Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Is Your Organisation Committed To Succeed

Writen by Jonathan Farrington

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, not the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change" - Charles Darwin

Whatever got you where you are today will not be sufficient to keep you there. A rapidly changing environment is the regular background against which organisations must develop.

Change is continuous and will become more rapid as we move forward over time. Senior management must be capable of reacting to those changes and be prepared to take advantage of them and yet stay within the overall framework and agreed strategy.

The role of strategy is fundamental if the people within an organisation are to be enabled to make the level of contribution of which they are capable. Strategy, based on a good grasp of the core competencies of a business, is an essential precursor to achieving optimal shareholder value.

Dependence on salespeople is key to delivering the latent capability of a business. Our salespeople are the greatest source of competitive advantage we have and that is precisely why we should continue to invest in them and fully develop them. This is particularly true now that in most market sectors competitive advantage is continually being eroded – i.e. International barriers are coming down, selling time is becoming limited, competitors are getting smarter, fewer and fewer names are appearing on companies' databases, and product uniqueness is rare. Conversely, undeveloped personnel can bring down a company through inadequate performance, leaving the competition to harvest the marketplace.

If your organisation wants to permanently increase it's sales results then it needs to approach sales differently to create "the difference that makes the difference" in order to positively impact bottom line performance.

In Summary: Organisations and salespeople who have 100% commitment to doing whatever it takes to elevate their sales to a whole new level are the ones most likely to succeed. Trying to operate a sales organisation without total commitment is like trying to drive a car without fuel. But every organisation has the potential to harness the power of their salespeople just as surely as oxygen pumps life into the human body.

Copyright © 2006 Jonathan Farrington. All rights reserved

Jonathan Farrington is the Managing Partner of The jfa Group To find out more about the author or to subscribe to his newsletter for dedicated sales professionals, visit:

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

First Impression Expectations

Writen by Kurt Mortensen

Have you ever noticed how the people you assume are going to be jerks turn out to be just that? And if there is someone you're especially excited to meet, then you meet her and she seems great! Often our assumptions and expectations about someone we're about to meet for the first time play out exactly as we've already mentally conceived them. Once again, even when first meeting someone, you will send subconscious messages about how they are to respond and behave.

In a particular study, a group of high school students were brought together to hear a speech on how the minimum driving age should be raised. Half the students were told to focus on the speaker's speaking style, while the others were forewarned that the speaker considered teenagers to be horrible drivers. Two weeks after the presentation, the students were asked to fill out a questionnaire. Overall, the first group rated the speaker favorably and even leaned in favor of the position he asserted. The second group rated the speaker as hostile and seemed to have tuned out his message altogether. Because of the expectations set up for them, the second group of students were already defensive before the speech even started, leaving little room for persuasion.

Kurt Mortensen's trademark is Magnetic Persuasion; rather than convincing others, he teaches that you should attract them, just like a magnet attracts metal filings. He teaches that sales have changed and the consumer has become exponentially more skeptical and cynical within the last five years. Most persuaders are using only 2 or 3 persuasion techniques when there are actually 120 available! His message and program has helped thousands and will help you achieve unprecedented success in both your business and personal life.

If you are ready to claim your success and learn what only the ultra-prosperous know, begin by going to and getting my free report "10 Mistakes That Continue Costing You Thousands." After reading my free report, go to and take the free Persuasion IQ analysis to determine where you rank and what area of the sales cycle you need to improve in order to close every sale!

Drop Discounts And Earn Top Dollar

Writen by Paul Johnson

Every dollar you discount is a dollar of pure profit you're giving away. Therefore, your efforts to remove discounts will be richly rewarded.

When buyers see list price, they expect discounts to follow. By changing the way you address the relationship between pricing and discounts, you can stop giving away heavy discounts and escape the commodity pricing pressures in your business.

Here are 4 simple techniques that you can use to wring every dollar you deserve out of your next sale.

Amplify the Pain

First, find and amplify your buyer's pain. Before any discussion of price, your buyer must be truly motivated to make a change. In other words, make sure the buyer understands just how much it is costing them to NOT implement your solution.

The life insurance business has used this approach for years, because nobody wants to think about dying. The agent asks the prospective insured to think about all of the effects of being inadequately insured. Do you have enough money set aside right now to pay for a decent burial? How will the mortgage be paid next month? Who will pay for the children's college? These types of questions heighten the awareness of the buyer to the gravity of their decision, which increases the perceived value of the solution as well as creating a sense of urgency to make a positive decision.

But wait, you say, not all buying decisions are pain-oriented. Very true. Many of our buying decisions are tied to gain of some sort, whether financial, power, prestige, or comfort related. Still, these gain drivers can be made even more effective by bringing in the pain elements. All you need to do is consider the flip side with the prospect.

For instance, if you are considering a new mattress on the basis of increased comfort, what will happen if you don't get the mattress? Will you, or do you now suffer from back or joint problems? Will you wake up tired, drag through your day, and be unproductive at work? Will you waste more time sleeping than you need to, because of lack of quality sleep time?

When you consider questions like these, the new mattress doesn't just become a luxury. Instead, it's a necessary tool that will cost you many productive hours at work and in your relationships if you fail to have it. With pain, we now have a motivated buyer with a sense of urgency.

Quantify the Problem

The next step for maximizing your selling price is to quantify the buyer's problem. Often the buyer will need a little help with this. Some things are easy to quantify. For example, what would it cost if a company's website goes down and visitors can't access company information or conduct transactions? That may be easier to quantify than putting a dollar figure on what a bad night's sleep might cost you the next day.

You can quickly quantify any situation by going through a best case/worst case/likely case scenario. For instance, the best case situation for your website to go down would probably be in the middle of the night, perhaps on a weekend. You'd loose some traffic, but only a very small percentage compared to overall weekly traffic. The worst case might be to lose your website right after your company is featured on CNN. While this could happen, the probability is rather small. Now it's easier for the buyer to understand that a likely scenario could be to lose their website during a normally-heavy traffic time, perhaps mid-day or early evening. With such a likely scenario clearly in mind, it's easy to understand how financially painful the loss would be.

Package Your Solution

A third tactic for maximizing your selling price is to package your solution. Don't price out components separately, but show a single price for fixing the buyer's problem. The price should include all of your offerings that are necessary to deliver the complete fix.

Once you've bundled your solution for a single price, it's hard for your buyer to shop elsewhere. The more of your offerings that your buyer needs, the more difficult it will be to find another source that can duplicate that same set of offerings. Buying them a la carte from multiple sources will almost always prove to be more difficult, if not more expensive.

I'm amazed at how many companies believe they have to provide line-item pricing because their buyers ask for it. Of course they ask for it! That's so they can nit-pick each item and squeeze out a bigger discount. Most companies are a little high on some items and a little low on others, but still offer a great overall value. Your prospect will never point out the under-priced items, but you can bet they'll grind you on the ones that are a little high.

Pick a Proud Price

As you set the price for your offering, the last thing to consider is the cost of the problem the buyer quantified earlier. Remember that you're presenting a neatly-wrapped solution package to a buyer who's motivated to solve a painfully-expensive problem. Their problem should be a lot more expensive than the price you want to ask, preferably by a factor of 3 or more. Feel free to name your price, and pick a good one!

It shouldn't be exorbitant, but it doesn't have to be the cheapest in town. You deserve to make a good buck relative to the problem you're fixing. This is no time to be shy and leave money on the table. And if you haven't been able to point out how their problem is costing them much more than the price of your solution, don't be surprised when you don't get the order.


To earn top dollar for what you offer, you'll need to amplify your buyer's pain, quantify their problem, package your solution, and make sure the cost of their problem is always much higher than the price of your solution. It's worth working a little harder to defend your pricing because another name for discount is pure profit. Use these techniques and you won't have to give either away anymore.

© 2005 Paul Johnson. All rights reserved.

Note: This article is available for reprint at no charge. We only ask that you include our copyright notice in your reprint, along with the About the Author (byline) information we provide at the end of the article.

Paul Johnson of Panache and Systems LLC consults and speaks on business strategy for systematically boosting sales performance using Shortcuts to Yes™. Check out more salesforce development tips at Call Paul direct in Atlanta, Georgia, USA at (770) 271-7719.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Effective Executive

Writen by Nick Arrizza, M.D.

What does it mean to be an "effective executive"? Well very simply it means achieving the goals you set out to achieve in an efficient, creative and effortless manner. Some of the benefits that ensue from this self efficacy are: feelings of self confidence, self esteem, self worth, a sense of personal empowerment, feeling invigorated and passionate about everything you choose to do, a sense of resilience, more energy, personal emotional and physical health and for some a great sense of purpose.

How much of the time do you feel any or all of these? Surveys I have done over the last several years suggest that most executives feel "effectve", as defined above, only about 30 percent of the time on average. When I learned this I realized how much untapped potential there still is waiting to be unleashed from the business sector. Why is so much potential being wasted?

With over 20 years of experence working with such individuals it has become exceedingly clear to me that the biggest problem lies in the ability of such executives to courageously address the many limiting negative beliefs and emotions that they carry around inside of them. Now by "address" I do not mean engaging in some form of psychotherapy. My experience has also shown me that such a journey has significant limitations for individuals who desire immediate results in their lives and work. Additionally "therapy" often assumes that there is something wrong with such individuals. In my view this is not correct.

It has been my experience that each of us has enormous potential to be effective and to acheive beyond our wildest dreams. In other words we are individuals with tremendous abilities to achieve. To say anything else is unfortunately a denial of who we all feel we are deep inside. Hence it is with such a recognition that I would like to suggest that the problem is not "with us" but with the negative beliefs and emotions "inside of us" that are limiting us from being all we can be.

In recent case studies using a new modality called the Mind Resonance Process(TM) which I developed to address this very problem I have shown that it is entirely possible to completely dissolve such limiting beliefs and emotions from our lives. The results have been nothing but miraculous. To know more you are invited ot visit the web site below.

Dr. Nick Arrizza is trained in Chemical Engineering, Business Management & Leadership, Medicine and Psychiatry. He is a Key Note Speaker, Author, Stress Management Coach, Peak Performance Coach & Researcher, Specializes in Life and Executive Performance Coaching, is the Developer of a powerful new tool called the Mind Resonance Process(TM) that helps build phyiscal, emotional, mental and spirtual well being by helping to permanently release negative beliefs, emotions, perceptions and memories. He holds live workshops, international telephone coaching sessions and international teleconference workshops on Physical. Emotional, Mental and Spiritual Well Being. Web site:

Understanding The Different Influencing Styles

Writen by Jonathan Farrington

The way in which you behave as a manager and the approach you take will have a marked effect on your ultimate success or failure.

Having a range of approaches and styles of behaviour gives you more flexibility. It increases your options – and your chances of success.

Natural Styles

Most managers have a natural style of influence which they prefer to use whenever possible. More flexible managers also keep in reserve a fall back style, used when the preferred style doesn't achieve the desired results.

However, there are at least eight identifiable styles of influence – not including aggression, manipulation or force!

Because you are influencing a wide range of people, proficiency in a wider range of styles will ensure more success. Step outside the comfort zone of your natural style and enjoy greater success by practising new ways of influencing.

However, do think carefully which influencing style has the greatest chance of succeeding. Varying your styles too much may give you a reputation for being unpredictable

The Autocratic Approach

You tell them, they agree

Use the push style when:

• You are looking for a quick response

• You seek only short-term commitment

• You are happy to check up and follow through

This approach works best when supported by power, authority, age, knowledge or wisdom. Resistance or objections are minimised. You tell others what you want them to do and they do it.

Do remember though, that autocracy can be a high-risk strategy. It may result in a feeling of 'You won, I lost'. They'll get you next time.

The Collaborative Approach

You include others in the decision-making process.

Use the push style when:

• You want to maintain long-term influence with others

• You seek a high level of commitment

• You have no time to enforce the outcome

This approach works successfully without you having any power or authority.

A word of caution, democracy takes time and can result in watered down solutions. Remain consistently collaborative. Don't give up too early. Avoid imposing too many parameters or conditions – these will create frustration in others.

The Logical Approach

You use clear logical, unassailable arguments, supported by proof.

Use logic when:

• The other person demands evidence and lots of detail

• You are prepared to do your homework

• You are prepared to wait for a reaction

This approach works best when the other person is a logical, linear thinker. Avoid exaggeration and unnecessary emotion. Offer instead facts and figures.

But, you may find this style long-winded and frustrating. You may even be forced to put it in writing. Allow time to prepare your argument, time to explain it, time to wait for a reaction.

The Emotional Approach

You use your natural charm, charisma or enthusiasm.

Use emotion when:

• You want others to feel part of an exciting project

• You want to fire up someone's motivation

• You are truly enthusiastic about an idea

This approach works when your influence becomes a genuine extension of your own feelings and beliefs. Appealing to the long-term effects of your ideas, you will reinforce their continuing value.

Do remember though that emotional appeal carries risks. It can leave a nasty taste in the mouth. Painful memories linger longer.

The Assertive Approach

You ask directly, clearly and confidently for what you want, or don't want.

Be assertive when:

• You want to influence autocratic people, bullies, stick-in-the-muds

• You want to influence behaviours

• You need to act and initiate, rather than react

Assertiveness can have a lasting effect, especially on those who least expect it from you. Any resistance is met by your persistence.

Assertive influence carries little or no risk.

The Passive Approach

You win the day by being submissive, by not overtly influencing.

Remain passive when:

• You want to influence others through personal demonstration

• You want to avoid unhelpful confrontation

• You have tried all the other approaches

As you quietly demonstrate desired behaviours, others can see for themselves the value in following your lead. Many potential confrontations with power or authority demand submissive influence, which can pay positive dividends.

The downside is that your submissiveness may leave you with feelings of low-esteem. Can you live with this?

The Sales Approach

You use good old-fashioned salesmanship.

Use salesmanship when:

• You know that the other person expects to be sold to

• You need to show the benefits your suggestion will produce

• You enjoy selling ideas

Draw out their point of view, understand their needs, demonstrate that you empathise; minimise resistance by showing how their ideas dovetail with your own; show how they will benefit.

Do realise though that logical or submissive people often hate an overt sales approach and may work hard to wreck your plans.

The Bargaining Approach

You trade concessions in order to reach a mutually acceptable conclusion.

Bargain or negotiate when:

• You are both equally keen to go ahead with the idea

• You are happy and able to offer a few concessions

• You want to reach a win-win conclusion

Don't just share the cake – make it a bigger one. Your success as a fair negotiator will help cement the relationship.

Aim too low and you'll end up even lower. Over collaborate and you may regret giving too much away. Always trade concessions.

The Power Of Positive Behaviour

Who has been a big influence in your life? A parent, relative, employer, friend or neighbour? Chances are that they often did nothing specific to influence you – they just behaved in ways that you took note of and decided to copy.

The behaviour of others can be influenced greatly when they observe the ways in which you:

• Deal with aggression

• Handle awkward customers

• Control group behaviour

• Field tricky questions

• Overcome resistance

• Live by your values and beliefs

• Walk the talk

Behaviours that help the influencing process:

• Continuous maintenance of rapport

• Maintaining good eye contact

• Congruent body language which supports your messages

• Appropriate voice tone which underpins what you say

• Flexibility – being prepared to change your approach, when necessary

• Awareness and acceptance of the needs of others

• Lack of conditional words, which dilute your messages

In Summary: Modelling Behaviour

Ok, suppose you don't have sufficient flexibility of style. With practice, it's easy to observe, analyse and reproduce the effective behaviours of other people. If you've ever studied any skill under a master, you will already have done this.

Suppose you know a person who uses an influencing style in a particularly elegant or effective manner. You have identified this as something you would like to improve for yourself. By closely observing what works for that person and noticing the effect it has on others, you can begin to experiment by adopting these behaviours and strategies and making them work for you, too.

Behaviour is only behaviour – it can usually be replicated

Copyright © 2006 Jonathan Farrington. All rights reserved

Jonathan Farrington is the Managing Partner of The jfa Group To find out more about the author or to subscribe to his newsletter for dedicated sales professionals, visit:

Sunday, December 28, 2008

How To Overcome Selflimiting Beliefs Within Your Team

Writen by Jonathan Farrington

The organisation with the ability to overcome the variety of mental models living in the minds of their workforce will be the organisation that wins in the future. Emphasis has to be placed on creating an environment in which the 'can do – will do' mentality thrives and becomes the norm, success and achievement are expected and as a consequence are much more likely to happen. We call this fulfilled expectation.

Expect Beliefs To Change:

Throughout a person's lifetime, beliefs change continually. Beliefs that they once thought to be immutable cease to be true. Take the example of Roger Bannister who, in 1957, became the first athlete to break the four-minute barrier for running a mile. Prior to Bannister's achievement, most athletes considered a sub-four-minute mile impossible. But that same year, sixteen other athletes also ran a mile in less than four minutes. Did they become superhuman overnight? Or, more simply, did their beliefs change?

Our Colleagues Can Exert Positive Pressure:

Like those milers, salespeople have their own unique sets of beliefs, some of which limit their potential in sales. For instance, during a recession, the members of a sales force may all believe that strong sales are impossible. But if just one person increases their sales, what seemed an inevitable fact will suddenly appear more like a thin excuse for poor performance.

We Must Challenge Negative Beliefs:

Sales Captains who challenge negative beliefs with good questions can help create shifts in mindset. Take a look at these examples of negative beliefs and examples of questions that challenge them.


"Our solutions are too expensive."


"Compared with whom?"

"Compared to what?"

"How do you know?"


"I'm hopeless at cold calling"


"According to whom?"

"What prevents you from being good at cold calling?"

"What would happen if you were good?"


"My sales target is too high this month, I'll never achieve it"


"What do you need to do so that you can?"

While challenging questions may not instantly create a belief change, over time, they can enable salespeople to shift their perceptions of their beliefs, recognising that there are other possibilities and options available to them.

Developing Self Worth:

Organisations that recognise the importance of helping their salespeople develop a strong sense of self worth are many times more likely to produce high performers. Self worth is vital to everyone but especially to salespeople who hear "no" more often than they hear "yes, I'll buy". A salesperson's self-esteem can sometimes take a hammering, but organisations that find ways to build their salespeople's self-esteem reap an invaluable dividend. Self–worth translates into attitude, that small thing that makes such a big difference.

In Summary - The most successful salespeople take care of their attitude and they understand that:

Great Attitude = Great Results,

Average Attitude = Average Results,

Poor Attitude = Poor Results.

The second commonality with successful salespeople is that they expect to be successful and they want it badly enough that they bring about its happening i.e. fulfilled expectation.

The moral right of the author, Jonathan Farrington, has been asserted. All rights reserved. This publication or any part thereof may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording, storage in an information retrieval system or otherwise, unless this notification of copyright is retained.

Jonathan Farrington is the Managing Partner of The jfa Group jf-assocs.

To find out more about the author or to subscribe to his newsletter, visit: Or follow the link to source a jfa solution

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merchant Accounts Points To Consider

Writen by Jeremy Maddock

Okay so you want to accept credit cards from your customers, and are interested in establishing a merchant account. Whether you own a brick-and-mortar retail store, mail order outlet, or internet shopping operation, there are a few things to consider when choosing a credit card processing provider.

First of all, you should make a list of several providers that offer the features you want, then compare the variable fees that may differ depending on the company you deal with. These fees include things like set-up, cancellation, and monthly minimum, and may be negotiable based on your unique circumstances.

Once you have determined the what your business will be charged for its merchant account, it's often a good idea to do a few sample calculations to work out your total credit card processing costs during a good, bad, and average month.

Finally, you should read and double-check the contract, including small print and detailed terms. Don't sign anything until you are confident that you understand all the fees, minimums, termination clauses, and other details. It's important to keep in mind that merchant account providers won't go over every single point with every single customer, and that it is ultimately your responsibility to read and understand the terms.

About the Author: Jeremy Maddock is a successful web-based freelancer, who writes articles about financial services and other business-related products.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Fracas In The Franchise Keep Your Customers By Keeping Your Workers

Writen by Philip Lye

As a previous owner of a Franchise I know the importance of maintaining employee commitment, loyalty and enthusiasm in maximising customer satisfaction, generating positive customer perception and protecting your investment.

Repeat business is the life-blood of any business worth its salt. Coupled with a structured approach to increasing market share, looking at the 'window of opportunity' and delivering services with excellence and cultivating positive customer perceptions would appear to be a recipe for success.

Have you ever stood at the front counter of a business and overheard employee dialogue or noticed that some employees appear to convey displeasure with their jobs?

As a person, and practitioner, interested in people it has often been my observation that many Franchisees need to wake up and realise that people management is not that complicated or as difficult as they may have thought. There are a few simple things that can be done to build an environment of high trust amongst employees.

However, it appears that not all franchise owners practise what they preach. Many espouse that 'we treat our employees as valuable assets of the business'. This has always been a great source of amusement to me (because experience has often demonstrated otherwise).

Some people engage subtlety in intimidating staff, constantly making nit picking comments, refusing to lead by example and reducing staff numbers to the point where the bear minimum of staff are left to serve in the business. This begins to seriously effect employee moral, customers are disenfranchised and owners wonder why profits are down.

Take this true, real life example which I was actively involved in some months ago (names and details changed to ensure privacy).

Aunty Marges was a Brisbane Franchise that appeared on the scene several years ago. Aunty Marges specialised in quality cookies, cake and coffee. A husband and wife bought two of these Franchises.

The new owner's employed 4 staff in one particular location. Staff was rostered on at different times throughout the day with one of the owners helping for part of the day. The roster started at 7.30am and normally finished at 6.00pm

It was a busy business located in a popular shopping centre, was a pressurised environment. The owners had over-extended their borrowing capacity.

Janelle, a teenager had been employed along with the other 3 employees to work in the business.

Janelle was known to be a hard worker who went out of her way to up-sell, interacted well with customers and took her job seriously. Despite being in her last year of college she took her responsibilities seriously.

One morning the owners called a staff meeting where they admitted that they were over-committed and requested that employees put in an extra effort. When staff left they were not replaced.

The friendliness soon began to disappear and the owners began to leave critical notes scolding employees and placing more demands on them. As a result staff began resigning.

One night as our family was over at Janelle's place the telephone rang. It was for Janelle. The business owner (the wife) rang up and was obviously berating the teenager on the telephone.

Janelle went to her room sobbing and came back some time later to tell her parents and our family what had occurred.

Over the next four months this became a consistent occurrence. Finally Janelle had enough and I was asked to speak with the owners, which I did.

Why is it that some people seem to have a moribund fascination in causing other people pain and afflicting them with a life a drudgery and frustration. Our teenagers need positive role models instead of having roadblocks placed in their paths.

Why is it that we consistently hear about businesses that seem to pay lip service to 'our employees are our most valuable assets' behave abominably and wonder why the books are down?

What is Workplace Harassment?

Under the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 employers have an obligation to ensure the health and safety of all workers by managing risks at the workplace.

1. A person is subjected to "workplace harassment" if the person is subjected to repeated behaviour, by a person, including the person's employer or a co-worker or group of co-workers of the person that-

(a) is unwelcome and unsolicited; and.

(b) the person considers to be offensive, intimidating, humiliating or threatening; and

(c) a reasonable person would consider to be offensive, humiliating, intimidating or threatening.

A recent draft statement released by the Queensland Government includes some examples of behaviour, where repeated or occurring as part of a pattern of behaviour, may be considered workplace harassment includes the following.

Abusing the person/s loudly, usually when others are present;

Repeated threats of dismissal or other severe punishment for no reason;

Constant ridicule and being put down;

Leaving offensive messages on email or the telephone;

Sabotaging the person's work for example by deliberately withholding or supplying incorrect information; hiding documents or equipment; not passing on messages; and in other ways, getting the worker into trouble;

Maliciously excluding and isolating the person/s from workplace activities; Persistent and unjustified criticisms, usually of the nit-picking variety;

Humiliating the person/s through sarcasm, criticism and insults, often in front of customers, management or other workers;

Spreading gossip or false, malicious rumours about the person/s with an intent to cause them harm;

Singling out and treating person/s differently from others, without good reason

Effects of Workplace Harassment on the Employees and the Business

Workplace harassment has detrimental effects on workers and the workplace.

Workers who are harassed can become:

distressed, anxious, withdrawn and depressed

physically ill, sleep deprived

aggressive, vengeful

less self-confident and develop low self-esteem.

Workplace harassment may result in:

loss of trained and talented workers;

loss of profits;

reduced productivity and morale;

an unsafe working environment; and

legal costs for a workplace.

Employer Costs – (off your bottom-line)

Employers who engage in these behaviours may face stiff penalties and the full weight of the law.

• Costs to the employer include high staff turnover, which inturn places added pressure on owners to spend longer hours in the business.

• Low morale which decreases productivity

• Workplace investigations by the OH&S people

• Higher workers compensation premiums where the claim has been proven

• Legal penalties and damages awards in some circumstances

• Mediation Fees

• Becoming known as a 'bad' employer

• Indirect costs (often significant) added to the bottom line.

• Incurring the displeasure of the master franchise holder.

It has been my experience that on average an employer will be out of pocket through direct and indirect means by $25,000 for one incidence.


You can effectively manage workplace harassment by adopting some of the following procedures

Recognise your strengths and weaknesses and educate yourself and your employees.

Make a commitment to treat staff with respect. You have a vested interest in doing this.

Introduce a workplace specific harassment policy for all levels of management and staff.

Arrange for an in-house seminar on workplace harassment and have employees sign to say they will comply with the policy.

Deal with all complaints immediately, confidentially and thoroughly.

The place where Janelle previously was employed continues to be an unhappy place, the owners are stressed and the master franchise holder is unhappy with the owners.

Do not ignore workplace harassment and think you will get away with it. You can find other helpful articles at

Philip Lye is the founder of Biz Momentum providing strategic human resource management to help you grow your business. He is an expert in workplace team building and prevention of workplace conflict. Drop by today and find helpful information at Send us your question for an answer from us.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Set Yourself Up For Trade Show Success

Writen by Denise O'Berry

Of the many mistakes small business owners make, a big one is participating in trade shows and business expos without a strategy for turning those marketing opportunities into sales. Here are five tips to get you started.

1. Have a goal. What do you want to get out of the event? Most small business owners think sponsoring an event will bring them a ton of business. Not necessarily. Follow up is critical.

2. Make sure the audience is your market. If your company is a business-to-business provider and the event is for consumers, the likelihood of new business is slim. Sponsoring an event that doesn't include your target market is just a waste of money. Do your homework.

3. Don't dismiss "expensive" events right away. Just because an entry cost is high doesn't mean you can't afford it. You could offer to work on the organizing committee, perform specific duties for the event, or donate a product or prize in return for partial payment.

4. Introduce yourself before the show. If at all possible, get a postal mail or email list (or both) of attendees from the trade show host. A week prior to the show, send a notice introducing yourself to them and inviting them to stop by your booth.

5. Plan for follow-up. Before you sign up for the show, have a plan in place for how you will follow up with those prospects interested in what you have to offer.

About the Author

Denise O'Berry frequently speaks to professional organizations, is the author of three booklets, and several "how-to" manuals. She writes a weekly small business column, hosts an online small business owners forum and is called upon regularly by publications such as Entrepreneur, Bank Rate Small Business, Florida Trend, Inc., various newspapers, radio and television to provide expert comments on small business issues.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Do You Have The Courage To Rate Yourself As A Manager

Writen by Tim Connor

2006 is quickly becoming history. Your results as a manager are evident by the achievements you have accomplished and the challenges, failure and un-met goals that were for whatever reason not realized.

One of the behaviors I have been advocating for many years for managers is that they carefully and routinely evaluate the areas where they have made progress and where they have not.

There are many benefits for this type of activity and yet many managers are either too busy, too stressed or just unwilling to take the time to conduct a thorough self-evaluation of their strengths, weaknesses, failures or self-development needs.

I have been sharing ideas, concepts and techniques with managers around the world for years on how to improve organization performance and employee productivity and it still amazes me how few have the courage or interest in looking in periodically the mirror with an eye on getting better. One of the fundamental principles I teach in my management training is: If you have a problem in your organization, look up the ladder and not down for it's cause. If you are not willing to take full responsibility for the outcomes, behaviors, attitudes or failures in your organization then you might want to consider a job as a Wal-Mart Greeter.

One easy way to accomplish this activity is with my © 3/3/3 Quarterly Review Process. This simple device is used by managers as well as employees for both a top-down and bottom-up evaluation of skill and attitude development needs. It is currently being used by dozens of organizations and hundreds of employees and managers. If you would like a copy to evaluate for potential use in your organization I will give you a 50% discount on the first copy. (Regularly $15.00) To receive your evaluation copy just go to my website ( and order the 3/3/3 (in the learning materials section then to books and manuals) and be sure and write - 50% off discount - in the comments section. The shopping cart will not compute the discount. Not to worry, we process all credit card orders on our site in our office manually, so we will give you your earned discount before charging your credit card.

It really doesn't matter what device, system or strategy you use to determine your progress or development as a manager, executive or business owner as long as you use something that has integrity, reality, honesty and timeliness.

You can't just sit there in a limbo state of performance. If you are not getting better most likely you are getting worse as a manager. If you are getting better it is important to determine if you are improving in the right areas and in the right ways.

Show me a manager or executive who is unwilling to accept honest bottom-up feedback from employees, customers or the market place and I will show you a manager that is most likely sabotaging the performance and success of his or her organization.

If you are a new manager it is vital that you develop the right attitudes and approaches to developing yourself and your employees. Yes, it takes time, commitment, money and energy to get better, but in the long run it is far better to improve your people, management and leadership skills than to assume that yesterday's knowledge, approaches and philosophy are still relevant today.

Tim Connor, CSP is an internationally renowned sales, relationship, management and leadership speaker, trainer and best selling author. Since 1981 he has given over 3500 presentations in 21 countries on a variety of sales, management and relationship topics. He is the best selling author of over 60 books including; Soft Sell, That's Life, Peace Of Mind and The Male Gift Giving Survival Guide. He can be reached at, 704-895-1230 or visit his website at

Gain Willing Cooperation

Writen by Kurt Mortensen

Reward Power refers to the ability to deliver rewards or benefits to influence others. These can be financial, material, or psychological rewards. Reward Power is the fastest way to persuade.

This power is the opposite of Coercive Power. With Coercive Power you punish, and with Reward power you offer incentives. Reward Power is based on utility, which is an understanding that in every transaction there is a potential for exchange. Basically, utility power recognizes that there is always something I want and something you want. We can meet each other's needs by swapping what we have for what the other wants. Prizes are a form of utility power. They are a way to reward people for doing what you want them to do. The reward becomes the incentive for compliant action. Examples of utilities include sales bonuses, paychecks, incentive clauses on contracts, bonus miles on airlines, and bonus points on credit cards.

It is important to understand some incentives will work well with one person, but not with another. To some people, money is the reward. Still to others, recognition is the reward. As a persuader, you need to find the motivating force or reward for each person you work with - you must understand the desires of the person or group. Reward Power is extremely effective in changing human behavior and in increasing your ability to persuade. You get what you want with minimal effort. Let's face it - everyone has their price.

There are several inefficiencies to note, however, when using rewards. First of all, the law of diminishing returns quickly takes over when you employ this type of power. Diminishing return means the more you use the reward, the less powerful it becomes. When people become accustomed to an incentive, they can become bored with it and either expect more or drop performance standards if the incentive is removed. One example is the common practice of offering children rewards for reading in elementary school. They win pizza or other prizes after they have read a certain number of books. These incentives often backfire because many of the children think they need a reward to read. Reward Power ultimately leads to the desired outcome, but the incentive generally has to be repeated each time to get that desired outcome. The reward is only effective as long as the person doesn't see a "better deal." Your incentive will always be compared to the next person's offer. Rewards reinforce behavior, so as long as you are employing them, expect your prospects to keep demanding them.

Reinforcement Theory has a lot to do with Reward Power and Coercive Power. Basically, if a person knows a positive consequence will follow a certain action, then they will perform that action. Consequences influence behavior. The type of consequence involved influences what actions people will take and what actions they will avoid. There are three main rules of consequence. They are:
(1) Consequences giving rewards increase behavior.

(2) Consequences giving punishments decrease behavior.

(3) Consequences giving neither rewards nor punishments extinguish behavior.

Remembering these basic rules can be an excellent guide for deciding what to do in certain situations, depending on the desired outcome. Just be sure you take into account some of the Reinforcement Theory's limitations. Some examples of such limitations are listed below.

Limitations of Reinforcement Theory

1. What is considered reward or punishment will vary according to who you're working with and what the exact circumstances are.

2. As mentioned earlier, rewards can lose value over time. Instead of feeling rewarded, the person will feel like you owe her something.

3. Other sources of reward or punishment may interfere. For example, an employee may value the reward of esteem and friendship from other less productive employees more than what you have to offer.

4. If a person is just responding to a reward, then there has not really been an internal change. They will revert back to their old behavior if the reward doesn't remain part of the new routine.

5. Punishment is difficult to deliver well. It is a powerful tool, but it must be executed appropriately. Punishment must have the following elements to be effective: a) immediate, b) strong or firm, c) unavoidable, and d) consistent.

6. Punishment can breed anger, fear, and hopelessness. These negative emotions will be associated with the person inflicting the punishment.

The challenge you face when using rewards is the decrease in internal motivation. Once you condition them to expect something for their compliance, your prospects will always seek external rewards for their behavior. This causes them to do it only for the reward and not for any other reason. We have found that even if the person was willing to exhibit the desired behavior without the reward, once the reward was given the subject would not perform the desired behavior without the reward. An experiment proved this concept. Subjects, sitting together at a table, worked on a puzzle for a half an hour.

After the half hour was up, the experimenter told the subjects the solving session was over and they had to leave the room. The experimenters then began to monitor the behavior of the subjects when they went into the waiting room. What would they do during their free time? Would they play with the puzzles? Would they choose other activities? They study found that those subjects that were paid for doing the puzzles were far less likely to play with them for fun during their free time in the waiting room. And those who did not receive an external reward for their efforts were far more likely to play with the puzzles during their free time in the waiting room. Persuaders know that a behavior chosen out of free will last longer than a behavior rewarded by an external reward.

Learning how to persuade and influence will make the difference between hoping for a better income and having a better income. Beware of the common mistakes presenters and persuaders commit that cause them to lose the deal. Get your free report 10 Mistakes That Continue Costing You Thousands and explode your income today.

Kurt Mortensen's trademark is Magnetic Persuasion; rather than convincing others, he teaches that you should attract them, just like a magnet attracts metal filings. He teaches that sales have changed and the consumer has become exponentially more skeptical and cynical within the last five years. Most persuaders are using only 2 or 3 persuasion techniques when there are actually 120 available! His message and program has helped thousands and will help you achieve unprecedented success in both your business and personal life.

If you are ready to claim your success and learn what only the ultra-prosperous know, begin by going to and getting my free report "10 Mistakes That Continue Costing You Thousands." After reading my free report, go to and take the free Persuasion IQ analysis to determine where you rank and what area of the sales cycle you need to improve in order to close every sale!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Paradox Of International Trade Shows

Writen by Julia O'Connor

There is a paradox to an international trade show. And it has two parts.


It is unique because it is foreign. If it's your first show, it should be a real adventure. If it's your umpteenth overseas trip, you may view it as a drag, or look at it as an opportunity to maintain and expand relationships.


It is the same as doing a show in the US.

Which is right? Both. How can that be? Because…..

The principles of trade shows are universal. There's a practical understanding to the basics of trade shows – no matter where in the world you exhibit. Of course, there are the cultural nuances you must accept. Knowing where you are going and how to be accepted once there are critical business decisions.

In addition, there are universal standards in design, promotion, presentation and follow-up for any trade show. Your appearance and business practices must align to the actualities of the host country, industry and the international marketplace.

These are a sampling of questions you should ask as you consider starting or expanding your exposition schedule–


A show is not just a show. Each exposition has its own personality, and that changes from year to year depending on locale, exhibitors, the health of your industry and how the economy affects your clients. It is important to understand there are three Types of Shows. In the US, we tend to separate these show types - B2B Marketing, B2B Sales and B2C Marketing/Sales. In many countries, the functions and audiences overlap throughout the show, or on certain days. Align your expectations for each type of show. Consider each show a new show, not a repeat of the previous year. Then ask - is your timing right for entry into that country via that show for your products and services? How do you find the right shows? One obvious way is to ask your clients what shows they think are important.


What are you looking for? There are myriad opportunities to connect with leads, partners, clients, reps, dealers, distributors and agents. The more you understand how business works in that part of the world and within your industry, the more you should network and target your markets prior to leaving Virginia. Use the pre-show months to get to know each other and build trust. We Americans have a tendency to rush into relationships; our overseas partners may take much more time.


There is great value in spending time and money for pre-show research and promotion. Networking skills are expanded via online research, discussion lists and asking your business associates. Appreciating the pecking order – social and business – and how decisions are really made by your target markets can cut your sales time dramatically.


We've all heard stories of the misguided, arrogant or oblivious foreigner who rubs the hosts wrong. We tend to assume everyone loves us and speaks English. Wrong. Take time to understand the value of promotion in native languages and current cultural vernacular. Use professional translation services – carefully checked so you know what everything says – for all signs, graphics, letters, promotional materials, demonstrations. Hiring local multi-lingual talent is always appreciated for initial and qualifying conversations at the show.


First impressions are critical and Your Staff = Your Company, both on and off the floor. Take staff selection seriously. This is the time to be smart, not stingy. Search your options for the best company representatives. Write a job description and ask for volunteers. Send the people who are competent but also enthusiastic about spreading the word about your company. Maybe you have experienced, savvy in-house staff, or this is the time it makes sense to hire experienced stand staff at the show locale.


This most critical part often is lost because there you have no real plan beyond an initial contact or two. Sure, it's expensive to pursue international business, but today's technology makes it easier than ever to keep in touch. Ask visitors how they want to be contacted – do they need a local contact or is e-mail preferred? Consider outsourcing initial post-show contact.


Your Return on Investment is not just dollars you can track after the show. There are many ways to boost your bottom line, sone direct, some subtle. For example, publicity is a powerful driver for marketing and extending rememborability after the show. PR and advertising must be planned and tracked. Tips for getting the most bang for the bucks –

Match your expectations for returns with reality of the money you are investing in a show.

Understand your sales cycle, delivery times, international shipping options, customs, tariffs and always have a Plan B

Be truthful about your investment. Trade Show Training, inc. says there are eight line items of a trade show budget and seven are definite expenses for Every Show. The exception is that if your exhibit is costly, you may be able to amortize it over a couple of years. These are the major line items you must decide before you can get a good handle on ROI.

1. The Rent on Your Space
2. All On-floor Expenses
3. Your Exhibit, Graphics and Accessorie
4. Freight and Drayage
5. The Cost of Your Time, Staff Time
6. The Costs of Travel and Entertainment
7. Promotions and Advertising Before the Show
8. Follow-Up and Sales Costs After the Show

Is it easy to do an international show? No, but it is easier when you understand the parameters of the paradox.

Julia O'Connor - Speaker, Author, Consultant - writes about practical aspects of trade shows. As president of Trade Show Training, inc,, now celebrating its 10th year, she works with companies in a variety of industries to improve their bottom line and marketing opportunities at trade shows.

Julia is an expert in the psychology of the trade show environment and uses this expertise in sales training and management seminars. Contact her at 804-355-7800 or check the site

Myths Of Sales Management The Entrepreneurial Salesperson

Writen by Dave Kahle

I just had a phone conversation with a client who had a familiar story to tell. He had built his business on the model of an entrepreneurial sales force. Give them a territory, pay them straight commission, and tell them they are in business for themselves, free to develop the customers they chose with the products they wanted.

And for a couple decades it had worked well. The business grew and expanded. More entrepreneurial sales people were added, and the model was duplicated over and over again.

So far so good. But then the growth in sales began to slow down. Three flat or declining years in a row has caused this company president to question the status quo. Not only is business flat, but he's unable to get his sales force to promote the lines that he wants to promote, he's unable to get them to use some of the new technology that the company wants them to use, and he's unable to get them to prospect for new customers. Now he's faced with an experienced sales force, who for the most part, are unmanageable.

The culprit? A sales model that was built on the concept of the entrepreneurial salesperson. There was a time when this model was effective, but in today's competitive economy, there are serious difficulties with the entrepreneurial model.

This model works best when the market is growing. As long as there is more and more business out there to be had, the focus of most companies is to grab as much as they can, without caring a whole lot as to which customers and which products make up the business. Employing a group of entrepreneurial salespeople reduces the demands on sales management so that the company's executives can focus on building the infrastructure necessary to keep up with the consistent growth.

As we all know, this was the case for most of the previous decade. By shifting the responsibility for sales management unto the salespeople, however, you give up much of your management influence. In effect, you cede management of the sales force to the salespeople. And they generally make decisions that are in their own self interest, not yours. The very concept of an entrepreneurial salesperson is that he/she will manage himself. By definition, you abdicate your managerial role and cede management to the salesperson.

Is it any wonder that you can't direct the salesperson?

As long as business was consistently growing, this wasn't an issue. But now it is a concern. Most distributors have experienced a reduction in sales volume over the last few years. Many have come to the conclusion that they have to initiate significant changes in their sales organizations if they are going to be profitable and growing.

Now, instead of just more business, progressive distributors want to expand the business in target accounts, emphasize key product lines, and acquire new accounts. In other words, they want to direct the sales force more precisely, to focus them on the behaviors that further the company's strategic objectives.

At just the time that they want to more precisely focus the sales force, they are faced with a group of experienced salespeople who have become satisfied and content.

These sales people would rather not move out of their comfort zones of established customers and established products. They have no desire to do the hard work of prospecting for new accounts. And many are content with the diminished incomes of the past few years.

The culprit in this difficult situation is the entrepreneurial model. This is not to say that there are no entrepreneurial salespeople. Certainly a certain percentage of every large group of sales people will turn out to be highly motivated, constantly improving, driven to succeed and willing to accept your direction. From my experience, this is about one of 20 sales people. The chances of your entire group fitting this mold are slight. The issue is not the occasional exception to the rule; the issue is the model that no longer supports your strategic interests.

What to do?

The company president on the phone was looking for solutions. How could he change the established routines, attitudes and practices of his experienced sales force? How could he revive the slumbering entrepreneurial drive? How could he gain some degree of directability?

Unfortunately, the answers are larger and more challenging than that which could be discussed in a half hour phone call. Decades of a certain way of doing business have resulted in attitudes cast in granite. Half-way measures can't be counted on to work.

The solution is going to require strenuous work.

Wipe the slate clean and start over. Begin with the definition of what you would like the salespeople to do. What do you really want your sales force to do? Noodle your ideas onto a blank sheet of paper, and review it for a couple of days. When you have a well-articulated full page of detail, you will have taken a major step forward.

Once you have a clear and specific idea of what you want them to do, then start dealing with implications of that. For example, does you compensation plan support the behavior you want? If not, then change that.

Does you training and development program equip the sales people with the skills that support your vision? If not, it's time to revise that.

Does you infrastructure support your idea of what the sales people should be doing? In other words, does customer service, purchasing, delivery, operations, sales management, etc., all support the revised job description? If not, make some refinements.

Finally, do you have the kind of people who will whole-heartedly embrace your new vision? If not, then it's time to begin the process of recruiting new sales people.

Each of these is difficult and challenging issues that speak to the heart of how you have your sales force structured. Designing and implementing these changes can take the better part of a year or two. Each of these initiatives will be met with resistance from some. It won't be easy. Before you rush into the fray, however, make sure you count the cost. You may decide that you are not up for the task and that it is easier to continue to cede management to your sales people.

Should you decide to revise your sales force, you can anticipate arriving at a focused and directable sales force - an enormously powerful asset for any distributor.

About The Author
Dave Kahle, The Growth Coach(r), is a consultant and trainer who helps his clients increase their sales and improve their sales productivity. His latest book for sales managers is Transforming Your Sales Force for the 21st Century ( You can also sign up for his sales ezine called "Thinking About Sales" at You can reach Dave personally at 800-331-1287 or by emailing him at .

Monday, December 22, 2008

Shifting The Sales Compensation Paradigm

Writen by Don McNamara

Executive Summary

How do you protect cash positions while balancing the seemingly contradictory problem of keeping cost of sales under control and your sales force intact while revenues decrease. Compensating sales efforts appropriately is one solution for protecting margins, profit and cash. Solving this issue may take creating a new paradigm for sales representative compensation.

Longing For the Good Old Days

It was like a feeding frenzy when business was booming, backlogs were steadily increasing and customers were paying regularly. Just like the stock market, everyone was chirping 'go baby go'. But times have changed; no doubt your business plan has changed too. Now how we compensate a sales force properly is these market conditions needs to be revisited also.

Sales Force Goals

What are the goals of your sales force? Maybe they have only a sales goal. Perhaps they have a sales and revenue goal, where revenue is net sales after returns, adjustments and back charges. Possibly they have a profitability goal too since your organization desires quality, not merely quantity. Regardless of times, determining how to keep sales incentives appropriate without resorting to Draconian measures that annihilate the heart of the sales organization – both literally and psychologically, is vital too.

Let The Incentive Methods Begin

Compensation on Sales Volume

The most traditional of all methods, it carries with it some in-built shortcomings. If the plan pays commission rates based on total dollar value of the orders, then the rep has little incentive to dramatically exceed the established quota. If you will, the rate is the rate, no matter what, no matter how much is sold.

Compensation Rate with Accelerators

In this plan quarterly targets accumulate to an annual quota. When these quarterly quotas are achieved, the next accelerated commission rate gets activated. This strategy does provide additional incentive over the flat commission rate plan though since the rep is striving for the next higher commission rate at all times. Shortcoming: the sales rep is only working toward the average rate.

Accelerators and Year End Bonus

Add a flat amount as a bonus when over quota attainment is reached. This will incrementally incentivize. Shortcoming: the sales force sees the bonus as paid out at plan year-end, which usually is paid after a years worth of effort and energy. It does not give them the ability to earn the bonus in the present.

Net: traditional sales compensation plans are back end loaded, i.e. a payout is awarded after successive sales hurdles are reached or as the plan year ends for over goal performance. That's wonderful if everyone makes quota every quarter, not a likely scenario – especially in this economy.

Coping with a Few Realities

All businesses, regardless of market space, are seeing declining revenues due to fewer actual orders with lower order value. The fact is cash once collected amounts to less.

We can improve margins and cash by cutting variable sales expenses. On the surface this looks like a no-brainer. However, you could be triggering call reluctance behavior. Customers being paid attention to now will be stronger customers when the economy improves. Besides you risk having your competition fill the void your sales staff is creating by fewer customer and prospect calls.

Less revenue and cash means a staff headcount reduction. Or should it? If you cut sales staff now when business improves you will need to staff up again. The knowledge base of severed employees will take time to be gained back by new sales members resulting in an unproductive learning curve for you and them.

An intelligent sales incentive program is one that compensates for achievement according to the company's business plan. And in these economic times every company in America has had to modify their business plan.

A New Paradigm

If your goals are to maximize unused plant capacity, optimize your supply chain resources and smooth the bumps in your quarterly business cycles, then the sales compensation plan that follows just might contribute to that end, and help cash flow too. It is based on measuring and compensating sales efforts quarterly.

Baseline Presumption

If your sales team is like most, 80% of the business is generated by the top 20% of your sales force. So why not compensate the star performers and overachievers well for their results every quarter.

Step 1: Take the assigned quota for each individual and break it down to assignment per quarter.

Step 2: Assign a commission rate to that quota as if it were paid at 100% achievement.

Step 3: Determine what reduced rate you would be willing to pay for achievement of quarterly quotas for 70%, 80% and 90% attainment.

Step 4: Decide what graduated commission rate you would be willing to pay for achievement over the quarterly 100% attainment for various levels, e.g. 110%, 120%, etc.

Step 5: Watch the results come in for the first quarter this is implemented.

Step 6: Those sales persons achieving 70% of their quarterly quota, will receive the 70% rate; those at 80%, the 80% rate; those at 90% the 90% rate; those at 100% the 100% rate.

Step 7: Those exceeding 100% in any quarter, receive the effective rate of overachievement.

Why a Floating Commission Plan Works

1.A Floating Compensation Plan can be accommodated to fit any of the ways you measure sales person goal attainment; sales, revenue, sales and revenue or profit.

2.Regardless of the economic fortunes of the enterprise, you keep incentive compensation proportional to measurables like sales, revenue or profits.

3.You conserve outlays of cash; you compensate those contributing higher value to the enterprise by compensating them proportionally higher. To prove the point, investigate your mean sales dollar of revenue and profit for all orders by quarter for the last year. Then contrast the mean percentage rate of commission payout for the entire sales force. You will see that higher commission rates are paid to sales persons that contribute less to the business.

4.You install a measurement mentality in the sales team that is based on quarterly performance, probably the same way you are compensated.

5.You want to keep sales force self-motivation always at peak levels. They will see, especially the 20% mentioned above, that they maximize their income by exceeding quota every quarter. Getting paid in the near term is an incentive too good to ignore.

6.The top 20% rightly will conclude they are being compensated at higher levels than the average and ordinary in the sales force.

7.Psychologically paying immediately following achievement has great motivating effect, especially if your sales force is highly driven for financial reward with near in gratification for their successes.

There are numerous variants, mutations and perturbations to this concept. While we cannot cover all of them here, nonetheless our purpose was to expose a very viable alternative in sales compensation that can be used to drive the sales behavior you wish. It is purely enterprise and situational dependent.

So the real question is can you use it? Before you try it, analyze the financial impact of the new paradigm, or for that matter any new sales compensation would have on the results of the enterprise. Determine if in modifying the plan you influence the type of sales behavior that contributes to your goals and objectives. Then communicate clearly to your sales force how their opportunities will be enhanced, how their earning potentials can be increased with the new plan.

Always remember, nobody likes someone fooling around with his or her compensation plan. When you convey the message thoroughly, the sales force will be more apt to accept the change in a more positive frame of mind. However any change, especially a compensation one, will take time for the sales people to internalize why it is a good thing for them and the company.

Therefore, spend at least two months educating your sales force about the intended changes, what they are expected to do and why it really is in their best interest. Solicit their input; they will feel like they are part of the decision making process instead of having a policy forced on them.

You will see a few unexpected benefits come up immediately. The sales organization will get a mentality that they need to close all available opportunities before the new plan gets implemented. Additionally, you will see prospecting activities rise because they will want to fill up their sales pipelines with new opportunities that will be compensated under the new plan. Net? Everybody wins.

And your best performers (that top 20%) will recognize immediately how they can optimize the compensation schedule and contribute to the company's goals at the same time. Simply stated, at the end of the day, this plan or any other must coincide and contribute to the business goals of your organization.

Don McNamara is a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) and is President of Heritage Associates, Inc.

Heritage Associates is a full service sales management consulting, training and coaching company. Don also speaks and writes on the art and science of superior sales management and top sales performance. He is the author of "Visionary Sales Leadership."

With over 30 years sales experience from the field level to executive sales management, in his career he has been an individual contributor, corporate sales training manager, regional manager, national sales manager and vice president of sales. Don is a member of the Institute of Management Consultants, where he serves as Professional Development Chair for the southern California chapter, and the National Speakers Association.

For a free e-newsletter contact Don McNamara at or by phone (949) 230-4363.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Fresh Approach To Managing Your Most Important Accounts

Writen by Jonathan Farrington

Most companies are looking for ways to manage their most important business relationships more effectively and more efficiently. It is not easy to do and it is not always enjoyable to do, but when a major account strategy works well it is extremely satisfying.

Major Account Management is a broad subject and this series of articles is designed to help make the management of major accounts;


More Enjoyable

More Effective

Starting Point:

There are many definitions of major account management but my favourite and one I have used throughout my work, is from The Financial Times:

"The art of developing long-term relationships with selected customers"

It is simple, clear and it shows us what is important.

This summary looks at each part of this definition i.e.

o Major Account Management is an art not a formula.

o It is a process of development, not a single action.

o It is a long-term process. It takes time.

o It involves relationships, not just a mechanical approach.

o It can only be done with selected customers.

Major Account Management Is An Art Not A Formula:

One can often see two ways of managing major accounts that are certain to fail. The first is management by chance. There is no control. There is no plan. No one can explain why we are winning the business or forecast how long our success will last. We do not learn from our mistakes or from our successes. This is at one extreme.

At the other extreme is management by formula. Here everything is documented, controlled and decided. I have seen one account planning process which demands that for every account the team must hold a one day orientation meeting, then gather information for twenty-one working days and then hold a two day planning session. The timescale cannot be changed. The people who must be present never change. The documents that must be prepared are described in detail. The process is a good one but it leaves no room for flexibility, common sense or the differences that exist both between accounts and departments. We need a way of managing major accounts that is effective, consistent and flexible. We need a way of working that is simple but strong. We need discipline and we need creativity.

So, how is Major Account Management like an art?


Artists need discipline. Think of the discipline of a dancer or a singer, they know that they work best if they create inside disciplines of their art. A poet follows certain rules of rhyme and structure and a painter knows the disciplines of colour and line.


Every artist expects to practice. The painter sketches, trying different compositions, actors rehearse until the words are coming perfectly; the dancer works at the bar to keep fit and to perfect every movement and musicians play the piece over and over again. The performance often looks easy but we know that it took a great amount of work.


Discipline and practice alone will not make an outstanding artist. There needs to be a spark - something special that allows the artist to see what many others miss and to communicate their understanding powerfully and clearly. The artist allows us to see and hear things differently.

Managing a major account needs all three parts. Discipline helps us follow the plan, to be self-controlled. Practice means that we do not expect to be perfect overnight, we think and plan and prepare for every important "performance". Creativity allows us to change the past, to find new ways to solve problems and to win opportunities. If we think of Major Account Management as an art then we will avoid the two dangers of working randomly and working rigidly.

In Part Two, I identify that:

"Major Account Management Is A Process Of Development, Not A Single Action"

The moral right of the author, Jonathan Farrington, has been asserted. All rights reserved. This publication or any part thereof may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording, storage in an information retrieval system or otherwise, unless this notification of copyright is retained.

Jonathan Farrington is the Managing Partner of The jfa Group jf-assocs.

To find out more about the author, read his latest articles or to subscribe to his newsletter, visit:

Is Anyone Really Managing Sales In Your Organization

Writen by Bill Lee

Or, are your salespeople pretty much on their own to meet the company's sales and gross margin objectives?

In too many companies I observe, salespeople are hired, thrown to the wolves and pretty much left to their own devices to "make it or break it." When you think about it, this is a pretty nonchalant sales management philosophy, especially in relatively slow periods when your company really needs more business.

Sales is no different than inventory and accounts receivable in that someone must manage sales; that is, if you expect to achieve optimal results. Otherwise, the odds are really high that --- as a group --- the company's salespeople are not going to achieve their full potential. Salespeople are no different than any other employees, you probably have some salespeople who really don't need a lot of hands-on management, but then there are several others that will most certainly not make the cut in the absence of the guiding and nurturing influence of a committed manager.

Wouldn't it be nice if all salespeople did their homework before a prospect call, followed up on all of their customer commitments, planned their week's work, made effective use of their time, sold all product categories and were skilled at deflecting price objections from hard-bargaining customers? Only in our dreams are all salespeople this mature and disciplined, but most likely not in the real world.

So let's agree that salespeople stand a better chance of realizing their full potential when they are lucky enough to have a manager who systematically works with them on a scheduled basis. But how does a busy manager pull this off?

The secret is to schedule Monthly One on One Meetings with each salesperson. These monthly meetings are without a doubt the most effective sales management tools I have ever discovered. The following are a few of the items that are included on the agenda in these one on one monthly meetings:

• Managers follow up on commitments the salesperson made in the last monthly meeting.
• Coaching.
• Setting goals for the upcoming month.
• Corrective feedback.
• Positive feedback.
• Training.
• Developing strategies to accomplish specific goals.
• Prospective customer review and discussion of the next step.

Group sales meetings certainly have their place in every organization for information sharing, education, getting feedback from the sales force, discussing market conditions, etc., but group meetings severely limit the manager's ability to address individual issues that must be addressed with individual salespeople.

Here are some of the questions I find to be useful in one on one meetings:

• What do you believe is preventing you from covering your draw?
• What are the top three obstacles you are having the most difficulty overcoming?
• If these three obstacles that you have identified were to go away, expressed in dollars, how much do you believe your sales would improve?
• What are the key strengths you believe our company has to offer your customer base?
• In what areas do you believe our competitors have the upper hand?
• What are your income goals for 2007?
• What sales and gross profit will you need to produce in 2007 to achieve your income goals?

The answers your salespeople give you in response to each of these questions will open your eyes and give you the insight you're looking for to determine what is standing between each member of the sales force and a higher level of success.

Document Each Meeting: I recommend keeping good notes from each one on one meeting in a spiral binder that you keep in each salesperson's file. THE MOST CRITICAL KEY to success in management is following up, and perhaps just as important: that each salesperson knows that you will follow up.

When you and your salespeople agree on a particular course of action, jot down enough notes to remind you of each commitment so you are in a position to follow up at the next one on one meeting. Some managers call this holding their salespeople's feet to the fire, but I call it a Basic Management Principle: Effective Managers Inspect What They Expect.

If you want to see your sales organization become more professional and more productive, implement one on one meetings with each salesperson immediately.

Bill Lee is author of 30 Ways Managers Shoot Themselves in the Foot ($21.95) and Gross Margin: 26 Factors Affecting Your Bottom Line ($29.95) Plus $6 S&H for the first book and $1 S&H for each additional book. To order, See Shopping Cart at

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sales Managers Should You Prove Yourself By Selling In Front Of Your Team

Writen by Dr. Gary S. Goodman


You're a sales manager now, responsible for the productivity and careers of others.

How does it feel?

Probably a little strange if you've been kicked upstairs after being a top seller, yourself.

But you'll get used to it. In fact, you'll get so used to it that you may not do any selling yourself, after a while.

Your job will be selling your salespeople on selling more.

And you'll have mixed emotions about that, being tied down to a desk, filing reports, doing administrative work.

But an insidious process will also be underway that you'll be unaware of.

The longer you're out of the day-to-day selling game the more you'll come to doubt your ability to open and to close deals. And your once legendary performance as a seller might be wiped out of the corporate memory, and even your own.

Along come your new salespeople, and they do fairly well, and some are exceptionally effective.

They'll look at you with derision, and possibly contempt, while lionizing their own efforts as being the heavy lifting of the company.

You, the benchwarmer, will seem wimpy. "I'll bet he wasn't so hot," they'll think and possibly whisper to each other.

I've faced this situation as a sales manager and as a consultant. You run headlong into the credibility buster: "Winners DO, while the losers TEACH."

I like to counter that perception, directly, by strutting my stuff, on occasion.

I've been known to get on the phones and to make cold calls right next to my salespeople and trainees.

They hear me practicing exactly what I preach, and I get a chance to encounter exactly the forces they've been telling me they're facing.

Invariably, we gain respect for each other, but we also make more sales, because literally, everybody is PITCHING-IN.

When I get a sale, I hand it to someone who is struggling, to prime the pump.

And often, they match it quickly with one of their own.

Aristotle, I believe, said when you're instructing others, "Example is more efficacious than precept."

And that means people will get you and respect you when you put theory aside and actually show them you can roll up your sleeves and do the job, yourself!

Best-selling author of 12 books and more than 800 articles, Dr. Gary S. Goodman is considered a foremost expert in telephone effectiveness, customer service, and sales development. A top-rated speaker, seminar leader, and consultant, his clients extend across the organizational spectrum, from the Fortune 1000 to small businesses. He can be reached at:

Training The New Network Marketing Distributor Working Depth With Your Mlm Downline Step 3 Of 3

Writen by Bruce Bailey

In Step 1, "Laying Down a Track to Run On," we talked about how to get your new distributor started the right way. In Step 2 "Being a Good MLM Sponsor," we discussed how you should go over "The Rules" of your operation with your downline so they can develop the discipline to grow their (and YOUR!) business. In this, the third step of the series, we'll discuss "Working Depth," or making it too expensive for your downline to leave the business!"

Step 3 -- Working Depth With Your MLM Downline
Working depth means sponsoring your downline when they sponsor their new distributors. It means assisting your business partners to help them get their downline (and YOURS!) started the right way.

Essentially, you're taking the track that you've laid out for your downline to run on and getting them to pass that knowledge on to their personally sponsored distributors. Naturally, they're going to need help helping others and that's where you, as their sponsor, come in. This is the essence of network marketing, i.e. building relationships and helping others succeed.

How deep should you go? Theoretically, you only have to go down two levels, i.e. lay out the track for the people you enroll and for the people they enroll. If everyone follows that format, the method perpetuates itself.

In reality, however, not everyone is going to approach the business the same way. Some will work a their own pace (usually more slowly than you would like!), or will want to "tweak" the methodology to fit their style. So, don't just think "one or two levels." Realize that you can do this with EVERYONE in your downline that's willing to be coached, whether you personally sponsored them or not. The downline pays the upline; if a new distributor enters your downline, and is willing to work to grow the business, why wouldn't you work with them? They may not bring money to you directly, but they will bring it to you indirectly. Who pays the downline that pays you? Their downline. Your success depends on their success, so don't be afraid to work deep into your organization.

Remember, one of your goals should be to make it too expensive for your downline to leave the business! If you don't build builders, you'll never acquire the lifestyle that can come from having a significant passive residual income stream.

In closing, let me reiterate something from Part 2 – you can't change human nature. People will only do what they are willing to do. However, people can change themselves if they are willing to change. Being a good sponsor means showing your downline the benefits of (a) following a proven track, (b) being a good sponsor themselves, and (c) working depth.

When you work with your downline to create an independent network of builders, and help them to develop other builders who, in turn, develop more builders, you've found the winning formula.

One last thought: don't take it personally if some of your downline distributors don't turn into dynamic business builders. As long as you have done your part in educating them, you've done all you can do. You can't build their business for them. While you can provide inspiration, they must provide the perspiration!

Work with your distributors; give them tasks to accomplish each time you contact them. But, that's about all you can do. If they don't want to build their business and be responsible for their own success, then you must spend your time on those who have earned it, i.e. those who are willing to take responsibility.

To your success!

Bruce Bailey, Ph.D.

Dr. Bailey has transformed the incomes of scores of MLMers. His never-miss tactics have been used by thousands to turn their MLM dreams into realities! For FREE access to his e-course, visit

Friday, December 19, 2008

Management By Osmosis

Writen by Tibor Shanto

Sales managers are an interesting breed, effective sales managers are a rare breed. Managing a sales team is entirely different than managing other groups; their role requires them to have not only above average management skills, but also above average ability to manage the overall sales process. However, in many organizations, the weak link in the sales chain is the front line management.

Yet when most organizations look to fill openings in sales management, they generally look within, that is promoting someone that is already selling for the organization in question. Further it is usually someone from the region where the opening exists. And who do they go to, usually to one of their top performers (assuming that the individual is willing to take the position, and most are).

The logic seems to be: Jane has done consistently well, achieved quota for the last four or five years; she is personable, gets along with the clients and everyone else in the office, it's a great fit. Completely forgetting (or ignoring) the key and desirable attributes of a Sales Manager, you know the ones they drew up with HR and an outside facilitator at an "off-site" last year, the one that would bring about a change in the way they will hire managers moving forward.

Remember attributes and dimensions like:

  Leadership  Communication  Influence  Relational Creativity  Interpersonal Skill  Strategic Thinking  Forecasting  Recruiting Prowess  Conflict Resolution  Proactive Planning  Goal Setting  Coaching (Their whole team, A, B and C players)  Ability to conduct meaningful meetings  
"All good things, but I need to hit my numbers, and I can't waste time, Jane is good, and I can work with her" Says the sales Director. (Cause he just doesn't have anything else to do.).

Many feel that bringing someone from the outside "may disrupt the culture" and the pay off may be too long. Jane has the product knowledge, familiarity with the staff and other departments, and of course, the "corporate culture". So for a number of intuitive reasons they short list internal candidates, and usually go with one "they all like". For entirely the wrong reason, external candidates are often overlooked.

And that's how we end up with Management by Osmosis.

It manifests itself in two ways, first in the way managers are transitioned from the being sales reps to managers. Second, is in the desired effect on their staff.

Once Jane steps in to her new role, and is brought up to speed by the Director or VP of sales, she is whisked off to the company's Management Training Program, where she meets her peers from other departments, various HR personnel, VP of marketing, during her three days of exhaustive training about:

  Proper Interviewing Skills/Equal Opportunity – 2 hours  Harassment Policies – half day  Performance Management – 2 hours  Process and Benefits of 360's – 2 hours  SMART – 2 hours  Motivation – 2 hours   Multicultural Sensitivity – 1 hour  Mission Statement Analysis – 1 hour  Protocols and Process (of all sorts) – half day  
Some team building exercises to close, a certificate, and a cocktail. All good things, but not much specifically aimed at sales management; little focus on the list of attributes and dimensions. In some cases there are some programs aimed at developing these skills, usually left to the discretion of the senior executives in sales. In most cases, it was felt that Jane would learn the skills from the same senior executives: hence, by osmosis. During field visits, where between pipeline and account reviews, development would of course occur. Why, just think of all the development that takes place on the way to and after client calls. You know, when they take the visiting sales Director to their best client; or the client that is almost closed, but where the Director can make a difference, (read grant a greater discount or other concessions).

It is true that some of this osmosis does happen to a degree, the problem is it lacks structure and a means of measurement. Success is ultimately measured only by the numbers delivered, not much focus on methodology and sustainability. We have all seen cases where a region makes its numbers, but mostly in spite of the skills of the manager as a leader, coach, etc. And while everyone above and below Jane acknowledges the issues, you can't argue with the numbers. Only after some A people leave, and C people fail to advance, and the numbers fall apart do questions start. Then the realization that Jane needs to develop some specific sales management skills, and finally someone asks, "What happened to those dimensions and attributes we drew up, didn't she get the training?"

The other side of Management by Osmosis takes place in the development efforts of Jane for her newly acquired staff. I recently trained a newly appointed sales manager, he told me his Director told him: "if I could sprinkle a little bit of you into everyone in the region, that would be great." The Director told me his plan was simple, to be successful, all that had to happen was for him to do what he always did, the other reps would watch, learn and end up like him. By spending time with them in the field, they would adopt his habits and skills, and would all achieve the same results, by osmosis!

He was not given any training on how to properly develop members of the team; how to set up metrics or score cards (other than the resulting revenue); how to motivate and coach his A reps versus C members; how to set goals and plan meetings; what to look for in new recruits (look for people who are like you, he was told); how to effectively communicate with members of the team and other departments, you get the picture. Not to mention the fact that he was selected over another rep in the office, and had little help in how to deal with the bruised ego the decision created.

While we are very much in favor of promoting internal candidates, rewarding success, and creating loyalty and incentive, it is important that it is done right. Training is crucial, while most organizations are ready to spend time and money for ongoing training for front line reps, there seems to be reluctance on spending money for managers. When we present our Manager and Coaching programs, organizations seem to point to internal programs (as outlined above), and other reasons for not moving forward.

We often point out that the ROI on training managers is greater than on dollars spent on C players, and have a longer and more sustainable impact on sales success and growth. But in most instances they seem more willing to just train the reps, all of them A, B and C reps (more on this concept in future issues). At times even saying that they feel their managers are challenged in a number of areas, but they first want to work on improving their reps, then deal with the managers once the numbers are better. Unfortunately, the reality is that unless you address all parts of the issue, you will likely not get the long term results and benefits your sales organization could consistently deliver.

For more information about our Manager training and Coaching programs, please contact us at

Tibor Shanto, is a Principal with Renbor Sales Solutions Inc., with over 20 years of sales experience, from telemarketing to leading a global sales team focused on providing top end solutions. He worked with and helped to improve performance for sales professionals in a wide variety of fields, from financial services to on-line B2B specialists.

Renbor Sales Solutions provides a total approach to managing sales and prospecting activity; building profitable relationships. Helping organizations sell better by effecting measurable improvements in the most critical aspects of the sales process. Programs focus on: Real Prospects – Real Sales – Real Measurable Results. For more information on helping your team sell better, write to:, visit or call 416 671-3555.