Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Standardized Company Sales Plan Good Idea Or Bad

Writen by Frank Rumbauskas

I came across an article today that explains how companies can successfully implement a company-mandated sales plan and be sure that all of the salespeople are following it.

I found the advice given in that article to be deeply disturbing to me, especially since it is new and not from a twenty-year-old book from the old school of selling.

The essence of the article is this: Companies that intend to implement a new sales plan must make it mandatory, must hold the salespeople accountable for following it, must let the salespeople know that managers will inspect to make sure the new plan is being followed, and that role plays should be done in training sessions to teach salespeople how to use the new sales plan.

I felt shivers down my spine when I read the part about how managers will hold salespeople accountable, and will inspect to be sure that the plan is being followed. I immediately got the picture of the stereotypical raving lunatic, "little dictator" sales manager who terrorizes his or her salespeople through micro-management and blunt orders.

Is this the kind of organization good salespeople would want to work for? I'm amazed that this kind advice is still being given in this day and age.

I also have a major problem with mandated role playing in training sessions. I hate role plays. I always have and always will. I think they're stupid and a complete waste of time. They're absolutely BANNED from my training programs. The biggest problem with role plays is that they're NEVER realistic. In fact, if you train a salesperson through role plays, he will be completely blind sided and blown out when meeting with real prospects who have real problems and real objections. All of the example sales dialogues I use in my programs have come from REAL sales appointments, those carried out by either myself or other salespeople I know and trust.

When I was in sales, I was almost always a top performer. The only times I was not a top performer was while working at companies that had a mandated sales process that I was required to follow. It always baffled me as to why companies that forced us to follow their plan would hire experienced sales reps. Why not hire inexperienced people right out of college? They won't have any pre-conceived notions of how to sell, won't have any prior experience or training, and therefore will blindly follow the company's system, no questions asked.

Here are a couple of realities that managers and sales directors must face up to:

1. If you want an experienced sales force with a proven track record, you must understand that they already know how to sell. How else could they possibly have a great track record? Attempting to force them to learn a new system and follow it negates their talent and experience and will immediately destroy their top producer status. Proven salespeople excel and perform at their very best when treated like independent contractors.

2. If you really want to implement and mandate a company sales plan, the only way to do that successfully and with little turnover is to hire people with no experience right out of school. And even then, you'd still be much better off with sticking to option 1.

If you want a successful organization, hire the best and place your trust in them that they know how to sell. They've done it before and can do it again for you. Don't derail their performance and undermine everyone's success by forcing something on them that is totally unnecessary.

Frank Rumbauskas is the author of the hit sensation "Cold Calling Is A Waste Of Time: Sales Success In The Information Age". His training and products teach salespeople how to generate hot leads without cold calling and how to keep their power and remain in control of sales situations. For more information please visit

Not Enough Fresh Sales Leads Marketing Is The New Sales

Writen by Martin Wales

Your sales are down and leads are rare. The phone's not ringing. Let's blame marketing!

If you join this band wagon to rationalize your poor sales results, you need to step up and take responsibility for your own fate. It's amazing how often sales teams play the victim here. They blame the marketing department, team or an individual, for their lack of sales.

Don't get me wrong, I'm on your side. Often, in a typical, let's say "traditional" organization, there is disconnection between marketing and the sales organization. There is a lack of communication, team work and common goals. Sad but true.

Often, the larger the company, the less marketing serves the individual sales professional. In corporations, it seems the norm for marketing is to concentrate on selling "the brand" and not products and services. Corporate marketing sells 'the logo' to trigger trust and positive emotions when people see it. Not all, but most, traditional marketing leans on advertising which fails to work directly for you in attracting new prospects and leads.

In small to medium-sized companies, there is usually a very small marketing team or a single very, over-worked marketeer. Worst, as a business owner or independent professional, you don't have a budget and you do everything! Again, marketing is absent or not good enough to generate enough new opportunities.

The most important and singular point I'm making is that you must recognize and deal with "what is," to improve your situation.

Recently, I turned 40 years old. A friend said to me, "Don't worry, 40 is the new 30." If you want to improve sales and your commission, guess what? "Marketing is the new Sales!"

Understand YOU are your own marketing department. Accept it and take action.

Just like the decline (if not extinction) of personal assistants, sales administrative assistants and secretaries to support sales teams or individuals, there is less marketing support too. You type your own sales letters and other correspondence and keep your own schedule.

Today, you need to work on your own public awareness, lead generation and sales support materials and communications. With tighter budgets, less staff and more responsibility, it's up to you.

Any way you look at it, as a sales professional you must take charge. Sales superstars and expert managers know this. They devise a strategy and implement their own marketing systems, in addition to the brand-like corporate, marketing efforts. Marketing is continual communication to influence someone to take an action. Marketing departments do it through various means and on a mass scale, via print and media advertising and public relations. Single, sales people can market effectively through personal contact and working in the field. You can source new deals and increase lead generation within your existing sales process without as much pain or work as you think.

If you don't accept that you have to take action yourself and keep looking outside for leads and prospects, you're going to continue to fail to reach your sales objectives. The good news is that the technology and tools available today are powerful, affordable and effective for solving this challenge.

Keep an eye out for future Customer Catcher™ articles, where I'll give you strategies, tips and tricks for creating a profitable, Personal Marketing program to drive your sales skyward. You'll get the sales you want and become your own marketing machine with bigger, better and more immediate results.

Until then, think about evolving into your latest role because…

"Marketing is the new Sales."

Get free help and advice at . Martin Wales helps you increase your sales and profits with simple, proven tools and systems that get immediate results. If you want more customers, contact him at that get immediate results. If you want more customers, contact him at

Friday, January 30, 2009

Dont Get The Holiday Blues

Writen by Tim Connor

Many salespeople believe that between Thanksgiving and January 2nd people stop buying and become preoccupied with celebrating and eating. Quite the contrary! People are more in a buying spirit than at any other time of the year. It doesn't matter whether you sell computers, real estate, automobiles, widgets, office furniture or anything else, the world doesn't grind to a halt just because it is the holiday season. Have you been operating under the belief that you are going to sell less or nothing at all during this period of time? If so you may be setting yourself up for failure.

There is a psychological principle that states – you get what you focus on and expect. If you are not familial with the Pygmalian Effect I suggest you check it out. To save you some time it is basically what I have just said – you tend to get in reality what you expect in your mind. There are several things for you to consider, so the bottom doesn't fall out of your sales results during this time of year as well as give you a slow start into 2005.

1. Conduct an attitude checkup.

2. Do you slow down your prospecting efforts for these six weeks?

3. Do you believe it is harder to see people during the holidays?

4. Do you feel it is necessary to discount or lower prices more during this period?

5. Does your motivation, energy and commitment and wane during the holidays?

6. Are you too busy with other activities – parties, shopping, etc., etc. – to keep your selling edge?

Here are a few productive things you can do during the holidays.

1. Use this time to evaluate your previous year's results. Where could you have done better, smarter, faster, easier?

2. Use this time to plan your activities in the new year and set realistic goals in all areas of your life.

3. Don't stop prospecting.

4. Use your networking time effectively. You may meet a lot of people who can advance your career in some way.

5. Read more self-help books and listen to self-help CD's during the holidays. Why not invest $50.00 on my 4 CD set - Soft Sell - it's a classic, filled with great ideas from the all time best selling sales book ever.

6. Reevaluate your sales approach – what's working and what isn't and why.

I am not a Scrooge. I believe in spending important family time with those in your life who need and want some of your time and energy. I am only suggesting that you not significantly alter your sales strategies and effort just because it is the holiday time of year. Remember, while you are baking cookies, attending an office party, or shopping, your competitor may be stealing your business. The holiday season will be over before you know it. Don't lose momentum during this time period.

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

Motivation With Direction

Writen by John Mehrmann

Motivation empowers performance. Motivation with direction empowers positive performance. It can be easy to generate enthusiasm amid success. How can you be inspirational in your communication during periods of duress?

How would you react to the following observations?

"We missed our quota by 50k this month, so you need to do an extra 60k next month to make up for it."

"We went over budget this month, so you need to reduce your expense next month."

"We only made 75% of plan this week, so you need to do 125% of plan next week to make up for it."

The good news about these statements is that the shortcoming is clearly defined.

The bad news about these statements is that there is no clear direction.

The result of clearly identifying failures or shortcomings without corresponding direction is often heightened frustration by all involved.

Rather than merely defining the gap or challenge, be prepared to collaborate on crafting solutions.

"We missed our quota by 50k this month. What can I do to help you achieve an extra 60k next month?"

"We went over budget this month. Let's review the budget together and look for areas to reduce expenses next month."

"We only made 75% of plan this week. Help me understand the reasons we were below plan and what I can do to help us achieve 125% next week."

Identify specific gaps, express mutual commitment, make a plan, write it down and do it. Does this seem simple? Does it seem obvious? It can be very easy to point out a problem to someone else and then simply walk away. Collaborating on a solution with planned activities to improve the situation requires commitment and obligation. Make a conscientious effort to continually invest interest in understanding shortcomings and spend mutual energy for making improvements. Your direction will inspire motivation with positive direction.


Words of Wisdom

"The beatings will continue until the moral improves." - Anonymous (unless you have heard it)

"All your power is in your people. Your job is enabling everybody to contribute to their fullest." - Alan R. Mulally, Executive Vice President, Boeing

"If you don't understand that you work for your mislabeled 'subordinates', then you know nothing about leadership. You know only tyranny." - Dee Hock, founder and CEO, Visa International


About the Author:

John Mehrmann is a freelance writer and President of Executive Blueprints Inc., an organization devoted to improving business practices and developing human capital. provides resource materials for trainers, sample Case Studies, educational articles and references to local affiliates for consulting and executive coaching. provides self-paced tutorials for personal development and tools for trainers. Presentation materials, reference guides and exercises are available for continuous development.

You may distribute this article freely, print it, sell it, or include it as part of a package as long as it is intact, unchanged and delivered in the original format with acknowledgement to Executive Blueprints Inc.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Smart Managers Promote Sales Rivalries

Writen by Dr. Gary S. Goodman

To be a successful manager you have to devise ways to bump sales up to a higher level, sustain them, and then do it again and again.

This requires resourcefulness and an astute use of psychology.

Smart managers realize at least a few things:

(1) Money is a motivator, but once a seller reaches a certain peak, it's hard to use money, alone to get him to soar even higher.

(2) Status is a potent motivator, and as a reward, it costs surprisingly little. And the prospect of losing one's status, is also a motivator.

(3) Most salespeople are competitive individuals. A manager has to channel this drive constructively, or it will be expressed destructively, jeopardizing the entire team.

(4) A successful manager will have many personalities. One of them is the face he shows in sales meetings. Another is one that is customized to each seller on his crew, and that one always remains private.

One of the best ways to light a fire under your salespeople is to light two fires at once.

Set up a quiet rivalry.

I've done it by taking the number two or three producer aside and saying:

"You know, Mary, I have a lot of confidence in your abilities, and I think, potentially you can outsell Lou, and frankly, I'd love to see that happen. It would be good for him!"

Check her response. If she smiles slyly, you've got a cohort in this little bout. If she gives you a deer-in-the-headlights look, then ask her, "What do you think it will take for you to do it?"

At this point, she should get the hint that you're throwing down the gauntlet. She has been tapped to step into the ring, ready or not!

You can tell her exactly what it will take, day by day, for her to achieve the victory. Then, you can track it with her, informally, with smiles, nods, words of praise, and other short-term expedients.

Once the game is on, group dynamics and the ego of your sales leader will do the rest of the work.

You'll feel like boxing promoter, Don King, after he has lined up a match involving titans. All you have to do is take your ringside seat, and count the purse!

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. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, worldwide. A Ph.D. from USC's Annenberg School, Gary offers programs through UCLA Extension and numerous universities, trade associations, and other organizations in the United States and abroad. He is headquartered in Glendale, California, and he can be reached at (818) 243-7338 or at:

The Three Most Common Mistakes Sales Managers Make

Writen by Dave Kahle

In most organizations, sales managers are the essential bridge between the company's sales goals and the realization of those goals. The gritty day-to-day interactions between the sales people and their customers are frequently filtered through the perspective of the sales manager on their way up the ladder. And the aspirations and strategies of the company's management must be imprinted by the realism of the sales manager as they come down from above. Sales managers are the conductors who carefully orchestrate the tentative entanglement of the sales people with their management.

It's an incredibly important and difficult job. Unfortunately, it is often the most under-trained job in the entire organization. Instead of providing information on the best practices and processes of the job, most companies hope that their sales managers will have learned enough during their days as a field salesperson to provide some roadmap as to how to do this job well.

Alas, only a small percentage of untrained sales managers ever really figure it out, arriving by trial and error and after hours of study at the best practices of an effective sales manager. The overwhelming majority find themselves caught up in the urgencies of the moment, the tempting details of all the transactions, and the continuing onslaught of crises and are never able to set in place a systematic blueprint for their success.

The net result? Few salespeople are effectively managed. All parties: executive management, sales manager and sales people, bounce from one frustration to another. Company objectives are met frequently by happenstance, salespeople are not developed to their fullest potential and sales managers lurch from one crisis to another.

Certain common mistakes often arise out of this unhealthy situation. As a long-time consultant and educator of salespeople and sales managers, I frequently see these three most common maladies suffered by sales managers.

1. Lack of a focused sales structure.

This is such a foreign concept to many companies that the term itself is unfamiliar. The structure of a sales force consists of all the articulated and unspoken rules, policies and procedures that shape the behavior of the salesperson. It consists of such things as:

-the way sales territories are defined
-the way salespeople go about their jobs
-the way markets and customers are targeted
-the way salespeople are compensated
-the methods the manager uses to communicate with the salespeople
-the expectations for the sales force
-the training and development system of the company
-the expectation for information collecting by the salespeople
-the frequency and agenda for sales meetings
-the sales tools used by the salespeople
and countless other such things

A highly focused, well designed sales structure can be one of the company's greatest assets, as it ultimately shapes the behavior of the sales force.

Most sales structures, however, haven't come under the critical review of the company's management. Typically, the structure slowly takes shape over time. Decisions are often made with heavy input from the salespeople, almost always in response to a single event. These decisions slowly become codified into the company's written and unwritten structure.

As a result, many sales structures are vestiges of years gone by, the legacy of salespeople who may not even be with the company today.

Why do you have the sales compensation plan that you have, for example? Is it because you crafted a strategic plan that directly compensates the sales force for achieving the company's objective? Or, is it because... it's the plan you inherited?

Why do some salespeople come into the office every week? Is it because you have determined that this is the most valuable use of their time? Or, is it because... that's just the way some of them like to do it?

Why is it that some of your salespeople are highly organized, with well designed file systems and effective ways to track their interactions with their customers, while others continue to get by with scraps of paper and yellow pads? Is it because you have invested in a system that helps them become well-organized and information-savvy? Or, is it because... that's just how it's worked out?

Can you see the point? Many of these structural issues - spoken and unspoken rules about how the salesperson does the job - have evolved by the salespeople in response to their own specific situations.

And most sales managers are oblivious to the impact of these decisions on the productivity and effectiveness of the salesperson.

I recently had lunch with a friend -- an entrepreneur who had successfully started and run a number of businesses. As we were discussing the pros and cons of organizing a sales force for his latest venture, he remarked that he has learned how easy it is to gradually cede control of the company to the sales force. One decision at a time, made in response to the passionate plea of an individual sales person, would form, over time, the structure that governed the sales side of the business.

I was impressed with his insight. That very observation described the number one mistake that sales mangers make - they accept the historically evolved status quo for the structure, and don't invest time in focusing it to provide the environment for sales success.

2. Lack of regular and systematic direction and feedback for the salepeople.

The relentless attraction of the urgent, and the demanding shouts of the transaction, like the pleading of a toddler, have a tendency to overwhelm the time and attention of most sales managers.

Sales managers often have the best of intentions. For example, they may need to do a set of performance reviews by the end of the year. But there is this big presentation in one account to attend. And another account wants to complain about some issue to the sales manager. Yet another needs the manager's touch to smooth some feathers, etc. And they really do need to spend some time in the field with the new salesperson. And, and, and... the demands of the urgent once again force regular face-to-face discussions about expectations and results to the bottom of the "to do" list.

As a result, most salespeople are left directionless and provided with little feedback on how they are doing. Of course, we publish sales numbers, but there are lots of reasons why a set of numbers can be up, down or sideways above and beyond the impact of the salesperson.

What do you expect of this particular salesperson? And how well is he/she doing? In most surveys of what salespeople really want from their managers, "direction and feedback" are often at the very top of the list. It's one thing to talk about some account or some deal, it's quite another to speak to the core issues of "my performance."

Sales is an isolated job. It is not unusual for a salesperson to spend as much as 70% of the work week by himself. All that isolation often leads to anxiety and self-doubt which often expresses itself through complaints and finding fault with the company.

All this negative energy can be prevented by providing the salesperson with regular direction, specific expectations, and regular feedback.

The old saying, "Out of site, out of mind," is too often the operational description of the typical sales manager. The salespeople are out there somewhere, doing their thing, while the tyranny of the urgent often occupy the manager's time.

As a result, salespeople are not nearly as focused as they could be; they default to unhealthy thoughts; and they spend too much time expressing negative energy.

3. Lack of an organized training and development system.

No profession in the world expects the serious practitioners of that profession to figure it out by themselves. Quite the contrary. Every profession has determined some minimal acceptable course of study, and typically has some event which signals the entry into that profession. It is for this reason that teachers, Emergency Medical Technicians, and ministers are licensed; that attorneys must pass the bar exam; accountants must pass their certification exam, etc. Unfortunately, that is rarely true of salespeople. In only the leading companies is there some required course of study for entry-level salespeople, and some event which signifies the successful completion of that study and their entry into the profession.

To even think this way is so outside of the reality of most sales managers that I can almost hear half of the readers of this article snickering over their coffee. "Some standard for allowing people into the job?" Incredible thought. But if you don't insist on it, you'll continue to labor with hit or miss sales force where every hire is ultimately a shot in the dark.

No profession in the world expects that once someone has become qualified to enter the profession, they then no longer need to invest in their own development. And every profession has expectations of the practitioners' regular need to systematically improve himself or herself. Can you imagine a teacher who never attends an in-service training? A nurse who never invests in continuing development? A minister who never goes back to school? A doctor who never attends a conference?

Even if such lackadaisical professionals could keep their jobs, you'd not want them to have anything to do with your family. You'd never put your health in the hands of doctor who hadn't updated himself since med school. You'd not want your children taught by the teacher who hadn't learned anything since graduation. You'd never put your lawsuit in the hands of an attorney who had never bothered to keep current.

The examples can go on and on. But you get the idea. The professional who doesn't regularly invest in his own continuous development is relegated to the dregs of the market.

So, why is it that overwhelming majority of sales managers do not require regular and systematic involvement in continuous development events for their charges? It may be that they don't see their salespeople (or themselves) as professionals. Or, it may be that they have never thought about it that way.

Regardless of the reason, the reality of this malady is that the quality of the sales force is not nearly what it could be, if only the sales managers required some minimum standard for their entry-level people, and then regular and continuous development of those who were on the inside. The wise sales manager will assemble a system for the education and development of his salespeople.

While there are as many other management miscues as there are sales managers, these three are the most common. Address them, and you'll be well on your way to outstanding success in sales management.

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. Dave has trained thousands of salespeople to be more successful in the Information Age economy. He's the author of over 500 articles and five books. His latest is 10 Secrets of Time Management for Salespeople. 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

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

How To Genuinely Double Your Sales In 30 Days Without Advertising

Writen by Christine Sutherland

Individual sales people, as well as sales managers and business owners, all share the same concern. How to sell more without burning everyone out, or paying too much for marketing.

That's a dilemma that has certainly been solved, quite scientifically, and I'd like to share it with you now ...

Executive Summary

Everyone knows that 95% of businesses fail within 5 years. Not so many people realize that even in the top 500 businesses in the world, within 2 years if history is any judge, more than 50% of them won't be there!

So size is no guarantee of survival, let alone success. To survive, a business must continually grow its sales, and the only way it can do that is to remain relevant to the market, and retain the capacity to communicate its relevance in a meaningful way.

Whereas one of our previous reports covered this question from the business marketing perspective, this short report now looks at how the sales person should integrate his/her own activities in order to leverage the whole sales process!

It's true that the notes provided in this report are necessarily simplistic – such a subject demands a book! But at least by reading you'll see the steps that are required, and you'll certainly be able to make positive changes that will result in a better understanding of what it takes to achieve your sales goals, together with some solid steps to get there.

You Need to Understand, Much More Precisely, What Parts of What You Do Actually Work

We have shown over and over again that in every business there is a Unique Selling Equation (USE) that provides a kind of secret recipe for success.

Via brainstorming, either in-house with your team, or perhaps even by sitting and analysing the return on each sales activities you engage in, you too can discover that predictive USE.

This automatically achieves 2 important agendas.

  • Firstly most sales people find they save an enormous amount of time that they were previously spending on unproductive activities. It's very important to literally dump activities that don't "earn their keep"!
  • Secondly, once you have an equation that gives a predictable result, you have complete control over sales levels.

Do the Important Things More Often

This might sound simple but in fact it actually describes a cycle:

Schedule it >>> Track it >>> Analyse it >>> Refine it >>> Schedule it, etc.

For this to work, it means that there must be a documented system and that system is inviolable. For instance if you have scheduled in a crucial activity like networking, you don't go booking a client for that time!

Why? Because if you keep allowing clients to book over the top of scheduled selling activities, you'll soon run out of clients! A client who doesn't understand that is sabotaging your business, and that's as bad as winning a client who doesn't pay!

Sure, from time to time it's a necessity, but only in an emergency, such as a client leaving the country and needing to see you NOW. Don't allow your schedule to be upset because you'll literally "ruin the recipe" for reaching your sales goals.

Do it Better

To be more effective you must, without doubt, commit to being a learner. In particular give your attention to:

  1. Learning more effective ways to describe your product or service.

    This means getting inside the mind of your client and really understanding the true reasons he or she is buying from you. It also means understanding and using the exact same language as the client. To get a better handle on this, take a look at our free report "Why Better Marketing Strategies Add Up to More Customers Calling YOU".

  2. Learn to understand body language and other non-verbal communication from the client, so well that you can:
    • Gain fabulous rapport even with tough clients
    • Identify an objection coming even before the client is aware of it and "cut it off at the roots"
    • Respond appropriately to more and more subtle buying signals

  3. Dump "closing" and substitute "wrap-ups" instead.

    These are much more natural and respectful ways of completing the sales transaction. Trust me, people are sick to death of closes, which often didn't work anyway. In addition many of them were quite offensive to the intelligence of the listener!

  4. Learn how to replace cold calling by finding out how to get masses of interested and qualified clients calling YOU.

    There are so many strategies to achieve this, and I recommend the above report, as well as our article on intelligent networking, also available free from our web site, in order to achieve this step. It's much easier than you think!

It Doesn't Have to Cost a Fortune to Get This Knowledge!

Believe it or not, all of this and very much more is contained within what is the most up-to-date, and also the cheapest, book on intelligent selling that you could possibly consider buying. Hot off the presses is "How to Double Your Sales in 30 Days – and Keep Doubling Them".

This incredible 127-page manual comes complete with assignments for your progress, case studies, trouble shooting, and even tracking pro-formas to get the quantification/systemisation part down pat.

If you want, you can even get on-line personalised help, not only from me but from a working party of peers. If you're a business owner or sales manager, there's even a special forum just for you to deal with issues relating to team management and development.

Take a look at the contents and see for yourself by visiting

Please let me know what you think!

Christine Sutherland is the CEO of Speed Business Networking, a membership-based site dedicated to providing hands-on help to SME's who are seeking a more immediate and responsive alternative to expensive consulting services.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Finding A Sales Force That Pays For Itself

Writen by Willard Michlin

The elements involved in building a sales force, especially one that pays for itself and also adds value to any business, are many and varied. The whole purpose and direction of a sales manager needs to be directed to creating a sales force that causes the employing company to expand through increasing sales.

This is done by the following general steps: Training sales staff to be able to sell the company product in large volume; correcting how sales presentations are made; handling any customer flaps his sales people make; and then testing and hiring more sales people, to create an ever increasing sales force. This is a continual process that a sales manager must be doing to justify his existence. If he doesn't, the company cannot expand.

Training to make a good sales person

"Training them to be able to sell the company product in large volume." A very wise American philosopher once stated that all a salesman had to do was to continue to try to interest the customer and the customer would eventually buy, if the sales man continued to try to interest the customer! Like all great truths, they are 'obvious' once stated.

So, what does it take for a sales person to continue to try to interest a customer, no matter what objection the customer raises and despite the sales person's own impulse to 'give up' after a while? Lets look at the elements:

The sales patter: The first of these would be a successful sales patter. Here we are talking about getting a hold of someone or several people who are successful, at selling to customers, in the target industry, or a similar industry. Once such person(s) are found, you need to interview them to find out what they DO that made them a success. We are looking for the actions they take and the things they do, not what they think.

The best person to interview for this information is usually the most successful sales person, right there in the company, if one exists. Notes should be carefully made of the actions they take to get a sale and these notes should be very exactly written up and turned into a patter that can later be drilled on new and old members of the sales force.

Advertising and preparation: Next, a series of sale recruitment advertisements need to be created for the local newspaper. The receptionist of the company needs to be briefed on what to do when calls come in. The adverts need to be big enough to attract attention and have enough mystery in them so that people actually call in to find out what its all about.

The receptionist should understand that all she is doing with calls from the advertisements is routing them to the person doing this project. She does not answer questions about what the company is and what is being offered. She simply arranges for them to come in for an interview at a scheduled time or collects their phone numbers so that they can be called back and scheduled to come in, by someone else.

The interview: When applicants for the sales position come in, their interview is very specific and to the point. There are certain very specific criteria that are being looked for in a good sales person. The two main one are, (a) can they persist along a given course? (b) Are they are interested in people?

That is an easy statement to make, to be sure. However, to find such people requires very exact interview procedures. The first step is testing. We use a series of 3 tests. One of these provide a detailed look into the 10 most important job related traits such as Stability, Goal attainment, Composure, Certainty, Activity level, Aggressiveness, Responsibility level, Correct estimation, Appreciativeness and Communication level.

The other 2 tests measure an applicant's ability to solve problems and how well they are able to following instructions – a vital test for anyone operating machinery where understanding and following instructions are very important!

With the results of the 3 tests, one only needs to ask the applicant questions regarding his past job failures, past job successes and when they first decided that they wanted to be in sales. These answers, compared to the results of the 3 tests tell the whole story and can really make it very easy to select applicants most likely to succeed as sales people.

How the compensation is done: For this project to be successful and actually pay for itself, the sales applicant needs to be hired under very specific financial conditions. They need to be hired on a draw + commission. This means that they get a low amount of money weekly for a certain period of time and if they do well, they should be producing enough sales to repay their draw and start making money quickly, for themselves as well as the company. How this is worked out is key to the success of the project. If this is not worked out correctly, sales people will either not start, not produce and stay too long and drain the company or quit before their training is effectively completed.

The mastery of the conversation: A successful sales person requires one skill above all others. This is the ability to guide and control a conversation. If he or she can guide and control a conversation, it is then possible to continue to try to interest the customer and be successful at it.

For a salesperson to do this one action well, an in-depth 3-day training on the basics of conversation and how to guide and control a conversation, is vital. Communication between people (conversation) have very certain and definite laws, which if followed, puts a sales person in total control of a conversation without making the other person feel like they are being controlled!

Drilling the sales patter: After the sales applicants have successfully mastered the art of controlling a conversation, they now need to be drilled on the successful sales patter. If a full day is devoted to drilling them on this and they are drilled to a point where they easily and smoothly deliver their patter, without referring to notes or becoming tongue-tied or embarrassed, then and only then, will they be ready for the next step.

Get them out selling: After the above steps are completed and your sales people are ready to 'hit the streets', they should be divided up into groups of 3 to 5 people with one of them being the sales manager of the group. They are then sent out to find customers and deliver their pitches (sales patter).

This should be done in such a way that there is not great pressure on the sales people for the first few days. Tell them to go out and practice on any customer they find. The objective is to get them comfortable delivering their patter.

They are given realistic targets to achieve and when they flub and do not get results, they are corrected and sent back out by the person that is overall in charge of this project.

Failures: Not all will make it through this line-up. Correct them as much as possible and if they cannot make it, turn them loose and concentrate on the others that are making it. As the sales manager you also need to work on starting new groups through the process. Continue these steps until you have all the sales people you need to really boost the company sales.

Personnel: The number of sales force trainers required to train the company sales manager on this procedure and help him build his sales force is only 2 people. They will need to work in the company for 30 days. One of these would be the person overall in charge of the project. He or she creates the sales advertisements, get the people in, does the tests on them, interviews them and decide which ones to hire. This person also does the corrections. The assistant does the conversation-control training; the successful sales patter drilling and help the lead trainer with the corrections of the sales teams.

Summary: An effective sale teams can be built that pays its own way, enhances the company sales and increases the value of any business. The key to it all is having a hiring method and training program for the sales people that follows the exact laws involved in guiding and controlling a conversation.

About The Author

Willard Michlin is an Investor, Business Broker, California Real Estate Broker, Accountant, Financial Distress Consultant, Well known Public speaker and Administrative/Business Consultant. He can be contacted at his Ventura, California office by calling 805-529-9854 or by e-mail at See other articles by Willard at;

How To Write A Business Plan Sales Section For A Mobile Service

Writen by Lance Winslow

We all agree one of the most important parts of any business is Sales. We also know that to get sales we must advertise to let potential customers know of our offerings. When writing a business plan you must have a clear and concise picture of how you will generate sales for your business if you are to attract favorable loans and proper capital to succeed. I cannot impress upon you enough of the importance of these sections in your business plan. So much so that I want to offer you this sample to assist you in writing your business plan for your next most important entrepreneurial endeavor.

You will need to print this article and then read the paragraphs below and of course modify them to fit you business model. Carefully describing how you will go about your sales and which methods of advertising you will use to bring in your customers. Then construct your own Sales and Advertising Sections for your business plan. My sample is for a mobile car wash business that is a franchise and is pretty straight-forward, it will give you ideas and insights to complete your own. Continued Success.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -


We will initially use direct sales as our primary sales technique. We will casually walk into businesses and offer our services. Other forms of initial contact will include fax marketing, e-mail, flyer distribution, car wash fundraisers and car wash free-bee give aways. We will follow the franchisor's recommendations on sales lines that are updated periodically on cassette tapes. We will play these tapes in our work trucks so all crew members can close sales and up-sell customers instantly in the parking lots and offices.

We will also follow the franchisor's pricing policies. When we find something that works extremely well in our territory we will push those services. It is in the Franchise Circular and Franchise Agreement that we must charge no less than $5.00 for a basic exterior car wash. The other prices can vary. We intend to retain the highest possible profit in the services we provide. We want repeat customers, so we will find a happy medium for our clients (supply and demand).

For promotions we will continually:

Give out car wash door prizes at civic group meetings, bingo nights, chamber of commerce, etc.

Plan car wash fundraisers at least once per month for kids.

Fax out car wash discounts on poor weather days.

Sponsor civic programs such as Neighborhood Mobile Watch Program, Arson Watch Program, etc.


Our advertising will be extensive. Our franchisor will help us achieve additional market penetration up to 1.2% of the population (based upon a population average of 40,000) for every truck we are using. Their advertising help will include some of the following:

Bidding On Government Accounts

Direct Mailings of Previous Customers

Fax On Demand

Fleet Sales Campaigns (Every Three Months)

Internet Home Page Referrals

Radio Packages

We will spend our local advertising dollars very carefully on things like: Booster Club programs for youth sports, flyers and inserts in newspapers. All of our flyers will have local advertising on the reverse side. This will offset most or all of the printing costs. Our franchisor has proven over and over that these are the best forms of advertising for mobile automobile services.

Marketing Funds Distribution Breakdown

Insert Chart.


Free publicity has always been easy for those companies that have new concepts and flair. Our company will have ultra high visibility. Our truck(s) will be bright yellow, have large signs and perform high profile car washing fundraisers for non-profits groups. Our crews will be high energy young men and women. Here are some of the places we will submit pre-written stories and press releases:

Chamber Of Commerce Newsletters

Contractor Newsletters

Large Company Newsletters

Local BBS Bulletin Boards

Local Cable Companies

Local Industry News

Local Newspapers

Local Radio Stations

Real Estate Multi-Listing Books

Our franchisor will custom make public relations material in the event our preinstalled press release files in Microsoft Word are not applicable to the given situation.

Lance Winslow

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Value Of A Glengarry Sales Manager

Writen by Dr. Gary S. Goodman

In the movie, "Glengarry Glenross," the sales manager is a jerk, an acerbic cynic, a malevolent force, a take-no-prisoners, I-don't-hear-your-excuses, kind of guy.

He announces a contest.

First place, you win money.

Second place, you win steak knives.

Third place, you're fired.

Is this guy for real? Are there sales managers who act like this?

Of course, there are. I haven't met any as a consultant to Fortune 1000 companies, but they're out there.

I've worked with them.

And, though it's a little contrarian to say this, there's something important they have to teach salespeople and other managers.

In a word, they embody what everyone in selling needs: CERTAINTY.

If you are certain, definite, unequivocal about the value of your product, your service, your company, your place in the universe, your right to earn a big, fat paycheck, then the world is your oyster.

As they say, people will step aside for a person who knows where he's going.

On the other hand, if you're riddled with doubts, and you wear your insecurities on your sleeve, then you have a big problem.

The Glengarry manager won't hand you those knives, he'll hurl them at you.

Like a hard-bitten drill sergeant or that dour taskmaster of a teacher you had in high school, he won't cut you any slack; he'll just cut you from the team.

Results, results, results, results!

That's all he'll accept.

Like one of those old-fashioned cops with bursting biceps, his swagger discourages most problems from ever ripening into existence.

I had a martial arts instructor who was like this. Somebody asked him about the potential for injuries in training and he shot back:


Tell that to the guy I drove to the hospital for a dozen sutures to his chin, but even in that fellow's mind, after the surgeon was done with him, if you asked him what happened, he wouldn't quite admit it really happened.

He never spoke of it.


The Glengarry sales manager just won't tolerate anything but victory.

TO BE SURE---there's something to be said for that!

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

Tracking Your Sales The Sales Managers Most Valuable Tool

Writen by Lance Winslow

If you are a sales manager you need to have the company and the front line workers always ask customers who come in and buy; How did you discover our company. Have you ever filled out a customer survey and there is always a box or lines to fill out which ask; How did you hear about us. This is most essential for marketing purposes, but even more important it can be a sales managers greatest and most valuable tool.

Tracking your sells and how they come in is one of the most important things a business can do and it is difficult to track too. But knowing this can help you better target your sales teams on where they can do the most good. Where they can focus their efforts. This is why I always say that; "Tracking Your Company's Sales is the Sales Managers Most Valuable Tool." Now then if you put a bunch of boxes on a survey you will often find that the new customer will check the wrong box?

Perhaps you have done this after purchasing software. And you checked that you saw it on Television, yet the company does not advertise on TV at all. Most larger companies know that new customers put bogus information on questionnaire surveys, but some smaller companies do not.

It is better to ask each new customer to tell you the "Story" of how you came to learn about our company. And then you will get much closer to the truth of it and once you do that information is invaluable to your sales force and focus. Consider this in 2006.

Lance Winslow

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sales Amp Marketing Plan Strategies

Writen by Kenny Nau

Design and Implementation of a new Sales & Marketing campaign must be carefully thought through from the beginning. What message do you want to send about your company, products, and services? What are the anticipated results? What is the execution strategy? What is the cost ratio versus expected return?

These are just a few of the questions that run through our minds in the early stages of planning. If your goal is revenue growth and expansion, I believe you need to design, develop, and implement your Sales & Marketing plan on that foundation. Here is some criteria to consider while planning:

• Identify your markets and your profit potential in the selected markets

• Segment your markets by customer, service, etc.

• What type of penetration is desired: existing, new, different, or all of the preceding

• Design a plan to include procedures and controls to monitor and evaluate market penetration by segment

• Determine and build internal and external sales strategies

• Evaluate and plan staff training to generate internal monitoring controls, evaluation processes, and customer education if necessary

• Plan to control revenue growth with product mix, product promotion, and customer pre-qualification

• Evaluate expected sales and then ratio numbers to your sales staff's current compensation package to see if consideration is needed for additional or different wage incentive programs

• Design controls to evaluate, monitor, and drive the highest level of profit possible

• Determine the type of media and then budget advertising accordingly

• Develop a backup plan in case of immediate campaign disaster

The results of a well-balanced and executed Sales and Marketing campaign can be resounding. Constant expansion of products and services, market area, clientele types, etc. all contribute to the continued growth and success of any company. Plan your work and work your plan!

Kenny Nau Director of Sales
PLUSS Corporation

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Raise Concern About Sales Competition Not About Yourself

Writen by Shamus Brown

As you are reading this sales article, read very carefully. Because I wouldn't want you to think of a pig right now. No, do not think of a fat, brown, smelly pig right this moment. What are you doing? Do you have a picture of a smelly, fat, brown pig in your head right now? I thought I just told you not to do that. What are you doing then?

The mind can only process positive statements directly. In order to process a negative statement, one must first create a positive representation of the negative statement in the mind. To *not* think of a pig, you first had to see a fat, brown, smelly pig. Only then could you attempt to tell yourself not to think about it. Gee, by now though you've already thought of the pig, so what good is it to tell you not to?

So how does this relate to sales and persuasion? Let's think for a moment. Have you ever said something to a prospect like this: "Don't worry about the strength of our widgets. I assure you we have the strongest widgets in the industry"? You just told the prospect that there is reason to be concerned about the strength of your widgets! This statement either planted the suggestion that there is reason to be concerned about the strength of your widgets, or it reinforced the belief that your widgets are weak. The prospect may have never even heard of the possibility that Zebox widgets are weak. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own perceptions, that we forget what its like to be an outsider new to our company, products and services. Language patterns like the above severely weaken you by needlessly drawing attention to your weaknesses.

Words to remember: "Say it the way you want it".

Are there times when negatives are useful? Sure. Let's say you want to draw your prospect's attention to the lengthy implementation effort of your competitor's product. You could say "Zebox Technologies Widgets take forever to get installed. Ours install much faster." This might work if you have a lot of rapport with the prospect. But if you are presenting to a group, or talking with someone you don't know well yet, you could annoy the prospect and lose credibility through this direct attack.

Here's a more effective indirect language pattern: "So you're also considering S Widgets? We'll don't worry about whether you can complete your project on time in 3 months. All of our widgets install in 30 days or less. Just ask our customers." Through the use of a negative, I have just raised concern about my competitor's installation time, whilst highlighting how my company meets their rapid installation time criterion. And I have avoided using a direct assault, helping to maintain rapport and respect with my prospect.

Say it the way you want it, unless a negative is just what you need.

© 1999-2004 Shamus Brown, All Rights Reserved.

Shamus Brown is a Professional Sales Coach and former high-tech sales pro who began his career selling for IBM. Shamus has written more than 50 articles on selling and is the creator of the popular Persuasive Selling Skills CD Audio Program. You can read more of Shamus Brown's sales tips at and you can learn more about his persuasive sales skills training at

How To Avoid A Cloned Sales Force

Writen by Bill Lee

When I accept a consulting assignment, I insist on administering psychological tests to each of the managers and salespeople in the organization before I arrive on site.

I am no stranger to psychological testing. I majored in clinical psychology in college, worked in a clinical environment in my first job following graduation and brought testing with me when I joined the business world.

Psychological testing is about the closest thing to a crystal ball I have found to predict future behavior.

Don't misunderstand me, psychological testing is not perfect. It is not as accurate as, say, a blood test. However, it is by no means inaccurate, either. In fact, when I review an employee's psychological testing results with them, most are amazed at how much insight I have into their strengths and weaknesses from the way they filled out the test.

In my company, we have tested over 44,000 people, so we believe our success models are second to none.

I believe you will agree with me that it's important that managers take hiring seriously. After all, most managers resist terminating employees long after they have given up on them. Plus, when you consider that personnel-related expenses make up between 60% and 70% of most company's total operating expenses, it just makes sense to take the time to do the job right the first time?.

In the absence of testing, most managers make hiring decisions based on their gut feelings. They also tend to hire people in their own image. This is not to say that there's anything wrong with the manager's image, but it is not wise to hire everyone with the same or similar psychological characteristics because this causes cloning. And cloning creates inertia in an organization.

Psychological testing probably won't tell you much about a person you won't learn after knowing them for six months to a year, but by gaining insight into a candidate's talent and temperament before you put them on the payroll, you will save yourself both a lot of heartaches and money.

While psychological testing is not dirt cheap, it's one heck of a lot less expensive than making a hiring mistake. All managers have learned that it costs thousands of dollars when a hiring mistake is made, and that doesn't count all of the lost opportunity. So compare that cost to a couple of hundred dollars for a series of pre-employment tests.

What's your track record been at changing people? If you're like most managers, you are a miserable failure when you try to persuade or browbeat someone into being someone they are not; that is, when you try to get people to operate against the grain.

We're all more effective at our jobs when we are able to be ourselves and operate with rather than against the grain. Here are some of the natural characteristics we look for when hiring salespeople who have the highest odds of turning out to be "keepers."

1. Personality characteristics. Anyone can sell, but the odds of sales success are the highest when you hire a salesperson with the following personality characteristics:

• High drive
• Outgoing and persuasive personality
• Strong sense of urgency
• High energy level
• Attentive to detail
• Innovative
• Good verbal skills
• A natural willingness to live up to commitments.

2. High economic values. This is especially true if your company pays its sales force all or in part via a sales commission. If salespeople are not "hungry" they will not be motivated by an opportunity to control their income.

3. Strong work ethic. Willing to work the hours necessary to get the job done.

4. Passionate about the profession of sales. Genuinely enjoys all aspects of selling, loves people and is willing to work hard on their sales skills.

5. Industry experience. Note that we've listed experience last, not first. A track-record of sales success increases the odds of success substantially.

When it comes to your sales force, it is especially important to make sure that you have the right people on the bus. Taking business away from the competition without having to resort to using price as a weapon is a lot easier when your people possess the right talent and chemistry to get the job done.

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

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sales Management Whats Involved Part 2

Writen by Jonathan Farrington

Management Skills

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.

•Judgement -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".

•Communication -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.

And finally let's identify the core competencies of the very best Sales Managers

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


Pick up a typical report and what words do you find? Verbs like analyse, forecast, plan, assess and schedule are used in pursuit of organisations that are efficient, productive and predictable. What set of people are required? Obviously, people who are efficient, effective, proficient, competent, productive and co-operative. But we believe we need to go beyond – we need to be inspired, motivated, creators, who are enthusiastic and able to consistently deliver against our key objectives. We should be developing individuals who are not afraid to challenge paradigms, who are prepared to go that extra yard in search of excellence and who understand that success is 80% attitude and only 20% aptitude.

For a group of people to remain "consciously competent" at optimum performance levels, they require frequent injections of stimulation, motivational guidance and prompting otherwise they can easily lapse into" unconsciously competent", or worse, "unconsciously incompetent"

The primary objective of a professional Sales Manager has to be: "To achieve consistently superior results, through the performance of every key individual."

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

Jonathan Farrington is a business coach, mentor, author and consultant, who has helped hundreds of companies and thousands of individuals around the world achieve their full potential and consequently, optimum performance levels.

Prior to setting up his own consultancy, Jonathan earned his spurs succeeding in some of the most demanding and competitive market sectors. Challenging assignments took him from the Middle East and Africa to Europe and the USA, providing him with the opportunity to work with a number of the largest and most successful international corporations including: - IBM, Wang, Legal and General, Andersen Consulting, Litton Industries and The Bank of Tokyo.

In 1995, Jonathan formed jfa with the primary objective to deliver unique leadership and sales team development programmes to both the corporate and SME sectors. Since then, he has authored in excess of three hundred skills development programmes, designed a range of unique and innovative process tools and written extensively on organisational and sales team development.

Salary Or Commission Which Is Better

Writen by Claude Whitacre

Years ago, I had a conversation with a friend who was thinking of getting a job in sales. He asked me which I thought was better, Salary or Commission. This was my answer.

"Here's what a salary is: an agreement between you & your employer that they will pay you a certain sum per hour. Let's say $10 an hour. Your work will make your employer much more than $10 an hour, or you'll lose your job. So the agreement is; Your employer will pay you the FIRST $10 an hour that you earn for him. and he keeps the rest." Friend- What do you mean 'The rest'?"
Me- "If you get paid $10 an hour, but you generate less than $10 an hour in profits to your employer, how long do you keep your job?"
Friend- "Not long, I guess"
Me- "Right, in fact most employers make a multiple of your salary off your results. They have to, if they want the business to grow"
Friend "That almost seems unfair"
Me-" Actually, it's completely fair. If you agree to work for a specific amount & they give it to you, how can it be 'unfair'?"
Friend- "So what's so great about commission?"
Me- " This, You know the employer that pays you $10 an hour? He's on commission. Every CEO of a company, every self-employed person, every farmer, every landlord, almost every wealthy person in the world works on the profits of their work, we call it a commission"
Friend-"You make commission sound better"
Me-"It is better. You ever hear of someone getting promoted to 'Partner' in a business?"
Me-" The person was making a salary. When they become a partner, they now get a share of the company's profits; A 'Commission'. Commission is a Promotion. Commission is more"

That ended the conversation. It would make a better story if I knew what happened to my friend. I really don't know. We lost touch after that. But years later my Brother-in-Law asked me where I was employed.
I said "I'm not employed"
He said "You don't have a job?"
Me-"No, I have eight employees. They have jobs. I have a Company" That felt pretty good.

"Sign-up now for my FREE Retail Marketing course "Unfair Advantage Retail Strategies". You'll get retail advertising and retail selling ideas you can use today. About once a week, I'll provide you with valuable retail marketing strategies that have been proven and tested,(mostly by me).

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sales Management And Managing Sales

Writen by Lance Winslow

For those engaged in sales management and trying to control a group of self-starter type sales people you can just imagine how hard it is. In all the commotion, chaos and controversy they have to manage in shear terror of handling all that is coming at them.

Indeed sales management is not for everyone and managing sales is certainly not as easy as it looks, nor is it suppose to be really. Managing on-going sales efforts for a fast moving company, which is fully engaged takes a lot of savvy, strategic planning and a love of the never ending fast-paced game.

It is not for the weak and you certainly do not want to put anyone in that position in your company who is of low self-esteem or without a strong sense of personal character. Quite frankly a team of sales people would eat them for lunch and spit out the bones and they would be running your sales department and eventually be serving their own self-interests rather than the forward progression and profitability of the company.

The go between we call sales management and manages sales is a special type of person and they are an instrumental part of any company. Sales Management folks who manage sales for your company must be of the highest integrity and must work for the company, the sales people and the sale. Consider all this in 2006.

Lance Winslow

Leadership How To Turn The Vision Into A Reality

Writen by Gina Gardiner

Be clear about where you are now. Audit your strengths and areas for development

Where do you want to be?

What needs to be done to eliminate the gap between your dream and the reality?

Prioritize – Look for quick wins, consider those things which will have maximum long term impact. Build solid foundations, think of sustainability!

Set challenging but realistic targets. Aim high.

Communicate the vision, and keep doing so. Ensure that all stake holders understand and subscribe to the vision.

Who do you need to involve? How will you ensure they sign up to and stay committed to the vision?

Think about the language you use – sound positive, if others think you are confident it can be achieved they will gain confidence too. Develop a "Can do" mentality within the staff. For every problem there is a solution, encourage others to see themselves as problem solvers not problem givers.

Create clear lines of communication which operate at every level and in all directions.

Break each priority down into small achievable steps, involve the team.

Who needs to do what – by when? Set a timetable

Identify the roles and responsibilities for all staff; ensure that staff take ownership without creating a "jobs worth" approach.

Ensure that people are appropriately trained and that training is updated.

Build in the monitoring and review process from the start so you can evaluate performance and be prepared to adjust as necessary. (By creating a culture of development rather than blame huge potential will be released.)

Celebrate success; remember to thank people for their contribution. The best leaders give credit to the team.

Develop professional honesty within the staff, constructive feed back can be invaluable.

Educational Consultant, writer and life-coach Gina Gardiner loves working with others supporting them to make the best of their potential.

Gina was the Head Teacher (that is Principle) of a large, very successful Beacon school on the outskirts of London for over 20 years. The development of people has been central to the school's success and her passion.

Gina has a huge interest in education, she has led a wide range of training and facilitation activities with individuals, schools and other organisations, In her work as coach/mentor she supports people at individual or organisational level to develop confidence, leadership and people skills and effective delegation; empowering them to see themselves as part of the solution. If you would like to know more email:

Gina Gardiner is also the author of "Live Well Eat Well With Celiac Disease" in this book she writes from first hand experience of being a celiac. For more information go to

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How Can You Know The Prospects Real Intent

Writen by Tim Connor

Intent and intention seems to be a hot topic these days. Wayne Dyer has a book on the power of intention, Brian Klemmer has a book on intent and I am sure there are more out there that I haven't read yet. Why is this such an important topic today? Is it more important than it was twenty years ago? Let's take a brief look at this critical area with a focus on the intentions of your customers.

What is intent? Is it goals, plans, dreams or hopes or is it something more, something deeper? Webster defines it as: firm, steadfast, fixed or directed. Having the attention sharply focused. I'd like to give you my definition: Intent is doing what you say you are going to do. You plan to lose twenty pounds and you do it. You plan to save 10% of your income and you do it.

What causes people to not do what they say they are going to do? Could be hundreds of reasons but here is one. They really don't mean what they say. Why? Are they fooling themselves? Are they not in touch with their own strengths and weaknesses? Here is the key. Whenever someone says they are going to do something and they don't, there is always an opposing intent involved that is stronger than the stated intent. It's that simple.

Let's look at the disconnect between what prospects and clients say vs. what they actually do.

-I'll call you on Tuesday afternoon. They don't call. Did they really not plan to call you when they said they would? Or, did some unforeseen project, activity, emergency or anything more important get in the way?

Often people who make promises or commitments can't always control the circumstances that may prevent their doing what they said they would. I'll send you the Purchase Order on Friday. The following Friday and still no PO. Maybe the person who made the commitment really didn't have the authority to make the commitment to you. Ah Ha! Here is the crux of dealing with intent in sales.

It is critical that you know whether the person making the promise to you has both the authority and the willingness to follow-through on their commitment. If not, don't act surprised when it doesn't happen.

Too often salespeople are willing to accept any promise or commitment a prospect or customer makes without probing further to ensure that there is both the authority and willingness behind the stated intention.

If a prospect doesn't follow through on a promise and you act surprised – shame on you.

Why not look carefully at your reaction to commitments your prospects or customers make and your typical responses to these.

Do you just accept them at face value?

Do you challenge them?

Do you ask further probing questions to peel away the layers of the onion that may be protecting or hiding the truth?

Some people actually know that when they are making a commitment to you they have NO intentions of honoring it. Why? Maybe they are just subtly telling you that they are not really a prospect for you. Maybe they have an inflated view of their authority or power within their own organization. And maybe, they just lie a lot. Who knows. My point is, that every minute or hour that you spend wondering whether they are really going to call or you spend hoping they will is time spent in La La land.

Here are a couple of examples of follow-up questions you can ask when someone makes a promise of action to you.

- What could prevent you from calling me back? Getting the PO out on Friday? Whatever.

- On a scale of 1-10 where would you place your commitment to (either of the above). Why did you

choose that number?

-If I don't hear from you or get the PO what action would you like me to take on your


This is just a start. Develop some questions or strategies of your own that you are comfortable with and will work at getting to the real intent.

If you don't have the skill, courage or willingness to take follow-up action on a stated intention from a prospect or customer then I suggest you may as well just get comfortable with wasting time and energy.

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

Praise Others Daily

Writen by Kurt Mortensen

Sincere praise and compliments can have a powerful effect on people. Praise boosts one's self-esteem. When you genuinely give praise, it releases energy in the other person. When you receive sincere compliments or praise, you get a smile on your face, your spirits soar, and you have a new aura about you.

I think of all the funerals I have attended, and how all of them ended with beautiful eulogies. Why do we have to wait until someone is dead to say something nice about them? As Ra1ph Waldo Emerson put it, "Every man is entitled to be valued by his best moments." Men will sacrifice their lives for praise, honor, and recognition. We crave and yearn for a boost to our esteem. We all wear an imaginary badge that says, "Please make me feel important." It is criminal to withhold our praise when we see someone, especially children, do great and honorable things. Yet then when they do something wrong, we jump down their throats. Have you ever thought about how we would never think of physically harming someone or depriving them of food and water, yet often without reservation we hurt someone emotionally or deprive them of love and appreciation? George Bernard Shaw said, "The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them." We should make it a habit to give genuine praise to someone every day. Don't wait for a reason or for something big to happen. Be generous with your praise. Praise makes others more open to persuasion.

Always be sincere. Even the most cunning flatterer is ultimately detected and discovered. Complimenting someone sincerely for something small is better than complimenting someone insincerely for something big and grand. If, instead of being constantly self-focused, we are attentive to others, we will always find building moments where we can deliver honest and sincere praise. Even Napoleon figured out that men will die for blue ribbons. Men will sacrifice their lives for praise, honor, and recognition.

Often it is more effective to praise the specific act rather than the person. This way, your praise is attached to something distinct and concrete. It is harder to be interpreted as flattery or favoritism when there is a specific and concrete thing you have praised. General compliments may have temporary effect, but can incite jealousy from others and create even more insecurity in the recipient because that person is often not really sure what they did to deserve the compliment. Then they feel pressure to live up to the standard you have set, even though they're not sure how or why it was set. They may even subconsciously fear that you will retract the praise because they don't know how to keep it.

Things really backfire when that person feels mistrustful toward you. Did you ever witness coworkers gathering to complain after a "pep rally" with the boss? Instead of feeling inspired and motivated, everyone griped about how the boss was full of it. Of course, during the meeting, everyone played along, but when all was said and done, not only did they think that the boss was full of it, but they began to wonder about their superior's personal agenda.

So how do you effectively give someone a compliment they can live up to without feeling anxiety? Instead of barking at your assistant, "Why haven't you finished these files?" say, "Thank you so much for helping me get these files done! I know I can count on you get them done in a timely manner." Because the latter statement incorporates your assistant's behavior into how you view her, you can be sure she'll follow through. Consciously or subconsciously, she will want to maintain the apparent image you have of her. Consequently she will continue that pattern of behavior so as not to disappoint you. As a manager or supervisor, your responsibility to praise and recognize your employees is paramount.

Regularly communicate the organization's changing objectives and priorities and show employees you feel they are important enough to be aligned with your goals. Invite new ideas from workers, stressing that there are always better ways to do every task. Trust workers by delegating responsibilities that give growth opportunities. Check with employees to determine what extra time or equipment they need, and work to provide them with these requests. Be fair to all. Playing favorites undermines morale. Praise each employee for any job well done; doing so orally is okay, but putting it in writing is even better. Want to know another plus? Sincere praise costs your organization absolutely nothing!

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

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

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Other Side Of The Profit Coin

Writen by T.J. Schier

If your dayshift manager came to you and asked for more employees or to start an incentive program, would your response be, "Not if it costs me more money..."? If it might, this column is for you.

Let's take the adding labor issue first.
Say you want to lower service times. You figure it will require adding another cashier during peak times. Your numbers look like this: 3 extra hours of labor x $7 extra per hour in wages= $21 extra per shift. Now before you scoff at the idea of shelling out an extra $21, take a hard look at the numbers, engage in some analysis before writing off the idea.

Here's how: Track sales for the three hours with the additional cashier, and keep an eye on the check average. If your team serves 10 extra people per hour, each whose check averages $5.50, you could tack $165 more in sales for the three hours. Not bad for a 12.7 percent investment. That scenario doesn't even touch on the service implications service of adding another staffer. A few extra seconds between each customer frees cashier to actually use some of that suggestive selling training you've spent thousands on.

Use the additional dollars towards your fixed costs—utilities, salaries, etc—and raise the bottom line. What initially might have seemed like an expense has now become a revenue-generating asset and a valuable lesson in ROI.

Now let's look at incentives.
One of the most effective motivators of performance is offering a tangible sign of appreciation. Incentives fall into this category.

Designing an incentive contest where the cashiers earn one point towards a prize for every incremental dollar they generate is a no-risk proposition since employees only receive 'points' when they generate sales above the current average. Such contests are self-funding. You only pay for prizes when performance exceeds current levels.

For example: an employee who after 200 orders has an average check of $5.90, or $0.40 above the store's $5.50 average, earns 80 points for an additional $80 in sales. After five shifts of this performance, said employee will have earned you an extra $400 in sales and him/her 400 points. Spend 20 bucks on a gift card; you'll still walk away with $380 profit. If you know of a better way to turn $20 into $380, please write.

The above program not only offers an opportunity to give employees daily reinforcement of their performance (earning points), but also has a long-term, continuous impact as they save their points toward a prize.

You can use a similar approach to lower costs. Give the kitchen staff points for keeping food costs within a certain range. (But don't set that range too low. You don't want people cutting corners to earn a prize.)

Managers seem to have an innate desire to cut labor to save money, despite evidence that says it is a short-term payoff that could be damaging to service. Instead encourage your management team consider other options. "Need to add another employee? Fine, we need to see X result on the sales and profit lines." Teaching your in-store management team to focus on profitability analysis in this manner allows them to do determine the best way to spend their time and your money.

Profitability needs to be trained. Often times, managers focus on one P&L line without seeing the big picture. Suggestive selling might raise food costs, but it might also increase sales. Many managers may not see beyond the food cost line, however. Educating and training your staff to see beyond initial costs enables them to make sound decisions to drive the top and bottom lines.

If you want to cut costs, instead of capping sales and understaffing the kitchen, keep an eye out for wasted condiments, cleaning supplies, and so on.

Focus on driving more dollars into the register by teaching your staff and management a new train of thought. After all, the front line determines how much goes to the top line and how much makes it to the bottom line.

T.J. Schier is service professional, consultant and speaker with over 20 years experience in operations and training. Founder and president of Incentivize Solutions and podTraining, T.J. has helped numerous clients enhance their service and training programs and spoken to tens of thousands of managers, franchisees and operators in various fields. Visit for more info motivating today's employees, training today's generation and delivering outstanding guest service; or, a unique new system and the foundation of 'i-learning' - using the device of today's generation, the iPod - to train your workforce.

Monday, January 19, 2009

What Is Sales Force Automation

Writen by Angela Tidwell

Sales Force Automation, also known as SFA, is a technique of using software to automate the day to day business tasks of sales, including order processing, contact management, sharing information, inventory monitoring and control, order tracking, customer management, sales forecast analysis and employee performance evaluation. SFA may be used in conjunction with CRM; however you should note that CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is not the same as sales force automation, they are in fact different terms altogether.

The Sales force automation (SFA) application is able to provide businesses with much better results than they would otherwise have. When searching for Sales Automation solutions it's infinitely important that the application you choose is comprehensive and easy to customize. Another benefit of SFA is that Sales Representatives can spend more time making the sale and less time in the administrative process, which is a big plus. It enhances the ability to manage time more effectively and allows for a better sales management program.

This technology can help your sales force better manage contacts, be more organized, and generate higher sales. If growth is part of your company agenda, then sales force automation is one of the best investments you could make for your company. Productivity and a good supply of qualified leads are important and companies are able to benefit much from the automation of their sales force.

Sales Force Automation (SFA) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM), have come a long way over time and it seems to be going back to a closer association with its roots. SFA is appearing everywhere in industry guides and in company marketing materials with a much higher frequency than it used to. Individuals are beginning to realize how important SFA and CRM are to their productivity and its ability to increase their profit base.

Any good sales rep knows the value of a good personal data assistant and new products that provide contact management have become every sales rep's best friend. That PDA that now has all your contacts, calendar, and memos, was made possible by contact management software. The same thing is being done with SFA as well. All in all, Sales force Automation is a cutting edge technology you can utilize for your own business.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Managing Your Prospects Funnel Management As A Critical Component To Your Success

Writen by Marvin Himel

Bob Fitzpatrick was one of the most intense managers I have ever met. When he hired me at Lanier, he interviewed me from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. After the interview I went home and collapsed in the bed. Three months after Bob hired me I was the number one salesperson in his Southeast Region.

One day he flew into Panama City, Florida from Atlanta to ride in the field with me. His visit was unannounced so I just followed my regular schedule for that day. It was a Tuesday and our first stop was at one of my prospects that had a copier on trial. The prospect was the Pinnacle Port Condominiums twenty-six miles from our office. When we walked in the door I was greeted by the receptionist and told to go on back. I introduced Bob to the manager and the first words out of his mouth were, "I see more of Marvin than most of my employees." After we left Pinnacle Port we went to the Panama City Beach Police Station. As soon as we walked in, the officer on duty told us to go on back. I then introduced Bob to the Police Chief, Lee Sullivan. His first comment to Bob was, "I see more of Marvin than most of my officers."

On that one day in the field, we visited five companies and, completely unsolicited by me, they all said basically the same thing: I was there more than most of their employees. When I was driving Bob to the airport at the end of the day, he looked at me and jokingly said, "Marvin, people don't buy from you because they like you. They buy from you to get rid of you."

In every situation I had continued to add value by having a face-to-face meeting with every prospect at least once a week. At each meeting I made sure I had a legitimate reason to be there. I closed every one of the sales we visited that day.

Where prospecting ends, territory management begins. How you manage your territory, or your base of prospects, will determine how successful you are.

One of the greatest problems most salespeople have is losing track of prospects. This is especially true if the prospects are not going to buy in the near future. This is why salespeople have a tendency to experience peaks and valleys when it comes to sales performance. Salespeople work hard to close their hot prospects and then have to turn around and find more.


The only effective way to manage your relationships with your prospects is face to face. I understand this can be challenging for salespeople with large geographic territories. A great rule of thumb is that to maintain a greater than seventy-five percent closing ratio, you need to maintain face-to-face contact with your prospects. If you cannot maintain a face-to-face contact with your prospects, then your closing ratio will probably fall to less than thirty-five percent.


Every time you meet with a prospect you should add value. Make sure you never find yourself in a position of calling on a prospect just to see where they are in their decision making process. Some examples of adding value are:

Ø Bringing a solution to a problem they may be having.

Ø Providing the prospect with additional relevant information such as an article.

Ø Introducing an additional resource such as an engineer.

Ø Giving a prospect an appropriate gift.

Ø Involving an outside vendor or strategic partner.


A large number of face-to-face meetings with a prospect are the best way to differentiate yourself from your competition.

An interesting phenomenon occurs when you increase the number of face-to-face meetings that you have with qualified prospects. Our research has shown that the closing ratio increases an average of eight percent per additional face-to-face meeting. Below are the typical increases in closing ratio for each additional visit.

*Important note – The closing ratios listed below are for qualified prospects.

Number of face to face meetings Closing Ratio

Three to Four	                                25%  Five						33%  Six						40%  Seven						45%  Eight						50%  Nine						60%  Ten						65%  Eleven						70%

After eleven visits the closing ratio will typically remain at about seventy-five percent. WHO IS A QUALIFIED PROPECT?

When I first got into sales, I was introduced to an acronym that has always helped me to determine whether a prospect was qualified or not. You are dealing with a qualified prospect if you can answer positively to the three criteria listed below.

Money – does the prospect have a budget to buy your product and can the prospect afford the product?

Authority – Are you in contact with someone who will be making the decision to purchase?

Need – Does the prospect have a need for your product that will force the prospect to buy within a reasonable time frame?

If you can yes to these questions then you are dealing with The MAN and you are dealing with a qualified prospect.


To manage your prospects and your territory, you need a system. The system needs to be simple and effective. One of the best territory management systems is the funnel. A funnel allows a salesperson to track prospects and move them forward in the sales process.


The problem with most sales funnels is that they do not force the salesperson to take action. Prospects end up sitting in a salesperson's funnel until they close or the salesperson takes them out. A typical sales funnel is set up based on an individual prospect's status.


An effective funnel should force a salesperson to take action. The prospects should be added to the funnel, not based on what the salesperson has done, but where the prospect is in their buying process. If I meet with a prospect today and they tell me they are going to buy next week I need to treat them differently than a prospect who is going to buy twelve months from now. How often I see a prospect needs to be determined by when they are going to buy, not whether I have qualified or proposed them.


If a prospect is ready to buy right away then they need to be given more attention than a prospect that will not be buying for a long time. The problem is that most salespeople lose track of their prospects that are going to buy right away. The solution is to place your prospects in a funnel that assigns them priority based on when they are going to buy. Also included in the decision, is to place a priority level on a prospect by how qualified they are for your product. When you are managing your territory you should always strive to have a large number of prospects in your funnel that meet your minimum standards for investing a substantial amount of time. Listed below are some qualifiers for deciding on a prospect who meets your minimum standards:

Ø Revenue potential of the sale.

Ø Creditworthiness of the prospect.

Ø Where the buying decision will be made.

Listed below is a system for assigning value based on when a prospect, which meets your minimum standards, is going to buy.

Prospects Buying Time Frame Priority Assigned

Now to Three Months A

Three to Six Months B

Six Months to One Year C


The priority you assign a prospect determines the amount of time and attention you focus on that prospect. It can also help you determine the amount of internal resources you should allocate to the prospect. Eliminating prospects, which do not meet your minimum standards, from your funnel is critical.


Once you have assigned a priority to a prospect, it is easy to decide how often to see them. Let's go back to our closing ratio chart. If you see a qualified prospect a minimum of eleven times your closing ratio will be seventy five percent. Most major purchases in the United States have a minimum of a twelve-week selling cycle. The chart below outlines how often you should see a qualified prospect:

Priority of Prospect Frequency of face-to-face meetings

A Once per week

B Every other week

C Once per month

If you set these as your minimum standards then you are virtually guaranteed a seventy-five percent closing ratio.


I recently consulted with a company that sells telephone systems. In one of our first sales meetings we all agreed to the minimum standards for a qualified prospect, including potential revenue of $10,000. I then met with each salesperson to review their funnels. One of the first salespeople I met with was a young go-getter by the name of Marcus. Marcus came into our meeting extremely excited because he had worked hard to fill his funnel with accounts. He had fifty-three accounts in his funnel. The first thing I did was eliminate fifty-one of them. He only had two prospects in his funnel that had potential revenue of $10,000.

The good news for Marcus was that he now had time to concentrate on the two qualified prospects in his funnel. Two weeks later, he closed a large law firm for over two hundred thousand dollars in revenue.

As Marcus came to realize, if you focus on fewer, better-qualified accounts, your results will be much greater.

Marvin Himel has over 24 years of business and sales experience. Currently, Marvin is the president of Tiger Systems, a sales training company that specializes in the document imaging industry. To contact Marvin, call 904.242.9650, email