Monday, June 30, 2008

Successful Sales Management What Are The Core Competencies

Writen by Jonathan Farrington

Management, and particularly sales management, operates on and obtains its results from the staff that are managed. This clearly puts emphasis on the behavioural skills required to promote good human relations and helpful attitudes. These skills are developed mainly from:-

• An interest in individual needs and points of view

• Readiness to direct time and thought to analysing attitudes

• A sense of justice or fair dealing

• Respect for the personality of others

To enable the staff that are managed to develop their abilities profitably for themselves and their company, good human relations alone are not enough. The manager has to define tasks, set proper objectives, and maintain firm control. The basic skills required to do these things are:

Analytical Ability:

Information coming to Sales Managers is of all kinds, from verifiable facts to rumour. It is important to be able to sort the wheat from the chaff, to see the relevance of items of information to one another, and to draw conclusions which seem to fit the facts. Again, when a problem arises it is necessary to analyse it to seek its causes (is it a symptom of something wrong elsewhere?) and establish it's true importance.


All their decisions express the judgement of the manager on a situation or a person. Having analysed the available information he must then judicially weigh the evidence in order to decide on the best course of action. Few decisions can be wholly right or wrong. Most involve a balance of advantages and disadvantages - "Trade Offs".


What is clear to them must be made clear to other people also. They should ask themselves what every individual needs to know, and why, what reaction they expect from them, and how they will know whether it has occurred. Good communication is not only a matter of clear thinking and expression. Since it takes place between at least two people the communicator should be able to see their communication through the recipient's eyes.

However, these characteristics must be underpinned by the core competencies:

The Attainment of Targets:

• Always attaining targets by the time deadlines
• Knowing what to do and doing it, when performance deviates from plan

Ability to Get Things Done:

• A good "objective" setter, planner and above all controller
• Always finishing what they start


• The ability to work with others in a friendly co-operative manner - inspiring others to co-operate


• Having both the desire and the ability to ornate and develop constructive ideas
• A self-starter able to work with minimum brief


• Really dependable, thorough and accurate in everything they undertake

The Selection of People:

• Ability to meet manpower quotas and surround themselves with good people
• Skilled at getting the facts and making good judgements


• Produce results through others, as opposed to trying to doing everything themselves i.e. delegate wisely

Planning and Organising:

• Have written down objectives and plan in detail how those objectives will be attained
• Anticipate problems and plan how they will be overcome


• Ability to look well ahead, be a good forecaster and consider the future, its opportunities and problems that will have to be overcome


• Able to generate ideas frequently and always be working out ways and means of 'doing it better'?

'Selling' Company Policies:

• Absolutely loyal under all conditions and a 'Company Man/Woman'
• Always 'sell' rather than 'tell'

Human Relations:

• Possess the desire to develop from a "Boss" to a Leader
• Ensuring that people enjoy working for them and being a good team builder

Developing Subordinates:

• Always practicing what they preach
• Using all opportunities to show their people the benefits to them of reading, analysing, practising and improving

Problem Solving:

• A positive thinker
• Able to quickly pinpoint problems, come up with solutions and get the action going

Technical Knowledge:

• Have an exceptional understanding of their speciality area and continually striving to improve that knowledge and keep up-to-date
• Management Knowledge:
• Have a sound knowledge of modern management techniques applicable to their field and continually developing themselves in this area

Knowledge of Policies:

• Have a complete understanding of company policies and procedures


• Have a highly mature approach to most situations, have and exercise a great deal of commonsense


• Possess a zest for the job and always seen to be enthusiastic
• Smile easily and have a positive, eager and responsive attitude

Ability to Work Under Pressure:

• Be able to maintain enthusiasm and good attitudes when the going is tough


A Sales Manager may or may not be an outstanding sales person. The important thing is that he or she should be a good manager. This is their individual and unique contribution to their company

Copyright © 2006 Jonathan Farrington. All rights reserved

Jonathan Farrington is the Managing Partner of The jfa Group To find out more about the author, read his latest articles or to subscribe to his newsletter for dedicated sales professionals, visit:
You can also now visit Jonathan's Blog at:

In A Slump

Writen by Tim Connor

Sooner or later, every salesperson experiences a down period of sales results. These periods, where your continued activity seems to yield less than satisfactory results, are normal and to be expected. None of us can keep up a pace of 200 miles per hour day after day, month after month, year after year. The key is to keep your attitude positive, your focus on what is working, and your activity levels high regardless of the results.

In my best selling book, Soft Sell, I share the idea that there are a variety of sales slumps. In this short tip, I will only discuss four. They are:

1. An attitude slump.
2. A prospecting slump.
3. A presentation slump.
4. A closing slump.

An attitude slump is where you find it difficult to maintain your confidence, poise, commitment, dedication, persistence and motivation. This can be due to a number of causes. Some of them are: a) you have lost belief in your organization's products or services. b) you are not reaching your goals or objectives according to your schedule c) You are under a great deal of stress due to deadlines, expectations or loss of control of the sales process, and d) you have other issues in your life that are impacting your attitudes.

A prospecting slump is where you lack adequate qualified leads and are spending a great deal of time calling on poor prospects. As a result, your close ratio is a disaster. This could also be caused by your poor prospecting strategies: i.e. you are still (after several years selling your products/services) spending a lot of time cold calling.

A presentation slump can be caused by your lack of up-to-date product knowledge, poor presentation skills, or poor communication skills: i.e. listening, speaking or writing. This can also be caused by your lack of knowledge of the prospect's needs, use of, or applications of, your products/services. You, therefore, give an organization-driven rather than a customer-driven sales appeal.

A closing slump can be caused by your lack of control of the sales process, poor prospecting, poor sales presentations, or many of the items in the attitude area we have already discussed.

As you can see, there are a number of areas where you can experience a down cycle in your sales approach. The thing to consider is that all of them are related to each other. In other words, if you are experiencing an attitude slump, it will have an impact on your prospecting, closing, etc. If you are in a closing slump, it will impact your attitudes, as well as other areas of the sales process.

The thing to remember is that you can't pull out of any of these slumps by just focusing on the one area that you feel might be the problem. You have to work on all of them. The way out of a slump is to go back to what works, or has worked for you in the past. It is also an excellent time for reflection and self-evaluation of your progress, success, weaknesses, strengths, etc.

Tim Connor, CSP is an internationally renowned sales, 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, leadership and relationship topics. He is the best selling author of over 60 books including; Soft Sell, That's Life, Peace Of Mind, 91 Challenges Managers Face Today and Your First Year In Sales. He can be reached at, 704-895-1230 or visit his website at

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Prospecting The Importance Of Repetition 2

Writen by Bill Truax

When we describe our BLITZ CALL® prospecting system one of the phrases we use is that it is repeatable. We feel that any system for prospecting that you use should be something that is repeatable.

Sales professionals always ask me why? In this age of creativity and spontaneity, wouldn't any system that is repetitious become boring or monotonous?

Not really.

•First of all, we sales people are not really very creative.

•Secondly, spontaneity is fun for parties and social atherings, but it seldom benefits sales situations.

•Thirdly, the value of doing something over and over begins to show value very quickly.

When we teach prospecting we literally have the participants learn a 5-7 sentence Script! They practice it over and over so it is memorized.

We feel there are a lot of benefits to doing this.

•As a sales professional you are fully prepared to make a prospecting call at any time without having to prepare, therefore, you will prospect more often.

•Also, when you have a memorized presentation, you don't have to think about what you are going to say next, therefore, you can pay attention to what the prospect is saying and doing.

•With a memorized presentation you will customize each one by the inflection, pause, and speed of delivery you use, so it will never seem monotone.

Think of the alternatives. If you don't prepare your prospecting wording before making the calls what can happen.

•You may not prospect at all, in which case you won't have to worry about being monotone or boring. You will need to prepare your resume', however.

•Or you will create your words extemporaneously. I have worked with literally hundreds of sales people in the field, none were good extemporaneous prospectors, despite what they claimed. At least most admitted it after a few attempts.

One of the biggest errors I see when a sales person prospects "unprepared" is they introduce themselves and then ask a question such as, "how are you?" This is nearly always death on a prospecting call. Think about it. You are unexpected and interrupting the prospect's day. When you ask that question, what are you doing? Giving the prospect the opportunity to simply say, "I am really busy." Good bye!

We like to go right into and out of our BLITZ CALL before allowing the prospect to say anything. It only takes me 35 seconds to say. I have done this in virtually every major city in North America in a wide variety of industries to all sized companies, so I know that it works.

One thing that many of our graduates tell us is that the 3rd sentence (" I know you weren't expecting me so I won't take any of your time...") seems to relax the prospect and eliminate the defenses.

This makes the entire process more comfortable for both you and the prospect.

When you have a prospecting method that is well prepared and rehearsed you will begin to do it very very well. And, ironically, the better you get, the less you will have to do it, since you will become more successful with every new call.

Remember, if anyone says that they will not do "canned presentations" remind them that we in the US spent $20 Billion on canned presentations last year. We call them TV and Movies. We see actors saying words they didn't write, playing roles that aren't their lives.

If we can be entertained like that, why shouldn't we try to bring our skills up to that level? After all, we write the words and it really is our life.

So as you prepare to make prospecting an even more important part of your sales duties, remember the importance of repetition.

Sell Well and Often

Bill Truax

© Copyright 2006 WJ Truax

Bill Truax is a Sales Management and Field Operations Consultant living in Cleveland, Oh. He conducts Sales Team Assessments, Management and Leadership programs, and works with Field Sales Professionals and Managers both in the field and in workshops. He has written 3 books and recorded 2 CD's on Prospecting and Making Cold Calls and conducts a variety of skill based seminars, workshops, and train the trainer programs. Bill has spent literally thousands of hours in the field making cold calls with sales professionals to teach his BLITZ CALL System. When Bill is in the field he actually makes many of the BLITZ CALLs himself, regardless of the industry. This is to demonstrate that anyone can prospect you just need to know how. Bill writes a Free weekly Prospecting Succes Tip for subscribers at his website The site also details all the materials and programs Trufield offers.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The 7roles Of Highly Competent Salespeople Role 6 The Effective Manager

Writen by Brian Lambert

A "role" is defined as the characteristic and expected social behavior of an individual. We all play many roles in life, such as parent or salesperson, and it is not difficult to see how this sense of the word role is related to its meaning in theater, where a "role" was played by a character.

All of these factors have a significant negative impact on self esteem, professional self image and consequently resilience in the face of adversity. In short, without a clear definition of the roles you are to play, the amount of work you are to perform and how these roles intertwine, you may end up like the other thousands of salespeople a year who do not make it in the profession. I will now define professional selling roles and what is generally expected in each.


  1. "The Strategic Planner"
  2. "The Client-Focused Positioner"
  3. "The Persuasive Communicator"
  4. "The Focused Catalyst"
  5. "The Concerted Facilitator"
  6. "The Effective Manager"
  7. "The Value-Driven Guardian"

These roles are created by understanding the phases of building customer satisfaction and loyalty (as outlined by the United Professional Sales Association). Their model focuses on the entire transaction experience of a buyer, from initial needs identification, through decision-making, selection, and purchasing. More importantly, this transaction experience continues past the purchase into implementation -- and beyond into measuring the quality and return-on-investment of the solution.

In this article, I will explain the sixth role in greater detail (please see my other articles for in depth explanations of the other roles.)

Primary Focus of This Role:

"Managers" of the past were expected to maintain the status quo in order to move ahead. But in this role, you'll be expected to be a great learner and a teacher throughout the entire selling cycle. You will also be expected to influence others in a positive manner internally in your own organization while maintaining high standards of personal health, time management, and action through daily activities. You will need to achieve what the management team brought you in to the organization to achieve and execute revenue generation results effectively.

This role is focused on the entire transaction experience equally (therefore, it will not be segmented into pre- or post-sale expectations).

General Expectations:

You will need to bring about the plans you created (Strategic Planner Role), embrace appropriate trends and market forces (Positioner Role), continuously improve your sales process through analytical and data-driven methods (Communicator Role), be able to manage internal pricing, variances, legal, and other contracting requirements (Catalyst Role), and include all relevant input from the customer (Facilitator Role), while maintaining an ethical mindset and building trust (Guardian Role). Pre-Sale Expectations:

In this role, you are someone who fulfills administrative activities as well as tactical execution of a sales strategy. You must manage yourself within the overall context of your organization and within one or more customer relationships. To help accomplish this, you will set personal goals for your success and properly motivate yourself to succeed. You will also help yourself and others manage time, resources, and technology to create daily, weekly, monthly and yearly plans to achieve success against pre-determined objectives (from your Strategic Planner role). You will manage yourself in accordance with the plan you create (and constantly revise) to ensure your success. You must assume responsibility and accountability for your results because your selling skills are in high demand by your organization and others count on you to succeed.

As a result, you will create measurements of success and use technology to create appropriate reports, manage a defined process, forecast future sales, or collaborate to ensure you are progressing against your plans accordingly. You will work collaboratively with others internal to your organization as well as with others within client companies. You will create partnerships and alliances where appropriate as well as manage the financials of your work unit or organization. You will be asked to troubleshoot or overcome serious concerns raised by clients, prospects, or internal team members. You will create schedules for yourself and others and manage these schedules accordingly. You will be asked to follow a sales process that you have built or you have been trained on. Your overall management of the sales cycle will be under scrutiny by those who are forecasting sales or otherwise relying on the revenue your and your colleagues (if applicable) create.

You will adhere to or create escalation management processes as necessary to properly address customer service issues. You will need to acquire appropriate habits for your industry (mannerisms, jargon, etc).

You will establish remediation strategies to address internal miscommunication issues and either redefine roles and responsibilities or reset expectations with marketing, sales, customer service, or fulfillment professionals. You will work to establish a relationship management structure to create winning relationships that you will need to leverage. You will establish procedures to quantify customer service, sales, and marketing outcomes where necessary. You will comply with (or establish) metrics and tracking processes to detect and address revenue target deviations as necessary. You will establish management processes to request new services as needed. You will also forecast new sales accurately and conduct necessary reporting per requirements set forth in your organization.

Required Traits of This Role:

You will be asked to take 100 percent responsibility for results, be dependable, loyal, obedient, strategic, empowering, and a problem solver. You will need be intensely goal-oriented and have a commitment to your current role and employer. You will have to be authoritative and direct if needed.

-----------------------------------ABOUT BRIAN LAMBERT-----------------------------------

Brian is the Chairman and Founder of the the United Professional Sales Association (UPSA). UPSA is a non-profit organization headquartered in Washington DC that has addressed the concerns and challenges of individual sales professionals. Brian has authored the world's first universal selling standards and open-source selling framework for free distribution. This 'Compendium of Professional Selling' containing the commonly accepted and universally functional knowledge that all sales professionals possess. The open-source selling standards have been downloaded in 16 countries by over 300 people. Over 30 people have made contributions.

Because UPSA is not owned by one person or any company, it is a member organization and guardian of the global standard of entry into the sales profession.

Find out about the membership organization and understand the processes and framework of professional selling at the UPSA Website at

Find out more about Brian at:

Or at

Sales Success Or Failure Whose Fault Is It

Writen by Bill Brooks

I was recently consulting with a very large, multinational firm. In their own heart of hearts - and, in their boardroom - they believed that they had a sales problem. And they do. However, the sales problem is merely symptomatic of a number of deeper issues that need to be addressed before any serious improvement can be made in their sales results.

This scenario, however, is not rare. And it makes no difference whether the organization is large (this client sells $2.6 billion in the U.S. alone) or small, a "ma-pop," small business or entrepreneurial environment. These situations exist in all organizations. No matter the size. What is believed to be the problem is merely a symptom of a series of deeper, more endemic challenges.

In this case there were a whole series of problems. Fortunately, the leaders of this organization have now seen them, accepted their existence and now, together, we are addressing them. In this particular case here they are:

  • Lack of consistent, on-time product delivery

  • Incomplete order fulfillment

  • Shortage of qualified applicants for support positions

  • Improperly designed pay plan for salespeople

  • Lack of sales management personnel and a system to train them

  • No performance appraisal system or performance management system

    Poorly designed structure for field offices in terms of reporting functions and responsibilities.

    You see, the problems weren't whether salespeople knew how to ask for the order, sell value or organize accounts. Those areas, of course, can always be improved. The real issues were deeper, more organizational issues related directly to fundamental circumstances like structure, delivery, customer service, personnel and accountability.

    Here is the real point. Quite often there are simple, fundamental reasons behind the most obvious things you see. Things like disappearing customers, cancelled orders, customer complaints, a lack of increased sales volume and stagnant salespeople are not always the fault of a salesperson or even an entire sales organization.

    Whenever I encounter this type of situation I am often reminded of the human body. It is not unusual for an ache or pain somewhere to be caused by a problem that is far removed from the actual location of the pain. A headache can be caused by a bad back…a problem in your leg can be traced to your shoulder - you get the picture.

    So, what would I urge you to do? Take a look at a few areas where you have difficulties and then try to determine what is really causing them. My suggestion is to look in the following categories of business first:

  • Structure and Organization

  • Compensation Design

  • Performance Appraisal and Performance Management Systems

  • Facilities, Equipment and Supplies

  • Operations and Quality

  • Customer Service

  • Delivery

  • Credit Issues

  • Product Support and Training

  • Reporting Function

  • Recruitment and Retention Policy

  • Product Management

    Then - and only then - should you start to take steps to work a direct sales challenge. If any of these 12 areas are incompatible with your overall business strategy, any or all of them can be the real culprit behind poor sales. It doesn't have to be the sales team that is faltering.

    Interestingly, I have encountered a great deal of this where salespeople are physically or geographically removed from a central location. Often they (and their customers) are directly affected by the actions of other departments, philosophies and decisions within the organization. The problem? Salespeople are, far too often, the ones who hear the brunt of the direct customer aggression because they see customers daily. They hear about poor delivery, inferior quality or a lack of customer support. They then have to deal with it directly in spite of their distraction from the seat of the problem.

    No one operates in a void within any organization. An organization is just that - a group of people aligned for a specific set of purposes. How well that organization functions is a not one person's or even the organization's responsibility. Instead, it is the collective responsibility of all people, all departments, all functions and facilities. They all come together to define success or failure. It never is one department's responsibility for success or failure. It is a collective effort. That includes sales.

    Bill Brooks is the founder and CEO of The Brooks Group,

    The Brooks Group specializes in building custom training programs for organizations that want a more profitable sales force. We show sales managers how to manage more effectively and we show salespeople how to sell more volume, at higher margins on a consistent basis.

    For newsletter information contact Derek at

  • Friday, June 27, 2008

    Sales Managers What Are Their Expectations Of You The Sales Rep

    Writen by Tino Buntic

    Let's face it, one of the main reasons that you chose a career in sales, aside from the relatively high income potential, is the autonomy and independence that a sales job provides. Being in sales is the closest you can get to running your own business without actually being a business owner; from generating sales leads, to meeting with clients and closing sales, to budgeting, to time management, to business meetings, and to traveling. But, in the end, it still isn't your own business even if it feels like it. You still are an employee of a company and you still have a boss – your sales manager.

    Your sales manager wants you to be accountable because in the end, if you don't make your numbers (quota), he himself will be accountable to his boss. So, how do you keep the autonomy that you desire without having to answer to the boss? Easy. You must meet and then exceed your numbers at all times. If you do this your sales manager will have no reason to watch over you and it will truly be the rewarding job that you seek.

    According to Brian Cole Miller, author of the book "Keeping Employees Accountable For Results: Quick Tips For Busy Managers," there are six SIMPLE principles of accountability that he teaches sales managers of which you, as a sales professional, must understand so that you know what your boss is looking for from you. Knowing these principles will allow you to do your job in such a way as to have your keep your autonomy (If you wanted your boss to be constantly looking over your shoulder at all times of the day you would have chosen a customer service job in a call center!). Here are Mr. Miller's six SIMPLE principles.

    S - Set Expectations – Your sales manager wants to communicate what is expected of you. You're a smart person. You know what your company's expectations of you are. You don't need someone telling you what the expectations are. Your goal should be to set your own personal expectations above what the company expects of you. No sales manager will see the need to discuss expectations with you if you are already self-motivated.

    I - Invite Commitment – Mr. Miller advocates that sales managers should show their employees how a commitment to achieving goals will benefit these employees personally. Do you know what happens when you are in sales and you commit to working hard? You make more money. Do you need your sales manager to tell you this? No. Be committed, work hard, and you get more commission. No need to hear a lecture on this from your sales manager.

    M - Measure Results – Sales managers must measure their employees' results and compare them to their goals to find gaps that require further attention. Now think back to your personal expectations (which exceed the company's expectations) and to your commitment to working hard; this will bring in more sales, more commission for you, and more revenue for the company. When this happens, there will be no gaps that require further attention, meaning your sales manager will have no reason to question you.

    P – Provide Feedback – Mr. Miller states that "your employees cannot do a good job without feedback, and they certainly can't improve without it." You don't want your sales manager to think that you cannot do your job without him constantly guiding you, do you? Of course not, this is childish. Show him that you can do your job and improve without guidance and he will not have the need to direct you.

    L – Link To Consequences – Consequences guide behavior and can get employees back on track. Do you want your sales manager to tell you that if you don't reach your target he will, for example, require an extra 10 cold calls a day the following month? Of course not; your sales manager is not Frederic Skinner and you are not a lab rat. You don't need to be "punished" because you do your job and you do it well.

    E – Evaluate Effectiveness – Sales managers must hold themselves accountable for holding others accountable. What happens when you are accountable? It makes your sales manager accountable. So if you reach and exceed your targets you will be doing a great job, your sales manager will be accountable, he will not need to "deal" with you, and you will have the autonomy and independence that you have always wanted from your job.

    Tino Buntic is the creator of, providing sales leads to salespeople and business professionals across North America.

    Thursday, June 26, 2008

    Good Recruiting Practices Essential To Hiring Sales Amp Marketing Superstars

    Writen by Andrew Rowe

    Let's talk about the importance of using good recruiting practices to hire top performing sales and marketing professionals in today's economy. It's not a secret that the economy is on a sustained growth path for the last several years. What that has caused is much higher employment. We're down to almost 5 % in Oregon, but even nation wide the number is even less than that. And if you look at the unemployment figure, that includes all of the structural unemployment. So, the fact is, most really talented people, particularly top producers in top companies in the sales and marketing fields, are all fully employed. That means it's going to be very difficult for you to hire top A-type producers in sales and marketing from placing ads strictly on the job instead of just or Career builder or other such job boards. It's just not possible to find the best candidates and get them to come to work for your company though such tactics anymore.

    In order to find really top sales and marketing talent, whether it be VP, director level, marketing manager, sales manager, down to entry level telesales personnel, you're going to have to go into your competition and find those people and extract them and get them to work for your company. This is why using a recruiter can really be of value. If you don't have the wherewithall, the time, or perhaps the desire to go calling blinding into your competition it makes really good sense to bring on a professional headhunting or recruiting firm that can actually perform that activity for you. Headhunters aren't needed, on the other hand, for finding really easy to find or easy to fill positions. But unfortunately, in sales and marketing, it's always a challenge because the top producers are always working. Those people who get results in sales are very hard to come by. Companies covet them and they pay them well and they want to keep them and retain them. So as economy heats up, employee retention is a key element to most company's strategy to growth.

    If you're trying to grow your business and trying to add additional top sales and marketing talent, you're going to need to find a way to find and locate those top sales and marketing producers from other companies and convince them to come to work for you. That's the fastest way to take market share from your competition is by recruiting away top sales and marketing people from your competitor. How do you go about finding a good recruiting firm for this? Well, start by isolating on recruiting companies that really specialize is sales and marketing and the recruiting of those types of functions within companies. There's a lot of generic recruiting and headhunting firms out there that claim to be experts at sales and marketing but when you dig deeper you'll find out they usually don't have nearly as much in-depth expertise for doing sales and marketing recruiting as you might suspect.

    Why is it important to seek a specialized recurring company for this purpose? Hiring sales and marketing people is completely different that hiring engineering talent, IT professionals or other operations or finance types of positions. It's very easy to be fooled when it comes to hiring sales people. Most sales people do a good job of selling themselves through the interview process and as a result, for the untrained eye, it's really easy to make a hiring mistake because, even though they sell themselves well through the interview process, it doesn't necessarily mean they're going to sell well for your company. So this is one of the reasons why you want to focus on getting a recruiting company that has a specialized practice in hiring sales and marketing talent. They go well beyond asking the typical questions and use advanced behavior interviewing and screening techniques, as well as sales aptitude and marketing aptitude profiling techniques, to separate the A players; in other words, the real top producers, from the rest of the field. So if you're going to go out and try to recruit sales and marking talent in a full economy such as what were experiencing now, you should strongly consider using a recruiting firm that has special skills in this area.

    Once you find that firm, really scrutinize their process to make sure that it's rigorous and it includes such things as sales aptitude profiling and testing. Profiling the actual sales person's achievement history over the last several years to show how well the person has actually performed against quota and also performing in depth background checks in interviews to really ascertain whether or not the person is capable at the levels that they claim to. These are just some of the things you should think about as you think about hiring a recruiting firm for hiring sales and marketing talent in a full economy

    About Cube Management

    Cube Management delivers sales acceleration services to emerging growth and mid-market companies. The experts at Cube Management work across the entire spectrum of marketing, sales and business development to provide customized solutions (whether recruiting, interim management or consulting) that drive revenue and profit growth. Cube Management combines Strategy, Process & People to produce winning results. Download the Cube Management Inside Sales Guide and the Cube Management Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Guide.

    Everyday Examples Of Dissonance

    Writen by Kurt Mortensen

    "Buyer's remorse" is also a form of dissonance. When we purchase a product or service, we tend to look for ways to convince ourselves that we made the right decision. If the people around us or other factors make us question our decision, we experience buyer's remorse. On feeling this inconsistency, we'll look for anything--facts, peer validation, expert opinion--to reduce the dissonance in our minds concerning the purchase. Some of us even use selective exposure to minimize the risk of seeing or hearing something that could cause dissonance. Often people won't even tell family or friends about their purchase or decision because they know it will create dissonance.

    Listed below are some situations that might create dissonance.

    * You are a strict vegetarian but you see a stylish leather jacket on sale and want to buy it.

    * You made a New Year's resolution to exercise every day. It is now halfway through February, you have not yet been to the gym once.

    * You are on a stringent diet when you see Ben and Jerry's ice cream on sale at the grocery store.

    We find what we seek. If we can't find it, we make it up. In politics, members of different parties will refuse to peaceably or tolerantly listen to opposing party commercials. Smokers won't read articles about the dangers of smoking. Drug users don't spend much time at clinics. We don't want to find information that might oppose our current points of view.

    A study by Knox and Inkster found interesting results at a racetrack. They interviewed people waiting in line to place a bet, and then questioned them again after they'd placed a bet. They found people were much more confident with their decisions after they had placed their bet than before the bet was made. They exuded greater confidence in their decisions and their chosen horses after their decisions were final and their bets were firmly in place

    Younger, Walker, and Arrowood decided to conduct a similar experiment at the midway of the Canadian National Exposition. They interviewed people who had already placed bets on a variety of different games (bingo, wheel of fortune, etc.) as well as people who were still on their way to place bets. They asked each of the people if they felt confident they were going to win. Paralleling the findings of Knox and Inkster's study, the people who had already made their bets felt luckier and more confident than those who had not yet placed their wagers.

    These studies show that to reduce dissonance, we often simply convince ourselves that we have made the right decision. Once we place a bet or purchase a product or service, we feel more confident with ourselves and the choice we've made. This concept also holds true in persuasion and sales. Once the payment is given for your product or service, your prospects will usually feel more confident with their decisions. Have them make the payment or finalize the choice as soon as possible! This will increase their confidence in their decision and they will look for reasons to justify that decision.

    When buying and selling shares of stock, investors commonly stick with stocks that have recently slumped in price, with no prospects of recovery. Rationally, the best decision is to cut their losses and invest elsewhere. Irrationally, however, investors often hang on, ensnared by their initial decision.

    Many times, even when we have made a bad decision, we become so entrenched in our belief that it was right that we will fight to the bitter end to prove it. We can't handle the dissonance in our minds, so we find anything to prove our decision was right. We become so embroiled in justifying our actions that we are willing to go down with the burning ship.

    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!

    Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    Clone Your Best Salesperson Today

    Writen by Dr. Gary S. Goodman

    Whenever I do sales and telemarketing coaching, one of the first questions I ask is who is your top seller, what is he or she earning, and who is in second place?

    Invariably, there is one lead dog, and the rest of the pack lags far behind her.

    To me, this is a dangerous situation.

    What happens if she leaves, is stricken by illness, or is otherwise incapacitated? Your sales will plummet, overall, and you won't have a strong apprentice who can do her headlining act, so to speak.

    More significant, are these problems, when there is only one sales leader:

    (1) That person defines what great performance is, and that may not be the very pinnacle of potential achievement.

    (2) It's lonely at the top. All leaders need competition so they'll be forced to get better.

    (3) You send an unconscious message of dependency to the leader. "I don't know how to produce another YOU," is what it says. This can go to her head, and if she's immature she might use this as leverage against you or become a behavior problem.

    (4) Your confidence won't be high, because you'll feel overly dependent on her production.

    So, the first thing we try to do is to recruit, train, and motivate someone who will give the existing leader a real challenge for the leadership spot.

    This will show other sales reps that higher performance is possible; they can challenge the top dog with impunity; and they can, and perhaps will be replaced unless they get moving in the right direction, and fast.

    You can give motivational sales talks until you're breathless, and it won't make the point nearly as dramatically or convincingly as bringing in a strong number two.

    So, go to it!

    Dr. Gary S. Goodman, President of, is a popular keynote speaker, management consultant, and seminar leader and the best-selling author of 12 books, including Reach Out & Sell Someone® and Monitoring, Measuring & Managing Customer Service, and the audio program, "The Law of Large Numbers: How To Make Success Inevitable," published by Nightingale-Conant. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, worldwide. A Ph.D. from USC's Annenberg School, a Loyola lawyer, and an MBA from the Peter F. Drucker School at Claremont Graduate University, Gary offers programs through UCLA Extension and numerous universities, trade associations, and other organizations in the United States and abroad. He holds the rank of Shodan, 1st Degree Black Belt in Kenpo Karate. He is headquartered in Glendale, California, and he can be reached at (818) 243-7338 or at:

    Us Trade Shows Are Different Notes For Foreign Firms

    Writen by Julia O'Connor

    According to Julia O'Connor, president of Trade Show Training, inc. (TSTi) there are three universal components to any trade show, anywhere in the world – promotion, presentation and logistics. "While it seems simple", she said, "there are both subtle and major differences in shows in the US and other countries."

    Promotion - marketing - is probably more universal, especially now with the Internet, said O'Connor, but presentation – the sales component – is more affected by culture and business expectations.

    "Americans are viewed as loud and aggressive. Even as we expand globally, we understand we must be more relationship-oriented. We find it hard to change but we try to", O'Connor explained.

    The biggest challenge – and the most complaints she hears – are about the logistics component. It is the unions, the transportation and shipping problems, the set-up and tear-down. Many countries and shows use a turnkey operation. In the States, there are different unions to perform services before, during and after a show.

    "It becomes confusing to individuals and expensive for companies that do not understand the process in the US," O'Connor said.

    Those companies planning to exhibit in the US, or those who currently exhibit, often do not know where to turn for assistance. Specialized seminars, run as Camp Sho-M-Sel-M, provide the information.

    Trade shows are complicated events – short term with lots of details. The process is complicated by language, culture and old habits. The more a foreign firm knows about US trade shows, the more successful they will be.


    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

    Tuesday, June 24, 2008

    Getting Motivated And Getting Results How To Build The Right Sales Staff

    Writen by Tom Richard

    What can you do to motivate your sales staff?

    Absolutely nothing.

    I know it sounds contrary to everything you've come to believe, but if you want a team of great salespeople who get results, understanding this is the first step.

    Every human being has internal factors that determine his/her success. Therefore, there are two types of people: those who are internally driven to succeed, and those who aren't. No matter how hard you try, you will not be able to arbitrarily influence these internal motivating factors.

    Now maybe you're having a hard time believing me because you once held a contest or another promotional event that seemed to really motivate your employees. But think of the salespeople who participated and succeeded from this event. They were probably the same people who always participate in your promotions and strive to do well.

    The truth: You created an environment that fueled the drive of those who were already internally driven to succeed. Those who weren't driven probably didn't participate and had little to do with your great results.

    Type 1: The Unmotivated

    Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to motivate someone who has no internal drive to succeed. Trying to motivate these people will NEVER produce the results you want and will only leave you disheartened and worn out. These are the people you do NOT want on your sales staff.

    Type 2: The Motivated

    A person with a natural drive to succeed can make a wonderful salesperson. They have what it takes to bring about the results you want. These results, however, do depend on that person's environment. The environment that you create for your salespeople can either fuel or dampen that inner drive.

    To have a successful sales staff, you must have two things: naturally motivated salespeople and the right environment to keep them motivated.

    Finding the right people

    Hiring the right employees for the job is the most critical step in building a successful sales team.

    How can you tell who has what it takes and who doesn't?

    The best way to have great employees is to find them. Great employees do not answer your ad in the paper because they already have a job. Take the initiative and be on the lookout for great employees who work somewhere else, even when you are not currently hiring. When you are constantly scouting for truly gifted employees, you will find rare talent in strange places.

    Another way to let the naturally driven stand out is to provide an engaging hiring process. One of the most inventive ways to challenge your prospective employees is to assign them an open-ended task during the initial telephone interview. Have them prepare something for their formal interview the following day. When they probe for more details, do not provide them.

    A good candidate will understand that their approach to your task will show their approach to the sales process. Let the employee flex their sales muscles in order to win a job with your company. If they are truly driven, it will show.

    Creating the right environment

    Even those who are naturally driven can become unmotivated in the wrong environment, so it is essential that you create an environment that will prevent them from feeling unmotivated.

    The things that dampen a person's natural drive are obviously as different as his/her individual personality. In order to have a successful staff, you must have different management styles to match the unique personality and needs of each employee.

    Some employees lose their natural motivation when they are micro managed, while others can lose their natural motivation when they feel left alone and unsupported by their superior. Then there are the employees that need constant positive reinforcement to keep their natural motivation alive and well, while others feel constant reinforcement is unnecessary, and even condescending.

    The examples go on and on…

    So, what is the best way to find out what keeps your employees motivated?

    Ask them! Take 15 minutes to sit down with your employees and ask them some questions about things that they like and dislike. What do you do that is unnecessary or limits their motivation?

    Being aware of what your employees like and dislike will help you create an environment that encourages each of your employees to reach full potential. This means happier, more productive employees, which will lead to better results and more sales!

    Tom Richard is the author of a weekly ezine on selling skills. To subscribe to this free weekly ezine send a blank email to

    Monday, June 23, 2008

    Transforming Your Sales Force By Creating Specific Expectations

    Writen by Dave Kahle

    I just finished a phone call with a potential client who had called to discuss a problem. His 18 person sales force was paid on straight commission. All had been with the company for 8 - 15 years and were earning healthy incomes. His problem was that he couldn't get them to do what he wanted them to do. Here's the example he shared.

    He wanted the salespeople to call on new prospects to expand the company's base. Instead of just seeing established customers, he asked them to call on prospects, and report back to him on the progress they were making.

    There were almost no results. Instead he got comments like: "I'm not going to do this, I'm not a new salesperson." Or, "That's just more paperwork." This list could go on and on. The salespeople resented being asked to do something they saw as outside of their responsibilities, and the manager was extremely frustrated.

    This is a classic example of the chronic malady I call a lack of "directability."

    The problem is that management has not cleared up this murky difference of opinion.

    It may be, of course, that the salespeople choose to ignore management's direction. That's a different but associated problem. It really doesn't come into play until the expectations are made clear.

    For example, one of my clients moved his company to a CRM system. He gave the salespeople six months to learn to type, offered to pay for a typing class for them, and mandated that on a date approximately six months from now, the company would totally implement the CRM system. That meant that every sales person would be expected to use it to record sales calls, customer information, and etc.

    The expectations were perfectly clear. At the end of the six months, three of the salespeople had not improved their typing skills. When asked about the use of the system, they responded, "We're sales people, not clerks. We're paid to sell, not enter information."

    In this case, the expectations were clear, but the sales people held onto an outmoded definition for their jobs. The company's course of action was clear and those three salespeople were replaced.

    While there are a number of things that should be done to cure this patient, they begin with an often-overlooked initiative - creating a clear set of expectations for the job of the sales person.

    This malaise of undirectability has, at its heart, a difference of opinion as to what the salesperson should do. The sales people believe that taking care of their current customers and being rewarded by a portion of the gross profit is the total extent of their responsibilities. Management believes otherwise.

    The difference in these basic expectations generates conflict, resentment and frustration almost daily. This negative condition leads, of course, to dismal productivity. The sales manager continually squanders his time in the dubious effort of trying to shape the behavior of the salespeople. The salespeople focus on doing exactly the opposite of what management asks so that they can build their case and prove their point.

    There is another, longer range and more sinister effect. The company caught in this kind of malaise has virtually no ability to implement any strategic initiative. For example, let's say that the company has decided to take on a new product line. Management sees the new line as holding excellent future potential to grow into a category that is a minor piece of business at the moment. As management looks ahead, they see this category growing, and want to use this line to position the company in this promising segment.

    So, management makes a commitment to the new line, buys the beginning inventory, loads the SKUs into the computer, works out the pricing columns, posts the products on its website, and educates the customer service department. One last, but essential piece remains - harness the power of the sales force to generate business.

    Management calls the sales force together, brings in the manufacturer's rep, and introduces the new strategic initiative. At the end of the day, the sales manager announces that, because of the importance of this line to the company's future, every salesperson should introduce it in every one of his good accounts in the next 30 days.

    The sales force nods gravely, and then goes out and does whatever they have been doing for the last few years. At the end of the 30 days, virtually nothing has been done.

    Sound familiar? I have sketched this scenario to thousands of principals and CSOs at annual meetings and national conventions. I then ask the question, "If you were in this situation, what would be the likelihood that every one of your salespeople would do what you asked them to do?" The response is dismal.

    How about you? Take a moment and reflect on the state of "directability" of your sales force.

    Now, consider the implications. If you cannot implement a strategic initiative like this, what is the future for your business? Do you have a future?

    You can see why I am so adamant on the importance of a "directable" sales force. It is one of the most valuable assets you can have. Almost to the point that your company's future may well depend on it.

    There are a number of causes of this situation: 100% commission compensation plans, salespeople who have been around a long time, highly paid sales people, a corporate culture that promotes the idea that a sales person "has his own business." All these contribute to the situation.

    The cure is to address each of these, making changes that I have discussed elsewhere in the book. But, before you can do that, you need to attend to the first step: Creating and communicating a precise set of expectations to the sales force that describes their jobs and what you expect them to do.

    Once you have done that, you will have laid the groundwork for the changes that should follow.

    The point is this. It is difficult to create change in the behavior of a salesperson in the absence of a clear set of expectations. That document is not a guarantee that the salespeople will change, but it is necessary to direct the process. It's necessary, but not sufficient. It's the first step.

    How to...

    First, let's start from the end. What are you going to end up with? There is room for lots of variation on the format and formula. I like to see this: One side of one piece of paper, on which you spell out the following things:

    An overview of the job. The most important seven activities for success in the job. The definition of how success is measured. To whom salespeople report to. What sort of attitudes you expect. The question then becomes, how do you get to that point? Again, there are multiple paths. You may want to draft it yourself, or do in conjunction with a group of key executives. You may want to appoint a task force.

    Should you involve the sales force? I'm ambivalent. On one side, I'm a little hesitant to advocate that you ask the sales force or that you add a salesperson to the task force. Unless the person you involve is especially mature, the likelihood is that the sales people will input in ways that are in their own personal self-interest, not necessarily the good of the company. This is especially true if they are 100% commissioned.

    On the other hand, I've seen clients who have involved a mature salesperson with good results.

    So, the answer depends on the specifics of your personnel, as well as the corporate climate in your organization.

    Regardless, at some point, you will have a document.

    Now you need to communicate that. And that calls for a sales meeting with all the key players in attendance. It's important that the CEO be involved, to lend credibility and authority to the proceedings. The sales people must understand that there is no opportunity for an appeal to a higher source, that there is no negotiation on your expectations.

    It is always a good idea to give the "Why's" of the expectations, particularly if the expectations represent a major shift from current practice.

    It's also a good idea to encourage dialogue and discussion. Use the meeting as an opportunity to encourage people to mentally process the information. There is a line, however, between discussion and negotiation. I take a hard-line view on this issue. I really don't think it is up to the sales people to tell you what they should do. I think that is management's job.

    You don't allow your CSR to explain that they don't think they ought to answer phones. Nor is it acceptable for your warehouse foreman to refuse to take inventory.

    There is plenty of room for sales people to define the "hows" of their job. But the "What's "are the province of management.

    What's next?

    The written set of expectations, clearly communicated, won't by itself, make transformational changes in many sales people. A few may have an "ah-ha" insight, but it will take more than just this to power the change you want. However, the expectations are necessary to set up the changes to come.

    It's like outfitting a sailboat. You need to put the mast in place. A mast by itself, without a sail, a rudder and a keel, will do absolutely nothing to move the sailboat. But, you can't hoist the sail until you fix the mast.

    So it is with a written, communicated set of expectations. It is a necessary, but not sufficient, step in the process of transforming your sales force.


    Excerpted with permission of the publisher, from the Transforming Your Sales Force for the 21st Century, Copyright 2004, by Dave Kahle. Used with permission of the author.

    About Dave Kahle, The Growth Coach®: Dave Kahle is a consultant and trainer who helps his clients increase their sales and improve their sales productivity. He speaks from real world experience, having been the number one salesperson in the country for two companies in two distinct industries. Dave has trained thousands of salespeople to be more successful in the Information Age economy. He's the author of over 500 articles, a monthly ezine, and four books. His latest is 10 Secrets of Time Management for Salespeople. He has a gift for creating powerful training events that get audiences thinking differently about sales.

    His "Thinking About Sales" Ezine features content-filled motivating articles, practical tips for immediate improvements, useful resources and helpful tips to help increase sales. Join for NOTHING on-line at

    You can reach Dave at: The DaCo Corporation 3736 West River Drive Comstock Park, MI 49321 Phone: 800-331-1287 / 616-451-9377 Fax: 616-451-9412

    Sunday, June 22, 2008

    Some Basic Rules Of Fundraising For Your Non Profit Organization

    Writen by Daniel Lesser

    Considered as an ethical activity, your fundraising activity should preferably adhere to basic rules of personal integrity, public probity and accountability. After all you're the cream society, who is on your way to make difference in the society, as well as creating a niche for yourself. A deed well performed brings you accolades and an instant recognition. However, you may need to subject your fundraising efforts to established norms of decency, probity and righteousness. Here are some basic rules for you to abide, while you're on your march to find funds for your non profit:

    1. Establish your identity in clear terms either on line on your web site or through print media. Be clear in your intentions and objectives; never project a wrong picture to the donors and the general public. After all you're here to survive on a public and private donation, on pure philanthropic interests.

    2. State your goals and priorities, without ambiguity and confusion. Be clear in your projections, funding needs and delivery mechanism.

    3. Attach qualities of trust, integrity, honesty and truth to your fundraising campaign.

    4. Build your own brand; establish a niche for your campaign. Project yourself to the outside world through online and offline efforts.

    5. Your web portal is a beehive of fundraising activity and solicitation. It is also a pure marketing activity and not a technology center. Always drive your motto and content, and not technology.

    6. Donors are your lifeline; create a foolproof mechanism to get friendly with those donors.

    7. Integrate your fundraising activity as a tool of fun and thrill.

    8. Create online donation page with a secure server, which is 100% safe and guaranteed.

    9. Many fundraisers do sell lot of gifts and goods to raise funds; while it may OK as a short term goal, never forget that your aim is to achieve bigger goals.

    10. Donors expect that their contributions are treated properly with trust and belief. Never fail them.

    11. Build an internet community of donor and well wishers; an internet community is a strong entity, which is powerful and resourceful.

    12. Target your audience on the internet and drive them to your fundraising efforts.

    13. Philanthropy may be a passionate hobby for you, but also remember that it is cause and need for others.

    Never ever forget these basic rules while you fundraise for your non profit program. Every business activity has its own ethics and practices, and fundraising is no different. It is always said that fundraising is an ethical activity; never deviate from this simple principle.

    Daniel J Lesser is the creator of
    A whole world awaits people if they can gain greater funding.
    Find out how you can expand their horizons at

    Sales Management For Bike Manufacturers

    Writen by Lance Winslow

    There are so many types of sales in commercial industry. One I would like to discuss today is selling to get new distributorships for a manufacturer. Specifically a bicycle manufacturer, as without these distributors the manufacturer has their options reduced to nothing more than selling to purchasing agents for big Box Retailers and that means slow payments, receivable problems, headaches, lawsuits and low cost high volume.

    Such a limited business means cost cutting is key and therefore the brand names ends up suffering due to cheapness of product. It is far better a strategy in many cases to set up dealers networks and distributors in each market to sell the products. But in order to do this you have to set up dealers and that means personal sells; that is to say selling the dealers into moving into a dealership agreement to buy so many units per month, quarter or year and to give it their full attention.

    Often companies who sell bicycles will want to carry a certain brand but only if the terms are good for them. Nevertheless the bicycle manufacturer must sell lots of bikes or no bikes are needed to be produced and the factory must close. Managing these dealer network sellers is not easy, as many are away in travel, with travel expenses and costs. Sometimes these sales processes take weeks and months and multiple visits.

    It is therefore a huge cost, but a necessary one. With a strong set of dealers the bicycle manufacturer can move a lot of product. To insure this is the case it behooves bicycle manufacturers to hold back commissions and base it on the original sale plus an over ride of orders for the year. Consider these thoughts if you will.

    "Lance Winslow" - Online Think Tank forum board. If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance;

    Saturday, June 21, 2008

    How To Increase Sales And Profits Without Spending A Cent

    Writen by Tim Stokes

    Ever heard of something called "conversion rate". You may have but are you measuring it all the time, or are you just guessing what it might be?

    If you don't know what conversion rate means you're missing out on the most powerful strategy there is in the world to increase sales, without spending a cent. Plus, by increasing your conversion rate your net profits always go up!

    So what is conversion rate?

    Conversion rate is the difference between how many call, walk in or contact your business and then how many of them end up buying. For example, if you had 10 phone calls to your business and you took their name and phone over time you simply track how many of them actually spent money with you. So if you have 3 people buy from you your conversion rate would be 30% or 3 out of 10.

    This simple measurement is life changing for business owners when they see the power of it. If you don't know your conversion rate and "guess" it's about 50% I guarantee you're wrong! Almost everyone thinks their conversion rate it higher than it actually is. The reason being is that the people you talk to that say they'll come back and buy later or that sound like they are very interested in buying often don't. But you don't know that if you don't measure all inquiries because you assume they have bought.

    When you measure your conversion rate be prepared for a shock. I've worked with retailers who thought it was 75% and found it was 38%. I've worked with service businesses that thought it was 50% and we found it to be 13%.

    They get a bit depressed when they realise its only 13%, but I get excited! That's because it's impossible to double 50% conversion rate, but with 13% you can triple it and still have room for improvement!

    Did you know that increasing your conversion rate proportionally increases turnover and net profit? That means if you increase your conversion rate by 50% (e.g. from 24% to 36%) you have just increased your turnover by 50% as well! That's because you get 50% more paying customers than you have right now. And you can increase your conversion rate, turnover and profit without spending a cent on advertising or promotion.

    So how do you measure it? First of all you need 2 to 3 bits of information on every person who contacts your business. Things like their name, phone number and what their inquiry was about.

    This then gives you information to refer back; to see how many people actually ended up buying that contacted your business. With your business it may take days before you can tally inquiries to customers. For some service businesses you may need to wait a month from the inquiry date to purchase due to the time it takes people to make a decision.

    You'll notice your conversion rate will be different for each of your staff. Why is that? Good question. But when you realise the difference you can do something about it, but until you have measured it how can you do anything about it?

    So now, onto the magic question, How To Improve Your Conversion Rate!

    There are at least 80 ways! Want to know the best ones? Here they are...

    1. Learn DISC profiles. DISC profiling has to be the most unknown method of understanding people there is, yet in business it's the most powerful tool you can learn and use. DISC is an insight into 4 major differences in people's behaviour. When you learn DISC profiles you understand some people want to be friends with the person they buy from, while others find friendly sales people annoying and don't buy from them. Some people (about 50%) make all sales decisions very quickly, usually on the spot. While 50% of people always want to think about it, usually over a day or two. DISC is something I teach to all my clients and all who learn it from me increase their sales (turnover and profit) by 20%-300% in weeks!

    2. Offer guarantees in writing. Everyone has some level of apprehension about parting with money, so a guarantee helps to overcome that apprehension and helps people to make confident decisions. What can you guarantee in writing that you have not be offering now? What about not to leave a mess if you're in a service business? What about being completely happy with your purchase of you will gladly allow refunds? Retailers often don't want to refund so they scare away dozens of potential customers for the sake of a very few possibly wanting refunds. (To learn more about DISC see the article 'How to Build Rapport in 7 Seconds' by Tim Stokes at

    3. Make your business appear unique. This again is a powerful tool as when you "appear" unique or different you stop losing sales to price shoppers. It's not hard to do, in fact when you use guarantees like those above it makes you very unique!

    4. Learn body language. Body language is responsible for 55% of what you communicate before you open your mouth! Everyone has heard of it but how many people use it? Almost none! Go read a book on it and try it. Body language is a form of flattery and people buy from people they like or relate to.

    5. Try different words you use to greet people face to face or on the phone. Retailers are notorious for saying things that elicit "no thanks just looking". That's because they set up that response by what they say. Try saying different phrases on greeting and see what happens. Its the same on the phone, if you finish off your greeting with "name speaking" you often get people who think you're a dummy and respond with, "I'd like to talk to someone about..." In other words you can't help me so can you get me someone who can. Try not using speaking and see what happens.

    Are you starting to get the picture there are dozens of ways you to improve what you're doing now with your conversion rate? First you have to measure it, before you can improve it. Collate it over a day, then a week then a month. When you do you will have a powerful Key Performance Indicator.

    Working with business owner's conversion rates I have had dozens and dozens of fantastic profit improvements in weeks and months. My record is a blind manufacturing company that had a conversion rate of 3.5% and then 6 months later we took it to 75% and that was with a 35% increase in prices along the way! What percentage increase it that in profit? I don't know, but it's massive!

    I did the same with a retailer. They had a conversion rate of 68% and using a sales system I wrote with them they hit 100% conversion rate the week we started using it. It never dropped under 82% again.

    If you don't increase your conversion rate your marketing will rarely make you a good profit return, or enough to pay for itself with profit from the sales from the promotion. When you double conversion rates you double your turnover and advertising responses, so you can run your ads half as much saving you profit as well.

    I'll leave you with this thought... You can't improve something if you haven't measured it. Measuring is the secret to all of your success in business.

    Tim Stokes has achieved fantastic profit increases in countless numbers of businesses using conversion rate strategies along with hundreds of other strategies. Tim is available for assistance if you'd like to grow your business faster, increase your profits, take home pay or even if you want to overcome any limitation to growing your business.

    See Tim's other articles at or go to his website at and check out his impressive client testimonials. Tim is one of the world's best business builders and was awarded the title "Worldwide Business Coach of the Year 2000".

    Whatever your challenge or desire in business Tim can help you to achieve it rapidly! Why wait?

    Friday, June 20, 2008

    Stop Drowning Nine Strategies For Managing Your Priorities

    Writen by Nicki Weiss

    I just got off the phone with Susan. She is a well-meaning, big-hearted, caring, effective and creative sales manager. Susan is also exhausted.

    Her day is packed with conflicting priorities, all demanding her time. She goes out on calls with her sales team, trying to motivate and develop them; she deals with endless phone calls and e-mails and interruptions; she fights fires; launches new products; participates in cross-functional team meetings; and mediates conflicts in schedules and resources. Susan also tries to have a full life outside work, which means dealing with the family commitments, volunteering, and bookclub.

    To Susan, every task is a priority, and she can't keep them in sequence and in place. She feels her life is an exercise in herding cats, and we all know how easily cats pay attention and stay in line. Susan is far from alone. The relationship between knowing what needs to be done and actually accomplishing the tasks (either by yourself or through delegating the work to others) can be rocky. Add to this a number of ways we can sabotage ourselves -- including acting as a "lone ranger", always saying yes, and focusing on secondary goals -- and we can quickly get into cat-herding territory.

    I've been in this quandary myself and I have found that it is possible to manage priorities and maintain sanity. However, it takes commitment and focus, and the willingness to change some ways of operating. Below are nine strategies that can help. Any one of them could be a perfect fit or utter hogwash depending on your circumstances. These strategies are not intended as a one-size-fits-all recipe for managing your priorities, but simple wake-up calls to alert you to possibilities.


    If you feel overwhelmed, buy yourself some time when you are asked to add another piece of work to your list of priorities. Don't say yes to anything until you've thought it over and analyzed how you can fit a new task or project into your schedule.


    SET UP TIME for routine tasks

    · Try to arrange routine times for jobs such as going through the mail, talking with your staff, and answering phone calls and e-mail.

    · Fix definite times when you would not like to be disturbed, and let your staff and colleagues know that you will only be available for genuine emergencies during those hours.

    · Plan a certain time to discuss routine matters with your staff and colleagues. By planning discussions, you avoid interrupting each other.

    SET UP A PLAN for unexpected visitors

    · Establish at the start why they have come to see you.

    · Stand when they enter the room, so that they also remain standing.

    · Avoid engaging in small talk.

    · If it's necessary to deal with them, suggest a later meeting, at your convenience. If possible, hold the meeting in their office, and set time limits for your discussion.

    · If you really can't get them out of your office, leave the office yourself.


    You don't need to give in to whatever shows up in the moment. Get used to asking yourself, 'Am I the right person for this job?' If the answer is no, state it directly. Previous commitments are a valid reason for saying no.


    To manage your workload, you need information about how to accomplish a particular task and where that task fits into your network of priorities. By clarifying what's expected, you can work more efficiently.


    It can be hard to admit that you need help, but you're in the best position to know when you can't realistically accomplish everything. By asking for help, you show your willingness to give your best effort and your desire to fulfill all of your commitments. Consider all the alternatives, request a meeting with the appropriate people, explain the situation, and discuss possible solutions. Even if you are not completely comfortable with this route, you put yourself in a better position when you voice your concerns.


    Whenever delegating a task to someone else is the best solution to an overload, it's important to hand off the task effectively. You need to give the person enough information to perform the task according to expectations.

    I've noticed that many sales managers have misconceptions about delegating, thinking that handing a task over to someone else means completely letting go of control. But giving others a share in the responsibility extends influence and creates commitment to the cause. Control isn't lost; you're just letting go of the burden of doing everything yourself.


    Are you sleeping well? How are you eating? What's your energy level? If these are not up to par, get a professional evaluation and take the steps that will restore your well-being and help you think clearly.


    Sometimes our energy flags when we're into a pattern of pleasing others or living according to standards that are not our own. Notice where you're being less than forthright and get clear about your motives.


    Stem the panic by reminding yourself that in any given moment there is only one person to talk to, one breath to take, one thing to be done.


    Declare your intention to give things away. Then actively look for a daily opportunity to delegate good (not grunt) work, asking yourself this question: If I delegate this item to one of my staff, will the time spent up front providing guidance and support pay off later in productivity gains, smoother functioning of the group, or in better use of my time?

    If the answer is 'yes,' delegate it. If it is 'no,' keep it. If you delegate it, provide ongoing support, spell out clear expectations, and give the freedom to do the job. That means no hovering.

    Then, congratulate yourself on gaining more time.

    Nicki Weiss is an internationally recognized Certified Professional Sales Management Coach, Master Trainer, and workshop leader. Since 1992, Nicki has trained, certified, and/or coached more than 6,000 business executives, sales managers and salespeople.

    Nicki guarantees increased sales performance when sales managers become better sales coaches. Sign up for her FREE monthly e-zine, Something for NothingTM, which has powerful tips and techniques for sales managers who are ready to make this transformation. Sign up at You can email her at or call 416-778-4145.

    Thursday, June 19, 2008

    Why You Want To Torment Prospects And Customers

    Writen by Steve Martinez

    Is your sales team good at sales tormenting? Before you answer this question, let's define what the objective of sales tormenting might be. When I think of tormenting, what comes to mind is a series of small actions that when added up, break down the opposition so they award us what we want. While this might seem cruel and unusual, we can not deny the effective nature of its application.

    Is this a sales strategy you want your sales team to duplicate? This strategy is used on us each day. When we enter a political season we find ourselves watching candidate commercials to the point we don't want to watch television. It happens when marketing departments have this as a prime objective for selling a product. It is one of the reasons you see the same TV ads all the time. They torment us with the same commercials over and over again. Television is also relentless to children with sugar cereals and toys during the Saturday morning hours. You might be thinking about surrendering to your own fantasy torment. Is it possible that you are thinking about that silver or red convertible this year? Perhaps you have a fantasy image you want because you have been tormented with a repeated communication.

    Customers Don't Expect You To Torment Them

    What is your strategy for tormenting a tough or important prospect with your relentless contacts so you get what you want? Consider this, it really isn't torture. The typical prospect doesn't expect you to maintain a consistent level of contact anyway. They expect salespeople to call on them once and then drop off and go away.

    The trickle system of contacting your target prospects

    This system is a most effective sales strategy. This sales tactic is very similar to water torture because the buyers will simply give up under the pressure of your frequent and constant contacts. If it is so great, why don't more sales managers and businesses insist it? This is a good question. Particularly because so many sales leaders mention how beneficial constant communication is for building relationships. These best practices of sales strategy works best when used consistently and frequently. The buyer simply can't resist the persuasive effect of this sales tool.

    We call it the trickle system because it is applied in small amounts over a short and constant period of time. The frequency of your contacts makes a huge difference in how effective the tormenting works. What do you think is the right number of days between contacts in the early development stages of building a sales relationship? My answer is at the end of this article.

    Spreading the contact methods

    Don't use just one contact method. This will have a negative impact on your goal. For example, how would you feel if someone who wanted to reach you only used the telephone? After a while, anyone would get annoyed with the calls. When we think about it, there are only four methods to contact a prospect and you should use each one to spread the impact of your torment. Besides showing diversity, it also doesn't wear out one method. Persistence and consistency are the keys to success in the quest for larger accounts. Adopting a torment strategy works and sales experts will have countless examples of where a tough buyer will reward determination through persistence.

    Time Your Tormenting to be Effective

    Just like in the early courting period during the dating process the time between contacts should be short. The candy, flowers, love notes are all used in short frequency. I believe a timing of four days between contacts is appropriate during the courting period for my prospects. The strength of this strategy is that we are competing against all kinds of other media and contacts from the competition. If you want to get noticed, you must adopt a method that gets you noticed. It was the same way in high school, remember? In today's media abundance of communications we are challenged to cut through the clutter with consistent communications.

    Steve Martinez is a Sales Management Growth Strategist and Founder of Selling Magic. His organization teaches businesses how to automate and customizing CRM solutions with the best practices of sales management for increased profits.

    To Increase Your Sales And Revenue Make Sure To Add Value

    Writen by Dan Strakal

    What are you and your company's services and products worth to customers? What is the value you and your company bring to your customers? When working with customers and organizations, it is important to distinguish the difference between worth and value and to set a baseline value for the contributions you bring to the table. To illustrate, following is a simple example based on a company that provides training to other companies:

    Terry Trainer will develop and deliver from scratch a one-time 4-hour workshop on teamwork. Estimated time for design and development is 20 hours. Prep time is 2 hours. Delivery time is 4 hours. Post-delivery time is 4 hours (evaluations, follow up, etc.).

    Terry's rate of pay is $100.00 per hour for a total of 30 hours = $3000.00. Estimated materials cost is $1000.00. No travel or other expenses. Total for project = $4000.00.

    So in this example, Terry Trainer's worth is established at $100.00 per hour and the expenses incurred are $1000.00. However, what is the value that the customer is getting for his or her investment of $4000.00?

    To establish what it is worth to the client, both Terry and the customer need to determine the perceived effectiveness of the training. Will it solve the issue at hand or will it only solve a portion of the issue at hand? Keeping with our example, let's assume that Terry Trainer and the customer have met and determined that this training is exactly what is needed to solve a workflow problem that is costing the customer's organization $1000.00 per month in lost efficiency.

    Terry has explained the process she intends to take, the alternatives this process provides to solve the issue, and how the training is going to be applied and measured once attendees leave training. Through evaluations and follow up observation, the customer and Terry will determine the overall effectiveness and value of the training.

    Terry and the customer also identified as many obstacles as they could that might get in the way of a successful learning experience for attendees. Through this process they found several tradeoffs including delivering the training on a backshift rather than asking attendees to come in on their day off during the day. If the training is effective, it will take four months to recoup the cost of the training and then each month after that is value added to the bottom line. That is a pretty good investment-to-value ratio to consider.

    To make sure you are adding value to the customers and organizations you work with, keep the following in mind and make sure to:

    -- Identify two or more possible solutions or courses of action

    -- Identify the value of requested solution(s) by comparing

    1. The cost to design, develop, implement, maintain each solution

    2. The likelihood that solution(s) will be used by target audience

    3. The probability of solution(s) achieving desired outcomes

    4. The impacts on all stakeholders involved including the organization's ability to support solution(s) and the risks of success and failure of proposed solution(s)

    -- Recommend only solutions that add value, are feasible, and are most likely to accomplish the desired outcomes with a minimum of risk

    -- Describe potential value added and how it will be measured for example:

    1. Increased safety, customer service, job satisfaction, productivity, etc.

    2. Increased revenue/profit

    3. Decreased costs/expenses

    4. Decreased error rate, lost time, time to market, etc.

    5. Increased on-time delivery

    6. Increased reliability

    7. Better retention rate of employees

    -- Outline risks, tradeoffs, assumptions

    -- Document the expected value added through use of a contract, memo of understanding, project scope, etc.

    -- Be honest, challenge assumptions, and act with integrity

    -- Don't mislead clients or customers on your expertise or overextend your capabilities. Don't over-promise and under-deliver

    -- Find ways to over-deliver to your clients or customers – give them more added value than they ask for

    By defining you and your company's worth and value as two separate processes, you will go a long way in convincing customers that they should buy your product or service.

    Dr. Dan Strakal has been an expert on the changing workplace, business life, and career transition for nearly 20 years. He is the coauthor of and contributor to two books, Better Job Search in 3 Easy Steps and Better Job Skills in 3 Easy Steps. He is also the creator of numerous audio programs including Undaunted Courage in Leadership: 7 Lessons From Lewis and Clark, Networking to Increase Your Net Worth, Creating An Empowered Workplace, Increasing Employee Motivation in 3 Easy Steps, Balancing the 7 Sides of the Work and Home Life Equation, and many others. Through his consulting engagements, workshops, and one-on-one coaching sessions, Dr. Dan helps dozens of organizations and hundreds of people each year to overcome the challenges and barriers they face in creating satisfying and successful workplaces. Dan is a former executive in the corporate sector and is now a high energy entrepreneur who brings a well-rounded and realistic perspective to issues occurring within Fortune 500 companies, mid-sized organizations, and small businesses. More info at

    Wednesday, June 18, 2008

    The Quothire Someone With Product Knowledgequot Myth

    Writen by Virden Thornton

    Hiring a candidate for your sales position who has "product knowledge" seems on the surface to be a smart move. Don't believe it! Product knowledge is highly overrated by most sales manager and has little to do with a representative's ability to close sales. Even though most of the sales training conducted today centers on learning the nuances of an organization's products or services, the emphasis on products knowledge is nothing more than a waste of training time. If you want to hire "order takers" and not sales professionals, place an emphasis on finding candidates with industry experience and product knowledge

    I was sitting in a meeting with a bank president and several vice presidents attempting to sell them on a sales training package for their customer service representatives; when, in answer to one of my questions, the the training manager said that the bank would not even consider my training program unless I had some way of measuring its effectiveness with their CSRs. The day before this sales meeting, The $elling Edge, Inc. had been awarded the distributorship for a unique bank tracking software package, that would effectively measure CSR cross-sales ratios. I knew what the software was supposed to do, but had no way to demonstrate its benefits, because all the sales literature and demo disks were in the mail. Nevertheless, before leaving the meeting that day, the controller of the bank cut a cashiers check for $8795 for the tracking software and the bank committed to one year's training for their CSRs and tellers. Knowing how to sell gave my firm our first software package sale. Product Knowledge played no role in the process at all.

    Two weeks after joining the sales staff of a large oil and gas tax shelter firm, I was asked to meet my boss at the Merrill Lynch office in Indianapolis to observe my first formal presentation of the tax shelter products. Twenty minutes before the presentation was to begin, I received a call from my boss whose plane had been delayed and was told I'de have to conduct the demonstration to 40 seasoned stock brokers alone. I knew nothing about the oil and gas industry and was scheduled for training about how hydrocarbons were produced the week after the Indiana meetings. I wasn't quite sure how the "preference treatment" worked in the tax shelters, nor did I understand all the nuances of the products, yet when I finished my presentation, several of the brokers commented that it was the best demonstration they had ever had on the subject. I succeeded with the group because I knew how to sell--not because of a working knowledge of oil and gas tax shelters.

    Hire candidates who can sell. It doesn't matter if they know anything about your industry or your products or services. Product knowledge is overrated in the hiring process and selling skills seem to be underrated by many managers today. If your candidates can sell, learning what they need to know about what it is you sell can be accomplished in quickly.

    Check out our sales management self-directed learning manual at:

    VIRDEN J. THORNTON is the founder and President of The $elling Edge®, Inc. a firm specializing in sales, customer relations, and management training and development. Clients have included Sears Optical, Eastman Kodak, IBM, Deloitte & Touché, Bank One, Jefferson Pilot, and Wal-Mart to name a few. Virden is the author of Prospecting: The Key To Sales Success and the best selling Building & Closing the Sale, Fifty-Minute series books and Close That Sale, a video/audio tape series published by Crisp Publications, Inc. Menlo Park, California. He has also authored a Self-Directed Learning series of sales, coaching & team development, telemarketing, and personal productivity training guides.

    Check out the listed books and manuals at Virden teaches for the Center For Professional Development, Texas Tech University at Lubbock, Texas and in the School Of Entrepreneurship, J. Willard And Alice S. Marriott School Of Management at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. You can contact Virden at:

    Tuesday, June 17, 2008

    Does Your Sales Training Program Address Your Sales Performance Issues Part 1

    Writen by Jeff Hardesty

    Sales training programs encompass a variety of necessary components; things like company policies, sales paperwork, CRM/sales force automation orientation, sales processes, company services, sales skill training and product features and benefits.

    But when I ask Sales executives and Sales trainers how their current sales training program is aligned with their sales performance issues I get the look of "No speak English'.

    Let's first categorize 'Sales performance issues'. There are (4) distinct sales performance silos that will effect the overall outcome of any sales team, year in and year out. They are:

    • % of Sales reps to Quota
    • Average New-hire Ramp-to-Quota in months
    • Sales Employee Turnover rate
    • Time spent versus Result achieved

    This is a good place to start in determining what sales skill training to implement to achieve a measurable return on investment. But here's what will set you apart when you walk the request up to the front office. Start out with the NUMBERS. That's right. Take a diagnostic view of your current sales performance silos, one by one.

    Let's look at a real sales performance issue example of 'Average New-hire Ramp-to-Quota'. I recently conducted a 'Sales Performance Improvement Blueprint' web-cast for this sales organization. The company was hiring 155 sales reps per year. The ultimate objective of any new-hire sales training program is to ramp the new sales rep to Quota. Simply, give them everything they need to effectively reach their monthly sales goal.

    So how was this company doing? They were obtaining this ultimate sales training program objective in 7 months. So how does one determine if that training outcome is a 'Sales Performance Issue'? Let's take a look.

    Step 1: 'Run the Numbers' for any realistic ROI opportunity

    • Each new-hire rep had an ultimate quota of $3500
    • Sales Cycle was 17 days
    • Average customer term agreement of 36 months
    • Average 'Sub-Quota' revenue per month during ramp of $1300 (This number reflects the average monthly revenue a new-hire achieves before they achieve quota attainment)

    Step 2: 'Run the Numbers' hypothetically for a 'Specific' improvement

    In this case, I showed the sales management team what return on investment they would get by helping just 1 sales rep achieve full sales quota in 6 months versus 7 months. Based on their numbers my diagnostic X2 Evaluator™ system showed them a ROI of $79,200 just by trimming off 30 days. If they did that for all 155 of their annual new-hires, they could realize $12,276,000. And that got their attention. So, is it now a worthy sales performance issue to attach pin-point sales training to? Not quite yet.

    Step 3: 'Run the Numbers' for a 'Reality Check'

    The most successful businesses — and certainly, sales departments — have identified their Key Performance Indicators (KPI); individual gateways that directly effect the outcome of a particular process. Then they measure the competency ratios in line with them.

    A good KPI example in the sales process might be how many times you advance the first sales appointment to the next phase, whether that's a demonstration, a site visit, a survey or a proposal. Another KPI is how many times you gain a new customer once the first gateway is passed. And when you do gain a new customer, what's the average revenue you achieve? And how long does it take to gain a new customer on average; i.e. sales cycle?

    How about how long it takes you to gain 1 new sales appointment, defined by sales prospect 'conversation'? And as a by-product of all this, how many new appointments are needed each week?

    We ran these numbers in the X2 Evaluator™ system to see 'if and where' there were some leaks in the 'KPI ship'. And here's what we discovered; not a leak, but a big 'ole fire hose.

    Two 'KPI issues' were apparent. First, why does the ramp-to-quota for a new-hire take 7 months when the average sales cycle is 17 days? Second, they were only setting 3 new appointments per week when they needed to set 6, based on their other KPIs. So their sales appointment 'activity barometer' was only running at 50%. And that will dictate a longer ramp-to-quota.

    Dig a bit deeper in the X2 Evaluator™ system and out popped a 6% conversation-to-appointment ratio; they had to conduct 15 prospect conversations to get 1 new appointment.

    OK, back to the 'Reality Check'. Is it realistic to focus on reducing the new-hire ramp-to-quota from 7 months to 6 months for a sales training ROI of $12,276,000 or $79,200 per rep?

    You bet it is. These folks needed to address the front-end of their sales process; setting targeted sales appointments. To do that, they needed (1) establish an activity standard to reach quota by month six and (2) develop a sales prospecting methodology and supporting X2 Evaluator™ system to spend less time in achieving it.

    Then they needed to plug their sales prospecting 'system' into their current sales training program and work to a weekly sales appointment activity goal to assure a monthly revenue result by month 6.

    Step 4: Set the Goal and 'Train to It'

    A sales training ROI goal of $12,276,000 or $79,200 per rep is for sure a worthy one. And the diagnostic system showed us they would meet this goal just by setting 3 additional sales appointment per week per rep; 6 appointments versus 3.

    Actually, I lied. The X2 Evaluator system showed an even brighter picture if the sales appointment activity standard of 6 new appointments per week was met. If they could support their new-hires with a sales prospecting system that could help them achieve 6 new sales appointments per week, they would actually cut their new-hire Ramp-to-Quota by 4 months; from the current 7 months down to 3 months.

    And that sales training ROI would be $316,800 per rep or a whopping $49,104,000.

    One of the reasons why sales training fails is a failure to define a useful objective. In this case, our diagnostic method has defined a single useful objective for them to train to. And this same diagnostic method can be utilized if you have a 'Sales Performance Issue' of an unacceptable percentage of Sales reps reaching Quota each month.

    In Part 2, we will take a look at (2) other sales performance issues, 'Sales Employee Turnover rate' and 'Time spent versus Result achieved' with this same sales management team and see what our diagnostic method to sales performance improvement and ROI turns up.

    Jeff Hardesty is President of JDH Group, Inc. and the Developer of the X2 Sales System®, a blended training system that teaches sales professionals the competency of setting C-level business appointments. Jeff can be reached at

    Calculate your sales team's 'Sales Performance Competencies' here =>

    Submit your numbers for a complimentary 30-minute performance consultation with Jeff Hardesty =>