Weight training and Sales training, how doing them wrong adds no value and may even hurt you!

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Each morning I start my day with a workout at the gym. I like to start each workout with the elliptical machine. I listen to music and watch others training on the various machines to make my 30 minutes go by quickly. One machine almost everyone does wrong is the lower back machine.

Each morning I watch people plop themselves down on the machine without making adjustments based on their body. Some sit too high in the seat and some are seated too low. Some move the weights very quickly and some let the plates slam in-between repetitions. Not executing the exercise correctly not only fails to isolate the area you are trying to develop, but may also cause injury to the individual and the machine. There are two older gentlemen who train together each morning and not only do they fail to adjust the machine settings for their body size, but they do the exercise, (the training) completely wrong. They select the maximum weight and they begin.( double the weight I use) The weight is so heavy they are no longer sitting on the seat midway through the movement, and they are pressing the weight with their legs as they aggressively pull the weight back with their arms. Once one gentleman finishes I see his training partner execute the training in the same way. My guess is they have used this machine in this way for years and each assuming they are doing it correctly. They are so focused on looking impressive with the amount of weight they are lifting they lost the original objective of using this machine.

This machine was designed to provide training for an isolated area of your body, the lower back. To use this machine correctly and realize the maximum benefit the first thing you should do sit and adjust the machine settings so you are exercising in the proper range of motion. You are supposed to slowly push the resistance back, hold, then slowly return to the starting position while not allow the weight being lifted to rest. If done correctly, and balanced with lower abdomen exercises, you will develop a strong lower back and core. family pics 053

As I watch these two older training partners each morning, I am reminded how most companies execute sales training wrong. I can speak from experience as I have done it wrong myself. A new product is about to launch so we bring in all the sales troupes to corporate for training. Marketing presents PowerPoint slides covering the market size, and they share the creative support materials, the sales tools they developed to help my team hit their goals. Then the product manager presents the product and reviews each feature and sometimes shares the benefits of the particular features. Far too much time is spent discussing why our product is better than our competitors and not enough time is spent helping my team understand the problems this new widget solves. We may visit the manufacturing facility and see the product being assembled.

At some point I would present our team goals, and each region’s individual goals. Over the years I would develop specific regional play book drafts with objectives by market by account. These play books would illustrate the opportunity in their market my current and targeted new accounts and if every tactic was completed would result in the salesperson achieving 150% of their goal. I would ask each salesperson to review the plan for then report back on how they plan to achieve their revenue targets. We would have specific discussions that resulted in adjustments to the play book. I would often present some competitive information, and share how to overcome objections we may face when trying to displace our competitors, and or gain placement for this innovative new widget. We would establish key indicators the team would be tracking that we believed would drive our desired revenue targets.

About 15 minutes into the training you can see salespeople checking their emails and excusing themselves for incoming calls from “one of their key clients”.


How do market leaders conduct sales training to produce the maximum revenue in the shortest amount of time?


· Share what market problem the new product solves

· Explain how big is this problem

· Share market data

· Explain what buying criteria buyers use when making buying decisions

· Share the process buyers go through when purchasing

· Position the sales tools developed for the specific steps of the known buying process

· Provide the sales team the buyer persona(s)

· identify the key influencers to the buyer personas, and who also may be involved in the buying process, and provide guides on how to start discussions with them


What I am describing is not “Sales Training” (like I did in the 1990’s) but “sales enablement”. Sales enablement is defined as:

Sales enablement is the process of arming an organization’s sales force with access to the insight, experts, and information that will ultimately increase revenue. It is a term that has gained momentum in the last decade. It is often used to describe a variety of tools, processes and methodologies that are applied to enable a sales force, both direct and indirect. The terms “sales effectiveness” and “sales readiness” are sometime used interchangeably to denote Sales Enablement as well.

In David Daniels’ recent blog he states:” According to the “Business-to-Business Launch Survey Executive Summary” conducted by the Center for Business Innovation at Babson College and Schneider Associates, 55% of companies rank sales enablement as critical to product launch success.”

When salespeople were the “keepers of the keys” for product information one could argue how the way most companies conducted sales training was OK. However the internet and the instant accessibility to information have changed sales forever.

Salespeople must become experts at starting and keeping conversations going with buyers. Today salespeople must be experts at understanding the buyer’s process, and what sales tool to use when.

Market leading sales organizations teach their salespeople how their product or service solves market problems.

Market losing organizations continue to spend more time convincing their sales teams how easy their goals are …”even a monkey could do it.” Market losing teams practice “marketing roulette”. They create a ton of sales tools and sales is supposed to use them ALL until they figure out which one works. If none of the tools work, sales will create their own. (A REALITY, BUT VERY DANGEROUS) Market losers are still teaching their teams how to overcome objections.

Market leaders understand the importance of listening to objections.

Stop sales training and start sales enablement today.

Remember people like to buy, but do not like to be sold.

Tell me about your organization.

How does your organization conduct sales training?

When salespeople leave your training do they understand when and where to use the sales tools in the buying process?

Is teaching salespeople how to overcome objectives smart?

How many minutes into your last training were salespeople checking their Blackberries and excusing themselves for an “important call?

13 “old school” steps to hiring the right independent sales representative

I have worked with independent sales representative firms throughout my career and wanted to share how I found firms that produce rapid results. These results include increased sales revenues, market share, and rapid strategic account product placements. As I discussed in my previous post “Should you hire Independent Sales Representatives?” before you hire an independent sales representative (ISR) you must understand the role they play as well as the role you will play supporting their efforts. For example, good ISR’s have a close network of buyer relationships and lines of complimentary products. Their goal is to sell as many of their product lines to the buyers they have built trusted relationships with over the years. ISR’s rapidly increase your speed to market and placement. At the same time they are “independent” if they wanted to be “managed” they would not own their own business.

So how do you hire the right ISR for you? Today there are many online tools to help you find ISR’s, from online rep finders to blogs and legal sites that even provide templates for ISR contracts. However sometimes the ways we did things prior to the internet, prior to the availability of so many tech based tools is still the best way. Below are the ten steps I learned to use over 15 years of experience on how to find top producing ISR’s.

1. Identify the accounts you want to sell in a region


2. Determine the appropriate buyers who purchase your product category at each account


3. Call each buyer, explain you are planning on hiring a independent representative and ask what are the top three firms you would recommend


4. Review your current markets where you have independent representatives and what complimentary product lines do your high performing firms have?


5. Call the sales managers at these complimentary firms. Ask them who they hired in the market(s) you plan on developing, and who they would not recommend and why

6. Take the lists you now have and prepare a letter of inquiry to introduce your company, your products, and the sales opportunity to the various ISR’s. Ask them to respond by a specific date with a presentation of their firm, the lines they currently carry and any other information you require.


7. Note the firms that called to confirm you received their information and asked if you had any questions. Weight them higher than those that do not follow up.


8. Sort all the responses and weight them with buyer and other manufacturer referrals. Review the lines they represent. Do not quickly dismiss firms that have competing products to yours as good independent firms will drop poor performing lines for product lines with bigger revenue opportunity or bring with them entrance into other strategic accounts within their territory. You may already have a relationship with an account in their market they have not opened, so representing you may open a door to a new relationship and sales opportunity for all their other lines as well.


9. Call the firms you are interested in working with and get a feel for their professionalism and phone presence


10. Book a Hotel room with an attached meeting room in the desired market and meet with all your top candidates. Request that not only firm principals attend but also some of their salespeople. A mistake many firms make is hiring an ISR based on meeting the principal of the firm, and they actually work with a team of different people.


11. How well did the firms you met with sell their firm and the value they can add to your organization?


12. Listen to your gut. Ask yourself honestly: How well does this firm match our team’s culture?


13. You also need to insure your product line will not get lost in their portfolio of products. How important will your product line be to this firm? Will your line provide 10%-20% of their overall commissions or will you “just pay their light bill?”


The above steps consistently produced high performing ISR’s in the markets I have served. It may seem like a lot of upfront work, however I have found the time you spend upfront finding the right firm for you will pay multiple dividends over the years, result in explosive growth quickly and a strategic partner to help your company grow year over year.


How about you…do you have a technique you use to find independent sales representatives?


Are you an independent sales representative? What do you want manufactures to know?


How do you know when it’s time to hire a new firm?


What do you do if a key account says they do not want to work with one of your ISR’s?


What is your policy on “house accounts” in the ISR’s market that you do not pay commissions on?

Should you hire an Independent Sales Representative?…the right firm is a key partner, not a necessary evil

I recently answered a question on linked in with regards to working with independent sales representative firms (ISR) that is all too common. The Vice President who posted the question mentioned his frustration with independent sales representative firms. He went on to say “how do you hire good representatives as he has to change representatives often, and none seem to be opening new accounts and growing our companies’ market share?” I really do not have enough information at this point to answer his question.

I have hired independent representatives for over 15 years of my career. Good independent representatives are worth their weight in gold. The company that chooses to hire an independent sales force needs to understand the role of these professionals. The main role of independent reps is to use their current relationships, established through supplying complimentary product lines they represent, to get your product placed. They have built trust with buyers in their market, and their relationships with their accounts will ALWAYS be more important than your rep contract…and their relationship with you. Factories come and go, but the accounts in their market limited. Just as you may feel risk when you hire an independent representative firm, the firm actually has a greater risk. Each product line they represent is both an opportunity to become more important to their buyers and increase their income, as well as a risk. Should they agree to represent your products and your company fails to do what they say they would do, and or your product fails to meet your brand promise, the local sales representative not only loses potential commissions, but they run the risk of a break in trust. (Their most important asset they have with buyers)

If you are thinking of hiring independent sales representatives, I would ask you to answer the following questions…

So tell me…

· What market are you in?

· What problem does your product solve for that market?

· The representatives you choose, how did you choose them?

· Did you profile complimentary products that touched the same buyers, and then hired those representatives that had those lines?

· What is your commission structure in relation to the industry, other lines the representative carries?

· When you hired the independent representatives, where did you get their names?

· What % of the independent firms overall income do you represent in relation to the time required to sell your product?

· How well do you know the buying process for your products?

· Do you have sales tools you have developed to help the sales process match the stages of the buying process?

· Do you have written buyer personas?

· How does your competitor(s) sell? Direct, or with independent representatives?

· Did you hire them with base revenue in each market, or will they only “eat what they kill”?

· Do you have any “house” accounts in their market?… you know, the big guys you don’t pay independent representatives commissions for?

If independent sales representatives wanted to be “managed” they wouldn’t be “independent.” As a manufacturer, a “factory” your role is to provide products that solve unresolved market problems. Your job is to understand the market potential for your product and build obtainable goals from the market up. Unfortunately the majority of factories establish goals by extrapolation. (In other markets we have sold z units, and you have y number of those accounts, so your goal should be z times y…right? Wrong!

I am looking forward to hearing from those companies contemplating the hiring of independent sales representatives.


Please answer a few questions for me;


How did you establish the goals for their territory? Was the independent firm involved in the building of the territory goals?

Do you have written buyer personas?

Have you mapped the buying process?

Do you know the sales process for selling your products?

Have you identified sales tools for the steps each persona takes in the buying process?


If you answered “no” to any (all) of the above then your problem is not finding the right independent sales firm, it is what you lack, and it is how you have set your sales representatives up to fail. Independent sales representative have instant access to goal achieving accounts if equipped and set up to win. What independent sales representative are not…they are not magicians, nor are they your product management, development or marketing.

In my next post I will share how to find and hire independent representatives that add tremendous value quickly. I will discuss how hiring the right independent firm is the most cost effective investment you will make. I will discuss how even the biggest bean counting CFO will be thrilled with the ROI produced by independent sales representative firms.

WARNING: Buyer’s say what salespeople do wrong?..PRICE is not on the list!

images salesBusiness development has been hard enough over the years. Salespeople work hard to grow their existing business while opening new business. When we look at strategies for growing a business we have a number of options;

· Sell more of what you have to your current accounts

· Sell your current accounts new products

· Sell your current products to new accounts

· Sell your current products to new accounts in new markets

· Sell new products in new markets

· Acquire another business, sell their products to your accounts and sell your products to their accounts

I am sure there are more, but above are some that I have used, and I understand the difficulty and costs associated with each. The best way to accomplish any of the above strategies, (and I recommend you only pick 3) is to know your buyers buying process and match your sales process to that buying process. Not many organizations accomplish this, but if you do, you will create tools for each stage of the buying process to help the conversation continue. If you study buyers, what would you say are “the top 5 Sins of salespeople?” As a reminder, the word “sin” means to “miss a mark, or target, goal”. So where are most salespeople missing the mark?

#1 not listening

#2 does not follow up timely

#3 does not understand the problem I am trying to solve

#4 they talk too much

#5 never built a foundation in trust

If you study your market, and conduct win-loss analysis you will find as I have that in most cases 50% of lost sales are neither about the product nor price. 50% of lost sales are due to the process the salesperson is taking to close the sale. Maybe they are doing the all too frequent; “ring the bell selling?” You know what this is…the salesman starts rattling off all the features and benefits he learned in the 15 power point slides of sales training he had and he waits for you, the buyer to ring the bell when one connects. Other words we waits for one of the things he said to hopefully connect to a problem you have, and hopefully you have been able to translate that particular feature into how it will solve your problem.

Based on the above “top 5 sins”, how can salespeople close more sales and drive explosive growth in the markets they serve?

#1. Listen and observe

#2. Ask open ended questions, seek first to understand

#3. After you understand the buyer’s problems, explain how what you are selling solves those problems (since your sales tools probably don’t)

#4. Story-Speak, don’t speak in features and benefits (ringing your bell) but instead share stories of how what you are proposing as a solution to the buyers problem solved it for others who had similar problems

#5. “Serve” your customers, don’t “sell” them

I have personally taught this system to sales teams in various industries and it drives explosive growth in sales and profits. Profits? Yes! When you sell by ringing your bell of features until one connects, (and you may or may not know why) you quickly jump to the negotiation of price. You have not built trust. Sales people who know the buyers problem, understand their pain intimately focus on solving that problem. A buyer who has a salesperson who is speaking to their problems becomes so focused on solving their problem they connect to the solution more than price.

So how is your sales team performing today?

When was the last time you observed your sales people in the targeted group you are trying to grow?

How are you trying to grow your business?

In your target group(s) what are their top problems?

Want to add value to your bottom-line quickly?…Hire a Heretic!








In Art Kleiner’s book titled: The Age of Heretics , Kleiner‘s definition of a heretic as: “a visionary who creates change in large-scale companies balancing contrary truths they can’t deny against their loyalty to their organizations.”He discusses how managers get stuck into a rut and need heretics to point out new points of view to get past the deadlock and move forward. Later he describes some as “rebels unwilling to kowtow to the corporate bureaucracy.”

One example of a heretic (and there are many in the book) is Jack Welch who gained a reputation as he climbed the ladder at GE as “ignoring or pushing back against, the bureaucratic strictures of his parent corporation.”

In Art Petty’s recent post this week titled : Help Wanted: Visionaries and Dreamer-Safe Return Doubtful Art refers to individuals who create great works of art on a blank canvas, they run towards adventure instead of away from it. Art goes on to say how we should channel our inner-Shackleton,(after the leader and explorer Ernest Shackleton ) and provides four lessons that apply to the adventurers called Heretics today. It reminded me that some people are cut out for adventure and some are not.

Having played the role of heretic in most of the companies I have served, let me tell you what to expect if you have the guts to hire one. A heretic is someone who will not take the easy road agreeing with key influencers throughout your organization. Obviously if what your key influencers are saying and or doing is in alignment with market needs they will, but if they hear something that is inconsistent with the vision of the organization or market needs they will tell you. Team members may feel this is a lack of loyalty. However to the contrary a heretic is singularly focused and loyal to one objective and that is adding bottom-line value to the team he serves, to aligning the organization to win profitably in their market. They will tell the CEO for example that his recent directive to the troops is not in alignment with market needs nor the core values and mission of the organization. He will remind the CEO that the mission statement is as much about what you will not do as much as what you will focus on.

A heretic does not know, or more importantly does not care, your VP of Marketing is your sister in law. He does not know or care that your VP of Sales was your fraternity brother at Ohio State, but he will tell you if that VP is not demonstrating the ability to lead his team in a direction aligned with market needs and your vision. A heretic will come into your organization and ask a lot of questions. Some of his questions will make you uncomfortable and definitely rock the foundations of some silos that have built throughout your organization. How will you as the leader of your organization know? You will recognize incoming torpedoes when you see them. If key influencers and leaders in your organization start using their relationship with you to shoot torpedoes at “the new guy” you know he’s asking uncomfortable questions.

The heretic will then want to spend a great deal of time in your market finding what he does not know. They may ride along with sales people, and often may engage with your customers on their own…LET THEM! Sales will balk, marketing will object, finance may say it’s too expensive, but let him dive into your market asking questions. What you will find if you shadow him ( and I strongly encourage CEO’s to do so) is he has an innate ability to make people feel comfortable and get customers talking. When you listen to him you will hear open ended questions, not questions to validate a current corporate understanding. He will seek to get to “why’s” much more that “what” and he really does not care about “who” . Who did that? Who said that?…He’s not out to find who did things wrong, but he seeks to gain an understanding of the market and its problems.

After spending time in your various departments, (and I should mention he will not just speak with leaders, but every level throughout the team) and spending time in your market with customers, non customers and market influencers… the fun begins.

The easy part is they will share with you what you are doing well, but not in his opinion, but the voice of the markets’. He will also share gaps, misalignments like poor positioning, branding, or a lack of sales tools to support the buying process he observed. He may hold your customer service or quality department’s feet to the fire over interruptions he found in speaking with your team and your market.

Heretics reshape organizations to be market focused and thus the organizations become market leaders. Market leading companies are over 30% more profitable, grow faster, have higher customer satisfaction and higher morale.Their radical thinking throughout history has reshaped corporate management ( and our society) as we know it today, and they will create the market leading organizations of tomorrow.

So how about your organization, how do you know if you need to hire a heretic?

1. Lack of EBITDA growth

2. Your leaders speak in terms like “I think” verse sharing authentic market feedback and data

3. No one on your team challenges you as the leader

4. Your team has many meetings but you do not discuss topics that matter

5. Your salespeople sell your product or service like it is a commodity

6. The last two product launches failed to meet ROI projections

7. Your salespeople are creating their own sales tools

8. Your leadership team spends more time covering their own butts that talking about growing your business

9. If you are on your third advertizing firm in 18 months

10. If you answered a question with something like; “because that’s the way do things here…” in the last three months

11. If your competitor just released something that seems to “be selling itself” instead of your team introducing it

12. If the distribution of marketing funds to various vehicles like; print, web, trade shows, direct, social media, has not changed in the last 12 months

13. If reading this post made you feel uncomfortable

What are some other signs that companies should intentionally hire a heretic?

How would a heretic be received in your organization?

As the CEO, what’s more important …increasing the economic value of the corporation, or being the one who has all the answers?

A backpacker's advice when we feel lost in business…


I was sharing with a friend who is an avid backpacker that a number of clients feel lost in today’s economy. Today is unlike anything they have experienced before and they feel lost. The things that always “worked” before, do not seem to apply now. As we discussed this my friend Jim said “well you know what they teach backpackers? We teach backpackers when they are lost to; STOP.

 back sitting






As I drove home that night I thought how profound that advice is for business leaders and owners today. I see so many business owners thrashing around, busy with tasks (tactics) that they have always done and hope they will change their current circumstance. It is difficult to just stop. Yet the reality of thrashing around without focus only depletes our resources and exhausts us. Exhausted and afraid we are not able to make rational (strategic) decisions which results in our becoming even more lost, and increasing the potential danger. Like a tire stuck in the mud some of us keep pressing the accelerator only to sink deeper into trouble and making more of a mess.

When we STOP, we replace activity and busyness with stillness. We stop depleting resources aimlessly throwing everything at the wall in hopes it sticks and allowing us to conserve our energy for more strategic effort at a later time. In a quiet state we can recognize what resources we have, where we are, where we have been, and accurately assess and observe the reality of the moment. In this state you may choose to make camp and seemingly do nothing. Rescuers will tell you when lost; the best way to be found is to not move. You may notice a landmark you failed to see while thrashing deep in the brush. Once still new options become evident.

When we STOP thrashing around in busyness and we can make our plan. Planning after thinking and being intentional about your future movements or non movement coupled with a thorough understanding of what is reality prepare us to make the most effective and efficient plans.

Plans give us focus, purpose, and an objective to rally behind. When we plan we naturally review a variety of scenarios so we create alternative plans that we may engage as we gather new information or encounter new challenges. The old saying “when we fail to plan we plan to fail “affirms this advice.

How about you? Have you taken the time to STOP over the last six months? If not, how’s that working for you?

Deciding to STOP could be the most valuable exercise you can do for your business and yourself.

Golf match and buyer behavior?

Over my 25 years or so in business I have enjoyed golfing, and more importantly the relationships built hitting a little white ball with a 46” long stick into a 3” hole 18 times per round. Outings with clients break down barriers that never seem to be addressed around the board room table. Golfing with current and or future clients also helps create history, a series of shared experiences that helps build relationships.
It’s interesting if you back away from the game of golf and analyze the lessons you can learn about a new individual (buyer) you are inviting into your sphere of influence. Aside from admiring their Ping or Taylor made equipment or their amazing 310 yard drive, you truly receive a glimpse into the character, integrity and ethics of the individual and this lesson can become a strong precursor into how your future business relations will transpire with this buyer.

The coach

Some of my most memorable rounds of golf have been shared with the partner who always finds the positive and provides a suggestion to improve in the future. I have enjoyed the four hours with these individuals as they truly have a positive and giving spirit. You know the guys…you just teed off on the number one handicap hole, par five and your drive landed 250 yards out but in someone’s pool 30 yards off the right side of the course. Do they criticize you? Do they laugh or judge? No. When you are golfing with a coach they may softly compliment you on the distance your ball carried to reach that pool. They discuss how your swing was smooth, you had great contact, and they ask permission to give you advice. They may kindly state…” you know, look at your right knee, that ball landed in a direct line with your right knee at your finish…what do you say we have you change your alignment on your next shot?”
Should your buyer  exhibit the signs of being a coach?

  • expect a partnership in all you do
  • Do’s; layout future work step by step, keep them informed
  • if conflicts arise, you may need to probe this type of buyer to openly discuss the issue
  • this type of buyer is ideal to become a industry or product champion , and participate in dealer focus groups
  • Don’t talk to fast , don’t expect them to make snap/ knee jerk decisions

Johnny mulligan

For these partners a ball from their right front pocket is quickly retrieved and placed on the tee when their first drive goes out of bounds. Pay attention to their scores. If they count the ball that went OB then chances is they may be hitting another ball to keep play moving for you. Should they reach down into the cup after putting to retrieve their ball and say “another par” you may be dealing with someone who understands the rules, however has processed some exceptions to those rules for mitigating circumstances. These are the folks who pick up the “gimme “puts without being told to do so. They may drive the cart on the par three fairway although the a sign says “no carts aloud”

When doing business with these buyers you need to consider

  • it’s all about them, how they feel, not necessarily the company
  • winning personally may be more important than winning as a team or for the company
  • Do you get a sense they are overly competitive? Expect this in all you do moving forward
  • they may be on the impatient side
  • deep fear of a loss in a task sticking them with the title of looser as a person
  • Do’s ; flatter their ego, ask questions about their needs, provide direct answers
  • Don’t; interrupt, arrive late, or give too many details

Water Ball

When I lived in Ohio a number of our courses had water. You will know a Water Ball buyer when they are faced with a shot that needs to carry 144 yards over water and they reach into their bags for a “Bad Ball or Water Ball.” This may be a ball they found in the ruff two holes prior or a discolored yellowing ball with an Enron logo on it. These buyers mentally rationalize and prepare for the worst. They are actually willing to sacrifice the opportunity for a good shot on an old yellowing ball that will no longer carry the distance it once did to save the cost of losing a new ball.

A water ball buyer will:

  • be cost driven verse value driven
  • may trip over dollars to save pennies
  • when you visit their office you may see a number of charts and graphs displayed
  • when you present them a new product or new way of doing things, expect them to be suspicious
  • Do’s; be on time, prepared, speak in terms of saving
  • Don’t ; interrupt them, rush them, or make mistakes in written follow up

Punch it” or “go for it”

So you have teed off and you are playing cart golf, both  balls went into the trees on the far left side of the course. As you enter the forest and the light becomes dim you find both your shots carried a great distance. However to reach the barely visible flag you will need to thread your shot through  trees and keep it low enough to not become entangled in the branches shadowing the fairway. Do they go for it? Do they risk hitting another tree and possibly having a worst shot? Or do they hit the smart punch shot into the fairway and have an easy 100 yard approach?

If your partner chooses to go for it, keep in mind

  • win focused, risk taker
  • their office may be full of pictures at famous golf courses, trophy’s, awards
  • embraces challenges , not afraid of new products or services if they can see the risk has a high reward
  • because of this devil may care attitude at times, their biggest fear is someone taking advantage of their fearlessness
  • Know this buyer will fall into the demanding category
  • Do’s; focus on bottom line, the win, use words like; challenging , results
  • Don’t: not follow up, show up late, sell beyond the close, give too many details


All sports have their unique beauty. Aside from some stunning landscapes of Firestone and their old wooden lockers  I have found the true beautify of golf is it is a “gentleman’s game.”

You are not in a physical confrontation with another practitioner or relying on another team mate to hit you home. You are responsible for your own performance and corresponding score. Golf is a game of skill and honor. To truly improve you must accurately log each stroke to tally your performance. Is your game improving, in a plateau, or has it added five or so strokes?

If you find yourself with someone needing a pocket score counter that consistently tee’s up their ball 6” to 8” ahead of the tee marker you may want to consider

  • they will do anything to win
  • wining is all it’s about, and all encounters will be a competition, they win and you lose
  • expect that your dealings may not be 100% upfront and honest
  • Do’s ; set them up to win publicly in their firm, speak in completive language, keep your physical distance as to not crowd their space, find other influencers within the organization that can supply you a more accurate and thorough assessment should the need arise. Keep a strong paper trail and follow up all transactions in writing.
  • Don’t ; expect them to take a bullet for you or your company even if they were partially to blame, don’t make them wait for dinner reservations, meeting rooms

The volcano

If you have golfed with the club thrower, equipment or grounds destroyer I
feel your pain. I find these buyers the most disturbing as their stress must be very high to let missing a four foot put send them into an uncharacteristic tirades and a lesson for all those present in new ways to communicate. This individual obviously has a strong correlation between what he does, or does not do and whom he is. When the putts are dropping from 20’ out he is happy, fun, and a great guy all around. However when the 3’ put does not break or slowly twists around the lip of the cup for a gimme the fuse is not only lit, but instant combustion occurs without notice. These Folks I call volcano’s as beneath the surface lay a bubbling magma waiting for a break in the surface to spew forth. For these individuals, I recommend not allowing future complications to be attached to these individuals in any way. Be forewarned as someone who erupts among new acquaintances or strangers over a missed putt must be handled with kid gloves.

These individuals lack the emotional intelligence to process what occurred through a filter mechanism that rationalizes the occurrence that triggers the eruption.

Should you find yourself having to do business with one of these buyers I recommend the following considerations?

  • they will be very competitive, and moods will vary so you must be flexible, be able to dance on your feet
  • they often talk fast and talk over others
  • they change vendors frequently
  • Do; learn about them and their needs verse focusing on company needs. Expect irrational outbursts both good and bad. Do not own these outbursts as this individual will move on after the occurrence as if it never happened , set them up to win, expect a white knuckle roller coaster ride of a relationship
  • Don’t; try to quiet or soften the outburst no matter how embarrassing, don’t expect your relationship will shelter you from the explosions, don’t try to coach as they will see it as patronizing and only fuel the magma they spew.

Cell Phone guy

You have been invited to a golf scramble and when you approach the cart you notice your partners clubs are covered in grass stains. The bag is loosely resting in the back of the cart and his putter is mixed in with his driver and irons. The tear in his golf bag pocket dribbles balls every time your cart turns left.

When your cart partner introduces himself he likes to chit chat, seems to know a little bit about everything and everyone at the event and offers you  a  beer from the ice cold six pack he produces at 7:30 a.m. By the third Tee he has received five cell phone calls.

  • he likes to talk a lot, expect cell phone calls at all hours verse written communication
  • very social , will prefer work over lunches, nine holes after work with his buddies
  • may have a golf shirt on from your competitor when you meet next ( that’s a hint he wants one from you)
  • may show up to sign a purchase order without a pen, not organized
  • Do’s; be friendly, build relationship, show enthusiasm and energy, be a great listener
  • Don’t; be negative, dwell on details, or expect them to be on time or have picked up a pencil in the club house to keep score

Big Ben (Time keeper)

As you approach the fourth tee you are quietly informed by this golf partner you are trailing the appropriate course pace by 7 minutes and 15 seconds. This buyer has little if any emotion when dropping a 30 ft put or hitting a drive OB.

When he does speak it is very precise. He is most likely to have the satellite GPS and he will let you know you are 156.6 yards out. (That, .6 really helped in my club selection) You will notice they take a little extra time setting up for their tee shot and aligning their put. Chances are they viewed the putt from a variety of planes and angles before feeling comfortable to make the stroke. Their clubs are placed meticulously in order in labeled slots in their golf bag. Often times each club has its own unique head cover that is removed prior to each shot, and then returned to the club after the club has been cleaned.

  • you may want to not speak as often as they are comfortable in quiet
  • don’t expect chit chat, and never speak once they have stepped on the green
  • This is the guy who feels completely comfortable renting a cart and golfing alone Saturday mornings
  • Do’; be on time, be precise , expect them to read every proposal in detail and ask questions about the smallest detail
  • Don’t; don’t interrupt them, push or rush them, or make mistakes in your follow up
  • They like meetings and time in general well planed, and are comfortable to sit alone and complete their work
  • They prefer smaller groups
  • Their biggest fear is criticism of their work or mistakes

In summary,the game of golf is a strong indicator of someone’s overall values, attitudes and integrity. Golf can be a key tactic to support the strategy of getting to know your key buyers and how you can best interact with them and create a win-win.

Choose a buyer and schedule a round of golf and take note the type of golfer you spend the next four hours with.Let me know how you find their game relates to other experiences you have had with that buyer.

Tell me about any other buyer / golfer types?

Introducing the no smoke and mirriors approach to marketing and sales

The days of sales and marketing being two separate functions with independent performance indicators are over.

The buyers of today are better educated and have access to marketing created sales tools independent of their salesperson. The traditional sales funnel is now full of holes with customers and future customers coming and going at their leisure. Therefore sales models of the past are not working in the markets of today.

The paradigm of marketing and sales being two independent teams is a broken model.