Healthy Skepticism in Sales

Healthy Skepticism in Sales

I believe that a certain amount of skepticism is valuable when dealing with potential buyers.   This is because sellers are predisposed to have "happy ears" when trying to understand if their customers want to do business with their company.   Another challenge for sellers is that potential buyers do not like to give bad news to sellers and thus may wait until the last possible moment to deliver that news.   My belief in the value of healthy skepticism in sales is supported by the work of some of my favorite authors on the topic of sales, such as Tom Freese, Brent Adamson, Marcus Sheridan and Ian Altman.

Are You Good at Leadership Development?

Are You Good at Leadership Development?

How do you know if you are developing leaders?  If you are working your tail off, and others are standing around, you are not doing a great job developing leaders.   If your leaders are developing leaders, you know you are succeeding at leadership development.  As a leader of a growing organization your main job is to develop leaders that will take over what you are doing now so you can focus on what is next.

Building A High Performance Culture

Building A High Performance Culture

A high performance culture has a focus on and regularly achieves intended results.  Building a high performance culture starts with building great leadership team.  Assuming that that employees understand what is important, and know what it takes to do their job successfully, is the second mistake of average leaders.    If bad behaviors exists, it is because the leader allows those behaviors to exist.

Ask Questions to Build Credibility

Ask Questions to Build Credibility

Asking questions builds more credibility than presenting facts or making statements.  How would you feel if your doctor started the conversation with your nose is red you look like you have a headache.  I am going to give you this shot   A good doctor will start the conversation with diagnostic questions such as what brought you into the office or on a scale of 1-10 can you rate your pain?  In the same way a great consultant or sales person builds credibility and later a relationship by asking great questions

Coaching for Managers-Performance Gaps

Recently I attended a session at the Microsoft partner conference in Orlando, Florida.  The speaker was @KrisPlachy.  She had some great advice for managers on how to coach performance gaps. She started by giving three reasons why employees don't perform.  It is important to understand if one of more of these problems exist before choosing your strategy.

  1. Knows what to do but unwilling to do it (mindset problem).

  2. Does not know what to do but is willing to learn (skillset problem).

  3. Does not know what and is unwilling to learn.

If an employee has a mindset and a skillset problem the mindset problem will need to be addressed first.   A manager should address a mindset problem by creating awareness through inquiry, confirm willingness to change, follow up, measure progress.

Mindset Problem..

  1. What are the reasons for not doing what they are supposed to do?

  2. Do they blame others for external factors for non-performance

  3. What thoughts do they have about doing their job or work?

Below are some questions to help create awareness.

  1. What are your thoughts about the assignment?

  2. How do you feel when you think that way?

  3. How do you act when you feel this way?

  4. What results do you get with these actions?

She suggest using the CTFAR Model to help employee work though mindset problems.

  1. Circumstances

  2. Thoughts (Evidence will change thoughts)

  3. Feelings

  4. Actions

  5. Results

If the employee does not know how, but wants to learn you have a skillset issue.  Kris suggests the following strategy to address skillset issues.

Skills Transfer

  1. Tell: them what you want done

  2. Show: them what you want done

  3. Do: Have them do the work as you observe

  4. Review: Provide Feedback on their skill

After using the skills transfer process be sure to follow up.  It is going to cost your more in time to have an employee that is a performance issue than to practice good follow up.  What are your thought on performance management?

Motivation, what is your source?

Most people who achieve great things had a negative experience that shaped their motivation.   For instance Daren Hardy, publisher of Success Magazine, started out trying prove himself to his dad.  Eventually when you have had some success, it is time move up on Maslow's hierarchy of needs.   You should increase your motivation with things like helping others or a cause greater than yourself

Be the 1%

Be the 1%

I recently finished the book Show Your Work by Austin Kleon.  I really enjoyed chapter 9 which is entitled "sell out".  In the chapter, he rails against the notion that is wrong to get paid for your work.  On page 168, Austin tells the story of the man who had a guy come up to him after a poetry reading and told him that his poetry reading changed his life.  When he asked him if he wanted to buy a book for five dollars he said, "Nah, that is ok."    Austin Kleon writes that "sold out" is the best sign an artist can put on his work. Reading this chapter reminded me of the Occupy Movement.  My goal is not to be a occupier, it is to create something truly special. If I am paid well for it, that is one measure of my success.  Yes I do want to be the 1%.  My goal is to be the best I can be.

Authors, Speakers and Influencers


Learning is a life long passion.  I learn by observing, reading and listening.  When given the opportunity, I spend time with great leaders.  Since I don't always get to spend time with great leaders, I have read hundreds of books.  I am always on the hunt for the best of books, podcasts, videos and any other opportunities to challenge myself to grow.  Below is my list of great authors, speakers and influencers.  Please feel free to share your list.  This is a list that I will update on a period basis.

  1. Dave Ramsey -Money Expert, Entrepreneur, Author
  2. Seth Godin- Blogger, Marketing Guru, Author
  3. Daren Hardy -Editor of Success Magazine
  4. Tom Mendoza-I learned a lot about leadership working for Tom @NetApp
  5. Keith Ferazzi -Author of Who's Got Your Back
  6. John Maxwell -Author, Speaker and Leadership Expert
  7. Brené Brown -I was heavily influenced by her 2009 Ted Talk The Power of Vulnerability
  8. Patrick Lencioni -Author of The Advantage
  9. Jim Collins -Business Author
  10. Sally Hogshead- Author of The Fascination Advantage and Marketing Expert
  11. Stephen Mansfield -Brilliant Author and Speaker
  12. Mark J. Silverman -Author of Only 10s, Mark left technology to pursue coaching and share what he has learned.
  13. Ben Carson -Author, Retired Neurosurgeon and Presidential Candidate