Archive for the ‘Sales & Sales Management’ Category

Hard work and profit!

July 16, 2014

This past weekend my family celebrated my mother’s upcoming 90th birthday and our annual family reunion. We began on Friday with my mother’s birthday celebration followed by our family reunion picnic on Saturday. We concluded our festivities by attending my mother’s church, Second Baptist Church in Atlantic City, NJ. Pastor Collins A. Days always delivers a superb sermon and this Sunday’s sermon was no exception.

I was so moved by the sermon and its leadership principles I was compelled to share with you the key points of his sermon. Everyday we bring our leadership skills and attributes to our everyday occupation and we all have our blind spots. It is my hope that this article helps you to address any blind spots that you might have and help you make your hard work more profitable!

His sermon focused on Proverbs 14:23 – “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” How many times have we experienced someone in our work environment that puts the time in, but not real effort? Instead of putting in quality time i.e., (time and effort) the unproductive worker just shows up and logs in ordinary time.

Imagine a crew of eight oarsmen competing against another team of eight oarsmen. Team “Excel” has eight oarsmen that are fully engaged and in sync with each other. Team “Boarsman” has only five out of the eight that are fully engaged. The boats take their position and as soon as the gun sounds, anyone observing the race knows the likelihood of Team Excel winning the race is great!

A company competing in the market place is only as strong as its weakest link. King Solomon spoke that “All labor is profitable”. It is said that, “You reap what you sow.” In other words, you get out what you put in. If your labor is positive and productive, the profit from your labor will result in great performance reviews, awards, salary increases, performances, etc. If your labor is not productive then your profit for this poor labor will result in poor performance reviews, no salary increases, no promotions and potentially loss of employment.

Hard work equals positive profit and poor work habits equals poor profit. The Oxford dictionary defines hard work as, “A great deal of effort or endurance”.
Anything truly worthwhile requires a consistent dedicated effort and patience. In his book, “Built to Last”, Jim Collins challenges his readers that in order for them to achieve greatness they need to establish “A big hairy audacious goal”! Hard work will be essential to achieve that “Big Hairy Audacious Goal”! Working smart and working hard goes hand-in-hand. Some people feel that if you can work smart then you do not have to work hard. Do not misunderstand me. I fully appreciate and recommend to my clients that they should utilize the best practices within their work environment to ensure that they, along with their colleagues are maximizing their productivity. However, you must put the time into your business to have that breakthrough and create a positive performance gap between you and your competitors.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, he details several examples of successful people who have invested 10,000 hours or more to their profession. Each of us has our own gifts and there are no overnight successes. My nephew, Kadir Nelson is an award-winning illustrator ( and he started drawing at the age of three and never stopped. During his formative years, he worked entirely on his art. He logged well over 10,000 hours before he headed off to college. As a college student, he was selling his original artwork and doing work for Nike! Even today he is consistently putting in the time to make sure that all of his work meets his standards of high quality.

In building your team of high performers, you must set the example of putting in a quality workday! Your team will follow your example of putting in a quality workday. Even if you are currently not managing anyone it is essential that you set your personal work standards very high. No matter what your position is in your company, you want to make sure that you are giving it your best effort everyday. As you ascend the corporate ladder or launch your own business, it is imperative that you bring your “A” effort and set the standard for excellence.

Remember, any significant endeavor will require an extraordinary and consistent effort (hard work)! The benefits of the hard work will result in the following benefits:
➢ Position yourself for better raises and promotions
➢ Great work self satisfaction
➢ Leadership position within your company
➢ Your day flies by
➢ Happy co-workers and customers
➢ Positive working environment

Take control of your life and career by establishing a new PMA (positive mental attitude) towards your work and career. Establishing personal productivity goals to stand out from your colleagues and competitors will ensure that you are on the right track to true Professional Growth and Profit!



Best Practices For A Successful Sales Organization – Establish a sale process!

April 1, 2013

Recently my great industry friend and Scholarly Kitchen editor, Rick Anderson shared his views on “Six Key Mistakes Sales Representatives Are Making”  I have known Rick for most of my 11-year tenure at Elsevier as the Sr. VP of Sales and Marketing for the Americas.  After getting to know Rick, I came to respect him and his opinions as to how our account managers should interact with the library community.  I respected him so much that I invited him to be our keynote speaker at our annual Sales Kick Off meeting back in January 2007.  So, you will hopefully understand that I have a unique perspective about Rick’s background and expertise on this subject.  I thought it would be useful to share with you my views on the “Best Practices Your Reps Should Use” as it relates to their every day interactions with the library community.

This article on the “Best Practices” is based on my collective experience and represents one of the many best practices that exists.  Creating a high performing sales team requires consistent training and performance management.   The best practice detailed in this article will give you a great start to a high performing sales organization.

There are a lot of best practices that a sales professional needs to inculcate in their every day business life.  It is my hope that this article will generate a lot of thought, discussion and debate but most importantly, raise everyone’s perspective on the subject of best practices in sales and sales management.  The sales profession at times gets a bad rap.  Some of it deserved and some of it not.  If we as a professional community want to improve the perception of the sales profession, we must look in the mirror and be the change that we desire.

Establish a sales process for your company. 

Design of a sales process

Design of a sales process

There is a common misperception in business that hiring someone with sales experience will ensure that you will achieve your sales objectives.  It has been my experience that most organizations do not understand the principles of professional sales and sales management.  They will hire someone with a resume that promotes that they have sales experience and they hire another sales person, then another and another.  Now, they have an organization on paper that appears to have great sales experience, but what they have not figured out is that their sales team is operating under different experiences and values.  It is very similar to having a team of rowers on a crew boat and everyone is rowing to a different beat.  With the proper direction, the crew team can achieve great things.  The same can be said for your sales organization.  If you were to provide your team with a defined sales process and a proper training program you will be assured that your team will have a greater opportunity to achieve your strategic objectives.  Of course, there are other key activities that you will need to employ to manage the performance of your team, (i.e., having a proper mission, strategy, job descriptions, incentive plan, performance objective setting and reviews).

What is a sales process?  The answer depends on the specific needs of your business, customers, products, services, etc.   A sales process reflects the critical path of activities that your prospect/customer will go through to purchase your product and/or service.  At each step of the critical path, a member of your team will have to interact with your prospect/customer.  The success of each interaction will determine if the prospect/customer will proceed to the next step in the sales process.  For example, the sales process should include but not be limited to the following steps:  Pre-call analysis, initial call, follow-up call, proposal preparation and presentation, proposal counter meeting, negotiation and close.

Having a sales process for your company is very important as it will shape how your company will interact with the market.  It will ensure that every time your team interacts with your prospect/customers they will have a very consistent high level delighted experience.  Consider your favorite restaurant, airline or drycleaner. If they provide you with a delighted experience, you will continue to do business with them and you will recommend them to your friends and colleagues.  Personal referrals are the best form of advertising for your team and company.

Providing your sales team with the proper foundation of an established sales process that invokes the key principles of your company along with a training program that reinforces these principles will ensure that your customers are receiving the best level of representation.  If you do not provide your team with a firm overview of your training then you are not providing them the best opportunity to fulfill your strategy.

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