Am I in Bizarro World

June 6, 2011

Is Good to Have So Few Good Salespeople

The 80/20 Rule

We have all heard, and accepted it:
• 80% of our sales comes from 20% of our salespeople
• 80% of our sales comes from 20% of our accounts
• 80% of our business should come from 20% of our accounts

Over the past 16 years, I have trained on average about 1,000 people per year. My experience or exposure to salespeople comes from research, teaching and coaching the people in these sales and management training sessions. I would have to say that it is the exception when somebody stands out enough vs. their peers. There are very few Lebron James’ out there. Those that are a sight to behold.

So, I wonder why companies aren’t investing more in:
• training their sales people and managers?
• coaching them?
• better hiring practices?

or something/anything that will improve this ratio and the performance of their sales people or sales team?

I don’t think I am in Bizarro world (the anti-world in Superman comic books where the earth was square, people read backwards, people ate dinner for breakfast and complimented each other by saying unkind things). I believe the world I am experiencing is representative of the norm. I work with all kinds of companies, some at the top of their industry and some new, fledgling (nice word) or struggling.

So I ask again, why don’t companies invest more in:
– training their people?
– coaching them?
– better hiring practices?

I think running a sales force is like running an athletic team. And the best teams practice the plays they have to run to win most often. I DON’T SEE THIS HAPPENING and I wonder why? Maybe they think:

• it is too expensive
• too time consuming
• too tedious
• the people they manage don’t want to spend the time
• people are too spread out
• or spread thin
• or don’t eat enough (only kidding)
• that it is good to have so few people produce (like Bizarro world)
• building a team with some superstars and the rest supporting them is OK

Still, are these good enough reasons? I don’t think so. I have always understood the value of good selling, but never more so than when I started my own business. The POWER of good selling can overcome product and marketing deficiencies. I have sold some of the biggest companies in the world, competed with some of the most powerful companies under these conditions and excelled!

It is nice to have the best product and territory, but I have always believed that if you have:
• a good product
• a good territory
• a good economy
• and you are an excellent salesperson

then the only thing limiting you is you!

What do you think?


Sales People Need Lie Detectors

June 3, 2011

It might be that the past is a blur and I don’t remember it as vividly as current events, or am I getting older and more mature (ha), but it does seem to me that people are outright avoiding and/or lying more. And not only people who you would expect this from (people who don’t know you), but people you think would respect you enough to be more honest. Customers of mine confirmed that they are having the same challenges

Before I give you what I think the real answer is, here are some examples:

1) I spoke to a VP of Sales on March who I have known for years. We are business acquaintances. Not close by any stretch but respectful of each other. He told me he would like to discuss doing some work together but it would have to be after his user group in May. Thinking he was serious about his desire to work together, I suggested I could come to the user group to observe, and, I would offer my services at no charge if he paid my T+E. He said, no thanks, too late in planning the event. OK, so I called him the other day and he tells me he hired a “really senior guy” who will be handling things internally, and, by the way, HE WAS A REAL HIT AT THE user group meeting. Huh??????? So what is the story. Was he lying, evading, avoiding, using me in case nothing better came along, putting out feelers in case this guy didn’t get hired? Should I have qualified him further by asking “what could prevent this from occurring? Or was he just being a dick?

2) A client spoke to a VP she has worked successfully with before who wants to bring her in for a new company he is working at. He lobbies to do so, introduces her to people, has her send a proposal and then doesn’t respond to any attempts to discuss the proposal. After many attempts, he finally tells her that the requirements have changed to a more internal requirement. HUH??? Why not just respond to one of the requests to talk vs. evade and then bring the bad news. Is he just being nice? Is he embarrassed? Is there something my customer could have done differently but isn’t telling her? Is he a High iS behavior style and doesn’t want to hurt her feelings? Does he want to avoid a conflict? Is he TOO BUSY to respond? What the …..?

I think the reason is far more pervasive than these stories. Our culture is creating an environment where people are too busy, too fearful, too self-centered and the need for common courtesy is being thrown out the door. The new decorum is to evade, not respond at all, email, text or lie. This is a shame. Fortunately, there are still plenty more people who are honest, respectful and civil.

I guess one has to hone their skills and adjust their mind set to dig even deeper than you normally do, even with people you trust. Ask more questions to really qualify how real an opportunity is and how interested a prospect is to work with you. Two of my favorite questions are 1) to ask what could prevent this from occurring and 2) on a scale of 1-10 (10 being most important) where does the project we are discussing stand. You can also ask where the prospect stands on pursuing things. Finally, test their words with commitment for a few next steps.

TW3 – That Was The Week That Was

May 27, 2011

It was a week of mixed emotions and results:
– trained people in the 2 greatest nations on earth who are responsible for spreading democracy (US and UK) via VIDEO
– taught one of my customers how to apply 5 winning strategies to a specific initiative they have
– worked with another client in further defining their winning sales process
– had meetings for 3 prospective opportunities
– had another 2 reschedule
– GOT MY PROPOSAL for another book I am writing to be approved (watch out John Grisham and Jeffrey Gitomer)
– Did a lot of 1:1 COACHING
Lost a deal and saved a deal
– Counseled several people on their jobs and what they should do
– Worried a lot about a particular opportunity

– watched the Heat take it to the Bulls
– almost saw Thor
– had lunch with my daughter
– my other daugher is coming to visit with my son-in-law
– talked to an old friend who is getting married
– am watching the entire series of “Monk”
– looking looking for a rescue dog that doesn’t shed

Moral to the Week:
– use video
– help people when you can
– if you cant be with the one you love, love the one your with
– sales is like sports. Sometimes you have slumps and you have to fight through them till you are putting the ball in the hall and some wood on the ball.

Sales Statistics

May 26, 2011

Selling and Statistics

In any sport or endeavor, there are statistics to tell you how well you are doing or what you need to focus on.
For example, in baseball there is:
– Batting average to tell you how many hits you get in relation to how many at bats
– RBI’s for how many runs you bat in
– RISP (runs in scoring position) to see if you are effective with runners on 2nd or 3rd
– OBP for On Base percentage
– Fielding % to see how good a fielder you are
– SLG for Slugging % which is a popular measure of the power of a hitter. It is calculated as total bases divided by at bats
– LOB – how many runners did an individual or team leave on base and not score

Sales has its statistics as well. Here are a few:
– Close Ratio
– Ramp time
– Average sales cycle
– Average deal size
– GPM for measuring margin
– MRR for monthly recurring revenue
– % of forecast to determine how well you are doing against your quota

I would like to suggest stat’s that are more relevant or need to be focused on more:
1. WLR – Win/Loss ratio – how many deals are won or lost once a proposal is submitted
2. N:E – New/Existing – how many deals are won in brand new opportunities vs. existing clients or relationships? Can you and your team sell well when you don’t have any prior experience with a company or individual
3. CL – Confidence Level – how confident is the individual? How high or low is the salesperson’s confidence to win business
4. SweetSpot – what is your sweetspot and what is your win/loss ratio with deals that are inside or outside of your sweetspot
5. RU Resource Utilization – are you using resources too much or too little to win deals
6. PRO – Productivity – how much time are you spending in total in relation to your sales numbers? Are you productive
7. BDW – Big Deal Wins – are you clutch and win big deals or are you better at smaller deals
8. ME – Management Effectiveness – what are managers doing to proactively win deals
9. DYKW- Do You Know Why you are doing well or poorly? Can you replicate success or identify what you are doing wrong?
10. KTCA – Kick the Competiions Ass – do you know how to attack and defeat your worst competitors
11. WA – Walk Aways – are you walking away from enough business or are you trying to win everything – directly impacts WLR
12. B&M – Bitching and Moaning – how much or little are you doing it vs. being constructive in solving problems
13. SBP – Sharing Best Practices – how often and well are you sharing best practices amongst your team vs.holding on to them for your own benefit
14. CTC – Commitment to Career – what are you doing to improved your career or chances of succcess vs. waiting for the company or someone else to do it for you
15. EMT – email time – how much time are you spending on email in a productive way
16. IHBL2 – I Have Been Lied To – how often do you know? How good is your BSI (bullshit indicator).
17. QD – Quality Deals that don’t drain the organization or PQD – poor quality deals

Let me know if you have any others

Selling Stat’s

May 25, 2011

Selling Stat’s.


April 3, 2011

You’ll LOVE THIS!!!

Wise Ancient Doctor

This guy would be the Number 1 doctor in the USA…………………Enjoy

Q: Doctor, I’ve heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life. Is this true?
A: Your heart only good for so many beats, and that it… Don’t waste on exercise. Everything wear out eventually. Speeding up heart not make you live longer; it like saying you extend life of car by driving faster. Want to live longer? Take nap.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?
A: No, not at all. Wine made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that mean they take water out of fruity bit so you get even more of goodness that way. Beer also made of grain. Bottom up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?
A: Well, if you have body and you have fat, your ratio one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
A: Can’t think of single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No pain…good!

Q: Aren’t fried foods bad for you?
A: YOU NOT LISTENING! Food are fried these day in vegetable oil. In fact, they permeated by it. How could getting vegetable be bad for you?!?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?
A: Definitely not! When you exercise muscle, it get bigger. You should only do sit-up if you want bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?
A: Are you crazy?!? HEL-LO-O!! Cocoa bean! Another vegetable! It best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?
A: If swimming good for your figure, explain whale to me..

Q: Is getting in shape important for my lifestyle?
A: Hey! ‘Round’ is shape!
Well… I hope this has cleared up misconception you have had about food and diet.

And remember:

Life should NOT be journey to grave with intention of arriving safely in attractive and well-preserved body, but rather you skid in sideways on 1 leg- Chardonnay in one hand – chocolate in other – body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO-HOO, what a ride!!”


For those of you who watch what you eat, here’s the final word on nutrition and health from the good Doctor. It’s a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies.

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans..

5. The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

Eat and drink what you like.Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

Death of A Deal? or What Would You Do?

April 3, 2011

1. In November of 2010, the SVP of Sales authorized a pilot for IPG’s training and, under less than ideal conditions (no research or discovery) it was received extremely well. So much so that the person coordinating the pilot and I were talking about making it a regular part of their training agenda.

2. We had discussed fees, agenda, scheduling and were pretty much ready to nail things down. This went on through early Jan 2011.

3. In the interim, a part-time consultant who observed the session told me she wanted to meet and discuss her work. We met on December 17 (my birthday), and she shared with me that her main focus was leadership development and negotiations, and she would like to understand my work. She also told me the client’s main focus was training the junior sales people (which my pilot addressed).

4. By mid January, this new person took over all training (was I played) and I was told to stop talking to the gentleman who I was doing the planning with (warning sign).

5. After many calls into the new person (at her request), and calls to my coach (I was told nothing was being scheduled or planned with other training companies) we finally met again on Feb 9 and I was told that the sales negotiation culture focus was taking precedent (??) but the proposal for the sales training of the junior sales personnel would be discussed that day (meaning it had not been discussed till then).

6. Due to her lack of response (in between steps 3 and 4, I lost all faith in what the new person was telling me and reached out to my coach (the person who originally introduced me to the SVP). She suggested I invite him and the new person to lunch. He accepted, his assistant I coordinated time and place, and then he cancelled (my head was doing an Exorcist)!

7. After following up again with the new person, I was told that the best time for me to follow up was after the big sales event in May (retelling this is depressing me).

8. Finally, I was told a few weeks ago that the company is doing an evaluation of sales personnel before doing anything at all with either the negotiation sales culture or training of junior sales personnel. They are doing nothing.

So, am I being told the truth, or not? And my question is, what would you do now or what would you have done differently?

Are Your Best Players Getting the Ball Enough

March 23, 2011

In any sport, especially basketball (sorry all you non-sports fans or ballroom dancers), you want to run plays and build a team that gives your best players as many opportunities as possible, especially at crunch time.

Sales organizations have always been built differently. It has always been a more democratic system where salespeople get fair and equitable territories, leads are handed out round robin and each salesperson is successful or not, based on their own ability.

In working with a client these last few weeks, we have created a different structure, which optimizes the talents of the best salespeople and gives them more opportunities to sell and close.

Here is how it works:

• accounts are assigned by relationships and by name . The best salespeople get the best accounts

• the rest of the organization is selling other accounts but is compensated to create or hand off opportunities of a certain size to the best salespeople

• the people creating and handing off opportunities are compensated properly

• there is a team bonus as well

• people supporting the sales team are aligned with the best salespeople (and in turn the best opportunities). The others have to fend for themselves more often

• people are promoted or demoted based on their effectiveness in their role

It is a brilliant plan and my client is already reaping the benefits

Let me know what you think?

TW3 (that was the week that was)

March 11, 2011


• Ran 5 video training sessions for 26 people in 3 countries
Helped my daughter with her work since she broke her ankle
• Had 8 sales calls via phone, web and video
• Got signatures on 2 contracts
• Helped my wife with her website design
• Gave my friend 2 leads for job opportunities
• Watched the Knick win 2 lose 1
• Continued with my addiction to Friday Night Lights (season 4)

Lessons Learned:

Use technology –it makes you much more productive
Stay balanced (got a little burned this week)
• Everything is a lesson (a large prospect’s behavior made me realize I may not want to work with them)
• Helping people is a great reward. Helping people you love the greatest reward.
• Get social with Linkedin,Twitter, Digg, Stumbleupon, and more
• Stay focused on your SweetSpot
• Feeling my mortality empowers me to do the right things

Using Linkedin to Compete

March 9, 2011

A few months ago I met somebody, via an introduction (references are always best). The meeting went well but I was asked, or told, that others involved in the decision should not be contacted. Being the savvy, experienced salesperson I am :-), my antenna went up. It didn’t make sense based upon the conversation we had.

So, I decided to do some digging to see who I knew that might know the people I wasn’t supposed to talk to. Lo and behold, I found someone via Linkedin who was generous enough to introduce me. Since I use the Premium Version of Linkedin, I was able to directly contact the individual after the introduction.

Fast forward and I discovered that the prospect is making a decision about sales training in April and I am talking directly to the people making that decision. Can’t say whether I will win or lose, but it is an excellent fit and I can do a great job for them if they choose me and IPG. Most importantly, I can now compete.

P.S. My original contact has cancelled 4 appt’s with me and is saying internal changes are causing the delay
P.P.S. Hooray for LinkedIn and for good sales instincts