Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Facts and Falacies About Selling: Falacy #8:

Falacy #8: Don't call yourself a salesperson.

Salespeople feel that a title such as, marketing representative and other high-sounding titles make them more acceptable.

Reality: True professionals rarely object to others calling them a salesperson. Some retailers teach their salespeople to say, “We’re not on commission.” This discredits our profession. The implication here is that “being on commission” is somehow bad for the buyer. It isn’t. Ineffective salaried salespeople still ask customers, “Can I help you?” Most of them can’t help at all. They consistently give customers a “guided tour” of the merchandise or, worse, ask the customer to browse to their heart’s content and let me know if I can help.

Customers want salespeople who provide genuine assistance in the buying decision not those trying to impress with their “expertise” or knowledge. This phenomenon is not limited to retail sales. In hundreds of interviews, we’ve heard average and low-producers content, “You give me a good customer and I’ll make the sale every time.”

Persuading the prospect to buy is not, in their view, their responsibility. Average producers genuinely believe high-producers are “lucky” or are the boss’s favorites who get all the “good leads.”

Two of the most effective salespeople we’ve encountered are on commission and provided us with expert assistance. In less than five minutes, one moved us away from higher-priced merchandise that did not suit our needs. We are delighted with our purchase and gladly refer this commissioned salesperson to our friends.

Another salesperson sold us several thousand dollars worth of goods in less than 45 minutes of very helpful conversation. His knowledge of the merchandise was astounding. He shared this knowledge with us only after uncovering our specific wants and needs. He looked to be under thirty years old and was head and shoulders above several people in the same store with years of “experience.” They were selling the same merchandise, in the same store, at the same time to the same stream of potential customers. He obviously out produces them in product mix, sales volume, and customer satisfaction.

Unfortunately, management seems unable to create a team of delivery and service people with the same level of competency. This scenario is common in many organizations and presents a serious problem for buyers. It appears customers have to be lucky enough to stumble on a professional salesperson.

Fast Facts

Can't wait for 2009 figures!

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What's Next for Your Business

Traditional growth tactics have run out of steam. Cost-cutting is a temporary fix, at best.

Most organizations cannot sustain market share with simple innovation. Mergers and acquisitions rarely pay off in genuine business growth mostly due to misdiagnosis of current reality and/or poor execution of clear strategies.

Simplistic “quick-fixes” (including hit and miss sales training) fizzle out. A clear winning strategy includes a balanced approach with specific sales strategies clearly linked to an overall mandate; rigorous attention to maximizing selling time; a team approach using inside and external resources; aggressively developing required selling competencies; technology that supports (rather than drives) a clear sales effort; and a compensation system that shares created wealth rather than attempting to bribe performance out of people.

Key Components:

Taylor your offering around creating customer value and serving their future needs rather than executing a demographic focus

• Ensure that your offering is clear, distinct and based on a one-to-one model rather than “one size fits all”

• Design your skills development around creating the results you want, rather than the latest fad, or a generic strategic selling model

• Determine which product offerings merit time and resources and rigorously focus your efforts in their direction

Measure What Matters. Average salespeople engage in a flurry of unfocused prospecting activities. When faced with a “qualified” prospect they typically turn them into dissatisfied customers. Highly productive professional salespeople consistently and methodically invest ten to fifteen percent of their selling time on new business development.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Differentiate Your Organization

Differentiate your Company from the Competition

To differentiate ourselves in a crowded, competitive marketplace, we need to be unique with exciting approaches to solving buyer’s problems. We also need to be present in a way that builds credibility and makes people want to buy. One of the most effective ways to do this is to build value in the solution of the sale. What we present and how we present it is critical to the buying/selling process.
  • Creative ideas result in new discoveries, better ways of doing things, reduced
    costs and improved performance.

  • Do your research to ensure that you’ve covered all bases and thought about all options.

  • Provide your client with the benefits of each solution.

  • Follow up by painting a word picture of your buyer using your solution, enjoying it, and benefiting from it
This is from the Dale Carnegie blog click here

Check out Erin Treleaven's slides on time management - they're terrific. Click here

Monday, November 23, 2009

Facts and Fallacies About Selling: Fallacy #7: Incentives increase sales

Fallacy #7: The way to increase sales and motivate salespeople is to offer “incentives” in money and merchandise.


Such schemes entice ineffective salespeople to put unnecessary pressure on prospective buyers. Short-term increases are the worst thing an incentive system creates.

For example, salespeople may delay processing an order or promise something sooner than they can deliver just to earn an “incentive.” These falsely created sales can seriously jeopardize an organization’s long-term viability and undermine customer satisfaction.

Poorly designed incentives temporarily mask incompetence and have a tendency to bring out the worst, not the best in people. No matter how cleverly disguised, any carrot and stick based process produces questionable long-term, sustainable results.

With competent salespeople, there is plenty of money to go around.

Manipulating behavior by offering reinforcements is a sound approach to training your pet beagle, but it may not bring out the best in salespeople. We realize this is an unconventional position, but there is current, sound, and factual evidence to support it.

If you’re curious about this subject, email me at and I’ll point you to the appropriate data.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Current Reality(?)

• Technology does not, and cannot, replace a professional salesperson
• Old-time salespeople and dated sales “techniques” are obsolete
   (this has been true for years)
• Prospects don’t have time to meet or listen to every salesperson
• It is difficult to find and connect with qualified prospects
• Professional selling is not obsolete – it’s just rare
• Non-commodity purchasers need help from professional salespeople

A memo to today's sales organizations:
If your customers need genuine help making their buying decision, you need a strong sales force of highly trained, competent professionals. If your sales-people look and sound like all the rest, you’re in fundamental trouble. If how they explain your offering is vague or hard to follow, your market share and margins are probably shrinking.

On the other hand, if your salespeople have the technical expertise your customers demand, and sales competence on behalf of a killer sales strategy, you might be invincible and probably have an expanding market share, high margins, and a loyal client base willingly giving you a steady revenue stream.

Never in history has there been so much researching, probing, and testing of salespeople and their work. In our opinion, most of this information creates confusion. A balance of strategy, technology, and highly professional salespeople consistently out-performs conventional cold-call salespeople, order-takers, product-peddlers, and/or technology or marketing driven initiatives.

Despite the controversy surrounding selling, one fact stands out clear and strong — the final responsibility for making sales still rests firmly on the shoulders of today’s salesperson.

Is this true - or not?
Please add your comments below.

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Follow The Money

Virtually all executives we interview complain that their margins are shrinking. This is a concern since our market is a global, hyper competitive commodity and price driven, margin battering place. How you made money last year may not make you money this year.
We’re fascinated when we hear business people say they are customer focused or customer driven, yet their profit models are focused on their needs rather than creating genuine wealth for their customers and sharing that wealth. Even their business structure tends towards an “inner” view.

Thirty years ago the customer didn’t really matter. I know this sounds weird, but it’s true. Customer demand was higher than capacity and the seller was in the driver’s seat. They set their business goals based on their targeted profit margins. Today our capacity to produce is greater than demand and, unless you have a distinctly innovative product or service, the customer has a confusing amount of choice. Rarely can we set our own prices in a business climate filled with hungry competitors. Protecting margins involves much more than increasing prices and/or tinkering with administrative costs. In reality, the customer is now at the center of our business universe.

Dale Carnegie said: “Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.”

It’s time to scrutinize whether we actually live this principle or just pay lip service to it.

Unfortunately, traditional market research is of little help since it uses what we call a “rear view mirror” approach. Usually customers are given a series of multiple choice questions. Even when augmented by interviews, the questions often do not get at clients’ genuine future issues. Why is thinking from the customer’s point of view so hard? Mostly it’s because we’ve been trained to continually focus on improving our products or services. An all too common model is designing a product (service) that we think serves a need and aggressively taking it to market with traditional techniques. Invariably the market responds with apathy, or strong resistance. [Do you remember Crystal Pepsi?]

As an organization grows, the natural, organic flow is away from customers. A recent survey indicates that senior managers spend seventy percent of their time dealing with internal issues, and a high percentage of the remaining thirty percent involves dealing with non-customer issues. Believe it or not, the best customers or prospects with whom to invest time are the ones most demanding, difficult, or dissatisfied.

Over 20 years ago, a successful retailer taught me to actively pursue complaining customers. “Dave,” he said, “a complaining customer is doing you a favor. They are telling you they want to do business with you, but they’re frustrated or irritated at something. They represent at least fifty other customers who, for whatever reason, are reluctant to bring their complaints to your attention. The best ideas to dramatically improve my business came from complaining customers.” He taught us the direct, inexpensive customer focus process we still use for both ourselves and our clients.

Asking the right questions is critical. It is important to uncover our most demanding client’s needs, aspirations, and future business focus. Just asking them how they like our service is vague and weak. Asking them about their “needs” is not enough. Prospective customers usually don’t know their future needs. They operate in the same dynamic business climate as the rest of us.

Ineffective, order-taking salespeople, for example, contend that they do think from the customer’s viewpoint. They tell us, “All our customers care about is price. The customers don’t want what we sell; there is no demand for it.” History gives us many examples of the flaw in this mindset. Years ago, vacuum cleaners were unknown and, when approached, retailers claimed there was no demand for them. However, once a few early-adopters began using the contraptions they purchased from a direct salesperson, demand increased. Now, almost every major retailer carries vacuums. This tells us is that “demand” is after-the-fact and often ineffective in capturing future opportunities.  

Suggestion: Seek out forward-looking customers. Listen carefully to their viewpoints and visualize the picture they communicate.

No one can predict the future, but these rare visionaries see what others do not see until it’s a commodity. Find out what books they are reading and read them yourself. Look for industry shaping publications, not “faddish,” rearview mirror-type books. Once a topic becomes trendy, bookstores are flooded with a wave of rehash publications that are of little value in uncovering potential future profits.

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Don't BUT heads with prospects

It’s sensible to avoid arguing with customers...but . . .

Customer objections can become stepping stones towards a sale or stumbling blocks. Many salespeople fall into the “yes but” trap which weakens their negotiating position and could blow the sale.

Infective salespeople typically follow a variation of the following:

Prospect: “Your price is too high...”
Salesperson: “Yes but considering all the features this is a great deal.”
Prospect: “I’m not prepared to pay that much...”
Salesperson: “Perhaps we would be willing to... (Value-added).”
Prospect: “That’s nice, but I think I’d like to think about this some more.”

Replacing ‘but’ with ‘however’ or ‘and’ is cosmetic at best, and does little to close a stalled sale.

SELLING PRINCIPLE: When a prospect objects, find a point of agreement.

Applying this principle is not as easy as it seems. Phrases such as “I know how you feel” or “I can appreciate that” or “I’m glad you brought that up,” are weak, slick, and come across as insincere - mostly because they are insincere or trite.

Let’s analyze the price objection and develop a point of agreement, which positions us as an assistant buyer, not a product peddler.

Prospect: “Your price is too high...”
Salesperson: “We’re not cheap.” or “This isn’t the cheapest system on the market...”

The use of cheap is deliberate here. It changes the emphasis from ‘too high’ to ‘not cheap.’ Cheap implies poor quality, minimum features, or a stingy buyer. Few prospects want the cheapest system; they want the most features for the least investment and they want a better deal. A select number of high ego buyers want the “finest system money can buy.”

There isn’t just one price objection,since several issues revolving around price. Does the customer feel the system is not worth the investment, or do they feel it is beyond their means? Do they believe they can get it elsewhere for less, or are they simply trying to put you off?

Clarifying the objection is up to the salesperson and, effectively executed, closes sales. (Ask the customer for clarification if you are unsure.)

Salesperson: Just to clarify my thinking, are you concerned this system is not worth the investment, or are you not sure how you can handle it?”

This salesperson changes price to investment which appeals to the customer’s sense of value and implies a longer-term benefit rather than short-term savings. By asking the customer to clarify their concerns, you allow them to answer their own objection. In addition, how you respond to “I don’t think it’s worth it” is distinctly different than handling the “I don’t believe I can afford it” objection.

Prospect: “I don’t believe I (we) can afford to spend that much...”
Salesperson: (Point of agreement) “I can appreciate why you would hesitate if you were concerned about the investment, in addition to the budget issue, is there any other reason that might cause you to hesitate?”

Caution: A sales script often sounds insincere, cold, and generic. Their effectiveness relies on the salesperson's capability to isolate a prospects genuine concerns and deal with them effectively. In the hands of a professional salesperson, the above process is a masterful way of helping prospects make the best and most informed buying decision as quickly as possible. The process is not manipulative; some salespeople are manipulative. As Stuart Chase contends, "Meaning is in people, not words."

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Facts and Fallacies About Selling: Fallacy #6: How salespeople learn

Fallacy #6: Salespeople can learn to effectively sell by reading books, watching videos, on-line learning, listening to experts, or simply emulating high-producers.

Many of us grew up with comparisons to a perfect model. An accusatory “Why can’t you be more like (your sister, brother etc.) ” still rings in our ears. Trying to live up to a perfect model is an impossible dream. The implication is that there is a “right” way to sell. Searching for this elusive “right” way undermines an individual’s capacity to think for themselves. There is no “one size fits all recipe for success.”

Rookie salespeople and "wanna-be" athletes spend thousands of dollars on videos hoping professionalism will somehow rub off on them. They rarely watch the whole program. If you doubt this, visit a used book store or yard sale and notice how many self-help books, videos and CD’s are in pristine condition. Incidentally, individuals who actually put these tools to work would not let their dog-eared books or worn out videos out of their personal library.

Only by thinking through their own selling issues and applying sound principles do salespeople (and athletes) dramatically improve their performance. This process requires high-level teaching and coaching skills – a rarity in today’s quick-fix, "personal coaching" environment.

Few salespeople put into action what they see, read, or hear. Each salesperson is an individual and, as such, cannot hit aggressive targets by simply aping top producers. At best, they gain a few “tips” to incorporate into their current (ineffective) approaches. Lectures and videos about how selling “should be” are visually impressive, but are ineffective in creating blockbuster sales increases.

Short-term, "motivational" seminars have their place; but the danger is a person who actually believes these sessions have a long-term, competency improvement effect. Habits are formed one way and one way only - repetition. Repeatedly selling ineffectively simply entrenches ineffective selling habits. Watching the pros is helpful, but at some point, salespeople need to learn their craft by actually applying what they've learned. 

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Facts and Fallacies About Selling: Fallacy #5

Fallacy #5: The law of averages – making a maximum number of daily sales calls is the biggest factor in selling success.

Reality: This was never true.

The ability to qualify a prospect, and engage in a conversation that inspires and motivates them to buy sooner rather than later (if it is in their best interest to do so), is a professional salesperson’s most valuable asset. The average salesperson says, “These prospects are not interested.” A professional says, I failed to interest them.”

If a salesperson’s activity level is so low that it is impossible for them to hit targets, then we recommend increasing their activity levels. However, increased activity alone cannot produce sustainable blockbuster results. Increasing the activity levels of ineffective salespeople may produce a small up-tick in sales, but at what cost?

Companies would be wise to analyze the cost of lost sales due to lack of sales competency. Most salespeople increase sales from 15 – 80% by increasing their sales effectiveness through proper training and coaching*. Hence, without improved sales skills effectiveness, if they make 20% more calls, the organization loses even more productivity and could lose potentially profitable customers forever.

Ineffective salespeople making more sales calls could mean you'll lose potential customers faster.

* Knowing how to sell is not enough. Many salespeople are good conversationalist about selling techniques, but are not skilled enough or in the habit of applying these principles in their day-to-day selling activities. For example, most sales managers and sales people agree that finding out what the customer wants/needs and what would motivate them to buy from us is critical in securing and keeping profitable customers. However, on sales calls, salespeople behave in a distinctly different way. They may say the sell "solutions", but their questioning and listening skills are minimal and basic, so they tend to default to "selling" a solution" with ineffective or no diagnostics at all. Others wast prospects time and resources conducting drawn-out or ineffective "needs assessments." In today's market, prospects expect easy to execute, customized solutions that are cost-effective and well articulated by product advocating salespeople.

Effectively executed, the questioning phase is revealing for both the potential client and the salesperson. Then, in the all-important conviction step, salespeople clearly and specifically explain their offering in concrete terms. We contend that, if talking with a salesperson has no value in-and-of itself, salespeople can be replaced by a well-crafted web-site. If all they do is recite facts, features and generic benefits, they are wasting our company's money and our prospective customer's time. However, most of our clients need and want  professional help in making a wise buying decision. That is the job of today's professional salesperson and clients invite then in with open-arms once they sense their value.

Motivation is woven through the buying process. In our sales calls with salespeople who sell both tangible and intangible products/services, we see them try to create an artificial "sense of urgency" and, in the process, miss the client's real sense of urgency. Their tactics are transparently manipulative and create more doubt than reducing doubt in the min of the prospect.

As Dr. John Geier Ph.D., co-author of the DISC Behaviour Indicator Profile says, "People do things for their reasons, not ours. Each of us has our own private logic and everything makes sense to us no matter how bizarre our actions seem to others."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Advice From The Pros

We spent some time last night with our local professional football team general manager and several players. They have come from a season where they lost all but two games to a 50:50 record. Quite a feat. Here is some wisdom from them that I believe relates to business success. These are quotes from memory - not a transcript of a taped interview.

General Manager's Comments

You've got to be careful what you say after a game both to the press, players, and coaches. It's important to review the game tape so you’re addressing what really happened, not what you "thought" happened. The emotion of the moment often interferes with your objectivity.

We're always choosing between short term success and the long-term viability of the team. Fans want us to send in the best players on every play and we do that most of the time. However, we need to give our young players enough playing time for them to develop. Right now we're in a building mode so we tend to default to the long-term objective.

Rookie quarterback's comments

When I play badly I try to live in the moment, acknowledge what happened, learn from it, and move on.

After this meeting, I read an article entitled "Attitude Is Everything." What a contrast. Professional athletes acknowledge "attitude" as a factor, but they focus on competencies and dealing with objective reality rather than speculation or wild "optimism." Football is a poor analogy for business since players practice more than play the game. However, there are some parallels. Preparation, coaching, competency development, and attitude control are all factors but no one element, including "attitude" is the "secret."

Don't you just love it when commentators say, "They wanted it more than the other team." Pardon? Are you suggesting the losing team wanted to lose or, more accurately, didn't want to win badly enough? If wanting it badly and visualizing success really worked, both teams would win!!! Wake up! Football, like business, operates with a deadline - and there is competition claiming they are as good as or better than you are. The saddest commentary I've ever heard is a professional player contending, "We won the first half." OOPS - they lost the game and the championship that day. Even professionals, who should know better, can fall in the trap of denying reality.

Let's take some advice from a fictional character, Dr. Gregory House. "People don't get what they deserve, they just get what they get and there's nothing we can do about it." If you know the character (he is a diagnostician) this is not a fatalistic approach to life. Dr. House deals with reality by taking action rather than worrying, stressing out, over-thinking, or engaging in irrational, wild behavior.

When a distraught father asked House if he was sure a treatment the doctor recommended will work, House answers, "I will be when he (the patient) responds to the treatment."

We could use more of this kind of thinking in business. Rather than contending that we're sure something will "work", why not emphasize our commitment to do it, then make our judgment after we've taken the prescribed action? This is how the Dale Carnegie process works. We get people in action, then evaluate the results (quickly) and take new actions based on what we've learned - in reality.

This is similar to the 15-second conversation in a football huddle. "What happened? What's next? Who's doing what? Let's go!" You can see that being clear about what happened and having choices around what's next and having the competency to complete the assignments are all critical factors in creating the results we want to create.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Facts and Fallacies About Selling Fallacy #4

Fallacy # 4: Some salespeople are good at selling but they can’t “close” the sale.

Reality: Effective selling includes securing the business. There are no slick closes ineffective salespeople can pull out of their bag of tricks to get unconvinced prospects to sign. Knowing when to ask for the business and asking with skill and confidence is only part of the selling process. In our view, selling is not a battle with prospective customers; it is a battle with competitors.

For example:
“While people liked my work when I first showed it to them they had a lot of questions about why things were the way they were. Their questions indicated that my design was not what they had in mind, and as a result, I would spend countless additional hours redesigning pieces to fit what I thought they were looking for or asking them irrelevant questions that would not move the sale forward.

Slick closing techniques would not help this designer to secure more business for herself. Here's one component she focused on to increase sales through effective selling competence.

I increased my sales 234% by asking more pertinent questions and listening to what would actually motivate the client to buy now.” [Graphics Designer]

I know this sounds hard to believe, and there is more to it than noted here, but plenty of salespeople leave business on the table and this has little to do with their ability to "close the sale."

In the eighties, one prominent publisher said they would never publish a sales book without the word "closing" in the title. Thank goodness those days are almost over! ABC (always be closing) is an antiquated theory based on ineffective sales managers transposing their theories onto our fine profession. Closing is a logical conclusion to a fine sales conversation.

There are competencies in closing that salespeople need to learn and practice. But the best “close” applied to the wrong prospect in the wrong way at the wrong time will not “motivate” the prospect to buy.
Order-takers pride themselves in saying “I’m not here to sell you” or “I’m not trying to sell you” as if the very reason they are there is invalid or somehow wrong.

Prospects don’t mind talking with salespeople, as a matter of fact, they want to talk with salespeople who bring real value to the conversation and can help them make an informed buying decision. What is offensive is ineffective salespeople trying to deny their profession. I don’t need another “buddy.” What I want is relevant information presented in a reasonable way to help me make the right choice. I want someone who is willing to explore the fit between their products and service and what I am motivated to buy and am willing to pay for in money and other resources – including time.

I am okay if you ask for the order. I’m just irritated when it’s done in a sloppy way for all the wrong reasons.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009


A recent article accused businesses of being far too passive-aggressive and went on to explain how unhealthy this is for our business future. I’ve often thought that many people seem to have an imaginary umbilical cord searching for a place to plug it back in. This is not only unhealthy for the individual; it drains our resources, and saps our organization’s vital energy.

If you doubt this, an on-line survey of 50,000 individuals from profit and non-profit organizations around the world revealed that, based on seven distinct organizational factors, China scored highest and Europe was a close second. Only three countries scored lower than the U.S. and they were Japan, Canada and Australia. The profiles examined an enterprise’s decision rights, information flow, motivators, and structure.

All of these realms are the responsibility of management, not individuals. Managers are constantly trying to improve productivity through “accountability”, so let’s scrutinize what accountability is and what it is not.
  • Accountability is not an outcome or goal. 
  • Accountability is not abdicating responsibility for results. 
  • Accountability is a concept and as such – people can’t “do” accountability.
We constantly hear the following statement from managers when they are speaking to direct reports... “I’m holding you accountable for this.” 

Let’s parse this sentence. I’m holding you – [Translated: "This is about me and I have all the power – you have none."]

“Accountable” – [Translated: "I don’t trust you to be responsible enough to do this on your own, so I’m going to treat you as a child." ] Whooh!
I know, most managers don’t mean this, but I respectfully suggest that this is the thinking this phrase represents even when it’s sugar-coated. As a manager, you are not a person’s mother or father and they don’t need another parent to hold them accountable for their actions.

How to achieve true accountability

Effective management is not sexy – it’s a set of repeated, often boring habits. Most effective managers meet weekly (in some cases bi-weekly) with their direct reports. Managers have varied styles and personality traits, but conducting effective one-on-ones is a habit developed by a high percentage of effective managers regardless of their "style." 

The difference between effective and ineffective managers is not in the latest management books – it’s what the effective manager does and does not do. It’s not what they know, it’s about whether or not they repetitively display core competencies. By engaging in similar behaviours over time, effective managers master the fundamentals and one of the most important competencies is effectively conducting weekly one-on-ones with direct reports.

One-on-one’s are not just “talking” to people. It is a clearly structured process designed to produce predictable outcomes. It maintains robust communication between a manager and his/her direct reports.  

The way you stop putting out fires is to schedule and effectively engage in these focused conversations. Almost immediately people stop bringing small issues to you on a regular basis. They know they have a specific time with you weekly in which they can ask questions of you. 

The one-on-ones we suggest are more formal than informal. Experience tells us that if they are left informal, they lose their effectiveness. Some people try to keep their conversation records on a computer, we strongly recommend against this at first. You'll prepare faster and in a more focused way with a paper notebook or binder for each salesperson. 

Most people are not that good at communicating what they are doing and how well they are doing it. This one-on-one framework is designed to bring to the surface work issues and what we can do about them together. 

NEVER MISS a one-on one. Reschedule if absolutely necessary, but do not cancel the conversation. Part of this process is sending a genuine message to each person that they are important to us and to producing desired results together. Please don't whine about not having time to do this. You have all the time there is and effective managers treat their time as a precious resource. Once they do an honest time-log to determine where their time goes, most managers reveal a great deal of “reactive” rather than “pro-active” activities. What else could you do with your time that would produce more value than focused, results-oriented on-on-one's with your direct reports?

Having the "right" attitude?

In coaching for performance, focus on behaviours, not attitudes. Yes, attitudes are important and vital part of a person’s success (or lack of it). However, we cannot actually see an attitude. We only see behaviour. The organization has every right to request certain behaviours of the people representing them. People can adjust their behaviour, and, when they do, this often impacts their attitude. However, if you begin by focusing on “attitude”, you are subject to speculation, interpretation, miscommunication and strong push-back. 
For example, an employee was accused of being “aloof".. She denied this, and clearly stated she did not feel she was above everyone else. However, others saw her this way and this perception was effecting performance. When her manager described the behaviours that seemed to cause others to make this assumption, and gave her specific alternate behaviours that clearly represented her genuine personality, she immediately made the adjustment. Imagine the disastrous effect of her manager trying to "change her attitude?"

The lesson here is clear; to dramatically improve performance, coach for adjusted behaviours, not attitudes.

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Culture Change - Mind-shift

In almost every conversation with executives and senior managers, we hear a desire to shift mind-sets or change the organization's "culture." When we drill down, they tend to express little more than vague hopes and longings. For example, "We want salespeople to become proactive; we need our salespeople to collaborate with clients; our supervisors need to step up and coach people; and we want a culture of collaboration and involvement." (You get the idea.)

Executives and business owners seem to know what they want, but struggle to effectively influence other's mind-sets or change their organization's underlying "culture." There is no shortage of information, since a search for "culture change" on Yahoo produced an astounding 88,100,000 hits! (Whew!) Let's cut through this mass of information and focus on what truly matters. Much of what you've read or heard about culture change is, to be blunt, wrong.

Our worldview colors our thinking, but we are often unaware of their specific influence. For example, if we believe people fundamentally resist change, our actions reflect that belief. As a result, we design strategies and take actions to deal with the resistance we caused. This sets in motion reactions to our actions which seem to confirm our beliefs as we filter out evidence that may disprove our worldview.

Culture lives in conversation and conversations are created by people with deeply held worldviews.

The assumption that others will automatically resist is self-defeating and self-fulfilling. We are swimming upstream here, since plenty of literature implies that resistance is primarily the "fault" of the resistor. But what if the ideas presented are poorly conceived or presented? How are differences of opinion dealt with in the organization? Are "resistors" chastised, ostracized, booted out, put down, and/or given a platform on which to speak? Do executives quickly get defensive at so-called "negative" feedback? If there is an open-door policy, do people walk through the door and what do they tell (or withhold from) executives? Are we genuinely stimulating dialogue at our company or simply reinforcing a climate of power and control?

The following from Noam Chomsky, in the Montreal Serai [Vol. 13, No. 3, Autumn 2000], is lengthy, but hang in there with it, it's quite sobering and highly relevant to this conversation.

If we consider the likelihood that as humans we have an instinct for creativity and moral instincts . . . that has problems. For one thing it means that you will encourage challenge of authority and domination. It will encourage questioning of powerful institutions. The fact of the matter is that honesty, integrity, creativity, all these things we're supposed to value, all run up dramatically against the hierarchic, authoritarian structure of the institutional framework in which we live. . . . Behaviorism is very popular among the managerial classes, for not surprising reasons. For one thing, it gives them a moral right to control and dominate people. If people have no intrinsic nature, then there is no moral barrier to control or manipulation of them - in their own interest, of course. . . Behaviorism gave the perfect intellectual justification for it; it didn't matter that the intellectual foundations were ridiculous. It served a function so it survived. And the parts of the society that need that, they still believe it--in fact, believe it more than ever.

Taking a stand for freedom and choice is largely unpopular in spite of the rhetoric professing otherwise. Our behavior often exposes a basic desire to control the uncontrollable - other people.

Stand #1: "You cannot motivate others."

(We resist the temptation of "proving" our point, a common diversion initiated by those looking to avoid the issue that much of what we do is clearly an attempt at command or control, or more simply put, manipulation.)

Taking a stand is distinct from "core beliefs." There is an implication that in order to perform at a high level, others need to share our beliefs. Perhaps, but this contention also takes us down the road of "selling" others on believing what we believe, which often deteriorates into "selling" them on our worldviews. People with distinctly different belief systems can, and do, achieve spectacular results together without ever changing their individually held beliefs.

Stand #2: "All motivation is intrinsic - from within, not without."

 We base this on our experience in hundreds of meetings backed up by a 19 year study quoted in Fast Company Magazine involving 356 companies by Paul C. Nutt, a professor of management at Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business. According to Nutt, "Most (executives) pushed their decisions through, either by persuasion (41%), or by edict (40%)." Each approach is a formula for failure. Persuasion failed 53% of the time; edicts failed in 65% of the cases. "The typical problem", Nutt says, "isn't just that decisions lack merit. It's that staffers resent these heavy-handed tactics and thus resist or undermine bosses who resort to them."

A better way is to clearly articulate goals or outcomes using visual language. Ensure that your outcomes are not just knee-jerk reactions to circumstances, and clearly place a "stake in the ground." Those who truly care about the viability of the enterprise will embrace changes clearly on behalf of something more important to them than the discomfort of change. Creating something of genuine personal value is distinctly different than "buying-in" to something the organization is "rolling out."

One example is an organization whose owners expressed a desire to "drive out waste." More than 90 managers and 300 employees engaged in the initiative with a dramatically different approach. For two hours, managers grappled to change the "make waste go away" (seek and destroy) into a "turning waste into profit and sharing the wealth." This is more than a semantics exercise. It is a distinct shift in perspective and way of thinking. These managers engaged others in a project that supported their spirit of fun, commitment, and creativity. Each member of the project shared in the profits and helped the enterprise add money to its bottom-line. There was virtually no resistance. Young, part-time students (millennials) gladly engaged in the fun and shared in the results. Senior managers were in shock, since these same employees resisted similar initiatives. Clearly the employees were no different than before. A different approach created a dramatically different outcome. A distinction made to owners and managers was that the "sharing the wealth" component was not an "incentive program," instead it was an invitation to be part of a genuine creative process.

[Call Dave at 905-826-7300 if you believe they are one in the same.]

If you're up for facing reality with courage, listen for how many times you inadvertently shift into a manipulative mode.

Are you trying to produce an outcome, or simply get your way?

Are you trying to get others to "buy-in" to your worldviews or are you listening for differences and commitments that bring fresh views to the table?

Are you trying to get others to "believe" something, or accomplish something? (There is a distinct difference.)

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[Click on the Listen Now button] 

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Facts and Fallacies About Selling: Fallacy #3

Fallacy: Salespeople can learn to sell simply by reading books, watching videos, taking on-line courses, listening to experts, or aping (benchmarking - copying) high-producers.

Reality: Few salespeople put into action what they see, read, or hear. They cannot hit aggressive targets by simply modelling top producers. At best, they gain a few “tips” to incorporate into their current (ineffective) approaches. Lectures and videos about how selling “should be” are sometimes impressive, but ineffective in creating blockbuster sales increases. Trying to live up to a perfect model is an impossible dream. The implication is that there is a “right” way to sell. A search for the elusive right way undermines an individual’s capacity to think for themselves.

There is no “one size fits all recipe for success.”

Rookie golfers and athletes spend thousands on videos somehow hoping professionalism will rub off on them. Many don’t even remove the shrink-wrap on the DVD or simply watch it once. Those that do, rarely watch the whole program. If you doubt this, visit a used book store or yard sale and notice how many self- help books, videos, and CD’s are in pristine condition. Incidentally, those rare individuals who actually put these tools to work would not let their dog-eared books or worn out videos out of their personal library. Only by thinking through their own selling issues and applying sound principles as a yardstick, do salespeople (and athletes) dramatically improve their performance. This process requires high-level teaching and coaching skills – a rarity in today’s quick-fix environment.

There are those who call themselves “coaches”, but a simple reality check tells a different story. Few of them can resist the temptation of turning an elegantly designed coaching process into a "perfect model" comparison. Most educational, and knowledge-based seminars follow this "success formula" model. That’s why common feedback about conventional training is, “Great stuff, but it’s hard to implement and even harder to sustain.”

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Facts And Fallacies About Selling

Fallacy 2: Years of selling experience,a good selling record, or professional “designation”, qualifies a salesperson to be recognized as a professional.

Reality: Most salespeople end their careers without becoming true professionals. Hanging in for a few years, taking a couple of courses, or applying for a professional “designation,” does not guarantee entering the ranks of true professionals.

By default, salespeople typically become professional visitors, product peddlers, or simply hard working order-takers. They rarely achieve their true potential. Less than twenty five percent of today’s sales population produces between seventy-five and, in some industries, as high as ninety percent of sales volumes. This remains unchanged in spite of giant leaps in technology. Incidentally, most organizations accept this as the norm, a mistake that costs them millions. 

Product knowledge or industry expertise is no longer a strong competitive advantage. Executing core competencies sets today’s professional apart from average or medium producers.

Clients are impatient when salespeople are little more than talking brochures. Today's customers demand interacting with salespeople with high-level listening skills. Salespeople need to feed-back to the prospect a clear summary of what they heard, what is the fit between their offering and this prospect's needs/wants, and be able to secure a commitment based on that fit rather than the old "ABC of selling" - Always Be Closing. Good luck with using the ABC's, prospects are on to your tactics and they don't like it!

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Friday, September 11, 2009

The Reality of the Marginal Salesperson

Vice Presidents of Sales and/or Sales manager’s success rests on salespeople’s success, so let’s take a closer look at today’s typical sales force.

Many organizations equip salespeople with basic sales aids, and CRM software supported by marketing and/or advertising campaigns.

More often than not, we discover that a company's typical sales education includes these vague concepts:

• Know our product(s) well
• Work hard, make lots of calls to earn incentives
• Get the order, but use a “consultative” approach
• Open new accounts

Marginal salespeople say: “You get me in front of a good customer and I’ll make the sale every time.” In reality, they consistently miss their organization’s sales targets. Their response is, “These targets are unrealistic” or “these sales leads are no good.”

Based on our five levels of sales competency model, sixty to eighty percent of the salespeople we’ve observed are at the marginal level of competence.

[Request our short profile to determine the level of your organization’s competencies]

Most of the time, when marginal salespeople speak with a qualified buyer; they do not make a sale. To them, it’s a matter of luck or persistence. Within minutes, they are in a price conversation.

Each time they book $50,000 worth of business, you’ve invisibly lost at least another $50,000 in obtainable sales. This analysis comes from projects where we coach salespeople from the ranks of order-takers to becoming excellent product-peddlers, then becoming collaborative problem-solvers. Typically, they increase their sales by twenty to two hundred percent.

The remaining twenty to forty percent of medium to high producers produce the bulk of a company’s sales volume.

Their reasons for leaving business on the table include:

• New accounts are scarce and hard to develop
(They contend they are too busy with established accounts)
• They are secure and satisfied with their current sales record
• They don’t recognize the need for developing their sales competency
(They believe the problem is their company or the market)
• New ideas and selling methods are too much work and are not worth the effort

Medium producers tell us: “Give me a qualified buyer or a big, juicy problem to solve, and I’ll close the sale – every time. What we need around here is lower, more competitive pricing, better advertising, more qualified leads, and a better web site.”

The cost to their organizations is as high as twice their current sales volumes. Typically, they increase their performance between fifty to one hundred percent by moving from a friendly visitor, problem-solver, or technical advisor relationship with customers to one of genuine collaboration and, ultimately, becoming a sustaining resource. This peer-to-peer relationship to high level prospects makes it almost impossible for competitors to penetrate their accounts, even with slick marketing.

If talking to a salesperson has no value other than repeating product information and/or generic “solutions” or they simply re-hash general features and benefits, they bring no value to prospective clients.

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Facts And Fallacies About Selling - Falacy One

Are these fallacies alive and well in your organization and how much money are they costing you in lost sales and burned resources?

Fallacy 1: Salespeople are obsolete.

Reality: Products and services where customers need genuine assistance require highly-trained, skilled sales professionals. Marketing and sales tools can only propose the sale – professional salespeople secure the business.

There are not enough high-performing, professional salespeople to meet today’s increasing demand. Most top performers have lucrative careers and are not easily lured away. Today’s companies need salespeople capable of persuading prospects to switch from a current supplier.

Average producers and hard-working order-takers are poorly equipped to find and secure these new accounts. Today’s sophisticated prospects reject back-slapping, talking brochures or slick, disingenuous, manipulative sales techniques. They do, however, invite professional salespeople into a mutually beneficial collaboration.

Firms with salespeople at this level of selling competence command margins between ten to fifteen percent higher than industry averages.

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What does a Moose look like?

 We regularly ask prospective clients, “Who is your target prospect? What do they look like?” Some executives take up to two weeks to give us a straight answer. If you’re hunting moose (even with your new digital camera) it seems obvious to know what one looks like. Today’s salespeople waste time “pitching” unqualified prospects and regularly fail to create and nurture potentially profitable relationships. To maximize the value of your selling time, we recommend this multi-pronged approach.
  • Strategically guide your sales efforts towards a genuine specific market

  • Carefully scrutinize your complete sales process (adjust it where needed)

  • Ensure that you engage your prospects with a specific and tailored approach

  • Provide value-creating contact with your key customers
In other words, have something to say, say it often, say it effectively to the right people securing their business in such a way that you keep your competitors out.

After scrutinizing hundreds of strategic sales plans, we’ve discovered that most of them are articulated intentions, rather than clear strategies. They lose momentum in the all-important execution stage.

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More sales competencies

• Organizing time, territory, and sales presentation

• Discipline to engage in pre-call planning and practice

• Accessing a prospective buyer and quickly qualifying them

• Using technology as a tool to increase sales

• Converting mildly interested prospects into paying customers

• Distinguishing your product/service from the competition

• Communicating peer-to-peer with high-level prospects

• Gaining the trust of skeptical prospective buyers

• Uncovering genuine needs and offering a customized solution

• Penetrating existing accounts

• Effectively presenting to small or large groups

• Boardroom presence - comfortable in a corporate conversation

Everyone has their pet theories, but we’ve found that most of today's conventional wisdom is more convention than wisdom.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Levels of sales competence

Many salespeople rely on their relationships to make sales. We’re not against relationships, our founder, Dale Carnegie wrote the book How To Win Friends and Influence People, but in today’s competitive, global marketplace relationships are not enough to hit sales targets. When commercial visitors lean on relationships here’s what they hear, “we like you, we like your company, and we think your products are good … but …”

The next level of selling competency is the salesperson that becomes alert only when the customer says “sign me up – I want it.” But in this market, sales-people are required to take business away from competitors. Prospects are not saying, “Tell me what you’ve got and if I like it, I’ll buy it.” They are comparing your offering with many others. Order takers tend to return from sales calls professing, “We’re not price competitive, we need different features, our customers are looking for. . .” (Specific feature or discount).

There are salespeople genuinely excited about their products and services and enthusiastically give their pitch of generic features and benefits. These product-peddlers deal with plenty of price and specification issues. They ask, “How can I handle this objection ... the customer wants to know about this ... what do we say about that?” These salespeople regularly miss sales forecasts and work too hard for the volumes they book.

Another type of salesperson we’ve observed is the problem-solver. The closer they get to solving the customer’s problem, the desire to work with them goes down not up. They need to engage and connect with their customers in such a way that their value expands rather than shrinks.

The highest level of relationship with clients is a sustaining resource. The end of the “locked-in contract” road is client resentment. We want our clients to choose to do business with us and inoculate them against our competitors’ steady attacks.

[Request our short profile to determine your organization’s sales competence]

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Click here to go to Dave's Website in which he explains level One

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Get in to see high-level buyers; keep competitors out of your accounts

Today’s conventional salesperson is under attack. Sophisticated customers demand a collaborative or consultative approach. Time with prospects is invaluable, and limited. The prohibitive cost of today’s sales call makes conventional approaches obsolete. Organizations are scrambling to pry loyal customers away from competitors.

We’ve been close to sales managers and salespeople for over 80 years. We know their hopes and fears, their abilities, their frustrations, their problems, their feelings of victory and defeat. We’ve worked side-by-side with salespeople selling every conceivable product or service.

Based on our on-going research and direct contact with sales organizations, we see plenty of inefficiencies getting knowledgeable, well-prepared salespeople face to face or on the telephone with enough qualified prospects to hit ambitious sales targets.

Fundamental Truth's About Selling:
• Old-time salespeople are obsolete (this has been true for years)
• Prospects don’t have time to meet or listen to every salesperson
• It is more difficult than ever to find and connect with qualified prospects
• Technology does not, and cannot, replace a professional salesperson
• Professional selling is not obsolete – it’s just rare

If your customers need genuine help making their decision to buy, they demand highly trained, competent, sales professionals. They have plenty of choice so if you look and sound like competitors, you’re in fundamental trouble.

On the other hand, if you have the technical expertise the customer requires, and technical sales competence on behalf of a killer sales strategy, you might be invincible and probably have an expanding market share, high margins, and a loyal client base willingly giving you a steady revenue stream.

A balance of a strong sales strategy, wise use of technology, and highly professional salespeople consistently out-perform conventional “cold-call” salespeople, order-takers, product-peddlers, and/or technology or marketing driven initiatives. The responsibility for making sales still rests firmly on the shoulders of you, the professional salesperson. Your job is to connect with tough-minded prospective buyers by:

• Accessing a prospective buyer and quickly qualifying them
• Communicating peer-to-peer with high-level buyers
• Quickly and clearly distinguishing your product/service from the competition
• Organizing your time, territory, and sales presentation
• Having the discipline to engage in pre-call planning and rehearsals
• Knowing when to talk and when to shut up
• Listening to the prospect’s wants/needs and clearly connecting your offering to them

However, unless you can get in to see a qualified prospect, everything else is of no real value. Your job is to think like a potential buyer and create value for them in the first minute of your sales conversation.

Here’s a transcript of a salesperson tightening up his attention-getter under the guidance of a Dale Carnegie Sales Advantage Coach.

Coach: What do you specialize in?

Salesperson: A lot of our competitors are service companies whereas we deal specifically in providing solutions not just service.

Coach: Who is the target customer?

Salesperson: Business to business. Multinational. Very capital intensive, lots of equipment. Low margins. Extremely competitive, diminishing market.

Coach: What level do you typically call on?

Salesperson: Technical manager, technical director. They are the ones who get the ball rolling. We’re kind of like a technical consultant because we have decades of experience around the world customers are able to ask our opinions and exploit all the information that we’ve gathered and we have a very extensive R&D and product development group so they’re able to make use of all that.

Coach: What does that do for them?

Salesperson: This builds a comfort level for them. Knowing that they’re dealing with us, they are dealing with a company that has a good track record and has done their own homework and not just selling the latest fad as far as products are concerned.

Coach: How does that impact their business?

Salesperson: It gives them a competitive advantage over their competitors.
Now we help him or her fashion a specific attention-getter that takes the prospect’s mind off what they are thinking before the salesperson called, on to the purpose of the call – in less than 60 seconds. From this attention-getter, the salesperson secures an appointment.

Coach: Let’s try this: “We specialize in working with organizations such as yours to hang on to their valuable customers; to protect margins that are shrinking and under attack; and enter potentially profitable markets at a relatively low risk.”

Salesperson: This is [name] with [company] I know you’re probably busy so I won’t take up a lot of your time. We specialize in providing technical solutions ….

Coach: Don’t tell them about your solutions yet – what do you really do for them?

Salesperson: We specialize in helping companies like yours retain their valuable customers, protect their margins and, possibly assist them in penetrating new market at a relatively low risk.

At this point the salesperson secures an appointment. Statistically, salespeople increase their call to appointment ratios from 20 to 50% as a result of this structured approach.

Please note, we’re not advocating a canned sales pitch. Instead, the salesperson tailors three blanket benefits to each targeted prospect.

Old: “We are a technical consultant because we have decades of experience around the world, customers are able to ask our opinions and exploit all the information that we’ve gathered and we have a very extensive R&D and product development group so we’re able to make use of all that. This builds a comfort level for you. Knowing that you’re dealing with a company that has a good track record and that has done their own homework and not just selling the latest fad as far as products are concerned.”

New: “This is [name] with [company] I know you’re probably quite busy so I won’t take up a lot of your time."

"We specialize in helping companies like yours retain their valuable customers, protect their margins and, possibly assist them in penetrating new markets at a relatively low risk."

If you were the prospect, which approach would you prefer to hear?

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"You Talkin' To Me" Part II

The most common mistake we see is a shift from desired outcomes to problem-solving and trying to re-stimulate momentum or keep morale high. Low morale and momentum are symptoms of a poorly designed organizational structure.

The structure gives rise to behaviour.

Let's move on to execution.

Executing clear strategies is the "fun" part for some of us. Employees do not need to be "sold" on a strategy; they want to be connected to it. Hearing their connection to the strategy comes from listening, not presenting. Each individual broadcasts their commitments loud and clear. But, just like radio waves around you, until you tune-in to their frequency, they're invisible to you.

Using this approach to connecting and engagement, we've seen an executive's jaw drop as they experience a surge of energy from their people like never before. Tapping into intrinsic motivation has a much stronger track-record than artificially "pumping people up" or manipulatively "persuading" them of our viewpoint. After all, you cannot motivate another person. [We'll save that discussion for another time.]

Creating a structure in which the path of least resistance serves individuals highest aspirations and deepest values as they create what is truly important to their organization is "magic" to those unaware of the simplicity of its power. There is no magic. Playing the piano is not magic. Writing a powerful essay is not magic. Effective salesmanship is not magic. Designing and executing a strategy is not magic either.

If your strategy does not create a path of least resistance toward doing what moves you forward, then any attempts to get people to do what is required will have a high rate of failure. Scrutinize your strategy. Put it on trial. If your strategy is a sacred cow, you're in fundamental trouble.

Rather than "selling" each other, why not engage, listen, and connect with reality based on a composite view? After all, the real competition is not internal, it's external.

Ask yourself:

• If an outside person reviewed our strategies, are they so clear and logical that they would support them without question?
• Do we often accuse others of not "getting it?"
• Do we shoot the messenger? [Come on now, fess up!]
• Is there a lot of talk around strategy and little action?
• Do our actions move us forward?
• Do we sometimes charge forward, and then slide back?

All the above are symptoms of a weak strategy.

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Monday, August 31, 2009

"You Talkin' To Me?"

It’s Nobody’s Fault

As a youngster, when my mother or father asked my brother and I, "Who did this?" We'd answer, "Nobody." "Mr. Nobody" was accused of causing plenty of damage.

In business conversations with owners, executives, managers, and employees, I track how many times "Mr. Nobody" is at fault. For example, one owner said he'd like to talk to us about turnover in a particular job function. Later he told us, "Our operations people could use some help with customer service." Then he added, "And the salespeople need to be able to consult with clients as a partner."
Many organizations engage in similar circular conversations. Owners or executives tell us, "I know we need to improve around here and we're all for it, and the problem is the [department]. We speak with people in that area and they say, "We totally support any change effort, but the real problem is [job function or department]". We visit them and hear, "The real problem is management." Now we're back to management telling us the real problem is people that aren't engaged, don't align with the business strategy, and aren't willing to take ownership or responsibility. My parents would say that's "Mr. Nobody" at work.

Strategyy is management's responsibility. Unfortunately, boards and executives often inadvertently "delegate" responsibility elsewhere. Our most common response from the executive suite is, "Our strategies are great - people just don't execute." However, what passes for strategy is often little more than a wish list or taking last year's numbers and adding 10 or 15 percent. More often than not, data is contaminated with speculation, hypotheses, and opinions. The underlying assumptions behind many strategic plans we review are clearly flawed.

Of course future projections are, by definition, speculative and unproven. However, if strategies do not obviously sit on a framework of reality, trying to execute them is frustrating at best.

Here are a couple of examples:

Stated Strategy: Increase sales by 32% in X market.

Question: Where did the 32% come from? Why not 29% or 35%?

Answer: [After questioning] It's what we need to cover our costs and protect our margins.

Stated Strategy: Penetrate a new and different market with our products/services.

Question: What is your value-proposition?

Answer: [After questioning] We think we can do a better job than others in the market. We have added-value.

Question: What are you bringing to market that is distinct from what's already available? What's your offering?

Answer: We are customer-focused, high-quality, committed, flexible, and willing to go the extra mile.

Question: : Who else can say that?
[Note: Not, "Who else can do that?"]

Answer: Uh, well, I guess everybody else. [OOPS!]

Sorry if this sounds harsh. Reality is an acquired taste!

It is possible to separate strategy issues from execution issues. For example, if the contrast between current reality and the desired future is unclear, most action steps are speculative at best. This requires a high degree of "buy-in" and burns valuable resources of time and money. When the contrast is clear the path of least resistance is towards what you are building not away from it.

End of Part 1

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