Sales top performers

"A good hockey player plays where the puck is.  A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be."
~ Wayne Gretzky

I'm perplexed and pondering on the direction to stay the course with my blog.  When I started blogging, it was clear to me to share my knowledge accumulated from 20 plus years of successful sales results.  I thought perhaps others would be interested in what I did or how I thought I may have done things differently to gain the notoriety and claim to fame I did in sales.  I took a look at most of the infamous sales bloggers, trainers and professional online coaches out there in 2010.

I began my journey by just telling it like it is.  Of course, attempting to take  into account, most people think sales folk are braggarts, boosted egos and smooth talkers.  I didn't think, nor did my career seem to prove,  that in order to be successful in sales you had unique and different qualities of mass perception.

The qualities of success in sales, in my opinion, in my own path, seem to prove otherwise.  I uphold my stand .. those that are successful in sales put their customer first, their organization second, and themselves last.  Ironically, they end up being first, their customer second and organizations second and their personal lives last.  Ultimately, their results uphold them first with their company, first with their customers to the detriment of their personal lives.

"Every strike brings me closer to the other home run."
~Babe Ruth

So how does one manage such a split expectation?   How do you balance the needs of your company, take care of your customers' wants while being considered among the best?  Great question.

Most top performers do it instinctively.  Even more, have a passion for serving their customers.  The top tier take care of their customers while ultimately understanding the needs of their organization.  Unfortunately, those same people are bench marked as high achievers.  To the demise of their colleague relationships, personal life balance.

What drives them?  Another great question.  The desire to be the best?  Sorta,... to be sure.  To see their name at the top of the marquee,...probably.  To have their competitors know their name,... very likely.  To be the first name their customer(s) think of when they have a problem to be solved or a need to be solved ... definitely, not a maybe, so.

Many organizations, sales cultures, try to examine their best performers into predictive metrics for hiring.  Often resulting in not achieving the ultimate utopia in sales personality or performance.  Why is it so difficult?

I would say because there is disconnect between the organizational culture, the human resources hiring process, the sales management process and the evaluation metrics.  

Call it an instinct.  Think about it.  Companies outsource the hiring to a third party "Sales #1 Recruiting Organization" with impressive power points, convincing story, with impressive credentials of the person or those assigned to deliver the perfect candidates on a silver platter. 

 I think back to asking one of my greatest mentors and examples Jim T***, when he had moved on and I asked to get together with him in panic, gasping that I had just been assigned the responsibility of hiring and managing a sales team.  

Jim's advice?  Hire em, train em and send them out into a territory, then watch them like a hawk.  That is probably the operative most organizations use for their sales force.  Some with bigger pockets will have a third party do the hiring, a third party consultant establish the metrics and then an under trained sales manager manage by metrics.  Least of their qualities is how to motivate an achiever,   (Unless they examine the best professional coaches on how to extract the highest achievement from their players.  Egos, financial reward, notoriety, distractions aside.)

I imagine if I didn't have the mentoring I had, the patience allowed me, nor brutal metrics to compare me with, I would never have tested the waters, got into the groove and figured out instinctively what questions to ask, who to speak to, and how to establish customers' evaluation and continuation of business as the true metrics.

The best of the best understand all of the matters aforementioned.  They ultimately hold the desires of their personal lives foremost.  That may be shocking to many.  The best strive to meet goals in their personal lives that they understand sales can allow them to achieve.  Besides the risk of entrepreneurship, savvy sales professionals strive to put their family and goals first, knowing instinctively that exceeding their companies sales goals, how they fit into that picture, matches their personal goals.

The ultimate achievers get it that they will not meet any of those goals without having customer advocates.  The only way they can have advocates is by asking the right questions, solving the right problems, fixing the right issues to the exceptional satisfaction of their customers.

It is like playing dominoes.  One cannot fall into place with the others without everything being held in place and then continue on in succession and with consistency.  

So go ahead, hire those consultants.  Use those clever diagnostics to predict the outcome of a candidate.  Realistically, like sifting sand to leave only a minuet grains left, that is what your sales predictably leaves you with.  

There is no magically formula.  The best of the best exude metrics, diagnostics and examinations.  They are unique.  They know who they are.  Do you?

"Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort."
~Franklin D. Roosevelt

All about me

"All I can do is be me, whoever that is."
~Bob Dylan
Goodness gracious, another birthday behind me.  Good times, glad tidings and all that crap.  Seriously, though .... why do we make such a major event of birthday's to begin with?  

Starting with our first birthday ... who is it really for?  Not the child who is given birthday cake without mom or dad feeding it to them with a spoon.  What else would you expect other than the child scooping it up with their hands to help themselves.  That's the beauty of being so young, if you want it, you simply help yourself.   Our memory probably serves to remind us that we were always taught and used our manners:

Those first birthday photos really are taken by and for the parents, not the child.  Who wants to be humiliated in their teens, 40th birthday or wedding day when they appear in a slideshow back drop for a big event!

I'm lucky.  I was the third of four children.  I would imagine my parents were just thankful assemble us all to celebrate!  Yeppers, that was the 60s.  Now it's about who can take the the best photo and load first on Facebook.

I do have to admit that I did get a resounding 27 messages from Linked In sending birthday wishes my way -- I like how Linked In provides its users with innovative ways to keep in touch, like birthday wishes, new jobs, new photos.  Responsible me, I personally wrote and thanked every single person who did.  Even the ones that just used the feature, it was the thought that count.  (Hint:  at least drop the last name before you send so it doesn't look so impersonal).  It was in responding I asked others why bother celebrating birthdays once you pass a "certain" age?  I decided then and there, it should be all about celebrating life!

I admit I was born in the 1960s because it was a cool time to be born.   It was time when humanity was breaking out of conformity, taking a stand on just about anything and many traditions seemed old.   Maybe that is why I adored Mad Men.   Not only is there a fixation and fascination with the 60s culture, those of us born in the era were given a gift of insight on the times and what was going on in the background.  Most likely,  I was starting to think of myself as an individual and not an extension of my parents, siblings, or teachers.  

"Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine."
~Elvis Presley

My parents were born in the 1930s, post depression. They may have been guided by needs that were more often a struggle to be met.  Then came along the 60s, when it turned around to being about wants. Many believed that the 60s was the dawn of a golden era: the future promised peace, comfort and prosperity.  Couples had larger families, drove larger cars and just about anything bigger was acceptable back then.  

The 1960s has often been defined as the "Me" generation.  I suppose it stemmed from our parents wanting to have and give us everything.  We were expected to have manners, treat elders with respect and do well in school so we went to university or college without questioning how it would be done.   We really didn't seem to have to worry about cancer, gun violence, abortion, foreclosure, unemployment and becoming pregnant before marriage was scandalized.  Even our politicians seemed to be honest --  on January 20, 1961, the handsome and charismatic John F. Kennedy became president of the United States.

"Don't compromise yourself.  You are all you've got."
 ~Janis Joplin

Women started leaving the home in droves to work and earn their own pay cheque.  Our moms wanted her children of the 60s to embrace and go beyond the opportunities they could never dream of.  Not really a wonder so many of us turned out to be perfectionists driven to succeed at all costs - our health, marriages, family relationships.  
Janis Joplin's 1965 Porsche 356 Cabriolet

Historians have said described the 60s as being the ten years having the most significant changes in history. By the end of the 60s humanity had entered the spaceage by putting a man on the moon. The 60s were influenced by the youth of the post-war baby boom - a generation with a fondness for change and "far-out gadgets".  

Let's take a stroll and  highlight inventions of the decade:

  • Valium (1961)
  • Nondairy creamer (1961)
  • Audio cassette (1962)
  • Fiber-tip pen (1962)
  • The first computer video game Spacewar (1962)
  • Dow Corp invents silicone breast implants (1962)
  • The video disk (1963)
  • Acrylic paint (1964)
  • Permanent-press fabric (1964)
  • BASIC (an early computer language)  by John George Kemeny and Tom Kurtz (1964)
  • Astroturf (1965)
  • Soft contact lenses (1965)
  • NutraSweet (1965)
  • The compact disk by James Russell (1965)
  • Kevlar  by Stephanie Louise Kwolek (1965)
  • Electronic Fuel injection for cars (1966)
  • The first handheld calculator (1967)
  • The computer mouse  by Douglas Engelbart (1968)
  • The first computer with integrated circuits made (1968)
  •  RAM (random access memory) by Robert Dennard (1968)
  • The arpanet (first internet) (1969)
  • The artificial heart (1969)
  • The ATM Automated Teller Machine (1969)
  • The bar-code scanner (1969)
There were several other major gains made in the 1960s that impact us today.  1960-64 transcended the Civil Rights movement.   Feminism and women liberation became significant.  

"Faith is taking the first step even when you can't see the whole staircase."
~Martin Luther King Jr.

Musically, the 60s had some of the most influential artists and music of all time.  Think back and reflect on some of our greatest discoveries:
  • Aretha Franklin "Respect" (1971)
  • Beach Boys "I Get Around" (1964)
  • Beatles "I Want to Hold Your Hand" (1964)
  • Ben E. King "Stand by Me" (1961)
  • Bob Dylan "Like a Rolling Stone" (1965)
  • Chubby Checker "The Twist" (1960)
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival "Bad Moon Rising" (1969)
  • Diana Ross and The Supremes "Where Did Our Love Go" (1964)
  • Doors "Light My Fire" (1967)
  • Elvis Presley "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" (1960)
  • Janis Joplin "Piece of my Heart" (1967)
  • Jimi Hendrix "All Along the Watchtower" (1968)
  • Led Zepplin "Communications Breakdown" (1969)
  • Marvin Gaye "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" (1968)
  • Ray Charles "Georgia on my Mind" (1960)
  • Rolling Stones "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" (1965)
  • Roy Orbison "Crying" (1961)
  • Sam Cooke "(What A) Wonderful World" (1960)
  • Simon and Garfunkel "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (1969)
  • Stevie Wonder "Fingertips Pt. 2" (1963)
  • Tina Turner "River Deep, Mountain High" (1966)
  • The Who "I Can See For Miles" (1967)

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to reflect, research and write this post that is personal.  I have to congratulate myself -- I was able to steer clear of any whining about getting older.  I am thankful that I came from the golden generation of the 60s decade.  

Did I forget a fond 1960s memory or one of your favorite artists?   We can fix that:  go ahead and comment, have your say!

Keep calm and color on

What is the most powerful, impactful trend right now?   Coloring! What? .... isn't coloring something you did when you were a kid?  Well, perhaps you did.  Now you have permission to do it as an adult because it is great for you!

The next time you are planning an important corporate event, team meeting, or training session consider adding color to your tools of engagement.  You may realize many benefits:
  • To ward off distractions
  • As an approach to problem solving
  • To improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages, all levels within the organization 
  • Artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems
  • Develop and improve interpersonal skills
  • Manage behavior,
  • Reduce stress,
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Build self-awareness
  • Achieve insight

Coloring and art have been around for ages.     Today,  use it as a powerful stress buster.  Assembled are helpful meanings to get started:


Mandalas are sacred circles that have been long been used to facilitate meditation in the Indian and Tibetan religions.   They are created and looked at to center the body and mind.  Mandelas are variations or symbols of circles often found in halos, prayer wheels, religions, architecture and nature.    Now, they are used as a healing tool and a form of meditation which suggest they can boost the immune system, reduce stress, combat depression, reduce pain, lower blood pressure and  stimulate the release of melatonin, a hormone believed to slow cell aging and promote sleep.


The word "tattoo" was brought to Europe by explorer James Cook when he returned in 1771 from his first voyage to Tahiti and New Zealand.   (In his narrative of the voyage, he referred to "tattaw". )

Popularity has steadily risen where artists, executives, and mainstream every day people swarm to "tattoo shops", "tattoo studios", or "tattoo parlors" to undergo their own personalized stamp of creativity.  Today, tattoo enthusiasts refer to tattoos as:
  • ink
  • skin art
  • tattoo art
  • tats

Coloring books:

Paint books and coloring books emerged in the United States as part of the "democratization of art" process.  The McLoughlin Brothers are credited as the inventors of the coloring book with The Little Folks' Painting Book.  

Another pioneer in the genre was Richard Outcault who authored  Buster's Paint Book in 1907.   It launched a trend to use coloring books to advertise a wide variety of products, including coffee and pianos. Until the 1930s, books were designed with the intent for them to be painted instead of colored.  Coloring books are widely used in schooling for young children because they tend to be more interested in coloring than other learning methods.  Pictures are also more memorable than simply words.

Educators conclude that all, regardless of background, students benefit from art as a means of enhancing their conceptual understanding of the tangible, developing their cognitive abilities, improving skills, finding a profession, as well as for spiritual edification.

Color therapy:

Colour as a holistic therapy dates back thousands of years.  Color gains energy from light and why it is used as Color Therapy.  It can have a major healing impact on us as humans.

Colour Therapy is a complementary therapy for which there is evidence dating back thousands of years to the ancient cultures of Egypt, China and India. Colour is simply light of varying wavelengths, thus each colour has its own particular wavelength and energy.  It can have a major healing impact on us as humans. 

Art Therapy:

Alternatively,  art therapy is a relatively young therapeutic discipline.  It began in the use of the arts in the moral treatment of psychiatric patients in the late 18th century.  It arose out of  a non-conformist religious tradition,  arising in English-speaking and European countries. The early art therapists who published accounts of their work acknowledged the influence of aesthetics, psychiatry, psychoanalysis, rehabilitation, early childhood education, and art education, to varying degrees, on their practices.  A British artist named Adrian Hill came up with the name  art therapy in 1942 while he was recovering from tuberculosis in a sanatorium.  Hill caught on to the therapeutic benefits of drawing and painting while convalescing.  He wrote that the value of art therapy lay in "completely engrossing the mind (as well as the fingers)…releasing the creative energy of the frequently inhibited patient", which enabled the patient to "build up a strong defense against his misfortunes". He suggested artistic work to his fellow patients. That began his art therapy work, which he authored a book "Art versus illness." in 1945.

Another key figure, artist Edward Adamson, became the "father of art therapy in Britain" after he was demobilised after World War II.  He helped Hill extend work in long stay mental hospitals.  Margaret Naumburg and Edith Kramer are credited for being art therapy pioneers in the United States.  

Best Sellers:

Currently, the top sellers on are the featured adult coloring books:

Our lives become busier with each passing day and as technology escalates so do our access to work, obligations and stress. Coloring allows adults a way to slow down, feel calm and use meditative coloring for relaxation.

Unleash your creative spirit with this sophisticated anti-stress colouring, doodling and drawing book. The flowing lines, sweeping swirls and highly-detailed patterns on every illustration have been created so that anyone and everyone can enjoy making something beautiful and calming. Increasing focus through creativity can benefit those who find it difficult to unwind or struggle to find their inner artist when faced with a blank page. There are no instructions, no rights or wrongs, and no need for expensive art supplies - readers can simply doodle and colour in any way they wish to create unique and exquisite pieces.

Art therapy provide healing and growth experiences, and stimulate creativity.  Creating art images is a safe and natural way of communicating feelings and experiences.  People are able to see themselves more clearly, gain different perspectives, and unblock feelings and issues that may otherwise be difficult to bring to the conscious.  We have an energy language in our body that informs us both literally and symbolically.  Immune system neuropeptides transform thoughts into matter, storing emotions and memories in body tissues.  These stored negative experiences, relationship issues and belief systems generate negative energy that affects our health.  The rational and censoring left brain can keep us from this information.  Through meditative aspects inherent in the art therapy process, we tap into the right brain, connecting to symbols, images and perceptions that speak to us from the unconscious. These images may both surprise and inform us.  The act of externalizing images releases repressed memories, stimulates our parasympathetic nervous system to calm us, and the images become our teacher.  By connecting our conscious with our unconscious we gain a more congruent sense of self, improving mind, body and spirit.

Color on

Try it and see if it improves your mood, helps you concentrate, reduces pain, or eliminates stress.  How about improve the morale and retention at your next corporate event?   I've assembled a "Color me Doodle" board on Pinterest along with some of my favorites here for you to help yourself to.