What’s the Difference Between a Coach, a Teacher and a Trainer?

So, first, an apology. Yesterday’s title was stupid, stupid, stupid! It was so sale-sy that it attracted this tweet. Now I have to follow my mother’s advice. “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

OK. So, what is the difference.
Well, teachers are easy! Them that can, do! Them that can’t, teach! Do you really want to learn from somebody that’s never done what they’re trying to teach you how to do?
So, let’s see. We’ve got lion trainers. Dog trainers. Dolphin trainers. Do the trick. Get a treat? How about basic training in the armed forces. Push-ups. 20 mile runs. Hup, 2, 3, 4. Hup, 2, 3, 4. Repetition is what matters. Do it right. Get a treat. Over and over again. Even sales training… Attend class every week for a year or 12 webinars over three months. There you go. You’re ready. Go do it!…….Yeah, right.
So, when you think of great coaches, who do you think of? Any of these folks? These guys? Another. All I did was Google “best coaches”. So, what do you notice? They all played the game? They were awesome players? Did they use tricks? Did they know their people well enough to get their best effort? Did they know them well enough to know how to impart information? Were they hands on? Did they tell once and consider it done or was it teach, try, adjust, strategize, debrief, constantly?
That’s why I always evaluate my clients before I coach them. We both need to understand them before we can turn them into rock stars. I’m finishing up with a client this week. If you want to talk about being next, get on my calendar.

Do you need a Coach, a Teacher, a Trainer…

or maybe a Consultant?

Well, let’s do the consultant first.
A shepherd was herding his flock in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of the dust cloud towards him. The driver, a young man in a Broni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie, leaned out the window and asked the shepherd… “If I tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one?” The shepherd looked at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looked at his peacefully grazing flock and calmly answered “sure”.

The yuppie parked his car, whipped out his IBM ThinkPad and connected it to a cell phone, then he surfed to a NASA page on the internet where he called up a GPS satellite navigation system, scanned the area, and then opened up a database and an Excel spreadsheet with complex formulas. He sent an email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, received a response. Finally, he prints out a 130-page report on his miniaturized printer then turns to the shepherd and says, “You have exactly 1586 sheep. “That is correct; take one of the sheep.” said the shepherd. He watches the young man select one of the animals and bundle it into his car.

Then the shepherd says: “If I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my animal?”, “OK, why not.” answered the young man. “Clearly, you are a consultant.” said the shepherd. “That’s correct.” says the yuppie, “but how did you guess that?” “No guessing required.” answers the shepherd. “You turned up here although nobody called you. You want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked, and you don’t know crap about my business…… Now give me back my dog.”

So, do you really think that you need somebody like that?
Let’s finish this tomorrow!
BTW, you sick of the status quo? You want to be a rock star? Tell me.

Inbound Networking: Connecting with Connection’s Connections

Dale Berkebile is a client of mine that founded a branding agency in Fort Worth, TX several years ago. Over the past few years, he’s become a certified Hubspot partner and now combines inbound marketing, social media and sales ability to help his clients grow their businesses. His guest post today shares what happens when you add passion to technology and networking. In his own words….

Roughly 3 months ago I started an inbound networking group (sound convictions). This is not your average “business” networking group, it is a “Music Business” networking group and an online music community.

In the past, I’ve tried many different business groups and thought this time I’d switch things up and create a strategy around my passion… Music. That being said, it still needed to be serious and business related, but was focused on a vertical, the music market, instead of a more generalist business group.
One thing that happened is it has rekindled my passion for music. More importantly, it has got me having more sales conversations that are FUN. These fun conversations are with other successful business people who are passionate about music or in the music industry in some way.
So slowly but surely, I’m building something really good. Being that Inbound Networking is NEW, I think everyone’s flying by the seat of their pants on some level. Although my group is different than most of the inbound networking groups, I’m still trying to apply many of the ideas that are thought to be best practices. 
One of these thoughts is networking and collaborating with others to build a group that offers a win-win for everyone involved. I’ve been recruiting like crazy for this group and have some 8 to 20 people interested. 3 to 6 people are getting serious, starting to help. They have begun working on the group by writing articles and inviting their passionate music loving friends to follow us and share the idea and our posts.
Another best practice is getting your contacts to start taking ownership and recruiting their contacts to join what we are doing. Over the last three days I struck a nerve with this idea. Ideally this idea is meant to build the group. What has happened in my case though, is more of an exposure thing than actual members joining. At least, as of right now.
Here’s how it played out. I am helping to promote a two day music festival in Fort Worth. So I wrote a few articles about this event. What I noticed though was that many people didn’t know all the bands playing this event. Nor did I know more than 2 of the 17 bands. So I created a show playlist through Spotify. This allowed people to listen to one song from each band. Within an hour you could get a good feel for what the whole event was going to be like.
Then I added a poll for people to vote on their favorite band. Because of the playlist, anyone could participate, not just people who already knew the bands or locals that are able to go to the festival.
Then I did some music promotion through social media. And, here’s a quick lesson on how to use twitter for your inbound networking group, business or band. I also tweeted the poll using the music event’s twitter handle (@FWMusicFestival). They ReTweeted my tweet which gave this article some good exposure and got us a few votes. I then reposted this article and included each of the bands twitter handles in a personalized tweet.
This got us some more exposure and one band got serious and ReTweeted it. They got a ton of votes by the next day (63% of the votes actually). So yesterday I pissed off a few people off because I scheduled another wave of promotions based on personalized tweets to bands and facebook posts mentioning the one band had 63% of the votes. I scheduled these posts/tweets to hit at different times throughout the day. This caused a huge spike in traffic and a whirlwind of new votes.
This has gotten a ton of new people engaging with the site and sharing it with friends. So you can see how a connection’s connections can really grow your group and get you big exposure. We went from roughly 10 visitors a day to several days of 1000+ visitors. We may hit 5000 to 6000 visitors to the site by months end which has exceeded my branding business website by several thousand visits a month. What was done in 4 years for my business, was passed in 3 months. This is partly because of passion and partly because I’m working with a group of other people and tapping into everyone sphere of influence. This is the real value of inbound networking in my mind. It is marketing plus networking and collaboration all rolled into one thing.
So my question is… what are YOU doing to get others involved with your group? What kind of inbound networking group could you create? Does it have to be “business as usual” or can you find a hobby you are passionate about and turn that into a business of passionate inbound networkers?
We probably upset a few people yesterday, but it was for the greater good don’t you think? I know I lost one fan from our facebook page and maybe a few twitter followers. But we also gained a few new twitter followers and a ton of people engaging on our site. Now, our next hurdle… how do we get these same people coming back and engaging again or helping them to get involved with the group so we can grow. I’ll keep you posted on this one. Happy Networking and don’t be scared to try something new!

Is Yours “The Impossible Dream”?

A few weeks ago, I shared “I Have a Dream” and  it will probably wind up being one of my most popular posts of the year. Why is that? Maybe, it’s because the majority of people that work, don’t know why they work. My son’s guest post drew a lot of attention because he has a pretty clear vision, but more importantly, he not only has a clear vision, but he doesn’t settle for something else.

Yesterday, as I was driving, I found myself singing The Impossible Dream.
(Are you done laughing?)
The truth is that I have that song in my head from time to time and I think that it’s had an impact on the way that I’ve worked and lived. Here are the lyrics.

To dream the impossible dream

To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star 

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far 

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into
For a heavenly cause

And I know if I’ll only be true 
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I’m laid to my rest 

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star
Yeah! So? Make a comment!

Matt Roberge on Sales Style, Numbers & Focus

I’m proud to say that today’s article is written by my son, Matt Roberge. He’s the founder of Salt Lake City Bookkeeping and has grown a very successful lifestyle business. He fishes every day when he’s in Montana and skis every day when he’s in Utah and his clients love him. Enjoy!

What is your sales style?
I’m a bookkeeper therefore; I like things balanced, organized and done right. There is very little room for creativity or thinking outside of the box in bookkeeping. It is either done right or done wrong. However, I am also a small business owner which means sell or die. Stay ahead of the competition or get out of the way. I’m sure you can relate to that. The golden question is how do you sell and sell well? Everyone has their own sales style it is just a matter of finding what works for you.
Sales by numbers
My brother Mark Roberge wrote a pretty compelling article that got published by Harvard Business Review recently. It was called “The Science of Building a Scalable Sales Team.” If you haven’t read it you should as it is very well written and some part of it will speak to you in regards to your sales process. The part of the article that really spoke to me was the analytical end of things. Most people probably cringe when they hear the terms quantitative analysis and regression analysis but this part of the article made sense to me. 
Analyze your numbers to help define a sales process that works for you
  • What is your sales goal this week, month, quarter or year?
  • How many new customers will it take to hit that sales goal?
  • How many leads will it take to produce those new customers that will allow you to hit your sales goal?
  • How many
    • blog articles will you need to write,
    • networking events will you need to attend,
    • cold calls will you have to make,
    • current customers will you have to ask for referrals from etc.
  • ….in order to produce those leads, that will produce those new customers, which will allow you to achieve your sales goal?

Selling with purpose

Why do you want to sell more? To make more money? Wrong. Why is it wrong? Because I’m writing this article that is why. I think that if most people truly thought about that question they would come up with the same answer a freshman in college answers to this question; “so what do you want to do with your life from a career standpoint?” Correct answer: “I don’t have a fricking clue!”
I don’t think most people sell with a true purpose in mind and that makes their sales process unnatural.
I sell because I want to make more money. But why do you want to make more money?
I sell because I want to retire someday. Buy why do you want to retire? What are you going to do when you retire?
Everyone at our company sells with the vision of a lifestyle. I make it very clear when we hire anyone that we work to live. Our employees are very outdoors oriented. When we sell, it is so we can ski one more powder day, take one more mountain bike ride or catch one more fish.
When you sell with an actual purpose that you believe in it makes everything more natural.
How to sell when you are not a salesman
It is pretty funny that a lot of people that end up in sales claim “I’m not a salesman.” The truth is if you are a small business owner you are a salesman, whether you like it or not. Recognizing that you are in sales (even though you may not be if that makes sense?) is absolutely critical to the success of your business. It took me a long time to realize and admit that I am in sales. I didn’t want to be in sales because it is what my dad does and my brother does and I always wanted to be different. I didn’t want to be the same as anyone. I wanted to be unique. And then it hit me (back to my 2nd point) in order to spend the majority of my year skiing and fly fishing I HAD TO SELL. I was in sales, but I’m not a salesman. So what did I do?
You first have to realize and accept the fact that you are in sales. You then need to stop freaking out that you don’t know what you are doing and get help.  As I mentioned already, I happen to be related to people that were willing to help. A few things you can do to learn how to sell:
Hire a sales coach – a sales coach can move you up the learning curve of selling. They can also guide you through situations as they present themselves. It’s much easier to learn with a mentor than to go it on your own.
Google – obviously there is a ton of information out there. Find good blogs and sales advice resources, read them regularly and shape your own sales process.
Work at it – No matter what job you have there is always a first day. You can’t have a job without having a first day at it. You just have to keep at it and get better.
Happy selling!

Social Media Noise

I just opened my daily digest from one of the LinkedIn groups that I belong to. Which one of these titles would you click on?

  • 3 Weird Marketing Tricks that…
  • Top 3 Must Haves For a Facebook…
  • 3 Major Hurdles In The…
  • 3 Advanced Hacks…
In my reader, I see some variety in headlines like:
  • …a Masterstroke…
  • Every small business…
  • Why every content…
  • Your Ace…
  • Ten questions…
  • 10 Risks Most Companies…
  • 5 New…
  • 21 Tips…
Two posts on the 7 deadly sins by two different authors had NO SIN IN COMMON. So aren’t there 14 deadly sins or is one (both?) of them full of….?
But then I really laughed when I read “4 1/2 ways to…” (I didn’t click the link.)
Give me a break! So, because somebody says put a number in your title, that makes it worth reading?
One blogger put “Best Sales Post Ever”, “7 Changes”, “Change or Go Extinct”, “10 Keys” in their last 4 post titles.
So, what’s the point. They’re all trying to be heard above the noise that they are part of. Inbound and social is becoming as annoying and meaningless as outbound and advertising.
You want proof? I read a blog post this week about a self absorbed Twitterer unfollowing 16,000 people. He did it because one of his gods unfollowed 131,000 people earlier. It’s a trend. Many people believe that what they have to say is important, but all the rest of it is noise.
Tricks don’t work in sales. Tricks don’t work in marketing. Be real. Be content driven. Get your content in front of people that WANT to read it.

What’s Going On?

In the past twelve months, this blog has had 396,201 visits and 236,047 post views. I find it interesting to contemplate the top ten posts. The top ten are listed below along with the number of views each had in the past 12 months, the date it was published and my comment/question about the post.

Post Title (Post Views)

5 Steps Your Sales Force Needs to Take to Survive in the Recession (5329) When this post was written in 2/2009, we were in a recession. Are so many still struggling that it was my most popular post? Please! If you’re struggling, call me.
Change for Change’s Sake? (4950) I wrote this last October to get readers ready for me leaving Kurlan. My guess is that most of the searchers that find it are disappointed.
Numbers, Baseball and My Kind of Selling (3890) This has been the most popular post every year since I wrote it in11/2007. Great inbound links.
I Have A Dream… (2853) 7/31/2012
First………..What is a RainMaker? (2411) This was my inaugural post on 3/18/2006. Pretty easy to see why it comes up in search so often.
Selling for Introverts (2015) 8/30/2012
So, I’m a sales guy not a web guy, but I think that I’m happy that half of my top ten articles are less than 3 months old. If you have thoughts, please share in the comments or privately by email. If you have a favorite post, but it’s not listed above, feel free to tweet it or write an article and link to it. I’ll RT or promote it. Also, BTW, you may remember that I’ve had a few guest authors along the way. None of them made the top ten, but #11 was a guest post and missed being #10 by 3 views. If you’ve got an article that’s itching to be published, let me know. We’ll get it done.

RainMakers and Rock Stars

I have a special relationship with my evangelists. Today, three of them rocked my world and with your permission, I’m going to share the story, but maintain their confidentiality.

It starts a few weeks ago when Mike introduced me to Joe.
Joe and I have now been working together for a couple of weeks and he told Mike about a coaching session that we had last week and how it affected the actual call. 
Mike shared Joe’s success story with me. I sent Mike an email reminding him that it was he that put Joe and I together and thanking him for that.
His reply is what rocked my world.

Good Rick. I’m glad it’s working out. I look at what you did with Jerry and George. Smart guys. No sales experience. They are now sales rock stars because of you. That is really hard to do. I don’t have anyone else that can do it. And, there are lots of cases like that. I happen to get introduced to a bunch of them. It seems like there is a need, you are good at it, you enjoy it, and it is lucrative. I’ll keep it coming as I see them.

Rock Stars! because of me! Thank you Jerry and George! I was out to help you be RainMakers and you turned out to be Rock Stars. Freaking Awesome!
Wanna be next? How bad?


Ephphatha! translates to “Be opened”.  Yesterday’s gospel related the story of Christ touching the deaf man’s ears to allow him to hear. The priest then said that if we call it a miracle when someone who cannot hear, can, what do we call it when those who can hear, cannot?

As salespeople, we all have a story about the prospect that just doesn’t listen, but it may not be the prospect’s fault. Read the story. There’s a second part to the miracle. Christ touched the man’s tongue to cure his speech impediment. How many salespeople babble on without realizing that their prospect can’t hear them?
As prospects, we all have a story about the salesperson that showed up, told us how wonderful their stuff was, but was totally surprised when we weren’t prepared to buy, then or ever, but we didn’t want to tell them because we didn’t want to hurt their feelings.
As employees, we all have a story about an employer that didn’t listen when we told them that we could run their business better than they could.
And as business owners, we can talk about why financiers don’t think we’re worth the investment, why employees don’t see our vision, why potential partners can’t see the synergy.
Regardless of what our title is, our ability to get others to hear depends first on our ability to open their ears. Want to learn how to open their ears, schedule a 15 minute call with me.

Closing Urgency via Social Security

I’ve reached the age that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has decided that I need to receive an annual Social Security Statement. This statement estimates what my benefit will be when I retire at various ages. (Boy am I glad I invested for retirement!) It also shows my annual earnings for every year all the way back to my ‘part time job in high school’ years. Here’s the thing. The SSA bases your retirement benefit on your most recent annual incomes, not the incomes of 40+ years ago. Good thing. I don’t know about you, but last year’s income was 100 times better than way back when.

That got me thinking. Maybe the SSA has a sales lesson for us.
(This is my favorite part. It’s where I get to screw with your head!)
What is the value of an hour of your time, TODAY?
I was taught that you take what you earn and divide it by the number of hours that you work and that is the value of your time. So, if you earn $100K/year divided by 2,000 hours, that’s $50/hour. Half that if you earn $50K/year. Double it if you earn $200K/year. Pretty simple right?
So, now let me give you some ‘pretend decisions’ to make.
Play Angry Birds or Solitaire for an 12 minutes/day or engage with prospects?
Invest in Hubspot to grow your business, or not?
Get your professional sales assessment done, or not?
Take an unscheduled, undeserved day off, or not?
So, let me help with the math. (I love this part, too!)
At $50/hour ($100K/year) Angry Birds will cost you $50/week, or $2,500/year. You can’t get it back. The day off will cost you $400. Can’t get it back. How many times a year do you do it? Hubspot and assessments are tools of growth. How much growth are you missing out on? 10% = $10K/year? Every day that you delay a decision that could put $10K/year in your pocket costs you $50. Delay your decision two weeks and that’s $500, gone forever! Oh well! $500 isn’t that much! But what if you realized that growth takes x amount of time. Whether you start now or two weeks from now, it will take x amount of time. And after you do that you’ll continue wanting to grow and continue doing things to grow. So, that eventually, like me and like the SSA expects, your time will be worth 100 times what it is today. What then?
Playing Angry Birds today costs your family $250,000 in future dollars.
Taking that undeserved day off costs your family $40,000 in future dollars. (One day!)
And delaying a step that could grow sales by 10% could cost your family $5,000 a day for every day that you delay. Delay for more days or increase the amount of growth expected…Well, you get it.
You want to argue or fix it, get on my calendar.