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Why I Fired A Client Before They Became A Client

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They liked A Sales Guy Consulting, but our standard pricing and approach didn’t fit what they needed or could afford at the time. However, I knew we could help them, so we created a slightly different offer that would deliver the value they needed. Think a scaled down version of an existing offer.

After being flexible and accommodating this potential client enters into an extraordinarily complex due diligence process that included an hour of free time, where I provided them with tremendous insight to their business and where they should be focused. We also gave them access to one of our clients who gave them a fantastic referral, including insight into how I work and what the can expect from me. In spite of all of this, they wanted more, more client referrals etc.

They were becoming too difficult and making the process far more complicated than it needed to be, particularly undersanding the investment and how much we had already done to make this work for them. Therefore, I told my biz dev guy to cut them loose. They aren’t a good fit.

If a prospect is difficult, indecisive, demanding or just plain flakey during the sales process, you can expect they will be difficult once they are a customer.

You don’t have to do business with everyone. Sometimes, it’s best to avoid all the pain up front and not do business with the customer at all.

In a services industry like consulting and recruiting, a working relationship is EVERYTHING. We can’t afford clients who are difficult to work with, as they can cost you far more than they make.

We are flexible, nimble, engaging, fun and decisive here at A Sales Guy.  It’s how we get things done. We look for our clients to be the same way. Sometimes, they play too far down the opposite end of the spectrum. In those cases, it’s best for us to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

I see no need to take on a problem account. No one wins in these scenarios.

Sometimes, the best sale you can make is the one you don’t make.

A sale is the beginning of a relationship, not the end. Just like all relationships, if they don’t look good in the honeymoon phase, they most likely aren’t going to look good once you’re in the middle of it.

Have the courage and the ability to know when a deal just isn’t worth it and walk away.

We did!

I don’t give a Shit About Sales Status!

Status is the lame update salespeople share…

I don’t give a rat’s ass about a sales opportunities status in the pipeline and as a sales manager neither should you.

What is “status?”  Status is the lame update sales people share during the weekly pipeline meeting.  It’s the pathetic review we sales managers accept from sales people  when we don’t have a strong cadence and pipeline review process in place.  They go like this:

Sales Manager – “Hey Bob, what’s the status on the Techform opportunity?”

BOB –  “It looks good, we’re waiting on the results of the demo and for the CIO to approve the solution.

Sales Manager – “Are we going to close it?”

BOB – “Yes, things are coming along.  I should hear about it next week.”

Sales Manager – “Is there anything we can do to move things along?”

BOB – “No, we’re good.  I spoke with them last week and they told me everything is good.”

Sales Manager – “Great, keep me in the loop.”

This exchange, unfortunately — is how too many pipeline review meetings go. 

It’s a status, that’s all.  It provides almost no value. The only value a “good” status can provide is it sets us up for the real discussion.  The real discussion being, what we are doing and why.  Status pipeline discussions need to go. They waste everyone’s time.

The most effective way for a manager to increase sales, next to finding and developing talent, is to help sales people move opportunities through the pipeline.  In a nutshell, that’s it.  The sales pipeline represents the state of the sales environment at any given point. It’s dynamic and needs to be managed that way.

To avoid status meetings and put some meat into the pipeline meetings, get to the heart of the situation,look for evidence, ask probing questions, push the sales person to be creative and connected.

Here are some types of pipeline movement questions for this sales manager;

  1. Is there a chance the results of the demo won’t be favorable?
  2. If so, what happens?
  3. What is the customer looking for in the demo?
  4. Will the demo provide the results they want?
  5. How will they be measuring “success?”
  6. When’s the last time you spoke with the CIO?
  7. What does she need to approve the deal?
  8. What evidence do you have that even if we get approval it will close next week?
  9. You said you are waiting on the results, what exactly are you waiting on?
  10. What evidence do you have that is going happen?
  11. Could the results divide the customer into two camps?
  12. If so, what will we do?
  13. What is our backup strategy?
  14. What can we do now, that can influence the decision?
  15. What is OUR next step, besides waiting? Why?

There are a million questions that could be asked.  The objective is to not get a STATUS, but to understand the issues with the sale AND then formulate a response to them.  Deals must be moved from stage to stage.

A static pipeline is a dead pipeline.

It’s a sales managers job to keep the pipeline dynamic and help their sales people move deals from stage to stage. Sales managers need to be maniacal in uncovering the issues obstructing a deal. Sales managers need to be fanatical in identifying the best approach to keeping a deal from getting stuck.

Sales managers, you need to be creative in helping solve the sales challenges your sales people face every day and the pipeline is the best tool to help you do it.  Don’t waste time on useless status updates. Get to the core of the sales challenges and figure out how to solve them.  It’s the only way to move them to the next stage and that is your job.

Could Creating a “Streak” Be The Secret To Big Time Success?

I met Terry Lancaster yesterday. He’s an energetic, fast-talking Southern boy from Nashville Tenessee.

Terry is the author of Better, Self-Help for the Rest of Us and a guest on The Word.  We had a blast. Terry is a passionate dude who wants to change the world. Terry has this; anything is possible attitude that just jumps out at you. A self-admitted caffeine addict, it’s hard to argue with him as it’s hard to know whether it’s the caffeine or him.

In his excitement, Terry dropped a powerful concept on me during the show, a concept I had never heard of thought of and had never considered.  He talked about the idea of using “streaks” to create long-lasting, predictable habits and success.

In our interview, Terry opened up about a streak which he’s involved. He runs a mile a day, every day.  One day he just said, “I’m going to run a mile a day.”  On the surface, this sounds rather innocuous, but it’s what he said next that triggered me to understand the power of streaks. He said his streak was 522 days long.  

Yes, I said 522 days long. That’s unbelievable. He’s run 522 days in a row. He’s passed the point of no return, and that’s the power of a streak.  In other words, the cost of “breaking” the streak is substantial.  Think about it, if you’ve run a mile every single day for 522 days, why would you ever want today to be the day you missed it?  Why give up on all that, why break the streak? And it’s in this emotional connection that streaks are so powerful.

The power of a streak in driving us to keep going the longer it continues is tremendous. The current record is 49 years, and the record holder has run after knee surgery, on a cruise ship during a hurricane, and more. When we create a streak, and it grows, we’ll do anything to keep it going.

This concept of streaks is powerful.  It creates an incredible sense of ownership.  When we’ve committed to something to the point it becomes a streak, it increases our ownership and pride in the effort. Every day the streak continues and grows, our resolve to keep it going increases. We try harder and harder to keep from breaking it.

Streaks do something else; I find fascinating. They are great measures of progress. When we start counting a streak, we measure our activity and our actions, not necessarily the results. Measuring our activity allows us to see how much work, and effort we put in to get a result. This makes it possible to see the cumulative effect of our efforts. When we can see our effort, it feels good. We take pride. We’re like “Damn, I did that?”  That’s powerful.

Terry’s been running for 522 days. That’s a hell of an accomplishment. He knows that if he misses just ONE day, those 522 days are lost for good, and he has to start all over.  It will take him almost 18 months just to get back to where stopped. Is missing one day worth it?  NOPE! The streak, in itself, becomes the motivation.

Creating a streak can add incredible power towards our ability to get things done and drive the results we want. Imagine creating a streak for every major area of your life.

  1. Work
    1. Make 50 sales calls every day
    2. Read a book a month every month
    3. Write a blog post/LinkedIn Pulse article every day
    4. Get to work 30 min early every day.
  2. Home
    1. Kiss and compliment your spouse every day
    2. Read to your kids every night
    3. Put your phone away from 7-9 every night
  3. Health
    1. Run a mile a day
    2. Do 25 pushes up every morning
    3. D0 25 jumping jacks every day
    4. Go to the gym four times a week, every week
    5. Bring lunch to work every day

There are so many areas in our lives where streaks can be an asset.  Find a streak and start one.

Once you’ve started your streak the most important thing to do, to keep it going, is to create a visual representation of it. Buy a paper calendar and every time you do what you say you’re going to do, put an “X” through the day.  You want to see those “X’s” start adding up.  Don’t underestimate the power of the “X.”  The more “X’s” drawn, the more motivating and habit-forming the behavior becomes.

We all like the sense of accomplishment, so imagine 10, 20, 50, 100, 1,000 “X’s” on your calendar. Imagine how good that would feel. Imagine how proud you’re gonna be, as the “X’s” pile up.

If your looking for a practicle, measurable and unique way to make change in your life then start thinking about starting a streak.  It could very well be what get’s you streaking to greatness. 😉

Get streaking and I don’t mean to the quad.

BANT Sucks, Brand You Is Critical, And Why We Need Better Sales People

I did a fireside chat for the Denver Enterprise Meet Up.  I don’t know what came over me, but I was in rare form. I was fired up.

I shared my thoughts on the state of sales organizations today. On the patheticness that is BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing). I talk about how salespeople struggle with finding true business problems and more.

It’s an hour, but absolutely worth it. It’s one of the more intimate engagements I’ve done in a while.

Enjoy!

Can You Compete And Win In The 21st Century? [Quiz]

 

80% of people aren’t ready for the 21st Century

This means fewer job opportunities, lower salaries, fewer promotions, more failed businesses, and more for those not ready.

The Information Age has ushered in a new era of success and with it a whole new set of skills.

How do you stack up?

Are your skills up to par for the 21st Century or are you part of the 80% of people who aren’t ready?

Take this 21st Century readiness quiz now and find out how prepared you are to be successful in today’s new world.

The price of not being ready is MASSIVE.

Take this 3 minute quiz below and find out if your ready NOW!

Watch What Would Have Been Called Impossible, Happen!

We’ve all done it. If you say you haven’t, you’re a liar, and therefore, you probably do it more than most people.  We’re guilty of saying something can’t be done or that something is impossible. We’ve all been the Debbie Downer arguing something won’t work under the guise of being realistic. We do this all too often, but the truth is, we’re being victimized by our limitations and putting it on everyone else.

Watch this:

 

Imagine some guy, cause in the 1950’s it would have been a “guy” sitting around saying, we can’t do this in less than 1 minute.  I can already picture him arguing that it “can’t” be done. And from his perspective, he’s right.

That’s the problem with people; we lack the vision, the creativity and the confidence to think big and see bigger. We operate from our current worldview, using the realism argument as support for defeatist arguments that say, “It can’t be done!”

Imagine trying to tell the naysayer who said it couldn’t be done in less than 60 seconds, that it could be done in 5 seconds. I can see his head exploding with rage, and frustration, accusing anyone with the audacity of believing that of being idiots and  living in a dream world. He’s telling everyone why it can’t be done and why they are wrong, and he can prove it.

Here’s what’s wrong with that approach. We prove what we set out to prove. If the questions are why can’t it be done, that’s the answer your going to get. However, if the question is, how can we do it, the answer changes.

I get it; we’ve all been guilty of this mindset. We’ve all taken the position that it can’t be done, but it has to stop. It’s time to ask the question differently. We need to stop asking the question why can’t we and only answer the question, how can we.

Muhammad Ali said it best:

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

Don’t be the guy who fights everything, the one using reason as an excuse not to think, not to push the limits, not to strive for more. Don’t ask why not and start asking how. It makes all the difference. Ask any pitstop crew.

The only thing that is impossible is what our minds tell us is impossible.

Why Hustle Isn’t What’s Most Important

 

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Have you ever seen a hamster on a hamster wheel?

They are hustling. You can’t argue that! But are they getting anywhere?

Exactly, and that’s why this notion of hustle is played out.

Look, don’t get me wrong, you have to work YOUR ASS OFF if you want to be successful and the truth is most people won’t and don’t put in the kind of real  hard work required.  The reality is, for most people, their definition of hard work isn’t anywhere close to the true definition of hard work is.  True, real, hard work is unreasonable to most people. So yes, hustle or hard work is critical to success, but few people are willing to work that hard.

For those who are willing to hustle, most hustle for a little while and quit.

Why?

For some, it’s because they discover hustle is too hard. They realize they just don’t want to work that hard.  For others, it’s because they are hustling on the wrong things. They are hustling for “hustles” sake. They’re working hard. They’re hustling, just like a hamster on a hamster wheel and getting nowhere.

The key to hustle is to know where to put in your time, where to focus your hustle, when to prioritize your hustle, and where to stop focusing your hustle. Successful people out work others, but it’s where they outwork others that wins.  It’s what they prioritize in their hustle. Winners put their hustle into those things that have the greatest return.

Knowledge:

Take note people, not many of you are going to like what I say here, but the truth hurts. Few of you hustle in the knowledge department. Few people have deliberate learning plans. Few people spend 20 or 30 percent of their time learning. They spend so much time doing, running on the hamster wheel, that they don’t expand their understanding and knowledge of what they’re doing. They don’t become experts. They don’t know more than everyone else. They don’t become connoisseurs. Knowledge is the most important and dominant trait of the successful. They learn more than everyone else and are constantly staying ahead of the learning curve. If you’re a hustler, how much time are you hustling knowledge?

The Little Shit: 

This focus of hustle has HUGE gain. Why? Not because it’s hard, or sophisticated, but because few people do it.  People HATE the little shit. I’m guilty as charged on this one. The little shit is the mundane, boring, stuff everyone hates doing that in collective makes a big difference. Hustling in this area is big. Spending time doing all the little things that most people won’t do creates separation.  It’s how you get ahead of your competition. You wanna make big changes, don’t make one or two big changes, make lots and lots of little changes. Focus on the little shit, put your hustle there, that’s not running on the hamster wheel.

Innovation:

 I could have called this creativity too.  Most of us spend our hustle trying to copy, follow and fit in.That type of hustle is running on a hamster wheel.  You may be working hard, but you’re not going anywhere. True hustlers are hustling to find ways to be different, to be first, to be unique, to be innovative, to separate themselves from the pack.  Use your hustle to differentiate, to find new solutions, to solve problems others haven’t solved.  Put your hustle to innovation and creation.

Hustle matters, working hard is critical. There is no doubt. I will never argue that. The problem is too many people are being told they can hustle their way to success, and that’s just not true. You have to have a good idea. You have to know more than everyone else in y0ur space. You have to expand your knowledge base daily. You have to do all the little, itty bitty, boring, frustrating, annoying things that seem not to matter. You have to have luck. Hustle alone won’t do anything but make you tired.

Don’t be fooled. It’s not the hustle that wins. It’s where you focus the hustle.

Are you hustling right or are you running on a hamster wheel?

 

The Difference Between Winning and Losing in Today’s World

The rules to success have changed. If you read this blog, you’ll know I’ve been saying this for quite some time.

We’re headlong into the information age. The time when most of us grew up, the industrial age, is well past us, yet far too many of us are clinging to the industrial age, skills and strategies that no longer work for success. We’re still condition to the ways of the past.

Two groups of people are quickly emerging in this change, those gaining an advantage and those falling behind. There is one fundamental difference between the groups. Those winning are doing something those that are falling behind aren’t.

Taughtleaders Lesson 5 Join Us!

This Tuesday I’m spending an hour with those who are winning to show you what those winning are doing.

In Lesson #5 of the Taught Leader’s series we’re focusing on the winners, those people who have recognised the change and have adopted the new rules to success.

Find out what today’s success stories are doing to accelerate their career and create more opportunities for themselves. Join us this Tuesday at 11:00 MST for Taught Leaders Lesson #5: Real Success Stories.

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The Hardest Thing In Life, Is Not Giving A Fuck

 

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Life is hard.  That is a fact.  It’s hard for a lot of reasons; family, work, health, relationships, money, shit the list of life’s challenges could be a mile long.  But, one of the hardest things in life is something we don’t talk about much.  It’s something all of us, I mean every one of us struggle with, yet it goes largely unaddressed most of our lives. This difficulty of life we all struggle with is not giving a fuck what other people think.

Our entire lives are wrapped up in what other people think of us. From the minute we wake up in the morning and decide what clothes to wear to how we do our hair, we’re influenced by what people think.

It’s not just physical either.  We censor our language, our opinions, our ideas, everything in fear of what others will think. We put so much of our lives through the, “what will others think of us filter,” that we lose who we really are.

It’s so common for people to blend in and subject themselves to what other people think that we’ve invented a phrase for those rare times when someone doesn’t  care.

You know that phrase we use when someone just stops caring. When they’ve become so fed up and just lose it. You know, it’s that “I just don’t give a fuck” mode people get in.  We’ve all seen it.  Someone is driven to the point where they’re tired of acting, filtering, and holding back.  They just go for it and let it all out! They just stop givin’ a fuck.

We need more of this in our lives. We need to be in “I don’t give a fuck” mode more often.

All of us live our lives through the lens of what other people think. It’s just who we are. Some of us are more susceptible to it than others. The problem isn’t that we care what other people think, it’s that we care too much, and we let it affect our decisions and actions too often. It’s when we let it impact our ability to live our lives and achieve the things we want that it becomes a real problem.

When that happens, and it’s happening for most of you right now, you don’t live your life for you, you’re living it for and because of everyone else and that sucks. When that happens, you’re cheating yourself.

I get it. Sticking out, being exposed, and not complying with the norms is hard.  But, if we actually want to live, we must learn to embrace our own voice, our own story, our own path regardless of what others think.

We need to embrace our individualism. We need to be brave.  We need to direct our lives, not be directed by them. We need to walk around with a giant; I don’t give a fuck, attitude. I am who I am, and I don’t give a shit if you don’t like me, what I say, my clothes, my car, my ideas, my hair my anything.

How much of your life goes through the what does everyone else think of me filter?  Be honest, if you say none, you’re lying, and you’re full of shit. Take a deep look inside and ask yourself, when do you care most about what other people think and how does it affect your choices, your behaviors, and your attitude?

You have them; you just need to know what they are and how they affect your life.

As much of my life as I’ve built around not giving a shit, there are other parts that are major challenges. There are absolutely areas of my life that I care WAY too much what you think, and it’s not a good thing. I have to fix it, or I’m not going to get what I want out of that part of my life.

Simply put, stop giving a fuck about what other people think. Be you, be different, be your own person and LIVE IT.

It’s the hardest part of life, but if you can do it, it just make the rest of your life that much easier.