Sales Managers and Mothers

I’ve watched Dave Kurlan speak at Executive Luncheons a few times. The two hour presentation is jam-packed with take-aways for everyone in the room. Every time, he’s pointed out the duties of an effective sales manager and had everyone in the room agree that it was a 60 hour a week job. And he winds up asking the question,  “If you’re a CEO working 60 hours a week, a salesperson with a full quota, an owner with administrative duties, or hold any other position in a company, how can you expect yourself to commit another 60 hours a week to being the sales manager. Most of the room nods in agreement and make a note to find a good, full time sales manager.

So, what made me post about this?

Mark and Robin went to a wedding this weekend and Kai and Zane stayed with us this weekend. Zane eats everything. Kai eats nothing. Zane crawls faster than I can walk. Kai runs in the other direction. We went to the park. The farm. The store (while they were napping). Elaine and I went to church separately. Dinner dishes didn’t get done until after baths, stories, and bed. Noon Friday to Noon Sunday. We were grandparents. Nothing else. I didn’t email. I didn’t talk on the phone. I didn’t read the overview in my briefcase. I didn’t blog. I didn’t call my mother. Neither Elaine nor I did anything but be the best grandparents that we could be.

And we were awesome!


But it made us appreciate what Robin’s life is like. Her ‘job’ is Kai and Zane. She doesn’t do a lot of what she used to do and the lesson for this post is that if your sales manager isn’t willing to do the job and forget everything else, they won’t do nearly as well at their job as Robin does at hers.

Sales Egos, Managers’ Egos, Customers’ Egos and Prospects’ Egos

Have you noticed that people with big egos are much too busy to read your blog? much less comment on it or link to yours? Have you noticed that people with big egos might not return your call in what you believe is a timely manner? Have you noticed that people with big egos don’t really care about what you think? It’s pretty easy to recognize when someone has an ego because people with egos often make the people around them feel uncomfortable. Boy does it bug me when someone is more concerned with their ego than mine. animated smileys

OK. So, why today are we onto egos? Pete Caputa started it.

Lest you think that I’m being falsely humble, I’m pretty awesome. Just ask my mother. I’m not awesome in the same way as published authors, super-smart, super successful entrepreneurs, or CEO-types and I, for sure, don’t have what these guys have.

But….you can take it to the bank….I have an ego.

That being said, when I’m selling, I need to put my ego aside. When a prospect says, “All salespeople lie.” I can’t feel it, I have to ask, “About everything?” When a prospect doesn’t make the decision as promised, I can’t read them the riot act, I have to ask, “(this is really secret stuff)”. adult smileys

The point is that whoever is controlling their ego is probably also controlling the relationship.

Have you ever noticed that some people with titles can’t manage? True story.

I recently watched a manager sit through a presentation with his people. After the presentation, the manager quickly summarized his thoughts on the presentation for his subordinates, then said, “Well, I have a call.” and left. Never once asking if any of his crew had any thoughts. Why? Probably because his opinions are the only ones that mattered (to him).

When you’re managing, grow your subordinates’ egos if you want to grow their opinion of you.

Sales Growth in this Economy

Last week, Frank Belzer appeared on Region on the Move to be interviewed by Cindy Skowyra regarding his upcoming seminar at the Expo. It was a great interview during which Frank made several points, one of which was that, today, you can focus on cutting costs or growing sales. Cutting costs will not help you grow sales and may hurt. Growing sales may eliminate the need to cut costs.

Ask around. You’ll find local companies that doubled their sales from 2006 to 2007 and doubled them again 2007 to 2008. By cutting costs? or selling more? Think about it.

How much do you have to cut costs to earn over $100,000?

How much more would you have to sell to do the same?

Which question is easier to answer?

Today, one of my fan’s got yelled at. A business owner that he knows has plenty of leads, but can’t them convert to customers. This was actually the second time that this owner raised the issue. The first time, my fan said, “Call Rick”. The guy didn’t like the fact that I said that he would have to change. This time, my fan said, “I already told you to call Rick.” That’s when the guy read my fan the riot act. I wonder if he’s thinking about cutting his ‘marketing’ budget so he can invest in learning why he can’t sell?

Are YOU Nero?

So, I read Frank’s post the day that he wrote it. I found it thoughtful, on point and knew that I’d comment eventually. Different people know different things. I got some great off-line comments about my post on scientific equations. It got me thinking about all the things that small business people need to know.

How many business owners LOVE algebra? Remember this? If a = 2b, and b = 2c, what is the equation that shows the relationship between a and c? When has not knowing algebra ever hurt your business?

How about economics? Remember Supply and Demand? Where is equilibrium for you?

How about the Price Elasticity of your Demand? Do you know what will happen if you raise or lower your price?

Do you know what the primary colors areThe secondary colors?

I’m sure that those CEO’s that Frank wrote about had “people” that knew algebra, understood economics, and knew the color wheel. I’m sure that they also had financial people, sales people, marketing people, yada, yada, yada. But were they listening to them? When they realized that their “people” weren’t getting it done, did they look elsewhere for answers?

Can you sell? Do you know why or why not? Do you have a fiddle?

Egotists and Compelling Reasons

Elaine and I arrived in Portsmouth, NH about and hour before our dinner reservations on Saturday, so we poked around in few of the shops on Market Street. One of them had knick knack kinda things with quotes written on them. One of the quotes struck me as ‘interesting’, so I took a picture of it to remind me to think about it. It’s credited to Ambrose Gwinett Bierce an American Journalist who lived from 1842 to 1914. Here’s the quote.

“An egotist is a person of low taste – more interested in himself than in me.”
Think about all the applications. Think about the entrepreneur who’s idea is so awesome, that he believes that all he has to do is tell his prospect how great it is.

Think about the salesperson that asks one “pain” question then starts his 55 minute presentation of features and benefits.

Think about all the salespeople that you know that think it’s their job to tell their prospects what the compelling reasons are.

Funny, what you think about while you’re waiting to eat.

Closing Attitude

OK. Pretend you’re a hot shot sales coach and this happens to you. What would you do?

A salesperson that you’re coaching is in a regular training session and asks the trainer for help with a problem that he’s having closing deals. Well, the session is on general process and addressing a specific closing situation isn’t really appropriate, so the trainee is directed to talk to his personal coach immediately after class.

He does and they arange to talk later that afternoon.

So, the trainee calls his coach at the appointed hour and says, “I was having a problem closing, but I think I’m over it.” Coach asks, “What makes you think that you’re over it?” Trainee says, “Because 15 minutes ago, I closed a $91,500 deal.” Coach says, “Congratulations! Was that the only closing problem you were calling about?” Trainee says, “No, actually, this was one of my Monday demos. My other Monday demo, my Tuesday demo and my Wednesday demo didn’t close even though they all agreed that it was decision day when I did the demo.”

Frankly, some of you reading probably have prospects in your pipeline that have been “thinking about it” for six months.  This trainee’s upset that he’s got one 1 day old, 1 two days old and one 3 days old. (Don’t forget that he closed one of them for over $90K.)

OK, so you’re the hot shot coach. What do you do/say?

Sales Forensics

Recently, I was talking with the founder of a computer forensics company. I was familiar with the term ‘forensics‘ as it’s used by police and lawyers to describe the process used to determine the facts of the crime. I had also heard it used in accounting to describe the process that special auditors use to determine if the ‘numbers’ reflect ‘reality’. The founder explained that their company looked for instances where their clients’ computers were being used for other than the intended uses.

So, as I pondered this idea, I thought about the medical examiner asking, “I wonder how this person died?” or the auditor that asks, “I wonder where that $3 million is?” That brought me back to our world.

Are you losing market share? Why?

Are your margins shrinking? Why?

Do you have turnover in your sales force? Why?

Does your top salesperson sell 2-3 times what the bottom one sells? Why?

Did you double your income this year? Did you want to?

What did you want to do? Did you?

Is it time for some Sales Forensics? or do you want to wait for the autopsy?

Ribbon Cutting Conversations

I was lucky enough to be invited to Sandy Condon’s ribbon cutting tonight. For those of you that don’t know, she and her husband, John, opened New Life Health & Wellness last July. Sandy asked me how her place compares to the factory that I belong to. I’m not gonna talk about the equipment, the special areas, the racquetball court. I will talk about the locker room. The locker room had perfectly folded towels on a contemorary style shelf unit. The sink area was neatly appointed with hand towels, soaps, shaving kits, and the mirrors didn’t have a spot on them. There wasn’t a towel or piece of lint on the floor. It was almost like it was just for show, but interestingly, she had patrons using the facilities. Of course, she has a water cooler, but I didn’t expect a selection of green teas conveniently set up next to the water cooler. Add water and enjoy! She has some free passes so call her or email her and schedule a visit and a workout. She’s conveniently located at the junction of 495 and Route 20 inside the Marriott with easy parking in the Marriott lot.

I had an interesting conversation with her husband, John, about medical sales and we decided that I should invite his company to our luncheon and introduce him to Jerry Shapiro.

I had another interesting conversation with Linda Sevier about her new blog idea.

Kate Hyland Mercer asked me about my ‘Kinder & Gentler” phase. Funny how not too many people got that.

I also spent some time with a young hustler named Mark Shea. Why do I think he’s a hustler? He was at an Ambassador’s Committee meeting in Worcester at 7:45 this morning and closed the ribbon cutting after 7 this evening. That’s hustling.