Showing posts with label Selling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Selling. Show all posts

A visionary extraordinaire ::.... Philippe TREBAUL of Social Fave

Sometimes it's simply okay to be a fan or a Supporter.  I realized that unbiased and reciprocated respect is what makes one become an advocate for another person.  

The power and capability of social media is unstoppable, truly, as long as our imaginations continue to stretch and blend what is possible from the impossible.

The strength of character one needs to build a fantastic reputation, regard and respect can be captured in one person I've come to known, only communicating on social media, never a Skype or telephone conversation.  Where you have to be succinct in getting your words across, to be able to be snapped up, grasped and understood all at once.

I've meandered on here about how far you can stretch yourself to achieve new heights in your ability to discover who you really are.  How else can you lower your defenses and expose your true self, or explore the journey on figuring out who or what that means.

Along the way, you find people who just POP out of all the noise who you think:  WOWzers, this person REALLY gets IT!

_______________________________ ::......

Here we go .... here are some links to some incredibly visionary, explicit and wise to take heed to.  Philippe unravels a lot of the mystique of social media that is far too long put off by traditional advertisers and their advisers, like ad agencies, who cannot really possibly charge exorbitant fees when their are social media MARKETERS willing to step in and step up in a fraction of the time and fraction of the price.  After each article link, I will post my own comments to show how much I enjoy being a Supporter, cheerleader, advocate, enthusiastic optimist of their success.

4 Social Media Tools to Get Marketers off the Treadmill

Great article, per usual Philippe TREBAUL .... not only will Social Fave be explosive in 2017, but its founder will be finally recognized as an extraordinary visionary of how far we can stretch social marketing to expand vastly and quickly.  Maybe I can learn how to become a better online brand, improved enough to generate an income ... eh?  Well, a trip to France at least to celebrate when you set the clock to end the free trials and it is sought after and paid for.  Distinguishing your current supporters from all others.  Wonderful writing.  Thank you ~ Jeannette Marshall aka @optioneerJM on Twitter as a fan

_________________________________ //......//

3 Tools to Improve Your Social Media Marketing Right Now!

FANTASTIC Philippe TREBAUL .... WOWzers!  What an informative article and so factual with knowledge based insight.  You, my dear innovator, are catapulted into the stratosphere as not only a visionary on where social networking can take us, but the practical academic approach you have.  So easy to understand, obvious to embrace and supported by all the data you've absorbed.  I hope to see the day when you are given your due:  and to think, we started on LINKED IN six years ago, which allowed some of us to step outside our comfort zone a little but allow our gregarious natures to expound, others like you, Philippe TREBAUL have demonstrated convincingly how great this world is that is unfolding.  Thank you, your fan and advocate, Jeannette Marshall 

A social experiment

"If you are not prepared
to step out of the BOX
~don't complain that
you're squared in."
~ Jeannette Marshall

No, the quote wasn't the main purpose of writing this blog.  I am always fiddling around in PAINT ..... or I'm looking for something, like you do when you have a recipe in front of you, looking to see if you have all the ingredients you want to place in your writing.  Or, something just pops out and I think, that is a quote:  I should go look for an image to use to create the environment to host the quote.  Then, I store them for rePOSTing later on other social media sites like Twitter or Facebook or Google.  I'm not a celebrity so they won't be famous or anything.  If they catch on and are used more than once, I'm humbled.  I plant them on Pinterest too.  Pinterest being my virtual storage of sorts.  A collection of "stuff".

The experiment I was on to was trying something different to see what happens.  It is as a result from not finding a source for checking in with my followers:  on Facebook.  I had over 500 views of my blog today, which is a nice jump, thank YOU!  I like to see if I can understand what people may like, what posts they're reading and what they're sharing, liking, reTweeting and from where?  The numbers showed me against a surge from #Brazil .... thank you BRAZIL!!  I'm trying to figure out where this surge originated from or by whom.  

HINT HINT:  Facebook or someone out there should create a follower algorithm based service that tells you who clicks, likes, comments, shares your content:  in other words:  who are your supporters.  (Only someone famous can call them "fans").  

I think this does source back to my former talent in sales:  I like to hunt.  I became more strategic as time progressed, depending upon what I was selling or to whom I was selling to.  That was something that was learning in the strategic sales arena, consultative selling, or selling to executives.  You really can't peddle your wares to important audiences if you don't get who they are, what they may be interested in or looking for.  Writing a blog or blending in on social media is kinda like that.  Your following will tend to gravitate towards things that matter most to you.  In my case, they would be:

  • social media CONTENT to share that others enjoy
  • CURATING beautiful images, art, photography
  • WRITING, blogging, growing audience
  • networking, MEETING others with similar interests
  • eventually PAID for what I am learning or writing
When reading the numbers, I look at the posts that have all of a sudden gained momentum, or others seemed to enjoy more.  That is suppose to be my guide on what more to write about.

I scale social media sites as a Queen does her empire (ooo, yeah, that's a quote to describe me that I will have to remember to fall back on and create an image to go along with it for sharing).

I started to go through doing clean up.  Since Facebook gives Google its money's worth by sometimes leading in driving viewers (and hopefully readers, rarely subscribers sadly).  I've talked about it before.  Sometimes it shocks me when people I would have just assumed would follow my Facebook Page haven't.

Let's just say the ones I'm more shocked by are the ones I faithfully share their stuff.  It is like a nudge aside.  My stuff isn't important enough.  Or, they may assume that if I post it on my Facebook stream, I would also on my optioneerJM page.  But I don't.  I don't want people to think I'm spamming.

Which reminds me of my few blocks on Twitter:  the guy never said anything to me, just tweeted at me with his own blog.  Grrrrrr, he doesn't get it:  if you want people to notice you on social media:  share their stuff.  If you want to really connect, comment.  Geesh.

Well, to begin my experiment, I am going to carve back a bit.  In time for American Thanksgiving.  I want to give thanks to those that support me all the time and don't just acknowledge me when I'm doing the same for them.

Klout indicates that your influence rises as your ratio of following to followers ratio widens to a hearty gap.  We shall see.  I'll let you know if the opposite happens or a few people scaled back on will notice.  The reason is a positive one:  I want to be more focused on helping those that support me.

I'm selling my words here.  I'm not making any money.  At least yet.  I trudge on firmly in the belief that eventually it will mean something and even pay off.

I loved this cartoon shared by a connection on Linked In (name withheld because "she" is a PhD and unlikely keen on having her name shared .... if she did, I'd know her on Twitter, G+ and Facebook .... right?

Powerful points on PowerPoint

I had captured the above image of Bugs Bunny a few weeks ago.  I can't remember how I came across it, but I did capture and save it to my PC.  I think I was considering using it for a powerpoint presentation I was creating as a proposal of sorts and was going to use it for the final slide.  As in "that's all folks".  

I didn't use it because the slide deck I created used the same image consistently throughout.  That's my style, a clean look with powerful images that convey what I think the .ppt conveys.

In this case, the audience was launching a social media presence for its corporate identity:  they were in operation, they had subscribers to their service, with zero social media presence.  I related it to climbing a mountain to reach the top, the goal defined as reaching out to vast audience in a crowded industry -- not unlike climbing a daunting mountain.

I ended up using the slide for social sharing, now wishing I had made the     right corner type smaller and more underwhelming 

If you read and observe the best presentations on SLIDE SHARE (a wonderful extension of Linked In) the common thread is that strong graphics and minimal words seem to be the most identifiable and powerful.

I wrote a few years back about presentations.  If you are in sales in any form:  selling a product or service or selling your company, you use .ppt to create a dialogue with an audience of one or many.  It is like a memorable guide to what topic you are covering.

I've had Eugene Cheng on my side gadget under recommended reading for a few years.  He really is talented in creating powerpoint.  Check out his website and see if you agree: | |

It looks like Eugene rebranding and extended his reach under a new umbrella @High_Spark ... as is always the case, when I discover a talented individual, I like to keep them in my folder of idea enhancers, people who resemble the #bestofeverything there is to offer as talent, creativity, knowledge, exceptional learning.

I did initially upload the .ppt to SLIDESHARE and I have to say that the reaction and reception is a disappointment.  That isn't too surprising since I have used SlideShare as a resource and source for feeding my knowledge junkie habit.  

It takes confidence to consider that others may be interested in what you have created.  It can also trample it if the reaction is minimal or slight.  Then again, creating .ppt presentations hasn't been an area I would consider myself defined as worth sharing.

That is where the challenge comes in.  I force myself to be honest and then challenge myself to become better.

Why? Because if you are a CEO or sales professional, presenting .ppt is something you should become strong at.  

Most CEOs have a marketing department or communications professional to create their .ppt for them.   All they have to do is create and rehearse the notes to avoid reading off of them or reading from notes.

That takes practice.  The flow between slides and narration is a lot harder than it looks.  I've played with various tools to become stronger.  It was critical to get better after doing a presentation to a leadership evaluation for a senior project management role within my organizations.  As a self-critique, that is realistic and forms my own evaluation on how I could have been better (see if any of this strikes a cord with you):

  • The time for the presentation, including Q&A (questions and answers) was scheduled for an hour.
  • The amount of slides was too many to cover the Q&A period.
  • After the dismal, unprofessional set up of the room for the video conference, I was scattered but not shattered.
  • I read more off the slides than narrated them.  That was a disaster.  I could have just emailed the .ppt and been done with it.
  • Reading from notes or directly from the slides makes the narration stilted and boring.
  • While reading off of slides or notes, you are not engaging with your audience.  
  • When your eyes are on the slides, reading from them or the notes, your eyes are on the slides, not with your audience.
  • When you are not looking, scanning your audience, you are not feeling out their interest.  Are they smiling or looking bored or planning their grocery list for dinner that evening?
  • When your intent is to impress, you can do yourself an injustice on what you are capable of doing.
I was lucky.  The leader did give me feedback.  It was direct and a little brutal:  telling me that in that position, I would have minimum 10 minutes to report to an executive.  My presentation was way way wayyyyyyyy too long.  

The second .ppt I did, was not asked for.  Not directly.  I was asked to present how I, personally, would launch a digital marketing program for this corporation that had no presence.  Fortunately, I had been reached out to by the Founder of the organization.  Unfortunately, it was a group decision.  Instead of being asked to present to the founder and his partner, I was invited to meet with two key players on the team who's input would be deciding votes on my being hired.

My takeaway?  Well, the two audience members had a list of questions they wanted answered.  However, I had my own agenda because I had spent the time preparing the powerpoint that would answer a lot of the questions.  I could tell by the age of the lady in my audience, by her attire and attitude, that she was a driver and really couldn't care less about the intricacies of social media or me.  She had a multi-page questionnaire that she wanted to follow.  Her own agenda.  

I didn't inquire about the room setting for the meeting, nor about the technology available.  Maybe I wanted it to be a nice present surprise that I was so professional and prepared.  

I had saved my presentation on not one but two flash drives, along with emailing it to the meeting scheduler.  However, the room wasn't set up and at least 10 minutes was wasted getting it up and running.  10 valuable minutes that could have been spent on building rapport with a stilted audience.  

I had learned from my previous presentation that I needed to shorten my presentation, avoid reading the slides, and rehearsed enough so that the narration was smoother once I got started.  Yet, the fumbling over getting technology going and the resistance from the one audience member that she just wanted her questions answered.  The second team member was the organizer who let the other person dive in and drive the meeting.

My first horrific executive presentation was about 15 years ago.  I remember it as if it were yesterday.  My boss and I were invited to present to an executive as to why our company should consider our proposal to be awarded the vendor of choice.  

My boss and I had rehearsed:  in so that we knew who was going to do the speaking and who was going to do the clicking of the powerpoint.

I was unprepared for the executive's response:  after barely 10 minutes he jumped in with direct, pertinent questions, that made me stumble and falter.  Needless to say, we weren't awarded the contract.  In all fairness, it wasn't only because our .ppt had failed to impress them, it had a lot to do with the incumbent being the favorite.

My husband and I review some of his own presentations with his own executive team.  He is tasked with saving money for the company in the oil-shorn city of Calgary where falling oil prices are taking thousands of jobs and companies are in survival mode.  

I listen and pay attention.  That's because my husband is an ops guy who doesn't have a lot of time to waste on meetings and being wined and dined to buy from his suppliers and vendors.  He works with a talented young fellow who is a pro at Excel and .ppt.  He often says over and over:  

Just give them the facts and have the backup to support it.
He seemed to be bang on, stating that the executives just wanted the bare bones numbers, without the fluff.  The executives had specific questions on how the numbers were determined (aka back up).

I want to get better at this.  Some would say that I'm not nearly as bad as I tear myself up over.   I would say that there are some critical nuances you have to keep in mind when preparing and presenting. 
> Don't spend more time on creating your powerpoint than preparing the facts.

> Know the facts: details, how the numbers were arrived at, where the source came from.

> Back up your numbers by knowing them intimately, have them on the top of your head 

> Substance over style: it isn't so much about the pretty .ppt as a direct hit on message

> Be succinct in your narration.  (I have a weakness for being too wordy which is a disadvantage that needs to be excelled at).  Don't read the slides or off of your notes

> Know your numbers: spend more time on how you are going to explain your numbers in your preparation.

> Planning should equal preparation: ask the meeting organizer if the room will be set up to allow for a powerpoint presentation.

> Technology can defeat preparation and planning, thus a backup plan is critical (i.e. printed copies of the presentations)

> Establish the agenda:  are they expecting you to have a powerpoint to present or do they have a sheet of paper with questions they want to scribble on?

> Keep time on your side:  confirming the meeting time is typical for professionals.  Sticking to the allotted time is critical to a favorable impression.

> General rule of thumb:  Divide your Agenda by 0 or 20 minute segments if your meeting is 1 hour.

> Understand expectations:  What decision will result by this presentation?  

                   * Award/awarded contract
              * Sell service or product
              * Be hired (contract or employee)
              * Performance review
              * Report on business
              * A proposal for funding, endorsement, sale
              * Brainstorming ideas

> Read your audience:  Maintain consistent eye contact, watch body language.  Active gestures like shuffling papers is a sign that they're getting impatient, looking at a watch demonstrates a concern over schedule, exchanged looks from audience (rolling eyes, aka here we go again).

> Define the rules:  for instance that you will be presenting a .ppt that should take no more than 10 minutes, with the remaining time on answering questions

> Who's in charge?  in most, if not all cases, your audience is in charge.  Define within the audience who is a decision maker or supporter or recommender.

> Next steps?  Should always be asked at the end:  it will tell you the decision making process and by whom the decision will be made.

> Married to the agenda:   You can't assume your own agenda.

> Cultural missteps:  Sometimes having a .ppt will communicate your superior communications skills, your imaginative powerpoint slide creations, or comfort using technology.  It isn't always welcome.

> Cultural acceptance:  A lot of major organizations use .ppt as a form of conducting meetings.  Others not so much. 

> Rehearse, rehearse, rehearsal:  Knowing your presentation inside out and backwards is the best way on a path to guarantee success.    There are a lot of ways to practice and test yourself:

* Videotape yourself presenting
* Present to your bathroom mirror
* Practice by presenting to a colleague 

In hindsight, I goofed around a lot doing my research.  I tend to struggle between having a solid understanding of the company I'm presenting to and its industry and competitors.  That is not such a bad thing.  Yet, my takeaway is I can be too committed to my presentation than meeting the expectations:  winning the sale, being hired, being considered as a vendor, selling your company, and so on and so forth.

The biggest takeaway I have learned from observing and learning from talented presenters within companies I've worked for or outside influence:


have an AGENDA
>  what are you going to talk about? i.e. topics

how are you going present? i.e. present first and allow for Q&A at the end, or more informally 
questions accepted by interruptions throughout?

by having an AGENDA, you are asking your audience if anything is missing or if there is anything else they would like to add to the AGENDA?

> confirm the time for the presentation because someone could have been late and your allotted time may have shrunk by 15 minutes because someone was late or technology was disruptive or someone was supposed to log on as a teleconference

There are a lot of other things you can determine before you go to all the trouble and effort that you put into the actual data, creating the powerpoint, and practicing its presentation:

> who is going to be in your audience?
> what is the role (or roles) of your audience?
> what is going to happen after the presentation? (i.e. next steps)
> is what you are presenting second nature, instinctive and something you are comfortable with?  (if not, add more practice time)
> what sort of industry are your points about?  You can showcase your research or authority if you hover around this area.
> what position will the audience take?  being informed? judgemental? receptive? analytical? 
> feedback if time allows may give you a gauge on how you did

Murphy's Law

Applies every and all times you plan, rehearse, confirm, define, prepare:  the one thing you didn't expect or account for happens.

You can always surf through You Tube, Ted Talks (which I've been meaning to check out for a while) to see which style matches your own.  Don't try to be anyone else.  Be yourself.  Allow the viewer to gain a strong sense of who you are and who they can expect for months or years after being part of your audience.

"You can't always win the sale or get the job, yet you can always influence leaving a lasting, positive impression."
~ Jeannette Marshall

Powerpoint Resources:

SOURCE:  Powerpoint Templates ~ Slide 

SOURCE:  Pinterest 

SOURCE:  Pinterest PRESENTations BOARD

So you say you wanna sell ........ REALLY?

Are you saying YOU want to sell ?

People think they want to sell all the time.  They may say they want to "get into real estate" but what it really means is they are going to have to sell.

An entrepreneur with a brilliant idea

is still nobody when nobody is buying your product or service.  You should know the basics when you start out because you are responsible for selling your company.  

You may decide to hire sales professionals.  Yet it is your responsibility to ensure you have minimal organizational structure figured out along with basic tools that allow others to be successful, for example:
  • A CRM (customer relationship management) system that anyone who is customer facing can log who they contacted, when, their contact details, what was discussed, level of interest, follow up required; a CRM allows you to keep track of active customers or close to closing prospects so that if you have turnover (people quit) you still have captured the pertinent details.
  • Value proposition:  Answers the why:  what benefit does your service provide?  what are people loving about your product or service? 
  • Business cards:  as soon as you hire someone, you should get on it right away.  Having a business card that is hand-written filled in or a name scratched out and your new pro's name penned in.  You could be doing more harm than good if you don't have this cued up and ready for Day One.
  •  marketing material (a clean one pager that is meticulously created and professionally presented (no typos, grammar errors, inferior  low resolution images);
  • a professional website with the ability to manage inquiries, respond to inquiries
  • tools to do the job:  cell phone, computer, email address, business cards, a desk or office, a board room to host client meetings
  • a presence on the web:  website, Linked In company profile, leadership team, about us, what you sell/offer/suggest

If you can't have the minimum, or the company you may be considering selling for doesn't have the resources or cash to get you started, you may want to reconsider.

Establish expectations
How will you decide the arrangement is successful?  You don't need fancy metrics that larger organizations itemize to allow them to differentiate between the producers and weak links.  However, if you are selling a service that needs your customers to buy a specific product, prioritize it.  Understand yourself first what you are asking others to.

Define the territory
Are you selling something locally, regionally, nationally or internationally?  I suggest you have it mapped out.  

What is the prioritization or focus?
 New customers? Increased revenue (can be from new or existing).  Specific numbers, specific audience, specific buyers, specific prospect pool?

Value proposition
What value or benefit do you provide? Once you've decided what the value proposition is, you may want to reflect on where the best customers can be scooped from.  

Yes, I know you are hiring a sales pro because they should know how to sell.  However, you still need to be available or accept responsibility to field questions and filter priorities.  Things like pricing models, volume discounts, are wise when ironed out early on.  Be clear and specific on empowerment limitations or approval processes.  Who is able to sign a contract?  Does it need to have sign off and by whom?  What should be the realistic timelines on approval by hours or by days?

Do you know what the idea customer looks like?  You know what problem you solve, but do you know who or where they may likely be?  Either geographically or a specific buyer (i.e. IT versus Marketing) in mind.  In other words, to increase traction and maximize success in the quickest timelines, you may want to identify what the low lying fruit is.  Establish time goals (first month, quarter, year, 2 years, etc.)

Low Lying Fruit
Do you have contacts or ideas on who may be the easiest to close or sign on?  How do you define them?Are they prospects (potential customers) who are the most likely to buy in or you know will buy within a certain period.  Is buying a seasonal or year-round activity? A seasoned pro can determine this if they have the right historicals.  

Who are your competitors?
When I was asked to take on the sales launch for a new voIP (voice over internet) teleco (telecommunications company), the CEO was really passionate and in tune with what our strengths were and who we needed to beat at their own game.  He wanted to go over a national telecommunications carrier.  He understood their appeal and their limitations.  He knew who they were and where they were or what areas they were covering:  local, regional, national, global.  

SMART analysis
You hear often and is usually required for a business plan or anywhere financing is needed:  banks, investors, shareholders, etc.  This is a roll up your sleeves, get out a flip chart or white board and draw/scribble it out.  

If you toss your sales pro out into the field and simply say "Go sell now" you should ensure that you have the people and capital to deliver on the promises made:  value proposition gains traction, new customers.

Savvy investors, even sales pros have information sources at their fingertips:  have you been involved in any court proceedings?  (been sued for false promises, failure to deliver, etc.) Have you filed for Chapter 11 protection (US) or bankruptcy before?  Have you been sued for anything, even non payment (credit bureau, media, news).  Are you noted for having a lot of turnover of sales reps in general or with recruitment firms?

Don't be so passionate about what you have that you fail to see some weaknesses.  If you are open about challenges, that is great.  Much better if you can communicate what is being done about it.  

Working capital
Anyone who has ever worked for a startup, even long standing company, knows how important it is to being paid.  However, paying your suppliers is important too.  You hardly want a sales rep to go out and sell a new customer, to only find out that part of the sale requires a certain service, but your account is delinquent and frozen.

Regardless of the size or scope of your offering, you have to ingrain in your culture that everyone is a sales rep for your company.  If you are proud of what you offer, who you work for, the talent assembled, it will be easy to be an evangelist singing the praises.

Some organizations start out with a referral program - a quantifiable dollar amount or fee for every referral someone sends your wave.  Define and distinguish referrals and how they are rewarded:
  • First try free
  • Discount for BETA testers
  • A warm lead versus a hot prospect?
  • A sliding scale discount that increases as the referrals grow
  • A one time spiff:  free tickets, a free t-shirt or a company pen?

Rewards & recognition
  • Discover what motivates your people?  
  • Most people like cash bonuses but others may like a free trip or a free product
  • How are you, as an organization, getting the word out there?  
  • Do you do anything that would generate leads?
  • Do you have everyone actively sharing information?
  • Who is responsibility is your social media awareness?  If it is the CEO who doesn't get around to it or has no time, that's not going to help.
  • Do you spend a percentage of revenue to apply to advertising, online banners, sponsorship of events?
Once you have at least these basics mapped out and in place, you should be ready to sell, or hire someone to help you.  

How do you sell?
First answer and address all of the above, and then we'll get on that.  Think about it.  It may involve more cashola or resources than you thought, bring up issues you haven't intentionally ignored because you may be ignorant of the requirements, avoided an honest assessment of your ability to support the sales process and the integration of new customers, haven't drawn out a process map (how do you get from point A SOLD to point Z PAID).  Sometimes you can get lucky and hire the right sales pro who you may think is being demanding, while they are just challenging you to have the basics required for you, your company, the sales pro, the buyer and the customer to be successful.

with yourself and align your expectations with what you have to give.  You don't have to take a defeated attitude, you just have to be realistic.  

white boards, flip charts, to get ideas flowing.  BUT write them all down.  You may not know there is a golden nugget sitting there that could solve a problem but because it was as high of a priority now, it could be later on, and it shows you've already covered that.  

by as many people as possible requires feedback.  Do you have a process to get feedback?  How do you really know if you are hitting the mark if you are not involving other people?

A great example of an organization that is mapped out, knows it purpose, understands and can clearly communicate its value proposition.

I hope you don't have a headache from this assembly of a great big TO DO LIST.  If anything, it will just remind you that not having all the answers is reasonable and natural.  However, if you ski in the Swiss Alps during the winter, have you equipped those selling with minimal information or empowerment if they can't get a hold of you?

"A map to where you are going, is more easily defined once you decide what you need to get started."                                          ~Jeannette Marshall

We will keep the dialogue open and help you break it down into bite size pieces to avoid being overwhelmed.  I don't want to discourage anyone from launching a new business, I just want to assist with what may be a reasonable level of must do and must haves before you get too far ahead of yourself. 

 Feel free to ask me any specific question or help on addressing an issue and I will do my best to get answers.

IMAGES SOURCE:  Google search

Cut to the chase

Sell fast

is something that is forced upon sales pros to learn along the way and emphasized for survival. It isn't uncommon for those uncomfortable with sales to do.  A rookie mistake. You pounce with the close before checking to see if you've gotten your audience interest. Sometimes you have their interest and invest a lot of time, only to find out far along in the process that they have to check with someone else, can't authorize payment, can't sign any contract, basically can't agree to anything. You may be trying to force them to the finish line before you've done your job. It isn't likely your fault because this is the style you've been told to adopt. 

Numbers game

When numbers are all you hear about from your manager, leadership, sales boards it isn't a surprise that many sales professionals go for the numbers. You've probably even been coached to make more calls. That the more people you call on or try to sell to, the more sales you will hit.
The numbers game really only works when you have already accumulated prospects en masse or you rely on advertising or marketing to attract and gather a number of people or organizations that you have qualified can buy. 

Getting from A to Z

quickly is where it's at right? Certainly, if you have already taken the time to research and understand those prospects:
  • Who are in the market to buy your service or product.
  • Have been qualified as a reasonable prospect: 
  • They have the money to purchase,
  • They have the authority, 
  • They understand what they're buying
  • They are in the process of deciding who is going to help them buy
  • They have an idea of what it will cost
  • They have a budget in mind 

Need for speed

It's okay, if you are in the numbers game if you have a special deal or offering that has a genuine call to action which is typically aligned with time and deadlines. You may not be in the best environment to succeed if you are not guided on the above bullets.


are typically just names of people or companies that you've identified by only that. You have a pile of business cards and entries into your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system with only a name, possibly title, and how to get ahold of them: address, email address, telephone number.

War story

I worked in sales, briefly, for an organization who had a manager I reported to that was really only interested in the numbers: how many places I called on, where I called on (geographically speaking) and how accurately I compiled the information into a daily report, and whether I shuffled the list off to this manager by a specific deadline each and every day.

Justifying sales

The numbers driven organization is less likely a sales culture. They seem rather disjointed. They've know they need more revenue driven from sales to increase their budget and justify the need to have a sales force. They are less likely sophisticated enough to ask what the prospect was interested in, that you were talking to someone who could authorize payment.

Story tellers

The reason the person is likely in the sales management position is more often because they have great stories to tell, convincingly. They can produce spreadsheets that populate into graphs that look impressive and decidedly authentic.

Desperate measures

If your sales culture sounds more like the aforementioned, it is more likely that you have accumulated a lot of numbers, minus results. Your sales pros are likely scrambling over each other to the race to show activity.


metrics can disguise the truth. It doesn't always show that the sales team are running like chickens with their heads cut off, from the crack of dawn, to dusk. All the names, titles, addresses, telephone numbers are filled in meticulously and on time.

Data miner

is all that is. A company would find it cheaper to go out and buy a list from those who sell lists. There are plenty of those out there that will sell you "qualified" lists of prospects. I've worked for a company who did this and what you end up doing is being a data miner not a sales professional. You end up finding out that the name you've been given had retired five years ago and the prospect's company has divided and conquered their buying process into complicated definitions, categories or dollar amount. 

Vendor management

are systems in place for organizations who do a lot of buying from pencils to complex services.  It can be a straightforward or complicated matrix. The formula used to decide who ends up on the list is as diverse as there are the number of organizations willing to fill a slot. 

Back at the office

The sales rep and manager can be gungho, thinking they have a live one simply because they have the business card of a person. That person is just a name amassed on to the list of lists to satisfy the numbers game. They may be a name on a vendors' list, and feel like they're halfway to winning.

Foresight or hindsight

can be a challenge. If you ever watch HGtv (Home and Gardens TV) shows where a home buyer has a verbal list of what they want: the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. that are scalable. The easy part. But when it comes to having "a modern kitchen" definition it becomes more subjective and harder to pinpoint. Selling can really be like that 
The really good sales reps are the ones who can decipher what is not being said, officially. They can ask a bunch of questions to lead to the beacon of understanding that increases their likelihood of winning. 

New revenue

doesn't seem to be anywhere near forecasted. It shouldn't be surprising because all you are doing is collecting names and business cards. That data is extrapolated into pretty powerpoints that include the graphs and spreadsheets. 

Surprise surprise

when a rep who may not necessarily winning at the race of accumulating names, may actually be bringing in revenue. That it doesn't meet the metrics minimums usually has the individual in trouble with the boss. They may not be leading the race. They may appear slower than all the rest. They are likely in trouble. 

Revenue spiral

upwards or downwards is deemed only possible when you have the right amount of names. There are few questions asked on what the prospect may buy, what they already buy, who they buy from, whether they can actually do the buying. 


are left off the table. It is only a name after all. They may have purchased by the time the name comes up again in any kind of follow up conversations. Then it is not deleted. It stays there, muddled in a huge number of names and telephone numbers.


jumps in and grabs those name and that data. They want to take it and send out a mailer or start an email campaign. 

Wheels churn

The wheels of productivity churn with the fancy marketing piece, that most likely has all the call to actions required. Unfortunately, they can fall on deaf ears because the recipient is hardly likely the right audience which has been supplied by the sales CRM.

ROI (Rate of Investment)

start to take a nosedive. Marketing panics to justify the budget assigned, approvals gained, and moneys spent. They have to show that the effort was worth the investment. Then an argument unfolds.

Lousy leads

is what the sales say. It isn't even a real person, the seller isn't on an approved vendor list, which is really complicated. They just have a name really.

Luck happens

Sometimes those campaigns filter to someone responsible for buying such a product or service. But that is only if the recipient is paying attention, bothers to read anything, and is in a hurry to keep their desk tidy and clear (a deemed sign of someone organized and productive. 

A live one

Someone wants to buy! Yureka! Then what's with all the annoying questions, spreadsheet pricing that needs to be filled in, questions specific to the purchase to be answered: resources like people to do the job, equipment or technology to meet the minimum requirements.

Spreadsheet estimates

I worked for an organization once and when I found an opportunity for a complete rebranding of all their identity material: letterhead, business cards, envelopes ~ the really boring stuff to any sales professional in a printing company. 

Authority defined

I meticulously filled in all the estimate request forms, attaching the spreadsheet for pricing that had to be filled in if we were going to be considered as the awarded supplier. I was in trouble, if you can believe that. The estimator complained to the Sales Director that the spreadsheet was going to take hours, if not days to complete. The Sales Director pulled me aside into his office, asked me to close the door. He wanted to know the likelihood of success if he did insist that the estimator push on and authorize the over time to get it done so as to not aversely affect the other estimates that were time stamped after your's, causing a trickle down delay for everyone else which, yes you guessed it, would cause mutiny by all the other sales reps who were waiting for their estimates. Time delays. Extra hassle. A lot of work.

In or out

I wasn't sophisticated in political maneuvering. The Sales Director ran the dilemma passed the President. The President slid in from the closed door to have a listen to what I had to say. The President had better things to do than referee between sales and the estimator but because the Sales Director brought him into the fold, he felt his presence was necessary. 

Hot seat

So there I sat. Two very intimidating men in polished suits asking me what the likelihood there would be in winning the project if they were to approve over time or just authority over the estimator to get er done. All I could tell them was that the only guarantee I had was if we didn't submit, we wouldn't have a chance of winning anything. That was honest.
It wasn't long after that that the Sales Director was pressuring me. Looking for the transactional sales that all his other reps were posting and I had none. Then again, I was averse to amassing just names. I worked to find need. 

Need versus want

A tried and tested sales pro has to justify and balance need over want all the time. There is a distinction between the must haves and the nice to haves. A really good one can dissect the list of impossibilities into a narrow avenue of probabilities. They can identify whether by instinct or from questioning what was the deal breakers.

Deal breaker

As I sat there on the hot seat for doing my job: bringing in a live opportunity that is going to be awarded, from the person with the authority to decide who was going to be able to do it, with a budget (open ended because they didn't know really how much it was going to cost because there was so much), using a bid process to decide who was going to get the job!

Defensive tackle

I sat. Perplexed. Somewhat. Didn't I do what was required? Wasn't I required to identify opportunity, authority, budget under the umbrella of a potential sale? Here I was in trouble for making extra work without any guarantees. I was feeling guilty. Anxious because my sales had been dismal, if not, nonexistent to that point.

Submit or quit

I am a fighter for my clients and for sales. Sometimes, I will push water uphill to get the answer and commitment that I know will seal the deal. In this instance, it was quite simple and clear, which became my answer to the leadership: "the only thing I can say without reasonable doubt, is that if we do not submit, or supply the information being requested, I could guarantee that we would not get any of the work.

Moral of the story

It became obvious that this organization and the type of sales pro that I was, were disjointed. The numbers they expected and the numbers I was producing were thousands of dollars apart. I was sitting on donuts and they were sitting on a sales rep who had not produced any revenue. We had a mutual parting of ways.

Happy ending

A few months later, The President and I went for dinner at his invitation. He said that he felt responsible for letting me leave and was having a hard time justifying the process or how it happened. He just told me flat out that he thought it was wrong. He wasn't sure how he could have changed the way it happened because the culture had been the same, successfully, for many years. 

Deal maker

They were awarded the project after I was long gone. That was what it was worth. The sale given to a rep that had a small amount of wins, which was more than me, and that was why I was gone. She had more small wins, no donuts on any board, like me. The irony being that that singular sale would have placed me over the top for an entire year.

Decisions and choices

You see, most organizations run their sales similar to the two stores I've shared. They've decided that it is their formula for success and it has worked for many years, it isn't disruptive to anyone, everyone is happy, except their bosses who want to see a bigger jump in sales. They got it. How they got it may be considered short sighted, in my opinion. I am probably more convinced of that because in the end, they did win the sale in the second situation. They may not have had the right evaluation process to decide what was the right opportunity, relying on transactional registration than profitable ones.

Produce or perish

is the mentality of many organizations that host a sales department. How they define who is producing and who is perishable can be distinct. It isn't their fault because that is the way it has always been done and they've survived for many decades. If not, a hundred years. 

Final destination

It isn't always the road traveled that can show who is going to make it in sales. The ultimate decider is how much dollars there are sitting beside zeros.

Hunter or Farmer

is one of my posts from optioneerJM with the largest most popular readership. It isn't a mystery to me why that is because most organizations that put up a banner for a sales department lack the understanding on defining what kind of sales rep they want. I understand that most companies bring in sales or marketing to do a job, and that is to drive revenue. How their reps arrive at the final destination or generate revenue can differ. 

Transaction or relationship

could be a way of defining the type of sales pros an organization needs. Do you need numbers on the board to demonstrate a forward momentum? Or do you evaluate the revenue you get from one customer. That is your first clue.


A sophisticated assessment or examination would be what were trained as the easiest way to explain how I won the $380,000 sale was based on the spreadsheet on pricing.  People are making money writing books, blogs and public speaking in droves from exalting their secret special answer. However, in this case, The President seemed to finally really get it. He didn't sit back and pat the Sales Director on the back for winning the sale because he knew the trouble I went through to get it in the door and push the water uphill to go against how business is usually done over opportunity. It was the consummation of a lot of moving parts, shifting deadlines, uncertainties.  Driven by the convictions I had by the opportunity, that enabled me to develop a hard shell in the face of opposition and adversity.


Proving one's value or worth is exhausting no less. It is important for a sales professional to have a strong sense of self-worth but sometimes you are setup to fail. The culture or traditional means are a comfort zone for many.  Yet if you are the one who tries to push a customer or your organization out of its comfort zone, disaster lurks or triumph resounds.
They didn't ask me back after the fact. Months later, after we kept a mentor relationship going, The President confessed to having a hard time wrapping his head around the whole matter. Here he had a rep that didn't fall into a defined category or do things that were less disruptive to the rest of the team. There was never any impolite requests or demands, the proper forms were filled out in the proper manner, submitted with a timestamp to decry fairness. But what could be unfair is that I was gone and the company was left agonizing over how they could find more opportunities like that one that pushes outside the normal limits with the rewards far greater. Easy to manage, less estimating required, a long term arrangement, established expectation on recurring revenue streams. It took brutal honesty for this executive to admit, which he dared not go against his support of the leadership he had in place, To comprehend that in the long run, that sale did prove to be a lot more profitable and continued long after I had left.

Trust and support

to a sales professional should be paramount.  If you can't trust your team manager or company culture, how can you be sure that you can produce anything other than donuts.  You can sometimes have all the support you think you need, and trust, when the person extolling it doesn't have any authority or empowerment. I know, an uphill battle.
However, for argument's sake and as an example in this case, if the sales manager trusted me or was willing to go against the inner structure, personalities and complaints and give support to the person who brought it in the door, who knows what other miraculous opportunities could have unfolded.


is how I would define it. I was willing to scope out a great opportunity that was not an automatic win for any of the choices. It was not simply a dollar figure slotted into a spreadsheet. Because anything of great value has a lot of moving parts to be considered.


Having an internal champion is key. I was only able to really skyrocket in sales when I had a champion in the organization. It was The President of the organization, similar in both circumstances. The real difference was the trust placed in me. That I wasn't going to waste people's time, make demands that were really only communications on what I interpreted to real needs while competitors lazily and assumed that the wants were unnecessary. I was always trying to make the needs and wants parallel with better definitions. 


I liked to come up with solutions to problems. I tried to understand the ramifications between problems (needs) and weak perceptions of how to solve it (wants). If you can somehow match up the two and mirror it with a solution, then the actual dollar amount becomes just that, an amount. So that you aren't selfishly demanding more than the value you bring. It's great when you can provide the solution and are given a price that is aligned in such a way that it is justifiable. 

Consultative or solutions

sales are tossed around and shuffled about, not unlike being stuck on a train or bus during the rush hour to get home. All the people on the bus just want to get home. They may even push and toss aside manners to get to the ultimate destination. Similarly, organizations just want the ultimate end to be in sight: increased revenue, save costs, improve profitability, satisfied shareholders and Board of Directors.  Ultimately, revenue that is profitable, easily accommodated, and doesn't ruffle any feathers. 

Solve problems

Solving problems at a fair price and recognized value is the secret. Yet so many organizations throw their sales reps out on the street, equipped with understand-ing the goals of the organization, its history, its culture, its process.


Many companies say that they recognized innovation and want their people to think outside the box. When it is actually put to practice, they cannot see the bonus before all the hassle. They ask for innovation but have so many speed bumps and walls put up, with managers who are basically lazy and want to follow the status quo who won't support anyone that suggests anything other than the way they've always done business or falls within their process.


The processes that companies become so handcuffed to and immobilized by are a detriment to ingenuity.  You would identify this when you are placed in an environment that is so rigid and with restrictive rules that are deemed in place because all the problems that could result in by stepping outside have been anticipated in advance and then defined as process. It imposes fear, threatens job security, is disruptive. Rarely is it progress. Definitely more peaceful.


So a person is either placed in a strangle hold, maybe even defined as a troublemaker because they go beyond what is firmly placed in front of them. Any innovation or problem solving techniques are choked out of them. They leave or let go.


How you are going to decide someone does a good job. Toss away preconceived notions, don't rely solely on metrics. If you do, you may find yourself plugging along, even successfully, but never reach beyond the endless possibilities that some talented individuals are able to do. 


Support them, back them up, monitor them if you will, hold them accountable if you must. If you don't, they will likely run out of steam, be exhausted from looking for new, great ways to do things that become more profitable, easier than before. Just don't say that you are a company who recognizes innovation when what you really have are a lot of roadblocks.


Reconsider and re-evaluate whether your organization is poised for growth. Are you putting managers in place who don't fall on lazy metrics and are reasonably equipped to handle someone who does things a little differently. They may make things a little more challenging, but can they convince you that they have addressed more questions than you or the client can think up and have asked enough questions to figure out a way that it can be solved. 


Time cannot always be on the side of a sales pro who wants to solve a problem, address a need. If you want transactional sales, then the organization has the responsibility to have everything cookie cutter in place. Unfortunately, cookie cutters are transactional sales, narrower margins, and you need a lot more of them to survive. 


business tends to mean rigid pricing, no scale on volume, no adaptation to special requirements or the willingness to create new ways to help people spend money with you.

Residual, incremental

sales is the way to go. When it takes 85% more effort to find one customer, who equates to 15% of the business while consumes 85% of the effort, why wouldn't you seriously think about it. Some have. They devise a system that has hunters who go out and finds the new customers and then is required to hand it over to someone else who isn't as invested in the solution to a problem, they aren't even concerned with the total revenue amount as much as fulfilling the commitment they made to solve the problem. It takes a lot of effort, brain power, empowerment, dedication to solve these more profitable sales. Unfortunately, companies don't have the patience or time on this type of sales. Chicken and egg syndrome I'd hazard to call it.

Buy in

Is a strange and challenging thing to decipher. Most organizations struggle with ownership of customers. Some even go really far to ensure that the company owns the customer and not their sales rep. What they fail to acknowledge and refuse to understand is that it is that individual person who the client has bought, their word, the trust they have in them.

Catch and release

Often customers think that a company that they have just given their business to doesn't care enough about them or only as a number. How do they come up with that assessment? Well, it is because they want to be able to work with that person who made all the promises, their team. They don't want to agree to have 10 times more people putting up road blocks or delaying things because an i was not dotted or a t cross. 

Bait and Switch

These customers may even think that they were switched after being baited to buy in to the idea of change. Then reality becomes more of a nightmare than they felt they were promised. There are more rules that seem to come out of nowhere and processes that must be followed to get anything done. The disappointment and dissatisfaction is alarming.


The people who are at the switch off point are talented, without question. But they are also rigid. If they were more accommodating and adaptable, open to new ideas on how to do things, there is a stronger likelihood of success. But that's where the frontline, those who are actively working alongside the customer, are more like ants on an anthill. They are workers, they fit round pegs into round holes.

Square pegs and round holes

are a completely disruptive situation to have. There is pushback, tempers, longer hours, more problems to solve. Why? Because the people who support the customer in a hand off are unable and unequipped to put square pegs into round holes because they don't know, by instinct, by process, by deduction any other way. Does your organization take the new customer so seriously when you insist on a handoff approach that you hire people who are able to smoothly transition a square peg to be round? Not typically. They want only square pegs into square holes and round pegs to go into round holes.

Endless possibilities

When I started to write my blog 6+ years ago, I started out mostly by professing the easiest way to generate sales. Now, I recognize that the path is a lot more narrow to create endless possibilities with sales. The reality all these years later is that there are endless amounts of expertise out there from people who communicate the greatest way to solve sales mysteries, the way to get from Point A to Point Z. If in doubt,  check out the sales section virtually or physically on books at your disposal. 

Secrets retold and repeated

are snapped up in the hundreds of dollars by those desperate to find the Holy Grail. That being the quickest and easiest and sure-fire means to sell fast and well.

Holy Grail

The Holy Grail is really an organization who knows fluidly how to sell their product, how to select who sells it and has thought of or encountered a lot of roadblocks along the way. From those experiences, the organization figures out a way to operate in a way that allows everyone to do a key job that ultimate defines success: a sale or continued sales.


A tremendous effort is required by organizations to consider a lot of factors before they just decide to have sales reps hunting down new customers. Better still, to determine how they can keep those customers for a long time, evolving together, strengthening the relationship into a win win.  It is a puzzle worth solving.


Many entrepreneurs and companies are really caught up in the product or service they sell, some with a little better forethought to understand their value proposition, what problem it will solve and what is a fair asking price. Most spend more time on that than defining their sales force or their sales process. Little to none can account for the tools they have in place to help their sales reps be successful outside of the obvious, telephone, computer, metrics, company training more on culture than sales skills, then boot them out the door.


Expectations clouded and not examined with reality. To survive, the Company may need this many of this to sell that many of that by this very short time. However, ensuring they have reasonable tools, expectations and resources to help the sales reps are not considered their problem. They are disguise or considered excuses when they are not actualized or happen very often or consistently.


Most companies, leaders, managers have definitive metrics that define results. Sometimes it is mere dollar figure, others more sophisticated on profitability. They can scientifically attribute how many calls to how many people will allow a chimpanzee to get to the finish line. 


Very few allocate innovation among the troops. They believe that that is what they have managers or leadership for. They're the ones that figure out the processes that choke progress in some ways, but keep costs in check with others.


is often determined by innovation in the world we live in today. The speed in which you can ask for something and a blank filled in is the ultimate race to the finish line. Getting revenue in the quickest means possible.


is the word of our days. The speed in which we accumulate customers, how our message is dispersed timely, where we look for information to solve our problems is at our fingertips. So why would I recognize this as a problem?


is very misunderstood. The race to the finish line doesn't always allocate time for bringing value. You have your marketing machine extolling the virtues of your value, you have a few examples to showcase you have any.


is a way to disintegrate your value. Metrics don't allow for any thought or innovation. Or, forcing people to think of ways to fix a problem by time or process. Many simply file people or services into categories to fit into a nice number that everyone can agree on.


to let trust lead the way. That your hiring practices, human resources, reputation and statistics is what is valued above all. 


importance outweigh people value. People become disposable. A cost on a spreadsheet, by ascending or descending value. Metrics devised to justify why one stays and another is let go.  What about offshored as a cost saving measure? That's a topic I've been struggling over how to write or address.


There is no room for doubt, innovation and it leads to dysfunction because employees are clamboring for security, longevity, company loyalty with them.


is something that only the oldest of companies know about. When the companies think that loyalty by customers and employees are taken for granted are the ones who start to sputter and fail. They lose the importance of people to their survival. They devise new ways to bring more people in at a cheaper rate than a few less who can innovate and bring value. 

Innovation and time

it comes from trial and error, failure and success. Innovation stems from being able to solve problems or predict problems, solving them, before anyone is aware there is any. The disturbing thing is that companies don't want innovation unless you are assigned at the top of the food chain to come up with ideas to monitor, measure and strangle the employees to justify their existence. Quick to flash judgement, fire or let others go.

A Conclusion

is subjective with conclusiveness based on perception. What I see as more difficult to communicate is how do you get sales to be more successful sellers. When it relies on organizations to be better supporters of innovation and thinking outside the box. Holding companies more accountable to sales reps' success. They hold the key and wear the boots even when they reference boots on the ground. Sadly, they boot the wrong ones out a lot of the time and don't polish or examine their own key.


The quality of sales and results is not because of metrics, processes or company. It comes down to who the organization is and what they do to help their people be successful. It is not solely on the shoulders of sales or marketing. It adjusts itself along the way, examines whether it has roadblocks. That is a big challenge to swallow. Very few will take the time to consider the challenges they put in front of their people. Do they support them? Or only support them when they file within the parameters they set out? Is the power safely placed on the managers because they are equipped with the metrics?

Bright lights

There are certainly a lot more questions than burning light bulbs of answers or mysteries unraveled. That is, in my opinion, the best way to flash onto the beacon of success. 

Final Questions

Are you doing everything in your power to help your people be successful or are you creative in metrics that signal who to perish? Do your metrics accommodate the sneaky, shrewd political animals and leave out the honest, hard working person?

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Jeannette writes on her blog optioneerJM about business, sales and leadership, evolving into strengthening online brand through social media networking and digital marketing. Her best read blog has been "Hunter or Farmer: what kind of sales rep do you want?" and with permission used as an excerpt in a publication on how to hire salespeople.