ACTG Sales Management Blog

Sales & Sales Management Expertise Blog  

Sales Commandment #3: Getting Introductions

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Thu, Nov 03, 2022

Get out of the cold-calling business! Share this video with your people who might struggle with getting introductions. This video is a part of our new series with Mark Trinkle: The 10 Commandments of Sales Success. Today we dive into Commandment #3! 

Watch all of the Commandments Here

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Topics: sales skills, Sales Activities, getting introductions

It’s Not Time Management, It’s Self-Management

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Aug 25, 2022

There is no such thing as “time management.” Here is my take on the myth. It’s a very practical analysis that leads me to my strong conviction.

How many hours in the day do you have? How many minutes in those hours? How many seconds in those hours?  All told the answers are 24 hours, 60 minutes to an hour (1,440 minutes in the day), 60 seconds (86,400 seconds in a day, 31,449,600 seconds in a year)!  I dare you to speed time up, slow it down or stop it!  You can’t.  So how can anyone in their right mind call any program or concept “Time Management?

* I am not the only one in the sales professional development field that believes time management is a myth.  See the resources at the end of this post for more information on debunking the myth of time management.

So, if you can’t manage it, what is the solution to figuring how to avoid having more to do than the time you have to do it?  The obvious solution is this:

Do a better job of managing the time you have

In order to do that, it is helpful to understand what could be causing the lack of self-management that leads to insufficient sales behaviors and prospecting. You might have a substantial revenue flow from the business you already have so therefore lack the motivation. Some salespeople make excuses and blame service or account management for their own lack of self-management. Could also be that you have a fear of rejection.  Let’s face it, none of us like to be told ‘no’. We find that many salespeople lack an effective phone approach, so avoid doing the activity. And finally, many have a need for approval, which is when a salesperson would rather do an activity that is easy and gratifying, than face the difficult job of prospecting and calling sales prospects. Does any of that sound familiar to you?

Here are some Rules to help you manage the time you have:

  • Don’t make excuses for your inability to allocate time for prospecting
  • Learn to discern the difference between ‘pay’ and ‘no pay’ activities and spend at least 33% of your time on ‘pay activities’.
  • Use time blocking to identify your pay activities and then use time blocking in your calendar application. (You should know at least 30 days in advance what activity you will be doing at 2:00 on a Thursday). 
  • Be effective with people and efficient with things
    • Stop trying to have ‘quick meetings’
    • Start scheduling the appropriate amount of time with cushion on both sides of EVERY meeting you schedule
    • Embrace technology designed to help you become more efficient at communicating, scheduling, and managing your practice.

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Tactics to help you:

  • Time blocking: Use your calendar app as a true self management application instead of an appointment placeholder.  If I where to look at your calendar I should see, in addition to appointments, time blocked off for:
    • Your personal time
    • Your planning time
    • Time for pro-active, intentional prospecting
    • Administrative work
    • Internal meetings
    • Lunch meetings – networking activities
    • Sales appointments
    • Appointment preparation; pre calls, post calls, and 1 on 1 coaching for skill improvement
    • Research
    • Putting out fires

This is what it looks like:


  • Discernment: To help you discern between the two boxes on the left side of the matrix above, you must ask yourself these three questions every time you are tempted to sacrifice your sales prospecting time in order to get something else done that has popped up in your day to distract you.
  • If I don’t do this RIGHT NOW…
  1. Will someone die or become seriously injured, ill or be in jeopardy?
  2. Will I lose the client?
  3. Will I lose my job?

How likely is it that you will answer yes to any of those questions?  Not likely.  So, your challenge then is to be comfortable delaying your response instead of delaying your go to activity – prospecting.

*Additional resources debunking the time management theory.


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Topics: time management, Sales Activities, self management

Successful Salespeople Understand that the Small Stuff Does Matter

Posted by Tony Cole on Fri, Aug 19, 2022

I will have to agree to disagree with Richard Carlson, Author of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. My view is that the little and or small things do matter and often they matter a great deal.

We have a newborn in our family. Born July 1st 2022, she came into the world just over 7 pounds. The parents knew in advance that their child would be born with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). With that came the understanding of the complications at birth and the lifelong disease associated with CF. You see, they already have 1 child with CF.

The baby was in the hospital for 5 weeks due to complications with her digestive tract issue, not uncommon with CF patients as they often don’t produce the enzymes to process protein and fat and as a result don’t ‘poop’. That is a problem.

The baby had to gain a defined amount of weight a day for a rolling number of consecutive days before they would release her to go home. That amount is 30 grams a day. I don’t convert easily from the metric system to the decimal system, so I had to look it up.  28.3495 grams equals 1 ounce. 1 ounce is .0003125% of my total body weight (200 lbs). A very small amount I think we would all agree.

So how important is the small stuff? Ask the parents, and they will tell you that day in and day out that while they waited to bring her home from the hospital, it was not such a small thing.

Another example to consider: The diameter of the moon is approximately 2,158 miles.  If the NASA scientist missed the calculation to moon landing site by just 1 degree, the Apollo 11 moon landing would have missed the landing site by: 

Screen Shot 2022-08-19 at 3.36.35 PM

What does this have to do with selling? Everything. Understand I am a salesperson that happens to sell sales growth training and development programs to community banks, insurance brokerage agencies and investment advisory firms. I came from a background of recruiting and selling young athletes to come to our campuses at UConn, the University of Cincinnati, and Iowa State University. I sold Nautilus exercise equipment and life insurance.

The lessons of small stuff didn’t hit me until I got into the insurance business and had to track my weekly sales activity in my success manual. I didn’t think it was that important, it was a pain in my backside to report this every week to my manager Bob and when I didn’t hit my numbers, I just made them up to keep Bob off my back. 

If you are reading this and you are an experienced and successful banker, insurance agent or advisor you can relate to this especially if you are one of our clients and have been introduced to the manager’s extraordinary discussion, the success formula, and huddles (video). You probably think it’s a waste of time and why does missing my call number, or my conversion number really matter? The graphic below shows you how much it matters.


The quarterly plan called for approximately 3.38 calls per day over the period of 1 quarter / 65 working days. If you miss that mark by just 10%, assumed conversion rate of outreaches is 18% instead of 20% and, your average size loan is 2,025,000 and finally you don’t renew all of your current 20,000,000 portfolio you end up at 88% of your goal!

So, the little things do matter and if you end up with a couple of little things not adding up, you miss the Big thing. Your personal goal!

(Personal Note: As of this writing the baby continues to grow, their oldest is almost 2 going on 5, you would never know she has CF. Mom and Dad are juggling what life has sent their way. They really do appreciate the small things.)

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Topics: Sales Growth, Sales Leadership, Sales Activities

5 Reasons to Run a Sales Blitz for Sales Prospecting

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Fri, Dec 03, 2021

sales blitz

We expect every member of our team to prospect every day as one of their sales activities. But now and then, it helps to put a focus on the effort and bring the team together on a call blitz.  This works for many reasons.

One, we like the company of doing this together. Salespeople are often lone rangers, making calls and sending emails and linking in but it sure is nice to have our team to celebrate or to complain to and more importantly, to share experiences with and learn from.

Secondly, a call blitz puts a scheduled time on everyone’s calendars for just that one activity – sales prospecting outreach and conversations. Everyone gets to decide how they are going to approach this but we do provide a recommended direction and tools.

Third, let’s face it, sometimes life and work get in the way and our sales prospecting time is taken away when we must take care of current clients. Call blitzes put a discipline and structure to this necessary sales activity of sales prospecting.

Fourth, when our team collectively puts a lot of outreaches into the universe, that is also a form of branding – we are getting the word out! 

Fifth, the team gets together after the blitz and can brag or commiserate, but still share best (and maybe not so great) sales prospecting practices. 

Here are some suggestions on how to run a successful sales blitz.

  1. Create a theme and develop a really good email campaign with that theme and send it to the targeted audience you are trying to reach. Our email campaign featured an offer for a free workshop - Roadmap for Success in 2022, that we could deliver for prospects and their teams. We sent the email out several times prior to the calling blitz in the hopes there would be some recognition when we called.
  2. Make sure the emails come from the person calling if you can. We have our database segmented by salesperson and sent the same email but it was customized with their name and sig and calendar link and sent just to their prospect list.
  3. Make sure your team knows this is a commitment of time and it is on their calendar. They must honor it and plan to provide a recap at the Post Blitz Zoom meeting.
  4. Track it – which we do weekly anyways. Here’s an example of our weekly sales activities summary but we press activity reports out daily. The sales prospecting calling blitz is not reported here and will make this week look low. (Names covered to protect the innocent!)Graph
  5. Have some fun when you get together for the Post Blitz Zoom. Have each person share their experiences, talk about what to do next, and celebrate the effort. Our calling blitz was for 90 minutes and the Post Blitz Zoom only took about half an hour. We had some great energetic stories and sharing going on – invaluable! We will rinse and repeat in 2022, you can bet on that.

Now it’s your turn to schedule a sales prospecting blitz with your team. Let us know if we can help!

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Topics: sales prospecting, Sales Activities

5 Habits for Greater Sales Success

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, May 27, 2021
Keeping your good habits “habitual” is dependent upon your level of commitment to your goals. If you are truly committed and willing to sacrifice immediate gratification for the long-term good, then good habits stick.

But how do you correct your behavior and become more habitual? Here are our 5 steps to creating better sales habits.


I’m an educator by degree. During my undergraduate work at UConn, my fellow future teachers and I were taught that behaviors and habits are a result of combinations of rewards and consequences. If you wanted your student to develop certain habits or skills, part of the development, in addition to the teaching and coaching, was rewarding success and disciplining failure. Sometimes the disciplined approach was punitive; other times it was a matter of repeating the behavior, skill, or activity until they (the person being taught) got it right. Once they got it right, they were rewarded.

Given all of this background, here are my thoughts for today about habits.

  • Good habits are called good habits because they contribute to the successful completion of the goals and objectives you say you are committed to.
  • Bad habits are “bad” because, instead of taking you towards your objectives, they take you away. They keep you from accomplishing what you said was important to you.
  • Keeping your good habits “habitual” is dependent upon your level of commitment to your goals. If you are truly committed and willing to sacrifice immediate gratification for the long-term good, then good habits stick.
  • If you find that you cannot consistently execute your good habits, it is probably due to your lack of commitment to the things you say are important to you.
  • “Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.” - Vince Lombardi
  • Often the things/habits you need to be doing aren’t urgent: exercising, eating well, taking baby aspirin, getting enough sleep, prospecting, blogging, etc.
  • Habits become urgent when something else urgent happens: heart attack, bodily injury, stroke, diabetes, organ failure, put on performance improvement program because of lack of production, lack of website activity.
  • Your habits are expressive of your commitments.

How do you correct your behavior and become more habitual? Here are my 5 Steps to Better Habits:

  1. Identify goals and objectives that are non-negotiable
  2. Have a plan to achieve those goals. Make sure the plan is detailed.
  3. Have a system to track your progress, execution of the necessary habits, activities required to achieve your goals.
  4. Inspect what you expect.
  5. Have an accountability partner that loves you and cares enough about you to hold your feet to the fire.

Need Help?  Check Out Our  Sales Growth Coaching Program!

Topics: Prospecting, sales succes, Sales Activities, sales commitment

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    Anthony Cole Training Group has been working with financial firms for close to 30 years helping them become more effective in their markets and closing their sales opportunity gap.  ACTG has mastered the art of using science-based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss our weekly sales management blog insights from our team of expert contributors.


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