A Winners Edge – Competitive Intelligence

photo(17) - CopyWinning is a Habit. Unfortunately, So Is Losing. – Vince Lombardi

Kudos and a big shout-out to the sales athletes who show up to compete in the sales arena. You put it all on the line and are driven to minimize the influence others may have in deciding where you can afford to live, what kinds of schools your kids can afford to attend, what kind of car you can afford drive, when and where you can vacation, and how much you can invest and save. Want a raise?  Simple – go out and close another deal. Sure, quota is important to achieving your company’s sales revenue objectives but you don’t need a sales manager or a quota hanging over your head once you accept that winning and losing in the sales profession should be motivated by the vision of YOUR lifestyle goals and legacy.

Most of us already understand: That too often, the difference between winning and losing is so small… that just a little additional insight can make a champion. Since I’m always on the hunt for tools, solutions, methodologies that support my lifestyle and legacy goals, I recently came upon  “Insight” from Ignite Intelligence Solutions at www.winloss.com.  This is a new company in the competitive intelligence space that’s developed software which leverages input from members on the sales team which is then used to dynamically illuminate winning and losing competitive scenarios and nuances… before you go out and break a sweat. Question: how much more effective would you be, and how many more deals would you close if you were able to discern the winners and losers with a higher degree of confidence before committing significant time and resources? Hmmm…

I was so impressed that I’ve joined the Ignite Intelligence Solutions team and soon, I’ll  be engaging sales executives, marketing executives, trainers, and sales operations people in various verticals to help their sales reps achieve and exceed record-breaking quota success.

Care to know more? Do you have bigger sales revenues targets for 2015? We should connect. Feel free to contact me to schedule a discussion at cbell@winloss.com and in the meantime…

Win,

CB3

Chris Bell 3rd: Coaching for Big Results

2013-03-29 21.57.05“My name is Joey Price and I’m the CEO of Jumpstart:HR, LLC. My company provides full-service HR support to small, emerging businesses in the United States and international firms looking to establish or grow their presence in the US.  My company helps business owners grow their firms with confidence while alleviating the sting of the inevitable burden of HR headaches.

Working with Chris Bell 3rd helped me in a lot of ways. As a leader, he helped me grow courage in weak-spot areas that existed in my mental focus. As a sales person he helped me strengthen my sales process. As a friend, we were able to connect on life issues – which helped me trust his business acumen all the more.”

My name is Chris Bell 3rd  and I love to see people win in life. As an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, I had the privilege of being a business coach and mentor for Joey Price, the CEO of Jumpstart: HR, LLC who was recently recognized in the Baltimore Business Journal Top 40, Under 40 and featured in the University of Maryland University College commercial spot (you just watched) which aired just before a Baltimore Ravens NFL preseason game a few weeks ago.

If you’ve ever thought about starting a business; if you’re new to business and want to increase sales and profitability; if you own a business and want to get “unstuck…” contact me to begin transforming your business AND your life.

Win,

Chris Bell 3rd

The Sales Janitor

30_janitor“The Sales Janitor” an excerpt from the BUT I HATE SALES©  Training & Speaker Series for Non-Sales Professionals

If you’re not in sales or new to the profession, it can be a bit overwhelming when you see great sales and business development professionals in action. Most often, they’re engaged with multiple buying influencers (evaluators, executive decision makers, technical influencers, coaches, etc…) in multiple deals at a time. In addition, most qualified prospects and sales professionals are just finishing or just beginning a deal and mentally, have to be in the beginning, middle, and end of several sales cycles… at the same time. Unfortunately, the negative residue and mess left after recently completed business deals or bad buying experiences can hang around in the minds and business units of  qualified prospects. Result: the atmosphere in key interactions can stink and result in degrading the likelihood that a win-win business deal can be consummated. What’s needed? A Sales Janitor.

The Sales Janitor

A Sales Janitor is a cleanup professional and fixer of OTHER PEOPLE’S MESSES. Sometimes you’ve got to clean up a mess you didn’t create before being able to do your best work. The Sales Janitor is acutely aware of what I call “The Pinocchio Tax” ©: a subjective penalty paid by both a prospect and sales person due to a previously bad buying experience where lies or a misrepresentation of the truth have resulted in a potential or actual loss. However, the Sales Janitor knows that if he can do something for the prospect not necessarily associated with the sale of his company’s products or services, the rewards may be: easier access to buying influencers and decision-makers; achieving consultant vs. peddler status; and the establishment of competitive immunity at the beginning of the deal vs. brutal negotiations at the end of a deal. So what does a Sales Janitor actually do?

Sales Janitor Responsibilities

1. Includes Prospect/Buyer History in your qualification and discovery process. Ask 3 questions: “Can you tell me about your experience purchasing these kinds of solutions in the past?; Is there any previous issue, incident, business unit, or individual we’ll be working with that is, or has been impacting your business?” And you can ask your coach/sponsor “Who has a vested interested in seeing that this project or deal does not succeed?”

2. Networks Relentlessly. You don’t have to have the answers, but you may know who does. Take authentic interest in people. In our profession, we interact with lots of people and may know experts in other companies in various field that we can introduce to prospective buyers across the breadth of their business that can do the fixing for us!

3. Prepares Joint Working Plans that include the prospects buying process and procedures. This will accelerate the speed of trust, and introduce predictably in the sales process after the cleaning up job. Result: Sales Janitors can ask for what they want and have the moral leverage to get it.

4. Lets It Go.  One major difference between a sales pro and a rookie or non-sales professional is the length of time it takes to emotionally let go of the memories of a good deal gone bad. We’ve all asked the question: “So now, how do I explain this to my boss?” I highly recommend the truth. S**t happens. Deal with it, and move on. But most importantly, don’t leverage your previous negative experiences in future opportunities. Start with a fresh attitude with no baggage and watch your bank account increase.

Win,

Chris Bell 3rd

The Pinocchio Tax – Selling After A Lying Experience

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Pinocchio (pi-noh-kee-oh) – The hero of Carlo Collodi’s children’s story, The Adventures of Pinocchio (1883), a wooden puppet who comes to life as a boy and whose nose grows longer whenever he tells a lie. – Dictionary.com

A Pinocchio Tax is a subjective penalty paid by both a prospect and sales person due to a previously bad buying experience where lies or a misrepresentation of the truth have resulted in a potential or actual loss.

The prospective buyer’s Pinocchio Tax payment is often manifested in the enablement of a new, but flawed and elongated buying process. In some companies, an abdication of leadership is the result as key buying decisions become delegated to committees who are given influence without authority. This new, dysfunctional buying posture ensures that the best offerings, products, services, and personnel available withdraw from competitive consideration. Dysfunctional sales organizations love these buyers as they have no intention of actually supporting them for the long-term. Given limited time and resources, only desperate sales professionals and bad business managers can give meaningful time and energy interacting with these entities.

The sales professional’s Pinocchio Tax payment is evidenced in forecasted deals evaporating from pipeline reviews. The new, old rules: “It’s ok to lie to the sales person, because they lie to us.” A series of these incidences may result in a sales rep being put on a performance plan and lead to their eventual termination. At a higher level, great companies with awesome, innovative products may be forced to close their doors.

Now that we’re consciously aware of the Pinocchio Tax™ the obvious question is “So what do we do about it?”The short answer is this: Where a large, transformational enterprise opportunity exists, assume the prospect has put multiple people and processes in place to “protect” their company. Put down your briefcase and pick up a virtual bucket and a mop to become The Janitor. Inquire about the “who, what, why, and when” of the customer’s buying process to understand the prospect’s sensitivities and business proclivities. Then offer creative and thoughtful options that may clean up some of the emotional residue and issues left behind in previous bad buying experiences BEFORE going on a full-court sales press.

Becoming The Janitor often doesn’t make sense for short-term, small, transactional deals. But if you’re in the game to do big deals and build long-term collaborative mutually profitable business relationships, you can get paid BIG if you’re willing to help clean up some of the mess others have left behind. We’ll be hearing more about the “The Janitor” further along in the But I Hate Sales Speaker Series.

Win,

~Chris Bell 3rd

Inspiration in Desperation

iStock_000010025070Medium-300x199That Terrifying Drowning Sensation: When the big deal you’ve been forecasting for 6 months has been deferred and you’re short of quota; your best team member just quit, conversations with your spouse have degraded to grunts and hand signals; sleep deprivation is a constant companion, and now you’re trying to find the bank card for the line of credit that was only going to be used for business emergencies because… it is an emergency. What now?

Drop the Ego and the Denial:  Ask for help. If you don’t know it, the people in your life already know things are unraveling and having tough times… they’re just not telling you. Privately share challenges with a select few within your inner circle of professional trusted advisors or a friend. Quite often the “problem” is not the problem. How we see the problem is the problem and a remedy may not be as complex as initially perceived. Sometimes we need others to believe in the best of us, when we can’t see it.

Relax: Stop flailing about and begin conserving your personal energy. Take your rest as seriously as you take your work. It may sound counter-intuitive, but it may be appropriate to relax and float.  To regain perspective, rest your body, meditate, reconfirm your purpose, and guard your self-talk. Is your “Why” (your reason for doing what you do) big enough to keep you motivated to persist in a sea of issues that threaten to drown you?

Sailors Get Wet: Entrepreneurs, business owners, and business development sales professionals understand that risk is inherent to their profession and sometimes the waves of fear, uncertainty and doubt can wash across our vision, throw us into previously unknown waters, and disorient us.  Mentally prepare for the challenge. The alternative is to waive control over the time, IP, and equity in your life by giving it to an employer as a W-2 employee. What’s better? There’s no right answer. You decide.

Prayer & Meditation: What do you do in your toughest moments?  Perhaps we can take a lesson from a very old book which says: “Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the resting of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:24 (NIV)

Win,

Chris Bell 3rd

Rookie Tips: Systems and Politics in Sales

stock-illustration-16835359-jumpstart-solutionExcited about your sales career? Good. You should be! However, there is no one size-fits-all reason for individual sales success, though one of several critical variables that determine successful longevity in professional sales is an incumbent’s mastery of existing systems and their ability to identify, learn, unlearn and adopt systemic sales processes that may accelerate or impede their professional success.

So, what is a “system” anyway? BusinessDictionary.com calls it: A set of detailed methods, procedures and routines created to carry out a specific activity, perform a duty, OR solve A PROBLEM.

But here are a few problems about the problem:

  • How we view the problem (is it a systemic or individual problem?)
  • The original problem has evolved (Hey, have you guys seen this?)
  • The problem has complex inter-dependencies with other problems (Too big. Not my problem.)
  • You’re in a static, inflexible system (You know our guidelines, what are you doing?)
  • You’re working with the author of the system (Since when did you become the expert?)

Confession and Embarrassment

Early in my career I was employed by a software company and was the only rep to make quota for 6 straight months. In an impromptu meeting with our team, the CEO asked “Chris how did you do it?” I explained that I’d personally and quietly made small, iterative, but continual improvements in a flawed systemic process that ALL of the reps were supposed to follow. I was young, dumb, and totally clueless as to the politics and power moves being made within hierarchies of management I’d never been exposed to at the time.

The result: I embarrassed my boss , my teammates felt as though I was a prima donna, and the author of our systemic sales processes was unintentionally discredited. When I finally achieved my annual quota I was relieved… not happy, and felt like crap. The company dismantled their original sales process and things did improve… without anyone seeking one word of advice from my naive, arrogant a**.

Lessons Learned

  • Master the systems you use and quickly discern how best to win within existing constructs.
  • Understand the difference between systemic and personal failure
  • Test the receptivity of management to new ideas and then adapt to win.
  • Nobody believes you’re an expert until you do what nobody else is doing. Be humble in your achievement.
  • Quickly give other “experts” credit and they will advocate for you when you’re not around.
  • Always be a team player. Sales is a collaborative profession and winning alone… sucks.

Win,

Chris Bell 3rd

Radio Interview: But I Hate Sales™

Perfect World Network: Women in The Morning.

Business Matters,” host Mindy Guisewite interviews Christopher Bell III, the author and creator of the “But I Hate Sales™”  seminars and events for non-sales people. If you own a business or are in business, you don’t want to miss this one! To listen to the radio interview online or to download this episode, click here: Radio Interview

Where Are The Buyers?

I recently had a flashback…

The first office job I had in the early 80’s was in a telesales sweatshop for Satellite Business Systems (SBS) co-owned by MCI, Comsat, and Aetna. I still have moments when I can hear the mono-toned echoes of my boss’ voice calmly saying: “Bell, make more calls… sales is a numbers game!” And like a hamster on a wheel, I kept running for my “production” numbers, cranking up 60 to 70 calls per day, eating lunch at my desk for my $12,000 base salary and an additional $13,000 in annual commissions… if I made my monthly quota.

As if experiencing déjà vu, I stumbled upon a business owner spouting off similar obsolete half-truths to members of their sales organization because they’re either clueless or in denial.  More than a few of today’s subject matter experts have spoken and written about the latest phenomenon in the buyer-seller dance, which is:  Buyers are self-diagnosing their “pain” and addressing 70% of their own issues before a sales rep can make a sales pitch. Result: by the time a sales professional is engaged in a qualified sales opportunity, the concept of “value” is off the table and price dominates the landscape. New reality: Some of today’s technology sales professionals are being marginalized by savvy buyers who are active before a formal sales engagement and they respect two things: a technology sales subject matter expert AND a fair price.

So, where are the buyers today?

  • They are doing business with your competition in response to a content marketing message that was authored and directed to specifically address their issues in their market segment.
  • They’re on their smart phone watching your competitors YouTube video on a mobile compatible website.
  • They’re buying products and services from people and organizations where they are being educated.

In the technology sales space, today’s sales professionals can longer afford to be generalists as customers are now buying from people that can challenge perceptions and share what they’re unable to discern or discover for themselves thru their own research. Welcome the era of  technology sales subject matter experts.

-Chris Bell 3rd

Why Is The CEO in Sales?

At-a-glance, this wasn’t a promising opportunity. My competition was the established incumbent in my target account and carried “trusted adviser” status in a key circle of internal influence. Moreover, I was a little late to arrive in this competitive scenario so I didn’t even forecast this engagement in an “Opportunity” stage because it would be a long-shot for me to close. However, for my competition (the CEO of an emerging technology company) this was supposed to be an easy, simple, “renewal & upgrade” deal coupled with an opportunity for a co-marketing agreement, right? Think again.

Most CEO’s may have successfully driven an end-to-end sales process at some phase in their company’s growth and development. But more often than not, as the company’s products matured and evolved, many settle into their primary role as the chief visionary and executive responsible for achieving investor requirements.

The result: CEO sales skills get rusty or they may not even be aware of  the recent subtleties and nuances of engagement that have evolved and are preferred by today’s decision-makers. The fact is, keeping up with changes in the technology sales industry aren’t a priority for a company’s senior executive and in general, it’s not easy to do. However, just as world-class professional athletes have training camps, ongoing practices and drills, coupled with personal performance coaching to stay competitive… so do the top technology sales reps. Therefore, matching-up a highly motivated and well-intentioned CEO against a well-trained, tuned-up sales executive may not be a fair fight. The bell had been rung, and I salivated like Pavlov’s Dog… sensing that a high-profile slam dunk on a competitor was now possible. Here’s why:

  • A full-time CEO is a part-time sales rep.  Focus, or lose to those who do.
  • No Escalation Option. Things happen. Something will go wrong.  Guess who has just put their executive reputation on the line?
  • Limited Leverage in Negotiations. Have you ever seen a senior executive being humbled and having to put their ego in check because they’ve been turned into a “Discount Queen” to save a deal the Board of Directors were guaranteed would close? It’s not pretty… not pretty at all.
  • Limited Account Knowledge.  A CEO can’t take the time to go deep AND wide in large enterprise engagements or in complex sales scenarios to really know and validate economic and technical buyer influences. Nor are they postured to challenge incorrect presumptions.  Last but not least, managing an internal home pursuit team that doesn’t normally “play” together while leveraging limited internal resources… is a nightmare for all parties.
  • FUD (Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt)  A CEO who manages deals in competitive scenarios may be unintentionally promoting uncertainty and instability that translates in buyer code as “desperation.”
  • Alienation from the Bottom.  Do W-2 salaried, director-level business and technology managers (generally the evaluators) feel comfortable transparently interacting with a self-employed, soon-to-be mega-rich CEO? Some do and some don’t. Want to risk it?

The net: Just because you can sell… it doesn’t mean you should.  Mr. CEO thank you. No, really… I mean it. THANK YOU.

-Chris

The Obsolete Technology Sales Culture

Great, Old Players

This week I was casually listening to a “seasoned” sales executive reminisce about the “good old days”… when he knew he was top dog because he was receiving a sales order order by this new courier called Federal Express. Then I went home and as I was sitting in my basement home office, I gazed at a bookshelf containing over one hundred plus sales & business-related books I’d bought, read, or acquired in the last 12 years and then it hit me: (besides spending too much money) much of what I’ve read and the counsel proposed in many of these may be obsolete today. The game has changed and many of the best old players… couldn’t compete and win in today’s hyper-competitive technology sales arenas.

What Happened?  Nothing really. Ever since mankind stood on two legs, somebody has been selling and not many people esteemed those in the profession. In fact, I’d describe society’s perspective regarding sales people as being one of  strained tolerance. That was yesterday. Today’s prospective buyers don’t have to take it anymore. They can do a Google or Wikipedia search and at the click of a mouse secure information that used be only available via a sales rep; they’ll research their options and get referrals about how you’ve treated your customers by reading their blog posts; they’ll communicate with like-minded buyers via twitter, and before they’ve even meet a salesperson face-to-face, it’s likely they’ll read the salespersons LinkedIn profile to validate their professionalism and character thru common connections. The net: Potential customers have more leverage and there’s more transparency in the buyer-seller relationship in a game that’s been evolving for years.

Why? Frankly, potential buyers have been frustrated or angry for years and they should be! For them, today’s revenge is sweet as the tables have turned on those who for decades have advocated “anything goes” to do business. Billions of dollars have been spent teaching sales people how to close deals and build careers vs. solving real business problems, and many traditional sales tactics and strategies are adversarial or manipulative processes (and everybody knows it.) This old reality resulted in the implementation of buyers deploying defensive, dysfunctional buying processes that have made it extremely difficult for those sales professionals who are operating on a platform of integrity and presenting excellent products to be successful. In fact, I don’t know a single sales professional who during sometime in their career, hasn’t exercised their training only to reach the crossroads of a moral decision to either knowingly do the wrong deal because of their management’s quota pressure, or walk away from it with their integrity intact and a termination notice in-hand.

The Old-New Reality: We all know that there always have been, and always will be deal-whores and hustlers without a moral compass. But today’s access to information and the exercise of social media for business empowers and informs potential buyers as never before to quickly ascertain who is authentic and whats hype. The winners? Sales and marketing organizations leveraging the latest tools who have established a corporate culture of selling with integrity for the purpose of developing mutually beneficial collaborative business relationships with their customers.  The result: good sales professionals will actually be able to afford to do the morally right thing. It’s about time.

Win,

-Chris

(Video) A Technology Sales Team Tune-Up

 

My name is Christopher Bell, III and I’ve spent more than a few years successfully generating new sales revenues in both information technology and biotechnology software sales arenas as an individual contributor, sales executive, and coach to more than a few six-figure sales producers.  But along the way, I’ve been perplexed by the callous brutality of some of some senior sales executives who prematurely terminate their sales athletes out of frustration, with little warning or opportunity to honestly remedy or ascertain the root cause of poor sales performance problems. Worse, a few have privately confessed (after summoning the courage to exercise introspective due diligence) that the primary culprit for failing to hit revenue goals …was looking back at them in the mirror.

“Call high!” Great… Now what is a rep supposed to say and do when they get to the executive suite, AND is it enough to be invited back? “You need to make more calls” is a common sales management cliché and default cop-out for some execs who aren’t able to successfully address complex sales and marketing collaboration deficiencies. So, how do you evaluate sales effectiveness BEFORE deals are forecasted or before the competency of your sales management and leadership is questioned? Obsolescence in the sales profession is quite real and the velocity towards the cliff of irrelevance is accelerating. The net: What got you here… isn’t enough to keep you here. Is your sales team struggling because of organizational systemic failure and obsolete processes, protocols and tools you’ve put in place; OR are they lacking the evolving sales skills and a personal sales coach  to help them win in a hyper-competitive business environment? Perhaps, it’s ALL OF THE ABOVE, but how do you know?

Call CB3 at 443-398-2230 or email dawn@chrisbell3rd.com to schedule an appointment with me to discuss a tune-up or remedy for your sales organization thru a One-on-One Personal Sales Coaching Program designed for sales athletes, and our consulting services developed to optimize your existing sales processes & tools necessary to improve sales forecast reliability. Nobody knows it all. Let us help you take your technology sales organization to the next level… and win!

VIDEO – A CB3 COMPLEX SALES PROCESS MAP

WHAT DO SALES REPS AND EXECUTIVES HAVE TO SAY?

“… a sales professional that you want on your team, because if he is on your competitor’s team you will lose.” Carl Fijat, Business Development Manager, Cisco

“…an innovative problem solver and has an extensive understanding of the strategy it takes to move forward in a complex selling environment.” Cris Lull, VP Business Development & Sourcing, Optoro

“… a significant portion of my sales knowledge came from Chris, which helped shape my successful sales process today.”  David Michaels, Federal Account Manager, CLC Bio

Six Olympian Tips for Technology Sales

Closing Ceremonies 2012 London Olympics

Now that the closing ceremonies for the 2012 London Olympics are over and the world have had a chance to see the best athletes in the world, one of the questions I asked as a technology sales athlete was: “What did we see and hear that can be applied to enhance our performance AND make a difference in our profession?”

Both Olympians and sales athletes struggle with the demands of daily living, rejection, competition, and family matters but sales athletes also wade thru frigid buying cycles driven by global fiscal constraint, and a more knowledgeable and informed buyer. So, how can you keep winning in the technology sales profession for 5, 10, 15, or even 20+ years and still LOVE what you do? Here are 6 observations and tips from world-class Olympic competitors that might help:

  • Technology matters. Just because you sell technology products and services doesn’t mean you’re competent using them to become a more effective professional.  The velocity of change requires top competitors to leverage the latest tools and techniques to prepare, train, and win in a hyper-competitive niche.
  • Win today or find yourself sitting in the crowd watching others achieve your dream. Winning is habitual… and so is losing. Whatever you do once, your mind validates it as a possibility. Win and you can win again.
  • Schedule your rest like you schedule your work.  Reject the “always-on” trend. Without sufficient rest & recovery your performance will suffer.
  • Get a coach. If a world-class, gold-medal Olympian has coach, why wouldn’t a sales athlete?
  • Specialize. Just because you run a great 100 meters, is no guarantee you’ll finish a marathon. The internet can make anyone a generalist in a few days. Become an expert and others will call on you when they reach their limits.
  • Give Back. Few can understand the unique psyche, passion, focus, training methods, and intensity of a champion… except other champions, their closest competitors, and the ones who loved them before they were successful. Share what you know with a few select, disciplined, and dedicated professionals who will commit to do the same when they win.

Win!

Chrs

Initiating Collaboration That Matters

Last month, I invited a few of my peers – a highly respected entrepreneur, a sales professional, and a business development expert to my office in Ellicott City, MD to participate in a Business Development Collaborative Initiative (BDCI) I started with IGLOO Software in Ontario, Canada. The purpose: to ascertain whether synergies exist amongst participants that could be leveraged for our mutual benefit.  The result: Two participating executives signed agreements and we’ll be working on driving business together.

Von Wright, MBA

A week later I was in Charlotte, NC invited to share and exchange ideas with several business executives and new MBA and PhD graduates regarding: the nuances of successfully launching and managing their own small businesses; the CB3 “But I Hate Sales™” Seminars being rolled out in September; and framing new initiatives that address the needs of the under-served.  Southern hospitality was at its best in Charlotte as I was a guest in the home of Von Wright, MBA – a highly motivated businessman (who happens to be a former Marine, former US Army Officer, an Airborne qualified logistics expert, and my Pershing Rifles fraternity brother) and his hostess wife whose awesome cooking is responsible for making me put on 5 lbs. 🙂

Lessons learned:  There’s power in transparency in YOUR personal story. While it’s necessary to use wisdom in the management or disclosure of your intellectual property, there’s no substitute for sharing and exchanging great ideas and real-world perspectives with ethical, highly motivated professionals with purpose.  Want to expand your network, be introduced into warm markets, and transform lives while being handsomely compensated? Stop trying to win alone. Take the time to share what you know and commit to “pushing up people” (a phrase made famous by the great Art Williams.)

Win,

Christopher Bell, III

The Cost of Time Traps

Most small business owners, entrepreneurs, and technology sales professionals expect to live pretty hectic, out of balance, and occasionally sleep-deprived lives for more than a few seasons as they transition from predictable industrial-age working hours to the state of “constant-on” where the word is out:  BEING AT WORK IS NO LONGER A PLACE, IT IS A STATE OF MIND.  As a result we don’t watch the clock in a way that most salaried employees do because for us… executing linear, non-revenue generating tasks and activities is an unrecoverable expense and TIME TRAP that doesn’t add equity to the bottom line of our businesses that we can leverage later. Nor does it put additional commissions into the wallets of most sales and business development professionals that’s sufficient to improve their lifestyles.

Here’s a little math that nets out the necessity and justification to avoid ONE TIME TRAP ACTIVITY (and most people have more than one.) Let’s assume you’re a technology sales rep and you earn $100k annually, which means your hourly wage is $48.08. If you spend 3 hours per day talking to unqualified people or doing activities that don’t put you in front of prospects who are ready, willing, and able to buy… it’s costing you $2,884 monthly or $34,617 annually. Over a 3-year period (the average on-the-job tenure of a technology sales rep) that nets out to be a $103,851 top-line, cold-cash loss. The opportunity loss (because you’re not using that TIME to focus on activities most likely to convert to real revenue)… is incalculable. Disturbed yet? I hope so.

Change & Win,
Christopher Bell, III

“Let’s Do Dinner” – A Failure to Reciprocate?

If you’re fortunate enough to have a team pumping out a few high-quality leads (like the inside sales crew at IGLOO Software to supplement your own activity) you feel super-loved and supported but under no illusion… you know that’s how they’re compensated.

When sales professionals have significant business opportunity engagements in the technology space,  they’re also introduced to enough economic buyers (EBs) in the normal course of  regular qualification and discovery processes that enable them to begin handing out really good, qualified leads to colleagues and peers working with other organizations – as long as it’s clear their products and solutions aren’t a fit, and there’s no competition for the same budget.  Unfortunately, it’s also quite likely they’ll receive a generic token of appreciation from the recipient of the lead that sounds like this:

 “Oh, thank you so much! We really have to get together sometime for dinner or maybe hit the links – I’ll call you!”  Even if the bearer of good news doesn’t say it, they’re thinking: “you’re kiddin’ me, right?  I just passed you a fat, actionable lead that’s going to  keep your insecure butt out of the fire for another 90 days or that may change your life, and you just pitched me the superficial oh-we-really-do-have-to-get-together-sometime” rap?

Me? I’m of the opinion that the “let’s do dinner” response is obsolete and that we should all press “reset”, start over, and think again about this aspect our professional interactions.

Instead of offering me dinners and golf outings that you know will never materialize, why not just make it a priority to reciprocate by returning the favor received by giving a qualified lead, in exchange for a really good qualified lead.  It’s the “golden rule:” do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In the process you replicate yourself and put another set of feet, eyes, ears, and an advocate into companies and places you don’t have access to… yet.

Want to take your sales initiatives to a higher level? Give away qualified leads, set reciprocity as a condition for lead-giving and then watch both you AND your peers income increase.  Dinner?  Thanks, but my wife called – “Big Daddy’s” going home to a feast of lovin’. 🙂

Rain check?

-Chris Bell

Don’t Jump, It’s Temporary – A Sales Recovery Scenario

I recently received a call from a colleague whom I’ve sold with and coached regularly. He was sending me his sales plan and recent revenue numbers for us to discuss together.  With a new job and in his first quarter with a new employer, one of the best revenue producers I’d known found himself bearing witness to the atrophy of his initial revenue forecast commitment.  The Result:  embarrassment, frustration and disgust at the thought of being at the bottom of a sales leader board. (Note – this was also a déjà vu moment for me.)

After listening to 10-minutes of venting, I asked: “Are you finished yet?”  He laughed when realizing his Type-A, hyper-competitive personality was both an asset and a curse… if it wasn’t kept in check. This scenario also provoked me to spend time in introspection as I asked myself “Do I sound like that too?”

Here are the Top 5 Actions we agreed to implement to change the view from the bottom of the leader board.

 Take a humility pill: step away from the ledge, and don’t jump!  You’re good – not God.  The view from the bottom is usually temporary and in transitional scenarios such as this, finger-pointing can be dangerous and self-condemnation is premature.  Share your perspectives with a supportive manager and winners on the team to leverage their experience for guidance.

Practice a Flawless Opening:  It’s true – first impressions count.  Be prepared and be certain you have articulated or presented clear, concise, and compelling business reasons for them to remain engaged with you… again. An acceptance for a meeting invitation is nothing. The question is, are you being invited back?

Think Big, Be Big: You’ll work just as hard for a $5,000 deal as you will a $50,000 deal… and won’t achieve your quota objectives. Re-prioritize your focus to invest 80% of your the time and energy doing those things that matters most, with contacts who are ready, willing, and able to buy.  Delegate non-revenue generating activities and engage in those activities that will make a BIG difference quickly.

Network with your peers & recruit new partners:  This company’s largest previous deal came from a lead which was supplied by a partner. Replicate success and recruit other partners who have ongoing access to the hottest projects, understand the latest trends and have executive-level access to the clients you want to do business with.

 Up-sell Existing Customers & Revisit Lost Deals: The fastest path to new revenue has always been thru an existing customer. Initiate account reviews to ascertain what’s changed, discuss new capabilities and ask for referrals.

Win,

Chris Bel, III

Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should

 

If you’re in the sales/business development game you’ve already figured this out: You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. Here are 5 tips that may enhance your effectiveness and productivity:

Avoid Going Alone:  An “A” quality demo expert + an “A” quality business/sales expert = an “A quality” buying and sales experience for all parties.  The result: Bigger deals and better forecasts.  Demo experts can concentrate on delivering the best “Wow” moments and connect technical features with real prospect challenges or requirements. Business/sales people can strategically optimize every minute of a demo or proof encounter to note, nurture, and enhance business dynamics. Just as importantly, there’s no substitute for a 2-party post-demo debriefing. Everyone gets better.

 Take a Humility Pill:  Don’t always answer.  Where a prospect asks a question, find a way for someone else to get credit for the response to accelerate the speed of trust and reduce perceptions of risk in your engagement by introducing a SME.  Promote others.

 Delegate:   Maybe you can do it all. Great! Now let’s assume you have an annual 6-figure income and at a minimum you earn $50 per hour to engage in customer-facing, revenue generating activities.   Appointment-setting, CRM administration, cold-calling, social media activities, etc… are all absolutely necessary, but at $50 per hour?  Probably not.  Secure a virtual assistant at $10 to $15 per hour to put thousands of dollars of productivity values back in your wallet, and to provide a foundation of focused intensity back in your day allowing you to prioritize those prospects that appear ready, willing, and able to buy.

 Recognize Systemic Failure and Adapt:  One can keep doing what they’re doing and claim “I was just following orders” without regard to the results OR one can look at how their personal numbers are trending AND adapt. Some things take time to develop, but if existing systems and processes aren’t working for you, don’t complain. Personally develop your own “smarketing” (or corrective sales + marketing activities) where both marketing and sales outcomes are below mutual expectations.  Share the facts with management and get creative with your marketing organization.

 Collaborate: interact with a few trusted colleagues and peers outside of your sales organization. Fresh eyes can often see what you can’t while also providing excellent counsel along the way. Just as importantly, you may be able to recruit your peers to bird-dog and pre-qualify opportunities for you!  At CB3, we welcome the opportunity to share ideas, leads, and… revenue splits for closed deals.

Win,

Chris Bell III

The Stereo-Typical Sales Manager

If you’re in sales… you’ll love this video. If you’re sensitive to rough language… this isn’t it for you. Still, It’s BRILLIANT!  Kudos to YouTube’s Mrsalesguy01.  Enjoy!!!

Win, Chris

“Show Him the Money: a $25,000 Social Media Success Story”

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter… are all FREE social media tools. In this article I was interviewed by Tonya Taylor  the feature writer for social media at the local Baltimore Examiner.com. During this interview I briefly shared a few tips as to how I used social media tools to launch my business, and continue to leverage them to address my clients requirements. Of course, for competitive reasons I didn’t share everything.

To access the article entitled: “Show Him the Money: a $25,000 Social Media Success Story” you can click here: http://bit.ly/cIPLAe

Win,

Chris III

10 Tips for Rookies In Technology Sales

Congratulations on making the dive into your first job in the technology sales arena!!! Whether you’re in IT, engineering, biotechnology, or telecommunications… your personal brand and reputation will be established thru your extraordinary performance because nobody remembers “average.”

Depending upon the products, services, and sales cycles, most companies will give their new sales pros at least 90-days to score a win and/or to build a viable pipeline of qualified sales opportunities. So here are a  few  tips to consider as you  immerse yourself into the financially rewarding but pressurized world of technology sales.

1. You get a new report card. As a student, your GPA validated your performance and potential. In sales, nobody cares about potential or academic pedigree. You’re now validated by your quota achievement and W-2.

2. Know your products, but don’t aspire to be an expert – you’re in sales. Instead, study the niche marketplace you’re in and learn to present a compelling business value proposition; prepare great questions in advance of meetings, and defer to the real experts to reconcile technical viability and compatibility.

3. Don’t mistake activity for progress. Your sales activity is going to be monitored, annotated, and posted for internal viewing, but in the end it’s your sales revenue achievement that will keep you employed or viable. Learn to develop high-quality sales activity.

4. Live on the base and then save or invest your commissions. Of course, you’ll be tempted to go out and buy expensive toys and splurge on luxuries your colleagues have. Treat yourself well, but strive to enjoy a lifestyle that will accelerate your run to financial independence.

5. Work in 30-day increments. You may have a quarterly or annual quota, but it’ll be difficult to maintain consistent intensity if you focus on longer periods of time. You can do anything in 30 days. Think “one-month- at-a-time” and the year will be awesome!

6. Observe the winners but be careful and selective when adopting their methods. That which you see may only be the tip of the iceberg with the mass of real content unseen, and possibly incompatible with your personal principles.

7. Optimize your commute time – make your car a lab. Listen to podcasts, motivational CDs, books on tape, and recordings of presentations to keep your edge

8. Treat your rest as seriously as you do your work. As a new sales athlete, you will expend a significant amount of emotional and physical energy to be competitive. Rest, recover, and then compete in top form.

9. Socialize with your colleagues, but remember they’re also your competitors and may use informal “down time” to size you up and probe for your weaknesses.

10. Get your boss involved early in every legitimate opportunity and leverage her experience to drive your sales process. Once she’s invested time and you win together, you increase your value.

Win,

-Chris Bell, III 

National Sales Network (NSN) Event – Guest Speakers: Mark Hill & Chris Bell III

Come join members of the National Sales Network (NSN) to secure great-career changing tips from guest speakers and Mark A. Hill, and Chris Bell, III accomplished technology sales professionals as they share unique insights about the technology sales arena and how you can make a personally and professionally rewarding transition into the technology sales arena.

Radio Interview: Building a Career in Technical Sales

A few months ago I authored an article entitled ” 9 Tips to Transition into the Technology Sales Arena” .

If you’re new to technology sales, looking for a career change, or a soon-to-be graduating college student, take a little down-time and grab a cup of coffee or your favorite beverage and then listen to this radio interview facilitated by Tai Goodwin, Career Makeover Coach and expert which features me and my colleague Mark Hill, Executive Director of Minorities in Technology Sales (MiTS) as we address these questions:

  • What trends are you seeing in technical sales careers?
  • What makes technical sales careers appealing?
  • What kind of people do well in this field?
  • What skills and experience are needed to transition into a technical sales career?
  • What professional organizations are out there for people to connect with?
  • What 3 or 4 pieces of advice have helped you build your own career?
  • How can someone go about making a transition into a technical sales career?
  • Where are the most opportunities for professionals interested in growing their career?
  • What advice do you have for anyone just getting started building their career?

To listen to this informative interview, click here : http://tobtr.com/s/940148 and then…

Win,

Christopher Bell, III

Technology Sales: A CIO’s Perspective

It’s Not Just the Money

At one point in my career, I was fortunate enough to be a member of a regional sales team where everyone had simply slaughtered their annual revenue goals. Shortly after that milestone event, our CEO came to our regional office arriving with great fanfare escorted by a small executive entourage, and a professional photographer. Our egos were so overly-inflated at the time that we naturally assumed they were there to interview us and that we’d be taking pictures with the executive team. Man, were we wrong.

After rendering his heart-felt gratitude speech,our senior executive reached into a big cardboard box and pulled out T-shirts in various sizes. On the front of each t-shirt was a huge red heart with the words emblazoned “Heart of a Winner.” He then personally handed out the t-shirts (and envelopes with $200 in cash) to eight people in the office. The recipients of the t-shirts and cash were employees who may or may not have been part of the sales organization, but had shown character, pushed thru adversity, sacrificed when it mattered, all while contributing to an overall sales team win.

Result:

  1. An office with one 45-year old male grieving because there wasn’t a competition for the t-shirts (and if there was, he was confident he’d have won it.)
  2. 135 people present in that regional office meeting whose lives were un-expectedly and positively changed forever because they saw some of their colleagues securing public appreciation for their efforts and walking around wearing $12.00  Heart of a Winner t-shirts that people wanted, but couldn’t win nor buy.

Lesson:

Irrespective of title, role, position, influence, or income… everyone wants to feel appreciated. You don’t have to do much, say much, or pay much to make a positive difference. Be a people builder, promote positivity, help others win, and when given an opportunity, deliberately make a point to show your appreciation and say thank you.

Win,

-Chris

You’re Right. You Can’t Do What We Do!

Last weekend I was hanging out with a friend whom I hadn’t seen in a few years and of course we both started talking about what we did for a living, the state of the economy, the velocity of change that’s taking place around us, politics, war, and religion. Again… this is a friend.

Well, after watching a football game in which the Ravens had clearly shown themselves to be superior to the Patriots on the gridiron (go Ravens!!!) my buddy said something that I was totally unprepared for. In a tone of condescension he said: “I could never do what you do for a living.” If thoughts were visible, mine would have looked like an M1-Abrams tank crushing the compact car of his arrogance. Still, this was a friend so I calmly asked him to explain and he said, you know, selling and asking people to spend money with you. Here’ss the politically correct version of my response:

You’re right  you can’t do what people like me do.” In fact, there are very few people in the world who do what sales athletes do, love doing what we do, and most that try to do what we do either quit or fail. Sales athletes that embrace their profession accept that:

  • What they produce may determine how others define and judge them.
  • “FAIR” is a privilege, not an entitlement.
  • They will have to handle hardcore rejection from strangers every working day.
  • They will compete in a marketplace against say-anything desperate peddlers.
  • They will fight to maintain moral integrity as others discard it for a dollar.
  • They have to commit to continuing education and ongoing training to remain credible.
  • and…even if they don’t have the best or most appealing products they still have to win.
  • They may have to live out of a suitcase every now and then.
  • What they do may impact and influence careers, families, and society.

Professional sales athletes know these things. And when we’re successful we’ll be able to earn a better-than-average living, positively contribute to society, and enjoy the quiet satisfaction of knowing that that you’re right – most people could never do what we do.

Win,

-Chris

So, You’ve Missed your Quota…

10408714_10201561443197425_939785768645081334_nHundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on sales books, CDs, motivational speakers, academic degrees, and formal training courses that are designed to teach people how to compete and win in their professions. Serious sales athletes spend hours and days away from the field-of-play preparing and training to compete in an arena where their value and successes are coldly annotated, empirically evaluated, and statistically justified by “the numbers.”

So what do you do when your numbers fall just a little short or when it becomes certain you’re not going to achieve your sales quota or revenue objectives? To the best of my knowledge, there’s not a lot of literature or support for teaching sales athletes how to react when they lose but here’s a reality check: most sales athletes are NOT going to be #1 all the time. While there is no single reference that covers all circumstances, here’s a list of tips to consider:

  1. Establish 360-degree awareness. Invite your supervisor to an after-work dinner with one caveat: ask her to remove her rank and title during the dialogue – tell her you don’t need a boss, you want a coach; Talk to a respected peer and request an honest assessment of your activity and skills; Confer with your pre-sales team and ask them for tips that may help your performance. Just as importantly, take time to discern the difference between personal failure and organizational systemic failure. Where the organization’s established policies or plans are clearly deficient and complicit in your personal failure, it should weigh in your decision to stay on.
  2. Probationary Performance Plan. After missing a quota goal, this dreaded document is often positioned and presented to a sales athlete with little opportunity to debate or protest. (You’re thinking OMG!!!) But be POSITIVE and show no fear! Thank your supervisor for giving you the opportunity to redeem yourself. Calmly review it, and where the performance criteria surpasses existing standards, edit the document and initial those areas that aren’t reasonable you may be able to softly negotiate a modification.
  3. Develop a 30-day plan of attack:
  • Assess whether the performance plan is achievable or if it’s a veiled request for your resignation.
  • Take a long weekend to recover. Get a massage, get-away, relax, unwind, and work on restoring your confidence & creative juices. Reconnect with friends and loved ones who’ll affirm you without a quota.
  • Get organized at work. Hire a virtual assistant for 30-days to help get you quickly organized, setup your meetings, manage your CRM, handle travel reservations, manage administrative requirements, complete your reporting, and attend to standard, repetitive customer requests. Your focus? Closing deals.
  • Get organized at home. Anything you don’t personally have to do, don’t do. Ration your time. Pay to get your laundry done, defer home projects, ask someone else wash the car, setup your bills for auto-payment via electronic banking, etc
  • Develop a territory/account plan and activities that map precisely to your performance plan. Bear in mind that the quickest path to new revenue, is by way of previous customers and/or their referrals.
  • Make your boss an asset, not a threat. Assuming your supervisor really wants you on her team, you should add her to your most important business account engagements and activities. Get her invested in your mutual success, and make them a contributor to your comeback. Plan to provide updates and confer with them at least twice per week.
  • Work the “intangibles.” Focus on your strengths let others obsesses over weaknesses; When everyone is working – plan; When they’re sleeping – work; submit all reports early and without error; be the first on all teleconferences; tactfully broadcast small wins; practice your presentation everyday; network, and make a commitment to deliver the #1 sales activity (never be out-worked.)
  • Work 6 days a week in 30 days you’ll have delivered an extra week’s worth of additional productivity focused only on those things that generate revenue.
  • Win early… every day. Workout and eat-well and when you do, you’ll have already beat 95% of the people in America, and have more energy when you need it most.
  • ABP – Always Be Positive. There will be days when the only positive thing you’ll hear is what you’ll say to yourself. Watch your self-talk.

Please feel free to add your tips, suggestions, and wisdom to this list… there are some great sales professionals who may be depending on you!

Win,

Christopher Bell, III

Because, The Customer Isn’t Always Right

SSI0009639_PThere isn’t one successful professional salesperson or business development specialist who hasn’t found themselves at the moral crossroads of having to make a decision to be silent, or to speak the truth to a business decision-maker and possibly put a deal at risk. The safest position in these cases has been to adhere to the code: “The customer is always right.”

The fact is, most buyers and sellers know the truth: sometimes customers do get it wrong, it’s just their being wrong may not necessitate comment and the prospect of them spending their money with you (or someone else) makes them “right.” If you’re a sales or business development professional and you feel conflicted in this scenario, congratulations! Your conscience and moral foundation are in fine operating condition.  Sometimes moral standards and financial issues do come into conflict.

The Customer is Always Right is a powerful lie. What’s interesting is that over the years after hearing this same statement repeated over and over again from the mouths of intelligent, well-meaning business owners and executives, we should be impressed with the longevity and power of this falsehood. Why? Because ironically, there’sa contradictory but viable measure of wisdom that professional sales andbusiness development specialists understand:

  • Customers have a right to be wrong. Be quiet and let them be wrong UNLESS the consequences would cause harm or injury.
  • You’re not in the “Business Prevention” business and you probably don’t work for a non-profit organization. You’re in sales.
  • When doing the morally right thing means it’s the wrong for your client OR your employer’s business… surrender the business opportunity – don’t do the deal and/or pass it on to a supervisor. There’s power in a clean conscience, and prosperity without peace-of-mind… is hell on earth.

Win,

Christopher Bell, III

5 Appetizers for the Whiners in Sales

Assorted appetizersThis week I was invited to meet with a small gathering of so-called sales and business development professionals at a local Maryland bar and grill.  I attended the event hoping to get a lift and a laugh by listening to exaggerated stories of success, big deals being closed, and the conflict of deciding the next vacation destination (Maui or Bali?) Instead, what I stumbled into were two dull, disillusioned, whiners, and adult cry-babies with six-figure incomes and attitudes of entitlement so large they should have their own zip code who were clearly affecting the larger group’s attitude.

To keep the peace (and my sanity) I muted my thoughts until the persistence of a few to “share your perspective” overcame my ability to resist. I’m not sure I’ll be invited back, but these are the 5 verbal appetizers I served up before the main course was served:

  1. One of the few things you can control in life is your attitude. If you can�t get this right you�re in the wrong profession and a quota is the least of your worries.
  2. You don’t have a right to be successful, and SECURITY is an illusion – anything you have can be taken or lost in an instant. Be grateful and act like it.
  3. No” is one word, two letters, and has one syllable so don’t make it more than what it is. Learn to manage rejection, as it eliminates amateurs and most of the average competitors in our profession.
  4. We’re not paid well because our clients say “yes.”  We’re paid well to handle more rejection (than most people can) until we can get to “yes.”
  5. If you’re encountering potential clients with big problems, celebrate!!! Then continue to make it your mission to look for trouble. Your total compensation will be in proportion to the size or seriousness of the problems you can solve for others. Big problems and pain = big income opportunities.

Bon appetit, 🙂

Christopher Bell, III

9 Tips to Transition into the Technical Sales Arena

A few months ago I attended the GrowSmallBiz conference hosted by Network Solutions in Washington, DC and during one of the breaks I was speaking to a polished, intelligent, articulate, and enthusiastic professional who had years of experience selling copier products, but wanted to know how to break into the technology sales and business development field. What’s coincidental is that it was the second time in the last few weeks I’ve been asked the very same question, so I thought I’d offer a few tips for competent professionals who are honestly interested in pursuing this kind of career change:

1. Avoid going in thru front door via human resources. Traditional hiring processes are exclusionary, meaning they’re designed to keep people out. HR personnel can only say “No” they can’t say “Yes” to a potential hire. If you can’t connect with a real decision-maker to whom you would personally present your value, then you’re not ready for a technology sales career transition.

2. Talk with people in the niche you wish to work to ascertain what’s hot, relevant, and what’s keeping those in the know up at night. Read their blogs, attend their virtual webinars and follow them on social media networks. There is a strong connection that can be developed by discussing the highlights of another person’s interests.

3. Do your homework. Study – a lot. Go to the library and read the trade periodicals to become familiar with the general language and buzz words of the field you’re interested in. Download white papers and brochures.

4. Follow a few companies you’d really want to work with. If they’re publicly listed, dial into their quarterly call, and read their 10-k. These activities will detail the latest news, opportunities, wins, and concerns of the company.

5. When contacting a decision-maker or business influencer, ask them for their help and advice (everyone wants to help someone.) Get to know their executive assistant or secretary and ask them to setup an informal 20-minute introduction at their local coffee shop before business hours, or setup an invitation for a quick sandwich and informal lunch at a local deli.

6. To schedule a meeting you should be prepared to restate some of the quotes in their press releases or paraphrase statements made on the company’s quarterly report. Always leave the person you’re speaking with the impression you know as much or more about their company, than they do!

7. Memorize the salient points of a company’s summary product brochure word-for-word so that by the time you get a face-to-face meeting, the person you’re meeting already sees you as fellow colleague or employee.

8. Success in sales is about your track record. Be prepared to be your own best advocate and articulate where have you won before in life and your career, who helped you get there, and what it took for you to become #1? Ask them “If you were in my shoes, what ‘s your next best step?” Personally hand them your resume and references and then ask them for their sponsorship.

9. On employee skills testing – there will never be, and there has never been a test that can prove the heart of winner – Art Williams.

There are lots of career-changers out there who could use your help. Are there any tips you might add?

When Sales Performance Isn’t Enough – A sales reps view.

If you’re a sales manager or executive managing a sales team, you may have hired people on your team you’ve worked with before or have had a previous personal connection with. That’s great unless sales performance becomes secondary to the personal relationships you’ve established. Here’s a question that was recently posted by a sales professional in one of myLinkedin Groups, and my accompanying response. What would your counsel be if you were an external advisor to this rep?

“What to do when you are getting zero love from your boss? If you are a sales rep doing your job hitting your numbers and you feel that your boss plays favor to other reps he knows on a personal level, has short handed you on territory what would you do?

“This is an excellent question… thanks for posting it. Here are 3 cold realities and remedies you may want to give some thought”:

  1. Maintain focus on your purpose. Your boss is your boss. He’s not a chaplain, parent, or little league football coach. You’re in the profession for the compensation and collateral benefit of helping customers get what they want. Be lead by your purpose.
  2. Sometimes sales production isn’t enough. Do what we do long enough, and you’ll run across a bad manager count on it. If you can’t gain favor with your own boss, confidentially contact his supervisor by telephone (no email trail), compliment her on the manner in which she manages important matters in her organization, and ask her if she’d be amenable to mentoring you now and then as you view her as a professional role model. Most likely the response will be positive and you�ll get some measure of protection and visibility from the top, as well as indirect influence over your boss as your mentor will hold him accountable to take good care of you. Be assured, your boss will loathe your new relationship, but you’ve changed the game and put in place an access point of accountability to help protect and ensure the visibility of a consistent track record of sales performance.
  3. Give up on “fair” in the sales profession. The principle of fairness in the sales profession should stay in the archives and sandbox of childhood memories. Sometimes ones performance won’t be enough to gain favor- it’s just not fair; your quota will rise and your territory will be cut – it’s not fair; If your boss has established relationships that manifest in overt favoritism, that isn’t going to change. But you can.