5 Times You are Acting Too Nice in sales (adding NO VALUE)

Apr 17, 2018

Who wasn’t raised to “Be nice to people?” Growing up, how many times did you hear, “Don’t do that, you be nice to your brother or sister?” Your Mom or Dad often said, “That’s not nice, say you’re sorry.” That’s just good rearing. The kind of advice that you’d get in any parenting book.

So, when you got into the sales profession, there’s a good chance your Mom or Dad stayed with you (right on your shoulder) whispering to you, “Be nice, your prospect has feelings too.” And you did. And you do. You go on with your daily sales grind with the “Be nice to people mantra” ringing loudly in your ear. And it works. You’re nice. Most people would say you’re one of the nicest guys they know. “Yeah, Ryan, he’s a great guy. One hell of a guy.”

Ok, so have you ever wondered why you are getting out-sold?

Why is it that the “great guy” isn’t winning all of the deals? “How can that other guy get the deal… I’m a lot nicer than he is?” We’ve got news for you (& it’s not even news – it’s been a fact for thousands of years). Nice guys finish last.

Hold on. Don’t take it literally. Clearly there are plenty of nice guys that aren’t always coming in last place. You understand the cliché. You also agree with it. You are living the cliché.

Let’s clarify. When we say, “too nice” we mean “overly nice, overly friendly”. Think of the constantly up-beat guy, ridiculously positive & over-the-top with his willingness to accommodate. The gal that continuously says YES, smiles incessantly (uncomfortably so) & drips with benevolence.

Great qualities for a WalMart greeter. Fine attributes for your 8-year old child’s summer camp counselor. But for a salesperson – not so much. Why do salespeople feel the need to go out of their way to be too nice & overly-accommodating to prospects & customers? It’s their nature. They think it’s helping their cause. NOT!

This does not suggest that salespeople should be mean, rude or obnoxious (as if we even have to mention that). In no way are we suggesting you be disrespectful (ever). It is only to suggest that when you go out of your way to accommodate, answer questions, help, be nice, etc. you give your prospects the power (& make your job harder). You put your customers on a pedestal that they don’t really belong on (& it’s tough to get them off of it).

In 2018 our prospects & customers have to see us on their level. They need to know that we can help them get where they want to go. This is next to impossible to do if we are in “awe” of them – if they are on that pedestal.

5 Times You are Acting too Nice in sales (adding NO VALUE):

  1. You find yourself saying YES a lot. There is no value to anyone when you are yessing them all the time. Tame it down.
  2. You say GREAT or AWESOME or PERFECT a lot more than you do in “real life”.  Seriously? Nothing is that great, awesome or perfect – ever.
  3. You constantly respond with THANK YOU. My mother taught me that a THANK YOU was never inappropriate, too. But not all the time. It’s too much too often.
  4. You smile too much & get excited on sales appointments. C’mon. Act like you’ve been there.
  5. You apologize too often (way more often than at home). When you over-apologize you weaken your position. Fact of life.

Sales is a tough gig. There’s no need to make it harder by giving your prospect all the power. The trick is to let them think they have all the power, but you maintain subtle control – that’s the art of this profession. But don’t do it by being way too nice (or pandering).  Do it by asking good questions. Do it by being the expert that you are. Do it by professionally selling.

Professional salespeople ask tough questions in a nurturing manner. Rarely, (if ever) do they have a smile on their face when they are asking a tough question. Your prospects’ problems are nothing to smile or laugh at. It’s a discipline (&, yes, sometimes it’s an act) to stay focused & listen. Be on their level. Be there with them.

Act like you’ve been there.

How Bad do you Want it?

Apr 3, 2018






Success. That’s what we’re talking about here. How bad do you want success?

Stupid question? Maybe. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone that says they don’t want it. We surround ourselves with salespeople, & that’s one cast of characters that definitely say they want success. They want it. They need it. They deserve it. They’ve earned it. We’ve heard ‘em all. Funny thing is, what they say often flies in the complete opposite direction of what they do.

We’ve never met a salesperson that doesn’t say they work hard, really hard. A common one is, “I work my ass off for this company!” Really? Then we watch what time they schedule their first appointment, what time they arrive in the office, how much time they spend at lunch, what time they schedule their last appointment, what time they leave for the day. What they say isn’t even close to what they do.

How many salespeople in the contiguous 48 states do you think want to make more money? That’s easy, all of them! Every single salesperson we’ve ever dealt with says they want to make more money than last year. A lot more. In fact, most can’t stop bitching about their income every time you speak to them. Then, we watch how much time they spend at current (familiar) customers that haven’t bought anything new in years. It’s easy & convenient to take “Carl” out to lunch (even though Carl can’t make a decision to save his life … but he’ll talk to us!). They wouldn’t prospect for new business if their life depended on it. Since earning more money depends on it, you might deduce that what they say isn’t even close to what they do.

One of our favorites is the salesperson that says they need to become better at time-management. Interesting, upon deeper inspection, many of these people do the same thing every day, refusing to utilize technology to maximize efficiencies, continuing to do research, quotes & expense reports during “pay time” hours that could be spent with prospects & customers.  When you look into it, what they say isn’t even close to what they do.

Every company has this salesperson… the salesperson that makes an excuse for everything that doesn’t go his way. It’s always the customer’s fault. It’s always “the competition cut their price”. It’s always production’s fault. It’s always a “slow time for the customer”. It’s always “our prices are too high”.  Notice how this guy never, ever, points the finger between his own two eyes? That would mean he’d have to hold himself accountable & be responsible for once. Nope, too hard. Here’s a guy that says he wants to be successful, but what he does shows something else. It’s like watching two different movies!

How bad do you want success? What will you do to get it? The two need to match up. Take a look at every successful person you know. Someone that has worked hard for their success. Earned lots of money. Has cool things. Goes to neat places. The key phrase is “worked hard for their success”. We’re not talking about your friends that were born with money. Some people have a silver spoon in their mouth. If you don’t, how bad do you want it?

Start doing what it takes to get it.

If you Say You’re Gonna do it, do it!

Mar 20, 2018


If we had a nickel for every time someone said to us, “My salesperson never got back to me”, or “The salesperson’s follow-up was terrible”, or “I can’t find or get in touch with my salesperson”, we’d have a stack up to the ceiling.  It’s pretty sad.

Scenario: You’ve got a prospect or current client (& the hardest part of selling is getting the prospect or client). Why in the world would you squander the opportunity by getting lazy with your follow-up? Why would you miss out on the opportunity to build a relationship & impress someone with your attention to detail? You know it’s all in the detail.

Do you know how excited your competition would be if they learned that your follow-up skills were lacking? They’d be drooling. They can’t wait to snatch up your business right from under your nose. When you slack in the follow-up, you are practically pushing your clients to your competition. They don’t need the help.

You need to “trick” or “trap” yourself into doing the follow-up. The best mechanism for this is your tasks or calendar. Everybody has these tools on the desktop, laptop &/or phone. These are great tools – especially if you use them. Don’t tell us you don’t need to use tasks. Don’t say the calendar is just for appointments. You won’t remember everything & calendars are great for reminding you what to do – even if it’s a follow-up phone call.

Think of your calendar on your laptop or desktop (if you aren’t using one & synching it to your phone you are screwing up). A calendar is a funny thing – it gets “paid attention to”. When items are on your calendar they get completed. You wouldn’t think of missing a doctor’s appointment. You would never skip out & miss your golf league. You damn sure would never forget a happy hour meeting with your buddies. When these are on the calendar they are important & they get done. Same goes for sales activities – the little tasks. So why don’t you use them? How hard is it to type in “Call Jenny to determine next steps – 248.867.5309″? Not hard at all.

Sales follow-up takes a discipline. It takes a commitment. It takes time. But it’s not hard.

Most of the time Sales Winners get deals it’s because of their follow-up. Take note.

For the Money

Mar 6, 2018

One of the most important things you must do (as a sales VP, Director, Manager, Trainer or Coach) is to determine what motivates your salespeople. What really motivates them! Sometimes that’s easy to do – other times, not so much.

The question is an easy one to ask: “Why sales?” or “Why are you in sales?”  The hard part (for some salespeople) is the answer. Here’s what we’ve heard:

  • I really like people
  • I love the freedom to make my own schedule
  • I like to help people
  • I like to solve people’s problems
  • I’m a people-person
  • I’m really good with people

Sure, it’s a loaded question. We know what the answer “should” be. Most salespeople give the answer they “think” we want – the answer they think will win us over & make them look really good.  Mistake.

Sales pros out there hear this: IT IS OK TO WANT MONEY! Matter of fact, in our experience, if “for the money” is not in the top 2 reasons for you to be in sales, get a new career.

This gig is hard enough. How many times have we said this? Let’s face it. . . we talk to strangers all day long. . . that don’t want to talk to us. . . about something they don’t want to buy. Who would do that? That’s nuts! So, if you do succeed at that, & find someone that does want to buy, you had better be paid well. Simple as that.

But no. Most salespeople “say” they really like people (join the Peace Corps). They say they really like to help people (they’re always looking for nurses). They like to solve people’s problems (be a psychiatrist). They say they are people-persons (Walmart could use a few new greeters). They say they are really good with people (so are counselors).

Why so tough on “people persons” you ask?  Because these people have a hard time making a living in sales. Why? They tend to do things that people-persons, or “nice people” do. Like what?

Things that “nice people” do in sales:

  • Talk to anyone that will talk with them (not always high-level decision makers)
  • Discount pricing (after all I can’t get full price from my “friends”)
  • Educate, educate & educate prospects until their tongue turns blue (trying to impress & get their own needs met)
  • Trust prospects that want to “think it over” (chasing them for decisions…)
  • Make friends on sales calls (not sales)
  • Don’t ask the tough questions (too nice)

Salespeople that are in it for the money have a different mind-set – & it is professional & appropriate. They see themselves as problem solvers, so they look for problems, not friends. They understand they work for “for-profit” companies & are comfortable charging for it. Most of all, they appreciate the “economics of selling” & don’t waste time educating prospects so much that they end up chasing them for decisions. That’s the DUMP & CHASE at it’s finest.

It’s OK to want money. Never be ashamed of that.

3 Ways to Make Sure you are Selling to the Decision Maker(s)

Feb 20, 2018


Have you ever spent two, three, six (or more) months working on a deal? You have momentum. Everything seems to be going well. Your solution is perfect. Your contact returns your calls. He replies to your emails. He meets with you when you are at his office. He even goes to lunch with you, as long as you’re paying. All is good. Until it’s time to finalize the deal – close it. That’s when you learn that your contact (we’ll call him Carl) doesn’t have the authority to approve the deal.

That’s a “spirit-crusher”! Carl could have said NO at any point along the sales cycle, but you waited until the end (months later) to learn that he could not say YES. One of the worst feelings in sales.

This spirit-crushing lesson doesn’t need to be learned more than once. You don’t need that feeling in the pit of your gut ever again. Then why does it happen over & over? There are a few reasons:

  1. You trust Carl. Your “happy ears” hear what they want to hear & you don’t think you need to dig deeper.
  2. You don’t want to offend Carl by going over his head. And it works. You never do. (Solves that problem).
  3. You don’t believe you “belong” at the higher level. You are comfortable with lower-level Carls.
  4. You don’t want to “upset the applecart” – “better not screw things up by asking too many questions”

We’ve heard ‘em all. If any of these items ring true in your selling life you will fall victim to another spirit-crushing deal. Or should we say, “no deal”?

The lesson here: You must fight to get to the decision maker/makers & understand how the process works.

You read it right. The who, who else & how. Every single deal. We are not suggesting you go over Carl’s head in any way that exposes you to Carl. No need to offend Carl (you need Carl). We are suggesting that Carl help you get to the appropriate person/people.

Carl knows his place. If Carl wants you & your product or service, he will help you. Remember, Carl can say NO… he just can’t say YES.

Here are 3 ways to make sure you are selling to the decision maker(s):

  1. (How before who) When you make decisions like this, how does it work & who is involved?
  2. (Who before how) When you make decisions like this, who is involved & how does it work?
  3. (Every business is different…) Every business we work with is different. When you make decisions like this, how does it work & who is involved?

These questions are worded very carefully. They are designed to gather the information you need to ensure you are dealing with all the appropriate people & that you understand the process.

Be sure you don’t break a cardinal rule of selling & give Carl the chance to lie to you by asking, “Are you the decision maker.” Some Carl’s out there can’t wait to get their needs met, can’t wait to puff their chest out & give you the perception that they have “power” & will immediately say YES to that question. Wrong question.

Serious Question Sales Pros: Would You Buy from You?

Feb 6, 2018


Might seem like an odd question to ask yourself: Would you buy from you? Yep, pretty odd.

Most salespeople will answer (without thinking), “Of course I would.” “Why wouldn’t I?” “Sure would… I’m good… really good.” It’s natural. What salesperson, who makes her living selling, is going to admit that she wouldn’t even buy from herself?

OK, so we’ll attack this from a different angle. If you were being ridiculously honest with yourself, in a room by yourself, with nobody listening… would you buy from you? Would you?

Let’s do a quick survey:

  • Would you buy from someone who doesn’t do his homework?
  • Would you buy from someone who talks 80… 90… 100% of the time on sales calls?
  • Would you buy from someone who can’t wait to tell you how great her products & services are?
  • Would you buy from someone who can’t wait to tell you how great he is?
  • Would you buy from someone who doesn’t ask you questions?
  • Would you buy from someone who follows up with you like a stalker?
  • Would you buy from someone who had the audacity to drop his price as soon as you objected?
  • Would you buy from someone who just waited & waited for you to send him an order?
  • Would you buy from someone who took forever to return calls or respond to your emails?
  • Would you buy from someone who isn’t the least bit curious about you & your business?
  • Would you buy from someone who bad-mouths his competition?
  • Would you buy from someone who lacks charisma, passion & desire?
  • Would you buy from someone who shuts off his cell & email at 5 or 6 PM (& on weekends)?
  • Would you buy from someone who doesn’t prospect or hunt for deals on her own?
  • Would you buy from someone who does canned quotes/proposals for everyone that wants one?
  • Would you buy from someone who thinks they are always right & the customer never is?
  • Would you buy from someone who sets meager goals for himself & blames others when he misses them?
  • Would you buy from someone who stays in the office & would rather be there than engaging a prospect or client?
  • Would you buy from someone who thinks working hard means putting in 40 hours per week?
  • Would you buy from someone who disrespects his sales manager?
  • Would you buy from someone who doesn’t have 20 years of experience but 1 year, 20 times?
  • Would you buy from someone who spends more time planning his Sprig Break vacation than his sales career?

Me neither.

4 Times You are Sounding Desperate in Sales

Jan 23, 2018

Sounding Desperate in Sales

Face it: Nobody likes a desperate person. Desperation smells a mile away & turns people off instantly. You remember that feeling back when you were dating (or if you are dating, now): He calls too much! He texts me every day. What is wrong with him? That’s your personal life. Sales is no different. You need to play it cool. Nobody wants to buy from or work with someone who is desperate – nobody!

Fact is, most of us know not to cross the line between eager & desperate in social situations. But, when your job is on the line, good judgment goes right out the window. When you need to consistently sell each month to hit your number, the pressure can make you come off a bit too strong with your prospects.

In the pursuit of making quota, salespeople often don’t even realize that they’re looking desperate. If you’re guilty of any of these 4 Desperate Cues, stop immediately before you send your prospects running. 

  1. Being too nice & accommodating

This is more important than you think. Yes, you should serve your customers. Common sense says that. Common sense does not say that you should act like a servant, though. We speak a lot about the “pandering” salesperson. The salesperson that says “yes” too often, says “thank you” more in front of a prospect or customer than they do to their family. You know pandering: pandering is the waitress that comes to your table five times before you are done with your appetizer to “see how everything’s tasting”. Sure, she wants a tip. She’ll get a tip, but if she comes back one more time…”

Too accommodating looks like, “I’ll see what I can do.” Or “Let me ask my boss.”  The ultimate in too accommodating is discounting too quickly. You know the feeling. You always know when you lower the price before it’s necessary. You wimped out. Instead, will you dig into all of a prospect’s additional requests to understand why they need it, & if it’s truly important.

You’re going to hate this: How about when you allow a prospect to disrespect your time? When a prospect cancels a call at the last minute, they’ll likely apologize the next time. Most salespeople respond with “No problem!” This is so wrong. The moment you do that you are putting your prospect on a pedestal. You are telling them that they are important & you are not! Try asking, “Is everything okay?”  & then move on with the conversation. You should be respected as someone who adds value, & when you let a prospect treat you with disrespect, you show you’re desperate for the business. A great way to weaken your position!

  1. Jumping on problems (PAIN) too quickly

On one hand, we’re happy that you ask your prospects the 9 Knock-Out Questions to get a feel for their PAIN points, & understand if your product or service is the solution. It’s great when there’s a match between the PAIN & the fix. On the other hand, you CAN’T be too eager to make that connection. It’s too soon. You have to be suave & debonair. You must be cool about it.

Ideally (through your questions) the prospect realizes on their own that yours is the right solution. By asking questions & telling stories about other people like them, the prospect should see themselves in the stories. Prospect sells himself. That’s professional selling

Instead of letting the prospect connect the dots in their own mind, a lot of times salespeople say, “Oh, we can help you with that…” & explain how they can solve the problem (DUMP). Problem is, that might not be the way they want to do it. Highlighting your product from the get-go is salesy, it’s “old-school” & can drive away a good opportunity. Looks desperate. Resist the urge.

  1. Assuming the prospect is interested

This is a killer. How many times have you failed to ask a prospect if they are interested in your product/service (& assumed it)? They gave a few signals & your” happy ears” heard what they wanted to hear. This will make you look not only desperate but foolish. You know what they say about the word assume. Can’t do it – ever.  Probably the most common way this comes out is when you suggest a meeting or call in your first outreach. It’s premature & makes you look desperate. This early, you can’t really know whether the prospect is a good opportunity or not. Prospects will spot it a mile away.

  1. Not taking the hint (stalker-like follow up)

One of our occupational hazards is that most of our sales opportunities won’t go anywhere. We fail more often than we succeed. Can you imagine if your accounting or production department said that? Ah, no! It’s crazy. Sometimes prospects won’t even answer your email or return your call. They go completely off the grid. That’s OK. Get over it. What’s not OK is refusing to move on, & sending email after email & leaving voice mail after voice mail (the dating example up top.). Poster-child for desperation

It’s going to take a discipline to look at yourself in the mirror & ask, “Am I making a fool of myself?” Or “Would I buy from me?” Stop for a second & reflect on the ‘dating game’ & you’ll know what to do. Of course, it’s a lot easier to not appear desperate if you have a full pipeline of opportunities. But that would mean you are prospecting… we’ll leave that for another Coach’s Chalk Talk.

It’s 2018. What’s Going to be Different this Year?

Jan 9, 2018

We’re 9 days into 2018. You’ve had enough time to settle in. And you didn’t win the Powerball (or your Fantasy League for that matter). Here’s a question for you: What’s going to be different this year? More specifically: What will you do this year to take your sales to the next level?

If you’re satisfied, coasting, or as a friend of ours used to say, “Livin’ large,” stop reading now & go back to doing whatever it is you were doing.

This won’t be one of those corny blogs that attempt to motivate you & tell you what a great year this will be. The motivation won’t work & making it great is up to you.

What we will do is ask: What’s going to be different this year?

If you are not happy in your sales role; if you are not making the money you want, what will you do differently this year to change things? Blame the leads? Complain about your territory? “Dog” the competition? Bitch about your management?

How’d that work for you last year? And the year before?

Nope. This year will be different (if you want it to be). This year you have the choice to hold yourself accountable — to point the finger right where it should be pointed — right between your eyes.

Whatever problem a salesperson is struggling with you can bet big dollars that it can be factored down to the fact that he or she does not have enough opportunities to close business. This is because he or she does not “open” enough business. And this is because he or she is not prospecting enough. Almost every “sales” problem is a prospecting problem!

Do any of these sales problems look familiar?

  • Feeling pressure to lower your price? You probably don’t have any other logs in the fire.
  • Following up with a prospect enough to classify you as a stalker? You probably don’t have any other real good opportunities.
  • Spending all your time talking with lower level non-decision makers? You probably have a wide-open calendar.
  • Keeping a pipeline full of a bunch of low % opportunities. You probably have not opened any high % opportunities.
  • Spending all your time “farming” current accounts waiting for one of them to “place an order.” You probably have not called a new prospect since people watched TV instead of Netflix!

Enough already! Why don’t you get out of your own way & start doing what you control? Your prospecting & sales activity. Break out of your comfort zone & start calling people & companies that buy what you sell to see what they are up to.

In the spirit of 2018 here are 5 things to do differently this year:

  • Make a pact to call 15 new prospects per week
  • Agree to ask 15 current clients (or friends) for a referral or introduction each month
  • Stop “driving by” facilities that buy your products – stop by 15 this quarter
  • Thank 15 clients for their business before St. Patrick’s Day (lunch is good)
  • Dig down deep into your gut & find that 5 seconds of guts it takes to do these things

Or not. You can keep bitching about your boss — it’s probably her fault anyway.

Sales is NO PLACE for Shortcuts!

Dec 26, 2017

One of the most common characteristics of successful salespeople = impatience. Show me a patient salesperson & I’ll show you a salesperson with skinny kids! Most want to rush, get as much done as possible & move on to the next deal. Their mantra is more, more, more. Pretty normal.

Image that says no short cuts work for it!The great ones are decisive, results-oriented, accountable to themselves, hunt for their next deal & as we have mentioned time & time again comfortable with the word “NO”. All great qualities — including the impatience.

Yep, all great qualities for successful selling. Yet, nowhere on that list does it say, “Tend to take shortcuts”. Shortcuts kill sales. Shortcuts kill salespeople.

Think of that last two or three deals that slipped through the cracks. Good chance that in each case there was information that was missing. Information that you didn’t get — but your competitor did. Information crucial to qualifying an opportunity that you were too rushed & hurried to gather but your competitor wasn’t. Good chance you took a shortcut or two.

When our clients do “post-mortems” on lost deals it’s almost 100% of the time that there is a gap in information that is critical to qualifying the opportunity. Sure, the salesperson will say the prospect did not share the information. Upon deeper inspection, it’s clear the salesperson did not ask for the information. He took a shortcut.

If there is one thing you glean from this blog it’s this — NO SHORTCUTS IN SALES. Your production department doesn’t take shortcuts. Your engineers don’t take shortcuts & by all means, your accounting department does not take shortcuts. So why do salespeople? That’s the $64,000 question. The $64,000 answer = it’s easy to take shortcuts. Really easy.

That doesn’t mean it’s right.

Do yourself a favor & be anal-retentive in your pursuit of the information necessary to qualify the opportunity:

1. The compelling problem (PAIN).

2. The budget (money conversation)

3. The decision maker & decision-making process.

Failure to get any of these items is a killer of deals.

Try this:

The Compelling Problem (PAIN):

  • Ask what is happening/ what’s the problem?
  • Ask how long it’s been going on?
  • Ask what they have done about it?
  • Ask how much it’s costing them?
  • Ask what happens if they don’t find a solution?

The Budget (money conversation):

  • Ask if there is money to pay for the solution (in the budget)?
  • Ask how they planned on paying for a solution?
  • Ask where the money will come from (you are allowed) 

The decision maker & decision-making process:

  • Ask how they make decisions & who is involved?
  • Ask who is involved in these kinds of decisions & how their process works?

Answers to these questions help to make sales opportunities qualified — help you get to reality quicker. It’s not easy but at the end of the day (or month, or quarter) it definitely pays off a lot more than the shortcuts you were tempted to take. Be disciplined. Be great. Leave the shortcuts to your competitors.

Order-Taker or Order-Maker?
5 Things Contributing to Your Order-Taking Status

Dec 12, 2017

Sales leaders out there, how familiar does this sound? One of your salespeople (Willie Weakcloser) arrives at the office between 8:15 & 8:45 (like he does every day). He hasn’t been in the office before 8 AM since the first week he was hired – 12 years ago. 

It’s like Groundhog Day: He makes his way to his desk, turns on his computer, doesn’t even bother to check voice mail, goes for a cup of coffee, stops & talks to 2 people about the game last night, grabs his coffee, on his way back talks to 3 more people about the games this weekend, sits down, checks his email, makes a personal call, makes another personal call, texts a few buddies, too much coffee … better hit the bathroom, stops to bother someone on his way to the bathroom, grabs another coffee, back to his desk (but not before he bothers 2 more people), makes a few more personal calls, surfs the web, checks his Fantasy Team, goes to an internal meeting that lasts 3 times longer than it should, back to his desk, calls production to complain about something, eventually replies to an email, almost time for lunch, gets up & asks one of the people he likes to bother to go to lunch, another coffee, one more trip to the bathroom, back to his desk to kill a few minutes on the internet before lunch.

Don’t laugh. You know it’s true. Painfully true. 3.5 to 4 hours in the office & NOT ONE THING ACCOMPLISHED THAT LEADS TO GROWING YOUR BUSINESS. Not one thing. Here’s a guy that spends his time getting ready to take an order. Willie is nothing more than an expensive order-taker.

There can be a multitude of things causing this: He could be making more money than he ever dreamed of & doesn’t see a need to go out & sell more. He could not have enough to do (not enough accounts to call on). He could be better-suited for another position (not outside sales material). He could lack the competitive spirit that is so important for sales professionals. He likely has a very low level of desire, drive & commitment (also critical characteristics for sales professionals). Then again, he could be flat out lazy.

Willie will never admit any of these things. Talk to Willie & he’ll tell you he works his ass off. He’ll do his best to get you to believe that his job is hard, it’s not fair, he’s underpaid. You know Willie, he has all the answers on how to run the company. Willie is an authority on all things sales. Willie is an authority on everything. After all, Willie has 12 years of experience. Who knows more than Willie?

When it comes right down to it, Willie can’t sell his way out of a wet paper bag. Willie is an order-taker. Willie doesn’t have 12 years of experience. Willie has one year of experience 12 times. Willie is killing your company.

So, what do you do about it? Well, you’ve been living with it for years now, so there’s a good chance you aren’t going to do anything about it. But you know full well that you’d be better off with Willie working at your competitor. Perhaps that’s for another blog…

You certainly can put in systems & processes to ensure that the Willies of the world don’t make their way onto your sales team in the future. Let’s look at some things you can do keep the Willies away.

Here are 5 Things Contributing to Your Order-Taking Status:

1. Not Assessing Your Sales Candidates: Very often the things that lead to someone turning into an order-taker are uncovered in assessments (desire, drive & commitment to name three).

2. An Out-of-Balance Compensation Plan: How do you know if you are compensating your salespeople appropriately. If Willie is making more money than he ever dreamed of that’s great (if he earned it). Problem is there are many Willies that aren’t earning it. Their comp. plan is way off balance. Willie probably has a high salary & low bonus /commission structure. Willie is getting paid to NOT SELL. Start paying your sale team for performance & watch the order-takers weed themselves out.

3. Too Many Internal Meetings: Are you like most companies where you folks don’t buy from yourselves? Of course, you don’t. So, if you don’t buy from yourselves, why do you have so many internal meetings? Why so many meetings with yourselves? It gets ridiculous. Bet you can cut your meetings in half. That leaves a hell of a lot more time for Willie to check on his Fantasy Team (or go see customers).

 4. Not Maximizing Resources & Technology: Does Willie sync his desktop to his cell phone? Not that he has any sales calls… but if he did, would all his appointments be on his phone for easy access? Is he using your CRM system the way it’s intended? Does he duplicate efforts? Bet he writes things down, enters it somewhere & then re-enters it like a lot of other Willies that aren’t comfortable with technology. Huge waste of time.

 5. Not Prospecting for New Business: Good chance that Willie is unwilling to hunt for new business. He’s very comfortable with the status quo. He likes his current customers — they like him. They just don’t buy more new products — they order the usual. On top of that, Willie hates rejection — can’t stand the word no. He solves that problem very easily. He never hears it. Never puts himself in a position to be rejected. Can’t hear the word NO if you don’t go out & prospect for new business. Willie is a genius.

These are 5 of the many things that lead to a person like Willie becoming (& staying) an order-taker. Now, Willie is just one person. How many like him are on your sales team?