Sales Success: Are You IN or Are You OUT?


I was recently speaking with a manager at a real estate office about what makes some agents successful and others unsuccessful.

He told me, “John, I can sum up the difference between the successful agents and the unsuccessful agents with one quick example: during a major blizzard when everything is shut down and everyone is at home, my top agents are making phone calls to prospects because they know they have a captive audience, and the rest of my agents are posting pictures on Facebook of the cookies they’re baking.”

I’ve noticed a similar phenomenon when I speak. Afterwards it’s … Read the rest

How Many Hours per Week = Sales Success?


Recently I was speaking with an agency owner about the lack of success of his two most recent hires.

When I asked how many hours they were putting in, the answer was, “About 45 or 50 per week.” Keep in mind, these agents are in their 20s, are new to the industry and relatively new to sales. In other words, not only do they have to spend time learning about an industry they know next to nothing about, they also have to learn how to sell, in addition to learning the ins and outs of the new company they work … Read the rest

Building a Successful (Sales) Culture


You just hired the perfect person: great work ethic, positive and upbeat, they show up early, leave late, take 10 minutes of a 15-minute break, and do more than expected, and more than you ask for.

Now let’s take that person and put them into an environment where people are negative, aren’t held accountable, take three days off for a hang-nail, show up at 8:05 then spend 45 minutes “getting ready” for their day, start preparing to leave at 3:30 and leave at 5:00 like there’s a fire drill. What happens to that perfect hire? One of two things: they … Read the rest

The Biggest Mistakes Made Managing Salespeople


There are five primary mistakes when it comes to managing salespeople. Almost every organization makes one or two of these, but most make more, many make all five. Each mistake you eliminate will add about 20 percent in additional revenues to the bottom line. That said, if you have and clean up all five, it could lead to an exponential revenue increase of 200 percent or more.

Mistake #1: Having the Wrong Person

This is usually a hiring mistake, though it could be someone who has become complacent over the years and is no longer doing their job. If it’s … Read the rest

Overcoming the Salesperson’s Biggest Obstacle: Call Reluctance


By far the biggest reason salespeople fail is that they don’t make enough calls to talk to enough people to get enough prospects in order to make the necessary sales. There are two causes for this: one, not putting in the hours necessary and two, call reluctance.

While the first one is a problem and needs to be addressed, I find that the latter far outweighs the former. If you watch your average salesperson during the day, even when they are “working” they avoid making calls. They do paperwork, clean their desk, check e-mail, service accounts, do research, and find … Read the rest

Have Your Best Sales Year


Warning: If you’re looking for a shortcut or easy way to your best year, you probably won’t like this article. What I have to say is not what the majority of the population wants to hear. That said, it is what you need to hear if you want to have your best year this year.

Tip #1: Work Harder

This is the tip most people won’t like. Here’s the thing about hard work: the harder you work by making more sales calls, the more your sales will increase. Want to increase sales by 20 percent? Simple, increase your sales calls … Read the rest

The Most Important Character Traits of Successful Salespeople


We know there are many character traits that determine long-term sales success or failure. That said, I find there are two key traits that really separate the cream of the crop from everyone else.

Trait #1: Extreme Ownership

The most successful salespeople take complete ownership of everything in their life — and I do mean everything. From sales numbers all the way to car accidents, they see themselves as ultimately in control of, and responsible for, anything related to getting their job done and meeting obligations. In this way they are empowered so that when something goes wrong, they can … Read the rest

Why You Should Take Sales Rejection Personally


All of us have heard, pretty much since week one of our sales careers — “Don’t take sales rejection personally.” You know the mantra: “They’re not rejecting you, they’re rejecting your product or service.” I have to admit, I agreed with that for my entire 31­‑year sales career until a recent experience changed my mind.

About two weeks ago I was calling insurance agencies to let them know about a sales seminar I was doing for one of the local state insurance associations. Typically this is a very warm call where I simply state my name, the name of the … Read the rest

A Reason Why Many Salespeople Fail and How to Avoid It


In an article by friend and colleague John Brubaker (, he stated, “According to a U.S. Department of Commerce research study, in the first five years of a business the survival rate for independent small businesses is less than 20 percent but the survival rate for franchises is 95 percent.”

He continues: “…it isn’t so much the name recognition… it’s the fact that with a franchise you get to utilize a turn-key set of business operations [a successful system that works] as opposed to having to invent the wheel in your own business.

“…Starbucks [has] an excellent system, which is … Read the rest

Follow the Tried‑and-True Path to Sales Success


Avoid Sales Gimmicks

Over the past week I’ve been inundated with e-mails for webinars, classes and courses telling me that sales and business building is easy. They claim that you don’t have to work hard, just listen to the webinar and you’ll get the magic bullet to working a fraction of the hours you’re currently working while closing 90 percent of the people you talk to. Oh, and don’t worry about the fear and discomfort that usually stop you; with their secret formula those will magically disappear. It will be all sunshine and rainbows.

Unfortunately people still fall for schemes … Read the rest

Four Keys to Massive Sales Success


I was recently speaking with an extremely successful executive (he asked to remain anonymous) who is known for being able to walk into an organization, clear away all the clutter and nonsense, and make them extremely successful. He boiled his process down to four keys which can also be applied to successful selling.

Key #1: Simplicity

The formula for success in sales really is simple. It comes down to talking to enough of the right people the right way. That means talking to plenty of qualified prospects and having the skills necessary to find a problem, solve the problem, and … Read the rest

Why Sales Success Is the Exception, Not the Rule


To be successful in the world of selling you need to be a contrarian.

In every industry, successful salespeople are the exception, not the rule. In the insurance field, only about 20 percent of the agents who start are still agents 10 years down the road. In real estate, the average realtor sells three houses a year, and even though some may stay in the business because it’s the family’s second income, and the company allows them to, three houses a year is poverty-level income. In the corporate world, most salespeople don’t make quota and in many cases, even those … Read the rest

Clients for Life: From First Sale to Long‑Term Relationship


I’ve had a lot of people ask me about client retention because it’s something I’ve been very successful at over the years. On that note, here’s how I did it from the initial sale all the way through the entire long-term relationship.

Steps to take with the initial sale:

Step 1: Verbally thank the client for his business when you close the sale.

Step 2: Review expectations and what will happen next.

Whatever your particular steps are, go over these steps with the client and let him know how and when he will be kept up to date.

Step 3: … Read the rest

The Most Important Sales Conversation


There is a much-overlooked aspect of sales success that is rarely spoken about and barely attracts attention: self-talk.

The most important conversation is the one you have with yourself. The reason that conversation is so important is that the words and language you use both reveal and reinforce your beliefs about yourself and the world. Those beliefs dictate the action you take, or don’t take, and ultimately determine success or failure.

If you have a problem selling, you more than likely have a self-talk problem. The difference between the top salespeople and everyone else is that the top people became … Read the rest

Overlooked Sales Tips for Added Success


Try these sales tips for added success.

Stop Working Smart and Get Back to Working Hard

Most salespeople use “working smart” as an excuse to avoid hard work, especially the traditional methods of prospecting such as cold calling. They think work smart means work easy. As a result, they look for shortcuts and safe alternatives to prospecting on the phone and in-person. They try to prospect via social media and e-mail and kill so much time looking up information on prospects, that they don’t have time to make the number of calls necessary for success. While there are times you … Read the rest

How to Build Relationships in Your Organization and With Vendors


We all know relationships are important with clients. If you own the relationship with a client account, you most likely own the business. Just as important as client relationships are the relationships within your organization and with vendors who help your business run smoothly.

Problems in these relationships usually lead to problems in client accounts, which could result in lost business. You also spend a good amount of time with vendors and co-workers, so the better your relationships with them, the more pleasant your work life will be. All of that said, how do you ensure good, solid relationships within … Read the rest

How to Communicate Effectively During the Sales Process


In theory sales is pretty simple: communicate the right way with the right people, and you’ll make sales. It’s in practice that most people complicate the issue. So how do you keep it simple?

Assuming you’re selling something where someone has to deal with you for any length of time, in other words, you’re not selling batteries at Walmart, you need to get several points across:

  • You care.
  • You’re trustworthy.
  • You understand their problem.
  • You’re competent and can solve their problem.

That said, effective communication begins with mindset. First, you must be completely sold on and have confidence in … Read the rest

The Biggest Mistakes Salespeople Make


Mistake #1: Thinking That Servicing Accounts Is More Important Than Selling New Ones

I once had a coaching client show me a stack of folders and say, “This is why I can’t be out calling on new clients.” When I asked what had to be done, she picked up the first folder and said, “I’m waiting for a number from the State of Rhode Island on this one.” To which I responded, “Really? A salesperson is sitting in the office waiting for a number from the State of Rhode Island? No one else can handle that?” That is akin to … Read the rest

Building Your Sales Machine


The “how-to” behind building a highly effective, competition-dominating, sales juggernaut is actually fairly simple.

What isn’t simple is executing the steps and sticking to the plan. The dedication and resolve necessary to start and complete the process is where the majority of people fail. That said, if you’re ready to skyrocket sales in your organization, here are the steps to get it done.

Super-Intense Sales Training

The most important tool a salesperson can have in their arsenal is great sales skills. Yet, while most organizations spend tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on a new producer, send them … Read the rest

Selling Is Changing — Not Really


This past week I’ve received three separate e-mails from various sales gurus talking about how much sales has changed. While the internet, social media, and advances in technology have altered some of the peripheral aspects of selling, the foundational principles and keys that lead to sales success have remained the same.

Sales Facts That Will Always Remain the Same

  • Sales is still a numbers game

Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the time failure in sales is due to a lack of activity — in other words, not making enough calls. Now that we have the Internet, I know sales reps who spend … Read the rest

What Leadership Needs to Know About Sales


In the leadership role you probably already get that sales is the primary key to massive success and prosperity.

As you know, the most successful companies sell better and more than everyone else. Starbucks doesn’t have the best coffee, they’ve simply sold an enormous number of people on doing business with them. That said, to ensure colossal success for your company, here are the sales facts you want to ensure your company is living by.

Fact #1: Sales Has to Be at the Top of the Food Chain

Everything starts and stops with sales. Without sales, there is no service … Read the rest

Holding Salespeople Accountable


One of the biggest issues I see when it comes to managing sales teams is a lack of accountability. Here are several steps to address this particular problem.

Set High Standards During the Hiring Process

Whatever your standard expectations are for your salespeople, double those expectations when talking to a potential new hire. For example, if you expect your salespeople to make 50 phone calls a day, tell the candidate it’s 100. If you expect them to go out and knock on 25 doors a day, tell them it’s 50. If you expect them to work until 7 at night, … Read the rest

If Peyton Manning Opened a Competing Business in Your Town….


Scary thought, right? Why? Because you know within three to five years they’d own 90 to 100 percent of the business in the area and if you weren’t out of business, you’d be hanging on by a shoestring. There are several reasons why this group, even with no prior experience in your industry, and even without their celebrity status to rely on, would absolutely dominate your market. Here they are.

Reason #1: Completely unreasonable, some might even say insane, commitment

If you called their business at midnight on Saturday, how long do you think it would be before you spoke … Read the rest

How to Bring Youth into Your Organization


Almost every industry I talk to these days is struggling with bringing youth in. How do you get them interested in your industry? How do you get them to take you seriously? How do you get them to work hard without thinking they’re entitled to everything without actually having to work for it? Here are some answers.

Step 1: Realize There Are Some Great Millennials Out There

The fact that most of the youngest generation in the workforce seems to be entitled, self-centered, has no work ethic, and expects success overnight is first, not quite as bad as it seems … Read the rest

How Far Are You Willing to Go to Make It in Sales?


I am of the belief that pretty much anyone can make it in sales if they are determined enough. Sales can be learned. I am proof of that. After struggling in school and being an abysmal failure at the onset of my sales career, if I can be successful, you can too. After all, as a former president once said, this isn’t rocket surgery.

Granted, some personality types and skillsets are more cut out for sales but the bottom line is: if you are committed, you can be successful. That said, what must you be willing to do to be … Read the rest

What Salespeople Can Learn From the Presidential Race


While the presidential race is showing us many qualities of politicians that we don’t want to emulate such as: bad-mouthing the competition, vacillating on the issues, and bending truths, there are several other qualities that we can emulate to make ourselves super-successful as salespeople.

Qualities of Politicians You Do Want to Emulate

  • Put Yourself Out There

The successful politicians who get their name out and are heard through the noise, are great at putting themselves out there and letting everyone know they are there. They seem to have mastered the primary fear that stops most salespeople: the fear of rejection. … Read the rest

Why Your Grandfather Would Outsell Today’s Salesperson


With the development of the Internet, social media, and the “new” relationship and solution selling techniques, there seems to be a belief out there that today’s salespeople are superior to those of the past. As you can probably gather from the title, I don’t necessarily agree. Here’s why.

Here are the key factors that give the old guard an advantage over the new guard:

  • Preparation and Sales Skills

When my dad went for training at IBM in the early ’60s, it was primarily sales training. Yes, you learned the product too, but they made sure you knew everything about selling: … Read the rest

Sales Is Rigged in Favor of the Hard Workers and Self‑Disciplined


Lately I’ve heard several politicians saying that America is rigged so that only the rich can win. They’re dead wrong. America is still rigged for the people who are willing to roll up their sleeves, work extremely hard, and sacrifice short-term pleasure today for long-term gain tomorrow. It’s rigged for those willing to stick a hand out to help others vs. those looking for a handout. In the largest economy ever created on the planet, America is still the land of opportunity. And life will still pay whatever price you ask, but it’s not just going to hand you the … Read the rest

The Definitive Answer to Why You Should Cold Call


There continues to be controversy as to whether or not cold calling works and whether or not you should do it. First, yes, it does still work. Second, yes, you should still do it. Here’s why and here’s how.

Why You Should Cold Call

Cold calling is the most difficult sales task, and that’s exactly why you should never stop doing it. It’s simple, if you can effectively contact people cold and get results, you’ve conquered the most difficult sales task and you can learn and do any other part of the sales process.

The reason why the vast majority … Read the rest

Customer Information You Need to Build Super-Strong Relationships


Any time the subject of relationships comes up and I ask how important they are in the overall sales and business process, I usually get the answer that they are the most important part.

I think we all know that the more a prospect or customer likes us, the more likely they are to conduct business with us regardless of most other factors and in fact, a prospect will buy a higher-priced, inferior product from someone they like vs. someone they don’t.

Make no mistake, building solid relationships takes time, effort, energy, and money and that’s precisely why most people … Read the rest