TheQuoteGuys

The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective

Connect

Posts Tagged ‘Tenacity’

A matter of degree…

The Vice President of my department likes to say all sales people are all competitive.  I agree with her.  Although, I believe there are degrees of competitiveness among me and my brethren.  Not everyone is an “alpha”:

In studies of social animals, the highest ranking individual is sometimes referred to as the alpha.  Males, females, or both, can be alphas, depending on the species. 

Wikipedia

I was thinking about competitiveness and alphas while watching the recent NBA finals.  It was the night that the Warriors beat the Raptors by one point in Toronto – the night that Kevin Durant returned from being out for a month only to tear his Achilles tendon.

When KD’s injury occurred, others had to rise to the occasion.  If you watched the game, who did you think had the highest degree of competitiveness?  The Warriors’ “Splash Brothers” (Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson)?  The Raptors Kawhi Leonard?  Did you think of Steve Kerr as being the alpha?  Did you know that prior to this season Steve Kerr was already an eight time NBA Champion?

Wikipedia’s definition of an alpha states it’s the “highest ranking” individual.  In competitive situations, we sometimes think of an alpha as the most dominant player, true?  The degree of Steve Kerr’s competitiveness certainly does not come across as dominant; anything but.

I enjoy the intellectual discussion of competition; dominance; greatness; and success.  So many individuals and so many great stories come to mind.  I bet you have your favorite example.  I doubt Steve Kerr is on it.  Maybe he learned from an all-time great alpha in Chicago.

No, I’m not speaking about Michael Jordan.  MJ was certainly an all-time, dominant NBA player; one of my favorites.  But he wasn’t the alpha of the Chicago Bulls.  Just like Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal were not the alphas on the LA Lakers; although their battle for dominance seemed the dominant storyline.

IMHO, the all-time alpha in the NBA was Phil Jackson.  I believe it takes an alpha to coach (or manage) dominant players.  You know, Phil was not Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, or Shaquille O’Neal’s first coach.  But he was the first – and only – coach for all of their NBA championships.

To be sure – Phil has a dominant resume!

2 NBA championships as a player for the New York Knicks

6 championships as the coach of the Chicago Bulls

5 championships as the coach of the LA Lakers

Oh, and 1 Continental Basketball Association championship as the coach of the Albany Patroons

I have a little experience in managing competitive people.  Not as much as Steve Kerr or Phil Jackson mind you.  I was a good sales manager, but learned during my 6 years with two different companies that there are degrees of competitiveness among salespeople.

As a front line sales manager I led teams of dominant personalities.  Don’t get me wrong; their ability and their individual accomplishments were awesome!   In one case their sales performance likely saved one small, family owned company; and in the other they led me to the sales manager of the year recognition for a huge, international company.

It’s very challenging to manage people possessing heightened degrees of competitiveness.  I tried and might have succeeded to be the alpha among them.  But I tired of their continuous battle for dominance; with me; and among their peers.

I admire the abilities, patience, and personas of Steve Kerr and Phil Jackson before him – alphas among dominant performers for sure.

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my past posts too: www.TheQuoteGuys.com

A 20-minute window…

Posted Jun 5 2019 by in True North with 0 Comments

Tough topic tonight.  If you’re not up for it, now is a good time to bail – it’s OK.

If you have read me before you know that I believe there is peace and power in maintaining a positive perspective.  I believe positive perspectives are a gift we give to those around us.  And I know remaining positive in the face of life’s tragedies can be too much to ask.  Today, permit me to write about those who can’t.

There are many things that are people’s worst nightmare.  It’s certainly personal.  Among life’s list of terrible tragedies is teenage suicide.  That nightmare struck a friend and colleague of mine earlier this year.  It caught him and his family by total surprise – there was not a single early indication; not a single clue; his teenage son seemed totally normal in every way.  But he wasn’t.  Or was he?

According to the first part of this article published in Sales Marketing Magazine “What managers can do about suicide” (link):

…in 2016, suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34

Paul Nolan

Let that sink in for a moment… the second leading cause of death among our young people; as young as 10 years old.

The article goes on to cite additional, startling statistics, trends, and opinions but the conclusion offered is suicides are increasing and no one knows exactly why; nor exactly what the rest of us can do about it.

If isolation is a potential cause as some mental health experts suggest, then let’s at least start talking about this tough topic; let’s be more focused on our family, friends and co-workers; let’s add humanity back into our technology-laden world.

It won’t be easy in our daily multi-tasking, cell phone, app, texting world of distractions.   We will have to pay closer attention.  According to Susan Lindau a practicing therapist and adjunct professor at the University of Southern California who specializes in suicide and quoted in the article:

For many people in crisis, Lindau says, the most important thing is to get through a 20-minute window when they are the most tempted to end their lives. If they can reach out to family, friends or a co-worker and get through that moment, the pain won’t disappear, but they have much better odds of coming through the other side and moving toward treatment and recovery.

I know we all worry about many mortal risks.  Lord knows, the news media and our elected officials keep terrorism front and center.  But look at the comparisons.

According to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism as published in Wikipedia (link), in 2016 there were 64 terror incidents resulting in 68 deaths and 139 injuries.  By comparison in 2016, there were 44,965 deaths by suicide.

44,965 vs. 68

I didn’t know that.

Our country’s fight against terrorism includes the popular phrase “see something – say something”.  Let’s use the same approach at work, home, and among friends.  Let us all commit to pay closer attention to the moods of those around us.  If they seem to be acting “different”, let’s take a moment for a caring “check in”.  “How are you doing?”  “Things OK?”  “Let’s talk.”

It’s a 20 minute window. We can spare 20 minutes, can’t we?  If we can help them get through that moment there is hope.  They may reconsider; seek professional help; chose life over death.

See something?  Say something – please!

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my past posts too: www.TheQuoteGuys.com

Pretending…

Before we get started permit me to say for the record, I don’t know.  I hope you find such an admission does not make me a pretender:

To know that you do not know is the best. 

Lao-Tsu

I met Bob Perkins earlier this month.  He is the Founder & CEO of the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (www.aa-isp.org ).  Sales and the month of March remind me basketball (which I wrote about recently “Coaching” ).

Basketball is very popular in Denver this year. Fans are hopeful the Denver Nuggets are contenders; not pretenders.  I don’t know if they are, but the debate reminds me of my hometown team – the Chicago Bulls.  Perhaps not the Bulls you might be thinking of:

Former NBA center and coach Johnny Kerr said his biggest test as a coach came when he coached the then-expansion team the Chicago Bulls and his biggest player was 6’8″ Erwin Mueller.

We had lost seven in a row and I decided to give a psychological pep talk before a game with the Celtics, Kerr said.  I told Bob Boozer to go out and pretend he was the best scorer in basketball.  I told Jerry Sloan to pretend he was the best defensive guard.  I told Guy Rodgers to pretend he could run an offense better than any other guard, and I told Erwin Mueller to pretend he was the best rebounding, shot-blocking, scoring center in the game.  We lost the game by 17.

I was pacing around the locker room afterward trying to figure out what to say when Mueller walked up, put his arm around me, and said, “Don’t worry about it Coach.  Just pretend we won.” 

James S. Hewett

It took a while, but my Chicago Bulls ultimately morphed from pretenders to contenders and then champions, true?  The key to their success?  I don’t know.  Many simplify the answer to “Michael Jordan”.  In reality however, the Detroit Pistons pounded Jordan into submission before Phil Jackson was hired as the Bulls’ head coach.  Was the “Zen Master” the difference?  I don’t know.

There are pretenders in my profession.  Bob Perkins is not one of them – he and his organization are authentic.  Inside sales; aka telephone sales; lead-generation; cold-calling; smiling and dialing… it is one tough job.  Pounding the phones day-in and day-out?  It pounds the pretenders into submission and out of the profession quickly.

Bob Perkins and his organization (started 20 years ago) have stepped in to help.  I don’t know, but I believe pretenders can become contenders and ultimately champions if they have the essential elements and get a little help.  What are the essential elements?  I don’t know – maybe it’s selling to the right audience:

The best audience is intelligent, well-educated and a little drunk. 

Alben W. Barkley

What’s “a little help”?  I don’t know.

Bob shared his opinions.  He has certainly been front and center witnessing all of the technology “advances” over the past 20 years; salesforce automation systems; CRM; integrated dialers; predictive analytics.  There has been an endless stream of technology product peddlers peddling technology as “the answer” to effective cold-calling.  Will technology help pretenders become contenders?

Bob’s response was, “I don’t think so”.  After being immersed with inside sales; automation; and technology trends for 20 years; Bob suggested the future will actually be “humanization”… putting sales professionals – real people – properly trained and continuously coached – back into the profession.

Is that the path from pretenders to contenders?  I don’t know… but I certainly hope so.

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my past posts too: www.TheQuoteGuys.com

Coaching…

March reminds me of basketball; and basketball, reminds me of coaching.  Coaching – personally and professionally – makes a difference.

March is full of basketball news and events.  The NCAA even copyrighted the title of their men’s Division I tournament, “March Madness” ©!  Fans apply that slogan to other NCAA divisions; women’s teams; and even associate March to the NBA regular season wind-down to their playoffs (a marathon that actually begins in April and ends sometime during the next NFL season) because:

Overkill is underrated. 

Col. John “Hannibal” Smith

The A-Team

This (if you’ve seen the movie) was spoken by a leader, and a coach, who believed in the power of a plan.  By I digress.

I’ve been blessed in my life from the guidance and grit I’ve received from coaches.  In basketball, Harley Knosher; Bud Johnston; Larry Wiley; and others too numerous to name coached me and helped me get better.  Bearing in mind, I was already pretty good – they still helped me get better.  I adopted this experience in my “elevator pitch” today; I help others get better at what they already do best.

Not that all sports analogies work out well:

Golfer Tommy Bolt is known for his sweet swing and foul temper.  While giving a clinic to a group of amateurs, Bolt tried to show his softer side by involving his 14-year old son in the lesson.  “Show the nice folks what I taught you”, said Bolt.  His son obediently took a 9-iron, cursed, and hurled it into the sky. 

Thomas Roswell

Nevertheless, I have benefited greatly from coaching in my personal and professional life.  Unlike basketball, when I started out in the sales profession, I didn’t know anything about anything.  Sales is what we do when we can’t do anything else.  No one has the aspiration, “Damn the rejection – I’m cold calling!”

So when I couldn’t do anything else, yet at a young age needed to provide for my wife (married at 20) and family (fatherhood at 23), I turned to sales, “Damn the rejection – give me a phone!”

Frank Justo coached me in my early days, “You better speak up or your prospect will throw you out …” Rob Denkewalter too, “Stop frowning when you present or your prospect will throw you out…”  Their coaching helped “me” get ready to face “them” – the prospects.

I’ve had coaches my entire career.  Nick Ryder; Tony Marabotti; Jim Anderson; Teah Bennett; and many others too numerous to name.  To this day they help me think about me.

I say all that to offer context on this; Integrity Solutions Research Brief.  The bad news?  Their research suggests when it comes to coaching in the sales profession – we suck.

The good news?  They offer us a starting place to improve:

The aspect that is rarely discussed is not a sales rep’s skillset but their mindset. Do your salespeople have limited, negative thinking that’s getting in their way? People need to change their thinking first in order to change their behavior. Almost every training program misses this critical point and therefore fails to help coaches develop this important aspect of performance. Helping to improve the conversations that they have with prospects and clients is important. However, the conversations that they have with themselves are just as important and too frequently overlooked when it comes to coaching.

Regardless of your athletic, academic, personal or professional situation; what conversations are you having with you?  Who’s helping you get better at what you already do best?

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my past posts too: www.TheQuoteGuys.com

Who’s tougher than you?

Spoken as a verbal tag line by “Lou from Littleton”, former radio sports talk show personality on the airwaves of Denver and beyond (“FIFTY THOUSAND WATTS OF POWER – 850 KOA – THE BLOW TORCH!”).

Lou’s real name is Tom Manoogian.  He was one of my favorite radio personalities – his distinctive verbal style originating from Detroit; catchy clichés; a Broncos homer; soft on his callers (referred to everyone as “cous” as in cousin); tough on company B.S.  How tough?  He left the broadcasting booth at KOA to buy a competing radio station so he could call the shots; do things his way.

Imagine if our remedy for office B.S. was to simply buy another company.  We can all agree that office B.S. is tough. But any job; families; friendships; relationships; politics; life in general are tough too.  Just about everything is competitive these days.  That’s OK – we’re tough enough:

I’ve been up against tough competition all my life.  I wouldn’t know how to get along without it. 

Walt Disney

Everyone dreams; for a few, dreams come true – if we’re tough enough.

While Lou was on the air, he made his callers feel so comfortable that they often related personal tales about overcoming adversity.  Sports challenges, for sure; but also stories of life’s trials and tribulations we all face sooner or later; less or more.  And if the caller was “J.K.” and J.K. had a story to share about overcoming adversity, at the end Lou would always add, “Who’s tougher than J.K.?” as testimony to J.K.’s triumph!

Lou applied his, “Who’s tougher than…” to sports stories of the day.  Comeback victories; beating the odds; under dogs slaying prohibitive favorites; any and all tales of victory; punctuated by Lou’s, “Who’s tougher than x, y, or z?”  Verbalized with gusto; articulated slowly; every syllable over emphasized. “WHO’S…TOUGH…ER…THAN!”

I thought of Lou from Littleton the other day on my drive home from the airport.  Actually it wasn’t “day”, it was night; actually, it wasn’t “night”, it was one o’clock in the morning.  Up for 19 hours, I wasn’t even home yet.  And of course, I was scheduled for a 9:00 a.m. meeting.  That’s what Road Warriors do.  I’m out of practice.

I used to be a Road Warrior back in the day.  Thirty years ago, these marathon work days occurred every week.  I never gave it much thought, other than “hang tough”; “just making a living”; “all-in for the big bucks”; “makin’ the donuts”; “who’s TOUGH…ER…THAN”.  Others may have lighter work schedules; but just about everyone has tough times of one kind or another, true?

Tough times don’t last; tough people do. 

Mike Shanahan

You’re right; many of us endure hardships at work and at home without ever taking off on a plane.  Many of us have to be tough just to make it to the end of a day; just to make it home; just to make ends meet.  So how do we get through?  Where does toughness originate?

Well, recognizing life’s struggles for what they are is a good place to start.  Having the right attitude goes a long way to getting us to the end of each day.  Associating with the right associates helps too:

Stick with the optimists.  It’s going to be tough enough even if they’re right.

James Reston

So, here’s to you and to your tough mindedness.  Here’s to your shear will power to overcome adversity.  Whether you call into the radio station or not; WHO’S TOUGHER THAN YOU!

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my past posts too: www.TheQuoteGuys.com

Impossible …

What do you believe is impossible?  Developing a cure for cancer at one end; or the common cold at the other?  Space travel?  At an individual level – losing weight; quit smoking; getting out of debt; finding happiness?

In the book, Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea©, the main character said this about the “impossible”:

Working on the bottom of the deep ocean wasn’t impossible, it was only considered impossible… Other people labeled things impossible not because they couldn’t be done, but because no one was doing them… Realizing that impossibility dwelt only in the imagination was the gateway to a new world of thinking… 

Gary Kinder

OK, he suggests the difference between impossible and possible starts with our belief.   Then a “new world of thinking” can emerge that will lead us to overcome the impossible.  Thinking – systematically; specifically; in ways others have not thought – yet.  Lewis Thomas, President of the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute said this:

A good way to tell how the work is going is to listen in the corridors.  If you hear the word “Impossible!” spoken as an expletive, followed by laughter, you will know that someone’s orderly research plan is coming along nicely.

It seems that the path beyond impossible requires dedication and great optimism.  Not some pie-eyed, there’s no place like home, close your eyes and click your heels type of optimism.  But a mindset grounded on a pragmatic process of thinking things through while avoiding the pitfalls of theoretical debates:

Green’s Law of Debate

Anything is possible if you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Unknown Sage

In The Path Between the Seas © David McCullough details at great length how prior generations thought of building impossible, man-made monuments, of momentous proportions.   He writes about their new world of thinking; of overcoming obstacles, known and unknown, not the least of which was discovering the cause of and then the treatment for malaria.  Many thought building the Panama Canal was impossible.  Until someone figured out how to build it.

What about today?  Are we enamored with geo-mechanical monuments?  Do our beliefs center around advanced technology; the Internet-of-Things; driverless cars; and drone-delivered pizzas?  What about the Dark Web; spyware; invasive-ware; and other malware – are those “advanced”?

Will we ever center our beliefs (and our resources) on people vs. things?  Mental illness; poverty; homelessness; addictions… can enough money, energy, and commitment ever be harnessed to address these humankind challenges?  Or do we believe finding those solutions is impossible?

No matter which impossible endeavor we chose to address it’s always better when we have support from our family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, fellow Americans, or just our boss, true?  But if we are going to overcome the impossible, we need that support early; at the darkest most difficult point in our journey:

Clarke’s Law of Revolutionary Ideas

Every revolutionary idea — in Science, Politics, Art or Whatever — evokes three stages of reaction. They may be summed up by the three phrases:

It is completely impossible — don’t waste my time.

It is possible, but it is not worth doing.

I said it was a good idea all along.

Unknown Sage

In 2019, what do you believe is worth doing?  Can it be done?  Or is it impossible because no one is doing it – yet?

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

Robert Schuller

Indeed.  What impossible feat would we all do for those we know; for those we don’t; for those in need?

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my past posts too: www.TheQuoteGuys.com

Smells like money…

Denver’s National Western Stock Show & Rodeo closed out its 113th consecutive year last weekend.  If you’ve never been, it’s definitely a must see.  I love being around western folk; American pride; tradition; and the values derived from hard work.  I love the smell of the barn.  For me, it’s motivational when dealing with the stress of today’s “modern” society.

I have written before about my favorite ritual when immersed in the tensions of life’s highs and lows; successes and failures – shoveling horse manure.  Yep, shoveling horse manure (in the pasture, not at the office) really has a calming effect on me.  I know most folks have a different ritual or approach when dealing with their ups and downs.

Nonetheless, business professionals can gain great benefit from ranchers, farmers, cowboys, English riders, and livestock.  For instance, if you own or even lease a horse, you know how motivational it can be.  Thinking about the price of hay alone gets me up and at ‘em in the morning!  Serves me right, I suppose, for ignoring the advice of our favorite, Unknown Sage who tells us:

Seymore’s Investment Principle:

Never invest in anything that eats.

And my corollary:

GAP‘s Reaction to Seymore’s Investment Principle:

Never buy anything that eats while you sleep.

Horses – smells like money alright.  Better get up and go sell somebody something today!

Speaking of sales, understanding a horse’s behavior is also beneficial to our profession because our prospects act a lot like horses.  For instance, if we’re not careful, we can spook our prospects.  And when we do, they cut and run and we never seem to catch them again, do we.  Spooking, aka “No decision”, is our biggest competitor.

I believe prospects act a lot like herd animals.  They shy from sales people and fear being “cut-out from the herd”, yes?  You probably have faced every excuse in the book when a prospect does not want to meet with you 1-on-1, even for a straight-forward; 30-minute; business conversation.

I was working with a team of sales professionals recently and suggested that even a prospect’s objections can have herd characteristics.  First, the prospect objects to our proposed price; then they don’t like our contract language; then it’s our payment terms; and then they want to delay order placement.  Before you know it we get stampeded by a whole herd of objections!

We can learn a lot from English style, hunter-jumper riders, too.  If you’ve ever watched those riders you know that as they approach each jump, they reach a critical, “Go” or “No Go” point, before the horse must leap.

Indecision on the part of the rider or the horse (or a prospect) can lead to a “train wreck”.  It’s another cross-over example of the great benefit sales professionals and business leaders can gain from horses:

Half the failures of this world in life arise from pulling in one’s horse as he is leaping.

Julius and Augustus Hare

Of course, western pleasure style riders don’t usually mix well with English style riders.  Come from different herds I suppose.  But whether western or English, it’s the horses, not the riding style; we learn important business lessons from.  If you are a sales leader and hear one of your sales reps complain about the difficulties of making his/her quota; their problems with a prospect; or pain they feel from losing a deal; you might offer this equestrian-oriented advice:

Cowboy-Up!

Or if you prefer:

English-Up!

Perseverance – like manure – smells like money.

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my past posts too: www.TheQuoteGuys.com

Highs and lows …

Welcome to the New Year!  Does this “new year” feel a lot like “last year”?  And if last year wasn’t a “great year”, what will that do to our outlook?  It can be easy to find oneself in a rut, true?  Ruts present us with the proverbial crossroad:

The only difference between a rut and a grave is depth.

Unknown Sage

One option is to work our way out of said rut.  Yes, yes, often easier said than done.

On the other hand, was last year your best year ever?  Did you experience an unbelievably successful event?  The highest of highs?  Getting too jacked up on something can also have detrimental impacts.  I mean, not every year can top the previous year forever, can it?  Besides, we may have been more lucky than good:

Successful people are incredibly delusional about their achievements.  Over 95 percent of the members in most successful groups believe that they perform in the top half of their group.  While this is statistically ridiculous, it is psychologically real. 

Marshall Goldsmith

Even when we truly are that good, if we’re not careful past success can put us on a road towards failure:

I once heard someone joke that the road to success is marked with many tempting parking places. 

Harvey Mackay

Finding that channel between being too low and too high seems to be the key to continued success don’t you think?  Steady improvement; balance; long-term growth; patience and persistence in the face of occasional set-backs; that’s what many strive to maintain.

Sometimes we find this channel only after navigating through a few detours:

Principles of success

  • Everyone has a scheme for getting rich that will not work.
  • When in doubt, mumble. When in trouble, delegate.
  • Whatever you have done is never a complete failure. It can always serve as a bad example.
  • When the going gets tough, everyone leaves.
  • In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
  • It’s a simple task to make things complex, but a complex task to make them simple.
  • If you try to please everybody, nobody will like it. 

Unknown Sage

Yes, life has many ups and downs.  And if you believe as I do that both success and failure are indeed unavoidable in our life’s journey, then that begs the question, “What do we do about it?”

Perhaps a few thoughts about ritual and/or alternative action would be worthwhile.  Permit me to offer examples.

When I find myself too wound up or too wound down my favorite, alternative action is to head to the corral.  There is something about being around horses that calms me.  Others may put on their running shoes and head out for a long run.  Going to the range and hitting a few hundred golf balls might be your preferred action.  Maybe praying in church or meditating restores calm and confidence.  Whatever your preference, what’s most important I think is to have a strategy for addressing life’s twists and turns.

My college basketball coach and life mentor offers this example about one of his rituals:

My frustrations or overwhelming joy were taken out scrubbing the kitchen floor.

Harley Knosher

And yes, there were times during our basketball season that Harley’s kitchen floor was spotless!  I won’t say whether that was due to our victories or our defeats.  Such is the nature of competition – in sports; in business; in life; agreed?  But he had this and other alternative actions to help him deal with life’s highway.

What are yours?

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my past posts too: www.TheQuoteGuys.com

Bulldozers…

I was speaking with a manager recently; small talk mostly; family; friends; current events.  With the age of his children, he is more tuned into today’s primary and secondary education systems than I am.  (My wife and I have to rely on the Google Machine whenever we help our second grade grandson with his math homework.  How did we ever make it to this century!!!?)

Anyway, the manager was describing today’s trend of parental “participation” in their children’s schools.  It used to be referred to as “helicopter moms” or “helicopter dads”.  You know, hovering over their children and their children’s teachers and their children’s coaches; “helping” their sons and daughters succeed; risk of failure was not an option.

And just when we thought things could not get worse… he tells me today’s trend is “bulldozing parents”; not simply hovering, guiding, influencing.  No – today, many parents actually do the school work for their sons and daughters.  Today, they’re trying to bulldoze the risk of failure out of the equation altogether.

But will it work?  Will today’s grade schoolers and high schoolers become successful adults if their parents are “bulldozers”?  I guess we will find out in the future when they encounter their first hardship solo.  In the 21st century, do you think we can still learn from Attila the Hun?

Huns learn much faster when faced with adversity.

Wess Roberts

In the meantime, when these young ones enter today’s workforce, what will happen to them sans bulldozer parents?  As sales managers, what lessons cross over into the business world from our modern education (and parental) systems?

I was speaking with a sales director friend of mine recently – he likes to check in from time to time; he thinks “the old guy can still hunt”.  We were discussing front line sales management and the “principles of gravitational pull.”

He said he sees many sales managers working extra hard trying to help their under-performing sales reps.  A common phenomenon, true?  When I asked what extra hard work he sees sales managers performing with (or for) their under-performers… his testimony was predictable; “Well, they help their under-performers on sales calls…”  And there it stands – hidden in plain view – the gravitational pull of sales managers “jumping in” to rescue a deal they fear their under-performers would otherwise lose – “Bulldozing”.

The stark reality about under-performers – which research after research continues to confirm is – they aren’t going to make it.  The sales manager’s time is best invested with their top performers.  When the under-performers don’t make it, the sales managers’ “bulldozing” yields a handful of deals and lots of open positions (temporarily occupied or not):

Among the chief worries of today’s business executives is the large number of unemployed still on the payrolls. 

Unknown Sage

Easy for me to blog about – extremely hard to do in the “real world”… but IMHO rather than “bulldozing”, when a sales manager is in the field with an under-performing sales rep, the manager has to allow the rep to fail; even if it means losing the deal.  It’s what happens after the sales rep fails that counts:

It seems to me that the largest impediment to a healthy attitude toward failure is our inability to distinguish between just plain being stupid and failing on the way to great success. 

Unknown Sage

Bulldozers are commonly used to start construction projects.  But they are long gone before that project is successfully completed.  Failing to move the bulldozers out of the way would be plain stupid.

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my past posts too: www.TheQuoteGuys.com

123118…ABC

Code?  No.  123118 is the last day of the year; aka the last day to “hit our number” for anyone not on an alternative fiscal year.  The countdown to midnight; to accelerate our accelerators (maybe, to keep our job).

ABC?

ABC: Always be closing. Telling’s not selling. 

2000 Drama Boiler Room

Please tell us your favorite “sales-closing” story.

Here are two of mine.

I worked with a seasoned sales professional years ago at Integral Systems.  He needed this one last deal to exceed his number and qualify for Club.  His prospect was in New York and he started with the old “camp-out-close” – showing up at their office without an appointment; determined to see his prospect; camped out until he did; needed to close the deal.  The prospect played along.

Unfortunately after agreeing to meet, his prospect wasn’t budging any further as my colleague tried every “ABC” tactic he knew – an extra discount; lenient contract terms; even an opt-out, side letter (unacceptable by today’s revenue recognition standards, but a common “last resort” back then).  At the end of a short but spirited interaction between the sales rep and his prospect, the “because-it’s-my-day” close was born.  It likely went something like this:

Prospect:  “I’m sorry, but as I told you; our plan is to finalize our vendor selection in January.  Why should I buy from you today?”

Sales Rep:  “Well Sir; because today is my day; and you have an opportunity to make today a special day for me.  Some day it will be your day; and when that day arrives, someone will have the opportunity to make that day a special day for you.  But today is my day and that’s why you should buy today.”

And his prospect did!

And then there’s the variation of the “because-it’s-my-day” close, I call the “me-or-my-successor” close:

As a sales professional, I carried a quota for over 40 years.  And I can remember my 2nd quota year as clearly as any.  You see, in my first year, I was more lucky than good.  That led to a promotion, and a hefty quota increase for my second year – I was in over my head.

After 26 weeks into my 2nd year, I was put on a “performance warning”.  At the 39th week, the Vice President of Sales was asking my Sales Manager to fire me.  Since my company had chosen to proactively promote me (perhaps a bit prematurely) at the start of the year, I asked my Sales Manager to give me 52 weeks to sell my annual quota.

We agreed that at the end of the 52nd week, if I was still below 100%, I would resign.  At the end of my 51st week, I was at 75% and significantly behind the required sales dollars necessary to keep my job.  However, I had been working hard on a very large account.

I called the executive at my prospect and asked, “Do you think you will accept our proposal?”  “Yes”, was his response.  “Excellent, thank you!”  I reacted.  And then I added, “Do you think you could place your order this week?”  When my prospect asked why, I said, “Because if you place your order next week, it will be with my successor.”

And at the 52nd weekly sales meeting, with the Vice President of Sales in attendance, I “roll-called” the second largest deal in the Region’s history; finished my 2nd year at exactly 100% of my quota; and kept my job.

123118… “ABC” everyone, “ABC”.  Bon chance!

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website too: www.TheQuoteGuys.com