Can You Sell Like This?

There is no question selling is both art and science. Like most things where art and science collide, science gets all the attention. Why? Science is measurable. It’s data-driven. We can touch and feel the science of sales. It’s black and white and as humans, we love that shit. How many times have we heard the phrase; “If it can’t be measured it doesn’t count?” I think there’s some truth to that statement, but to me sales goes a lot further than the science.

The art of sales is very hard to measure. It’s hard to put our finger on the delivery of one sales reps message over another. It’s hard to measure the “relationship” skills from rep to rep. It seems almost impossible to assess how personality, inflection, timing, engagement, tone and more influence a sale. We all know it does, and it’s for this reason we’ve put it all into the art of sales box and there it sits, in a nebulous, unshaped mess.

With this said, my goal of this post is to drop a little sales art think on ya and try to give a little shape to this art of sales thingy. I’m freestyling this post, so who knows where it’s gonna go. I’m diggin’ deep in my gut and leveraging what I’ve seen in the past and what I do myself.

I believe there is one art form in sales that the best of the best do, and it makes a HUGE difference. It’s the art of the metaphor (or the simile).

Great salespeople tell stories. We know this. However, the best salespeople go further. They wield powerfully, visual metaphors that simplify the complex, captivate the bored, engage the disconnected, and educate the ignorant.

Leveraging metaphors while selling, is an art, it is not a remedial task. It requires a solid understanding of the intricacies, connections, the context and the subtleties of what is being sold and how it can or does relate to other aspects of the world. Leveraging a metaphor to clarify a point, engage a prospect or simplify the complex requires nothing less than perfection. Otherwise, it will fall flat. I’ve stubbed my toe more than once trying to wow with a metaphor only to find myself half-way through and thinking; “Shit, I’m going down the wrong road, how do I put this sucker in reverse?”

But once you get good at selling in metaphors, you have a powerful tool that you can whip out when necessary. It’s an additional arrow in your quiver to connect and engage with your prospects. It’s an additional approach to teaching your prospects not just preach at them.

Now, here’s the tough part of this post. How do I teach you to speak in metaphors? How do I help you sell like this? It’s kinda like teaching someone to act. It starts in the gut. I can tell you what feelings you’re supposed to have. I can give you your lines. I can share the context of the act. I can share the emotions the act is trying to create, but in the end, you’re going to have to create the scene yourself. ;)

Selling in metaphors or simile’s is like acting. It requires you are in touch with you and the prospect. It requires you have a deep knowledge of where you want to take the sales call/scene. It requires you understand your audience. It requires you know your lines. It requires you understand the context of the moment. It demands you understand the emotional impact required to move your audience and exactly when to inject a story that will move the sale.

Selling in metaphors (or similes) is no joke. Like Picasso, it all comes down to the artist.

You’re NOT an Employee, You’re A Product

How’s that title make you feel? Are you feeling a little minimized? I get it. Saying you’re not an employee can sting a little, but why play games, why pretend? As much as we like to think we’re an employee, that should be cared for and respected; we are the product before we are anything else.

Here’s why? It breaks down like this. When a company is hiring for any position, they have a problem. Something isn’t getting done that needs to get done. The company needs more sales. They need someone to do payroll. They need an application built. They need help on the production line. They need an HR program created. They need a compliance system created. They need more people to man the cash registers. They need to catch more fish. They need to ship more product. They need something done and hiring people is how they get it done and meet their goals.

Hiring isn’t an altruistic endeavor. Hiring isn’t a social activity. Hiring is an investment. Hiring is how companies get shit done. Their objectives and desired outcomes are no different than ours when they buy a piece of software, a building, a piece of equipment, office supplies, a computer or a service. The objective is to invest in the things that will get the business closer to its goals and objectives and if YOU can’t do that you provide no value.

Would you buy or keep a car that doesn’t get you from point A to point B? Would you buy or keep a dishwasher that doesn’t get your dishes clean? Would you buy or keep a bed that gives you chronic back pain? Would you buy or keep a TV that displays your shows only in the color red? Would you keep or buy a chair that falls over every time someone sits on it? Would you continue going to a restaurant where the food tastes like shit? No! You wouldn’t do any of these things. If something doesn’t provide value, you don’t buy it. Guess what, that’s exactly how it works when it comes to people and hiring. If you can’t or aren’t providing measurable value, you gotta go or shouldn’t be hired.

You’re not an employee who needs paid vacation time; you’re a product that needs to sell $500,000 a year worth of product and services.

You’re not an employee who has worked at XYZ company for ten years; you’re a product that needs to reduce the shipping time by 15%.

You’re not an employee who is a badass in Ruby on Rails programming; you’re a product that needs to get an application built and launched in 2 months.

You’re not an employee who needs medical insurance and free lunches, you’re a product that must create stunningly attractive web pages that convert to high-quality leads.

You’re not an employee who went to Harvard; you’re a product that must bill 85 hours a week.

You’re not an employee; you’re a product that needs to get shit done, and until you do, you don’t matter.

Yeah, I get it. It’s kinda harsh. We’re all people; we’re not inanimate objects. We have feelings, we’re complex humans, but when it comes to work, acting, thinking and delivering as if you’re a product is how you get treated like an employee.

You wanna be treated as an employee? Be a badass product that delivers more than expected. When it comes to business, the same economics apply, there is no difference between people and products. It’s all about return on investment and delivery.

Would you invest in you? Would you hire you? Why? What does the product you deliver? If I asked you right now, what does someone get for hiring you, could you answer it? Would it be compelling? Would it make a company invest in the product you? It better!

You’re not an employee, you’re a product and the faster you accept it, the more successful you will be. And that’s how you become an employee.


Martin Luther King Day — Is The Equality Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

I have been doing a lot of thinking about what to write today. The events of 2014 and Ferguson andMichael Brown, Eric Gardner and I can’t breathe, Tamir Rice and the toy gun, and John Crawford and Walmart have pushed many people to question how far has this country really progressed when it comes to race? To many, we’ve come a long way and racism is a non-factor. To others, we’ve barely moved an inch and racism is still the ugly scourge it has always been. It has just found a home hiding under the surface.

So which is it?

For me, I think we’ve come a long way. I think racism still exists, but the opportunities that exist today far, outstrips the opportunities afforded them 50 years ago when MLK gave his, I Have a Dream speech. I think it’s undeniable. So, for me the glass is half full.

However, here’s where the real problem lies. Too many people are working the extreme’s, and it’s causing more division. For many of those that think the glass is half-full and that we’ve come a long way, they use the advancements as a way to excuse or deny racial or biased behavior. Because they are so convinced race is no longer an issue, they refuse to acknowledge even it’s impact in situations like the above, then blame the victim; they should have complied with the police, they were thugs, if they just obeyed the law, etc. Within this group, the acceptance of race as a factor is almost wholeheartedly rejected. On the other side, for those who believe the glass is half-empty, all they see is race. Every situation is race related, there are no other circumstances, and everyone is a victim of racist people, police, corporations and more. Within this grip, the acceptance of race as a factor is almost wholeheartedly accepted, placing no blame on the perpetrators.

This is the problem with race today. Race is still a problem AND race is not a problem, and until we as a society can embrace these paradoxical truths, we may languish in our journey to achieve MLK’s dream.

So my thoughts for this years MLK holiday are this, spend less time defending your position and more time evaluating other people’s experience with race. Look to expand your view of race in this country. If you think the glass is half-empty, you’re wrong. There have never been the expanse of opportunities for minorities (black, gay, women, etc) than there have ever been. This country is the freest it has ever been; opportunity abounds. If you think the glass is half-empty, you’re wrong. Racism still plays a nasty role in the lives of millions of people here. The road to success is still more challenging for many, as they have to overcome prejudice, and bias that says they don’t belong. Prejudice, racism and bias still exist.

The fact is, both sides must accept they’re wrong and embrace the fact that the cup is neither half-empty nor half-full, but rather filling up every day and that it is not yet full. Because the truth of the matter is, wether it’s half-full or half-empty it doesn’t matter until the glass is just “full.”

I’ve written a lot on the topic of race,

Why Ferguson Happened that No One Knows, (Including most black folks)

Civil Rights Hasn’t Fail Us, We’re Failing the Civil Rights Act

Race in America, Enough Already

I’m Black . . . Thanks!

Black Leader or Civil Rights Leader

The key is to avoid defending our own opinion of where this country is in terms of race relations and start absorbing other peoples experiences and beliefs, because that is where racism lives and dies, in people.

Happy Martin Luther King Day!


Who Wants to Go Skiing With Me?

OK, who wants to go skiing with me? As most of you know, I’m an avid skier. Last year I logged over 1 million vertical feet. I’m also a PSIA Level 2 ski instructor. I love skiing. It is a phenomenal experience. It’s challenging and relaxing. It’s cerebral and ethereal. It’s great alone or with a group. You can do it when you’re young or old. It’s fun on AND off the hill.  It truly is one of the most inclusive, holistic sports there is and we at A Sales Guy want to share it with our badass community.

Therefore, this year we’re rewarding one lucky member of this community for referring business to us. This community referred a lot of business to us last year and we felt that we should give back and not just take. So we came up with this, a BadAss Vail Vacay Referral Contest.

VAIL Referral Contest (1)


How frickin’ cool? There is no place more beautiful than Vail/Beaver Creek in the winter or the summer.  The mountains are majestic, there is tons of stuff to do on and off the hill.  It’s truly a badass place to spend time just chilling. So don’t worry if you’re a summer or winter person, you’ll have a blast either way.

The Silly Rules and Regulations: 

Yeah, right, “rules and regulations” sounds funny saying that, not being the “rules” kinda company. But, we do need to have some semblance of order. So here’s how it breaks down.  If you refer a candidate that gets hired or a company that hires one of our candidates we’ll put your name in hat, (not a real hat, but a proverbial hat) for a drawing to win this badass trip to Vail.   How frickin’ cool is that?   There is no limit to the number of entries either. If you refer a company and they hire a gang of folks, you get a gang of entries (a gang is a lot). ;)  It’s the gift that just keeps on giving.

It’s just our ASG way of saying thanks for thinking of us and telling your friends.  Ya’ll rock, can’t wait to see you on the slopes.

Get ready to RIP!!!

Do You Seriously Believe You Can Do That . . . Seriously?

Do you seriously believe you can exceed 200% of quota?

Do you seriously believe you can be the CEO?

Do you seriously believe you can get into that account?

Do you seriously believe you can raise 100 million dollars?

Do you seriously believe you can get a job with Warren Buffet?

Do you seriously believe you can have your bosses job in a year?

Do you seriously believe your idea can change everything for your company?

Do you seriously believe you can be the top sales rep?

Do you seriously believe you can grow your company 100% year over year?

Do you seriously believe you can help Bill Gates achieve his goal to end malaria?

Do you seriously believe you can . . . ?

Good you should because it’s better than the alternative and . . .

believing that you’re not good enough.

believing your ideas aren’t good enough.

believing it’s not your place.

believing you have to wait your turn

believing others are better than you.

believing it’s too hard

believing it’s unrealistic

believing you can’t get’er done.

believing it’s not your job.

believing you’re a dork.

believing you’ll fail.

believing you’ll be judged

believing it’s not the right time

believing whatever bullshit you keep telling yourself.

We’re conditioned to know our place, to follow the rules, to set “realistic” goals, to temper our enthusiasm, to pay our dues and this conditioning stunts our vision of what could be, what we believe we can accomplish. It stunts our growth.

But . . .

It’s not good enough to just think  we can. We must do. If you believe you can make 200% of quota, go fuckin’ do it. Don’t think about it. If you believe you can be the CEO, then go kick ass and become the CEO. If you think your idea can help Bill Gates end malaria, then fuck ya, go end malaria.

The key is, don’t wait for permission. Don’t just talk about it. Don’t tell everyone how great you are, just go do it. Don’t wait for others to tell you it’s OK. Listen to the voice in your head and do it. Stop thinking and go.

When we believe we can do something, no matter how bodacious, it changes our outlook and our path.  I’m gonna go corny on ya, but it’s true. If we aim high and fall short, we’re still higher than if we aimed low and made it. Almost everything I’ve accomplished in life came from some crazy belief that I could do it, even if I had no business thinking that big. I just didn’t know any better.

So yes, you better believe you can do that. The world has less and less tolerance for people who aim low, have cheap dreams and don’t take action.

I’ve learned my lessons over the years and I refuse to higher anyone or invest in anyone who isn’t trying to do bodacious things.

Believe it baby, then go get’er done!!!

It’s Not That You’re Lazy, It’s . . .

. . . you don’t give a shit!

A client of mine said something the other day that stuck with me. She looked at her team after they had been demonstrating “lazy” behavior, as few of them had been doing what they needed to do, and she said,”No one here is lazy. There is no such thing as ‘lazy.’ It’s that you just don’t care enough, don’t see enough value or you’re not prioritizing things correctly, and that’s why stuff isn’t getting done.”

She nailed it.

As leaders or managers it’s easy to judge people who don’t get shit done as lazy, it’s not that they are lazy, it’s they are not compelled to act.

We may not like the reason someone isn’t taking action, but calling it lazy is simply a catchall phrase and not the reason. Therefore, understanding why someone isn’t acting is important for the leader and the employee if it’s gonna get fixed.

For sales leaders, understanding why a member of your team isn’t getting something done can be key in creating change and improvement. The trap of assuming they’re lazy is too easy to get sucked into. It’s our default mechanism. We need answers for failure and underperformance and attributing it to lazy removes all the blame from us and puts it squarely on the other person.

People aren’t lazy, they just don’t give a shit and there are two variable to fix it.

1) The individual

At the end of the day, we all have to be accountable to ourselves. We need to meet our commitments and get things done. If we are having a hard time, we need to fix that. If we’re unmotivated, then we need to find new motivation. If we don’t know what to do, we need to ask for help. If we’re tired, we need to find a way to recharge. Regardless of our challenges, it’s incumbent upon us to address what is preventing us from delivering and get with the program. It’s not OK to just punt. Punting doesn’t mean we’re lazy, it means we don’t give a shit, and therefore we figure out what it’s gonna take to make to give a shit.

2) Leadership

The other element behind addressing motivation is leadership. Leaders have a tremendous amount of opportunity to make things matter. Leaders can inspire, incentivize, excite, grow, engage, and motivate people. When they focus on people’s needs, desires, and motives, leaders can make things matter and when things matter people move.

It’s time we stop calling people lazy and call it what it is; people not giving a shit, leaders and individuals alike and until everyone gives a shit, nothing is going to get done.

I love what my client said. There is no such thing as lazy; it’s just that no one gives a shit.


What’s Missing From Your 2015 Goals That Will Keep You From Making Them

If you’re like most people, you’ve set goals for 2015. And if you haven’t set any, your boss, your company, somebody set some for you. If you have a job of any significance, you have 2015 goals. I know all sales people do. And if we don’t have work goals, many of us have personal goals, you know like losing weight.

But there is a problem with goals. Almost all goals are missing something critical. They are missing the most important ingredient, the key element to success. It’s not enough for us to have a goal, as a goal doesn’t provide motivation. As much as we like to think it’s the goal we’re chasing, it’s not, and that’s why most people miss their goals. They are too focused on the goal and not why they want to achieve the goal.

“Why?” That’s what missing from our goals, why we want to achieve them is the key to success..

When we understand why we want to achieve a certain goal, it changes everything. The why is our motivation. When forced to be clear about what the goal represents, we become anchored in a vision that represents our emotions and most intimate desires.

If your goal is to lose 45 lbs, why? Why do you want to lose 45 lbs? Is it because you want to feel healthier? Is it because you want to have more energy. Is it because you want to go on more dates, is it because you want to show up someone at your H.S. reunion? What is the reason for wanting to lose weight? Once you’ve figured out why, go to the second why. Why do you want to show up someone at your H.S. reunion? Why do you want to have more energy? Is it to spend more time with your kids? Why do you want to go on more dates? What is your second tier reason? It is absolutely critical to get to the core of why? If you have to go to a third level “why?” then, do it.

If you want to be the top sales rep, why? If you want to exceed quota by 150%, why? If you want to grow your company by 40%, why? If you are looking to get a promotion, why? If you want to . . . why?

Once you answer why, ask it again.

If you want to be top sales rep, why? Why do you want to be top sales rep? Is it because you want to be the sales manager? If it is, why do you want to be sales manager? Get to the second and third why. That is where the true motivation comes from. When we understand what’s emotionally behind our goals, we try harder. They take on more meaning. They have more value. Trying to achieve our goals when they aren’t anchored in our true motivators makes them almost impossible to achieve.

It’s not OK to just have goals. Goals don’t represent our desires; they are manifestations of our desires and unless we know exactly why we want something, chasing it becomes less important.

Go take a look at your goals. (I’m assuming you write them down. If you don’t or haven’t that’s an entirely different problem.) Do you know why you want to achieve them? Are the reasons compelling? If not try again.

Here’s how I like to do it:


Exceed quota by 50%


To maximize accelerators and be in the top 1% of the sales team

Why? (Second level why)

To be able to save X amount of dollars for my kids education and take the family on Safari. And to prove to myself that I’m one of the best sales reps.

Why? (Third level why)

My daughter is a very talented in math, and I want to give her the best opportunity to accelerate in it. I want the family to do something together that will bring us together AND grow as people. I sometimes question if I’m good and I want to stop questioning my abilities.

Each level of why explores more of the intrinsic motivators to a single and seemingly simple goal. What’s powerful about these motivators is they are different and unique to each person. No one’s reasons will ever be the same.

Exceed quota by 50% seems pretty simple and straightforward, but when you dig deeper, it is anything but simple.

Get clear on why you want to achieve your goals. You’ll be amazed at how quickly they move from goals to reality.

We all want things, but it’s not what we want that drives us, it’s why we want it.

Why do you want it?

When’s The Last Time You . . .

When’s the last time you read a book on sales?

When’s the last time you found a new blog on sales or business?

When’s the last time your refused to accept “no,” because you knew the other person was wrong?

When’s the last time you helped out a fellow team member?

When’s the last time you created a new process that helped you do your job better?

When’s the last time you accepted a hairy, big, difficult, daunting challenge?

When’s the last time you did something for your company that you didn’t benefit from, but everyone else did?

When’s the last time you acknowledged a weakness in your skills?

When’s the last time you took action to improve on that weakness?

When’s the last time you acknowledged you fucked up, made a mistake and said you were sorry?

When’s the last time you mentored someone?

When’s the last time you learned something that caused you to change a long held belief?

When’s the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone?

When’s the last time you were behind a big change?

When’s the last time you took a big risk?

When’s the last time you gave, donated, or shared something with someone who was less fortunate without judging?

When’s the last time you . . . ?

Your answers will tell you everything you need to know.

How Sales People Lie In A Way That Let’s Them Believe They Aren’t

Some sales people lie but don’t believe they do. They lie to make a sale. They lie to get you to buy what they want you to buy. They lie to promote their agenda, not yours.

They don’t believe they lie because they don’t give you false information. They don’t blatantly tell you a lie. They don’t tell you something that is straight up not true and so because the don’t directly lie; they’ve convinced themselves they aren’t lying. But they are.

How do salespeople lie and convince themselves they aren’t lying? They lie through omission.

Lying through omission is when someone deliberately and knowingly withholds information that could be beneficial to the buyer. When someone withholds information in order to influence a decision, that’s lying through omission.

I was in NYC with my girls last week, and we went to the Empire State building. The minute we got out of the cab; we were approached by woman who was selling tickets to the top. She was quick to tell us the wait was an hour long, but that while waited we could get tickets to a cool, interactive ride. It took you on a virtual tour of NYC. She said the girls would absolutely love it. She said that the tickets also included access to the museum on the 88th floor. I asked her if the price was the same at the ticket counter inside and she said yes. I asked her what the difference was if I got the tickets from her and instead of getting the tickets inside; she said nothing EXCEPT I couldn’t get the Skyride tickets inside. So, I bought the tickets.

Here’s what she didn’t tell me. She didn’t tell me that although the Skyride experience took about 30-45 minutes, it didn’t save us a place in line or reduce the hour wait. We still had to wait an hour once we finished the Skyride. She didn’t tell me that the museum was free, regardless of what tickets you bought. She didn’t tell me that buying tickets from her ONLY got us to the 88th floor NOT the 102nd floor or the top. Finally, she DIDN’T tell me for the same price I could have bought Fastpass tickets. Fastpass tickets would have allowed us to go straight to the top, skipping the line. It allowed us to go to the museum, go to the 88th floor AND the 102nd floor all in half the time. My girls are 4, 7, and 9, waiting in line fucking sucks. Had I known, we would have skipped the Skyride, and bought FastPass tickets straight to the tippy, tippy, top.

But no! We didn’t know that was an option until after we bought the tickets from her.

This woman lied to us without ever telling us something that wasn’t true. She just lied through omission and as my dad taught me, that is just the same as lying.

Just because you haven’t told your customers or buyers a falsehood, doesn’t mean you’re telling the truth. It’s your job to make sure your buyers and customers have ALL the information so they can make an informed decision. Anything short of that, you’re being a scumbag.

Ask my kids, they’ll tell ya. Waiting in line for hours, when you didn’t have to, puts a sour taste in your mouth.


Hey Look at Me! #sshour

The title of this post is a double entendre. Dang, my shit is good.

1) The first part of the double entendre “Hey look at me.” I’m on Social Sales Hour #sshour with @rachelloumiller and Brian Fanzo (@isocialfanz)    we’re breaking down personal branding and why it’s important

2) And the other half of the double entendre, “hey look at me” is  regarding personal brand and the importance of standing out.

Fuck, that’s good shit uh?

Ok, back to business. I did a sick Google Hangout today on the importance of personal branding and standing out.  It was sick. We trended on Twitter for hours. I know right, how bad ass is that.

Here’s the entire episode, my favorite part was the peas and carrots.