The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective


Archive for December, 2011

Christ’s birthday

Merry Christmas!  I trust you enjoyed a day of peace, hope and celebration with family and friends.  

Whatever our spiritual beliefs, may each of us find meaning to our life during this time in a way that lasts throughout the entire year. 

May we be of good cheer, too… 

A little boy received a new drum for Christmas.  Shortly thereafter, his father came home from work and the mother told him, “I don’t think the man upstairs likes to hear Georgie play his new drum, but he’s certainly subtle about it.  “How do you know”? asked the father.  “Well, this afternoon he gave Georgie a knife and asked him if he knew what was inside the drum.” 

                                  Herbert Prochnow 

May we not lose sight of our common sense:

On most brands of Christmas lights:

“For indoor or outdoor use only.” (As opposed to…what?)  

                   Unknown Sage 

May we be satisfied with who we are not just what we bought… 

You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are – no more, no less.  That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

                                  Matthew 5: Verse 4 

May we remember those less fortunate than us… 

Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.

                                  Charles Dickens 

May we remember why this is a holiday to begin with… 

How many observe Christ’s birthday; how few His precepts.  O ‘tis easier to keep a Holiday, than Commandments. 

                                  Benjamin Franklin 

And may God bless. 


Will you make Club?

For many of us, December means year-end and year-end means President’s Club; Quota Achievers; President’s Circle; or the like.  Annual quota attainment goes by many names in a sales professional’s world, true?  

My company announced 2011 President’s Club qualifiers last week.  My name wasn’t on the list.  Even though we have a couple of weeks left, I won’t make Club this year.  Will you?  No?  Stings, yes?  

After you’ve earned President’s Club recognition in your career, failing in any subsequent year stings.  But as you know, we compete for a living.  Adversity does not deter our commitment to sales success.  Last year was last year; we are ready to compete again every, new sales year as the score is reset to zero.  We know that: 

            Success isn’t permanent, and failure isn’t fatal. 

                                  Mike Ditka 

I believe sales professionals work for commissions – but we will “run through walls” for recognition.  And the best-of-the-best earn President’s Club recognition.  In fact, at one company I worked for, we put the number of Clubs we earned right on our business cards.  It was the unit of measure that meant the most to us.  

So, if we didn’t make Club in 2011, we will “strap it on” in 2012 and give it another go, yes?  We can do it too, because sales professionals understand the meaning of the word persistence.  We are professionally persistent in our cold-calling; we persist when competing for a deal; and we persist when we occasionally miss Club.  It separates the best-of-the-best from all of the rest: 

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful individuals with talent.  Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. 

                                  Calvin Coolidge 

Of course, there are those rare performers who earn President’s Club year in and year out.  I remember competing against such a person when I relocated to Denver in 1991.  It was the primary reason I was hired for the job.  Don Wall was Ceridian’s #1 sales rep for 26 straight years and never missed qualifying for their President’s Club.  Amazing!  It was known as Control Data then; I had also competed against that company going back to 1979 when it was known as the Service Bureau Corporation.  

I didn’t stop Don Wall’s string, but there was enough business for both of us to qualify for our Presidents’ Clubs.  He decided to retire two years after I moved in, his string of consecutive Clubs intact.  Mine, too. 

In recent years, quota attainment has been a bit more difficult, true?  Every year we set out to compete for Club.  And on those occasions when we fall a little short, it stings.  No, we don’t show it – we’re too proud.  We silently nurse our wounds, congratulate our colleagues who out-sold us, and quietly set our mind towards next year.  We are persistent, even in the face of adversity.  We are committed to achievement and personal success – it’s how a sales professional is “wired”. 

And after a successful 2012, when we are on the stage to receive our recognition, deep down inside we will tell ourselves we earned it by overcoming the adversity of 2011. 

            Adversity clarifies commitment.                  

                                  Gary A. Pokorn 

To our 2011 President’s Club colleagues – congratulations!  For the rest of us, 2012 can’t start soon enough. 


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What’s your “Why”?

Recently, I’ve noticed Business Leaders asking how to motivate their sales people.  (Seems that increasing our companies’ top line revenue vs. merely cutting costs is now in vogue – who’d a thought?) 

OK fellow sale people, all together now – LET’S GET MOTIVATED!  No?  Our “Why” doesn’t quite work that way?  What now?  It seems hard for Leaders to figure out how to motivate sales people, yes?  

Many say we shouldn’t need a “Why”; commission plans and money alone should be enough to motivate us.  Amazingly, this folklore remains popular even though study after study has shown that “money alone” doesn’t even make the Top 10 list of things that motivate sales people.  

Check out this YouTube clip: 


What’s that?  We have a different “Why”?  The carrot-stick leadership approach doesn’t work for cognitive, complicated endeavors?  Sales professionals want to earn “enough money” and then seek a self-directed opportunity to get better at our profession and pursue a purpose, not just a profit?  Who’d a thought? 

What’s your “Why”?  The successful sales professionals I know have a clear “Why” while wanna-be’s, don’t.  Having a strong “Why” is certainly not limited to the sales profession.  We might agree that purpose has a link to being self-directed; self-directed links to knowing our “Why”; and distance runners are an example that personifies people with a great “Why”.  

A friend of mine, Jacque, celebrated her 60th birthday recently.  She’s been a long distance runner for many years; runs for fun.  Who’d a thought?  Her children run, too.  Even her husband did back in the day.  Now he’s her biggest supporter. 

She recently ran a half-marathon in Denver, while her twenty-something year old daughter ran the full marathon.  Daughter’s time:  about 4 hours and 12 minutes.  Jacque’s best marathon time?  3:08 when she was in her thirties.  Oh, she pooh-poohs it now.  But her time is still a family best by over 20 minutes as compared to her husband in his prime; and an hour faster than her children!  Talk about a strong “Why” – how else could she run every morning often before the sun is up?  Yep, a clear “Why” and runs for fun – who’d a thought? 

Although I’m no runner, as a sales professional I have a clear “Why”; have some fun and make some money – in that order.  It has served me well for over three decades.  Of course, I welcome a little help in the motivation department from time to time – perhaps you remember my little ditty about facing Mondays?


And similar to distance runners, sales professionals are competitors, too.  In today’s tighter economy we have to be even tougher competitors to succeed.  Yet as professionals, we are motivated by a sense of mastery and we are willing to “put in the extra miles” to get better; to be more skilled; to be tougher; in order to win business.  

Like .300 hitters in baseball who earn acclaim even though they fail 7 times out of 10, sales professionals aren’t easily discouraged either.  It seems that our “Why” kicks in when we strike out.  We rely on our self-directed sense of purpose, perhaps like the great Leaders that came before us: 

Success is the ability to move from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. 

Winston Churchill 

Motivation?  I think our Business Leaders can put away their carrot and stick approach.  Connect to our “Why” and reinforce our “Will” and together we will all get to the desired “What”.                           


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Showing up and Throwing up…

You’re right – let’s chat about sales presentations.  

During our sales careers, we have often heard the cautionary statement, “don’t just show up and throw up”, haven’t we?  According to the accepted wisdom in our industry, when we just “show up and throw up” – we “blow up”. 

Clearly in our profession, sales presentations are a skills-based endeavor; but how do we avoid blowing up?  Lots of opinions and resources are available for this topic, aren’t there.  But whose opinions and examples are right?  Is there an expert?  We can always turn to Ben; 

Learn from the skillful:  He that teaches himself hath a fool for his master.

                                  Benjamin Franklin 

I’ve been invited to observe several of my fellow sales professionals recently on their presentation skills.  I’ve tried to coach them on how to avoid blowing up – but  who am I to say? 

We might all agree that effective sales presentations involve a high degree of individual style and personal preference.  And our styles and preferences are all very different from one another.  So at the risk of “throwing up” – and “blowing up” – permit me to offer two considerations, based on my own presentation explosion events over the years. 

If you haven’t practiced your presentation – they will notice. 

QUESTION:  When was the last time you practiced your presentation?  Yep – I’m talking about role-plays; in front of your peers; recorded on camera; the works.  Now, if we were an offensive guard for the Denver Broncos, we would practice our pass-blocking footwork over and over and over again, wouldn’t we?  We would review the film of our practices with our coach, too. And if we didn’t, our lack of preparation would be obvious on game day, as our opponent “blows us up”.  Is our sales profession any less professional than professional football? 

SOAPBOX WARNING:  It’s one of my biggest “pet-peeves”.  (Of course, my pet peeves are not important, really; I’m just another sales guy.)  But, if we are not practicing our sales presentations with a teammate, manager, or at least to our dog – then we are practicing on our prospects.  And their pet peeves are important.  Oh, they won’t offer us feedback for improvement.  Nope, they’ll just keep their opinions – and their purchases – to themselves. 

If you have 2-hours of content prepared for a 1 hour meeting – don’t try to talk faster. 

We have all been in this situation before, right?  The prospect cuts our allotted time; we scheduled a 2-hour appointment, but when we showed up they said they have to leave early.  So we tried to sell faster, didn’t we:

 “OK, Mr. Prospect.  Buckle up, please.  Hold your questions.  Better have some more coffee…” 

And my favorite icing on the Meeting-Time-Mismanagement-Cake is when the sales rep adds, “You probably will never use this, but I wanted to show it to you anyway”.  (What?  Is that the sound of a presentation blowing up in the background?  I smell gun powder – you?) 

Oh, there’s much, much more we could add.   But that would move this from a brief discussion to a “throw up” (and “blow up”).  Permit me to summarize with a sales presentation best practice offered by my favorite source – the Unknown Sage: 

            If a thing goes without saying, let it. 

So, before we have to call the Bomb Squad, let’s all defuse our sales presentations with a commitment to practicing them ahead of time, coupled with an excellent approach to time management, yes?  


Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective©  Please check it out Subscribe.