo. We have been conducting 2 to 3 live sessions a year for 3 years now and, within our deliverable, I work with the Sales Manager, conduct online coaching sessions and provide access to our online learning library.

Yesterday, we were focusing on three critical functions for generating more sales:

  1. Executing a more consistent sales process – So many sales people, regardless of tenure, fail to have or execute a sales process. They have one, but it changes from opportunity to opportunity, day to day, week to week. As a result, gathering any business intelligences is impossible and therefore conducting any intentional coaching to improve skills or change behaviors is prohibited because there isn’t a baseline of performance to measure against.
  2. More at bats – Everything starts with getting more people to talk to and engaging those people in important conversations. Our subject matter was – Getting Introductions (Audio postcard).
  3. Positioning a Solution to Get a Decision (sample online workshop) – Even with all the training done on how to qualify prospects and how to present solutions, there is very little done in the way of positioning the close to get a decision. And, contrary to what would seem to be logical, it isn’t about the sales person telling the prospect, “This is what we do next.” Instead, it’s a matter of continuing to ask questions to find out how the prospect wants to proceed, what they have to see or hear that will allow them to make an intelligent decision, and then gaining agreement on making a decision once you deliver what they say they have to have.

We covered a lot of ground, made them role play, made them analyze their current approach and determine what was the one thing they really needed to address to improve the production, productivity and/or effectiveness. I asked them to write down that one thing so that they could take all the information and point it at just one area of improvement instead of trying to eat the whole elephant at once.

When we finished, I asked everyone to review their notes and identify the one thing they got from the session that will help them with the one thing they identified in the beginning of our workshop. The following are just some of the answers of what we all took away from our 3 hours together:

  • Do a better job of executing my ideal week – time blocking
  • Patience
  • Training is something we always need to do
  • Do a better job of asking better questions
  • When I role play/practice, I must practice how I have to perform when it really matters
  • Identify those people I really want to work with and make sure that, when I ask for referrals, I’m getting introduced to those type of people
  • Ask the question – “Is this a want to fix or have to fix problem?”
  • Make getting introductions part of my sales process
  • Have a process and follow the process
  • Make sure that I reach out to my peers and ask for help in preparing for larger sales opportunities
  • Conduct a “pre-flight checklist” prior to going out on a call or presenting a solution.
  • Be prepared for the unexpected reactions, answers and questions of the prospect.

As I said, this is just a sampling of the lessons from our session. We had close to 30 people in the room and many of those lessons identified were repeated by others. What is always fascinating to me is the variety of answers I get. We focused on just 3 things yesterday, I thought we had just 3 lessons... but the list here includes 11 take-a-ways.

The other thing that I find consistently fascinating is that normally the manager or organizer of the meeting warns me about "problem" people in the group that may not respond because of their tenure. What ALWAYS happens is that some of those tenured, experienced, "problem" people are the ones that learn the most, get the most, change the most and, eventually, produce the most. I think there is a correlation between their willingness to learn and their position in the stack ranking – they are normally the ones to the right of the median line in the bell curve.

My ask of you is this – Review the three topics covered, review the lessons learned and answer the question: “What’s the one thing I could do better?”

Feel free to comment with your answer. Please click any of the links at the beginning for additional resources.