Sales Wolf Blog

Are Your Salespeople Motivated Like Don Draper? (Part 3 of 5)

Posted by Chris Young

Nov 20, 2014 9:30:00 AM

This is part 3 of a 5 part blog series on How to Know If You are Hiring A Don Draper Salesperson.

My first 100 sales hires sucked

Do you ever recall the past and remember things better than they really were? I like to think I was 40 percent successful in my early days of hiring salespeople, which is not great...  but it was likely closer to 15 percent.  

I was horrible.  

One early sales-hire seemingly showed a lot of promise.  I thought I did my homework on him. I scrutinized his past work history. When I checked his references, they passed him off as a gladiator.  When I flew out to meet him, he said all the right things.  He had past sales experience that appeared strong.  

Was I ever wrong.  The first sign  was when I could hear his children in the background on a conference call with a Prospect. Can you hear "Twilight Zone" music playing loudly like I can right now?

When I eventually fired him, it was almost a relief for him.   

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Topics: Sales Performance

Show me a good loser and I will show you a loser

Posted by Chris Young

Nov 13, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Vince Lombardi said it best...  "Show me a good loser and I will show you a loser." 

Losers are brilliant at losing.  They take it in stride.  They expect to lose.  

Keenan - A Sales Guy recently wrote a post titled "Why Sales People Aren't Supposed To Win Every Sale"

I encourage you to read his post.  

I have been following Keenan for some time.  I get what I believe he is ultimately trying to say...  "The best expect to win every deal that creates substantial value for the buyer and walk away from everyone that doesn't."

But how he gets to that point concerns me.  Keenan argues that salespeople are not supposed to win every sale and if that is the attitude they have in selling, as a manager or as a sales person, they are a "shitty" salesperson.  


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Topics: Sales Culture

Do Your Salespeople Behave Like Don Draper? (Part 2 of 5)

Posted by Chris Young

Nov 5, 2014 10:00:00 AM

This is part 2 of a five part blog series on How to Know If You are Hiring A Don Draper Salesperson.

Posers lose when they compete against real Don Draper salespeople. 

A couple of years ago we were brought in to help a Sales VP who had absolutely no business being a Sales VP. He had been promoted because he had "put in his time" and he was a good friend of the prior CEO.  

This company had a powerful reputation and brand in the region.  They were the "go-to" company that had served the region for decades.  Their brand sold far more than any salesperson ever did.  The sales team were order takers posing as salespeople (posers) and added very little value to the sale.  

The posers in this company were fat and happy;  they were accustomed to getting most sales just by asking for it. They had mastered the art of taking credit for making a sale when they were really just order takers.  And they felt entitled because like their predecessors - they had put in their time.  

Then the region began to experience some changes.  New competition entered the market.  Companies came in and offered real value through their Don Draper salespeople, while our Client's Sales VP maintained the strategy that had worked for him in the past; rewarding order takers who had put in their time.  

The outcome was predictable.  It was a bloodbath for our Client.   

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Topics: Hiring Salespeople

How to Know If You Are Hiring A Don Draper Salesperson

Posted by Chris Young

Oct 24, 2014 11:37:00 AM

Love him or hate him, Don Draper can sell like few others. His character represents selling excellence - the embodiment of true freak-level selling ability.  and while Don Draper is a fictional character, my experience suggests that the potential he represents is very, very real.  

When a top-performing outside salesperson is needed, artisan CEOs, sales managers, and companies should only hire outside salespeople "wired" like Don Draper.  


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Topics: Hiring Salespeople

Steve Jobs and the Power of Focus

Posted by Chris Young

Oct 16, 2014 12:00:00 PM

 If I am to be the artisan that I intend to be, I must become focused.  Not more focused, but FOCUSED.

Steve Jobs considered Jony Ive to be his "spiritual partner at Apple."  Ive was recently interviewed at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit, and he was asked about three life lessons he learned from Steve Jobs, he offered some of the most sage advice that I have ever heard:   

  1. Focus.  Truly focus.

  2. Say, "No," to something that you think is a phenomenal idea.

  3. Stop being vain. Vanity destroys focus.


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Topics: Sales Management

Why The Wolf Of Wall Street Is Dead Wrong About "Sell Me This Pen"

Posted by Chris Young

Oct 8, 2014 9:30:00 AM

Martin Scorsese's 2013 black comedy, "The Wolf of Wall Street", featuring Leonardo DiCaprio as the infamous stock-broker and salesman, Jordan Belfort, contains a classic "Sell me this pen" sales lesson scenario. Unfortunately the ability to rehearse and answer this popular sales interview question makes it a poor indicator of future selling success.

"Sell me this pen," does NOT accurately measure true selling potential.

  1. The ability for astute sales candidates to prepare for this interview question calls into serious question the predictability of selling skills potential.  
  2. The question does not represent a typical sales scenario
  3. Asking, "Sell me this pen," is more about a power trip for the questioner than identifying future sales ability.

I get it. The point of "sell me this pen" is to ascertain how a sales candidate will sell the pen - are they consultative or not. And if this scenario was not so painfully popular, it could be brilliant, sometimes.  

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Topics: Hiring Salespeople

Stop Being A Pinocchio Sales Leader

Posted by Chris Young

Oct 2, 2014 10:39:00 AM

Are you a "Pinocchio Sales Leader", wasting time, energy, and resources due to your belief that every salesperson has potential?

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Topics: Sales Management

Should Your Problem Child Salesperson Work For Your Competitor?

Posted by Chris Young

Sep 26, 2014 11:48:00 AM

Many companies hold on to their "problem child" salespeople for far, far too long.  And I have heard many a "problem child" salesperson directly threaten or imply, "If I am not appreciated here, I will go work for our top competitor."

I often find myself wanting to say, "I will drive you there myself."

The real question is... Is your "problem child" salesperson a true "sales wolf"?

When should you let your "problem child" salesperson go work for you competitor depends on whether or not the "problem child" is a true "sales wolf".  A true "sales wolf" has the capacity to sell in the top 20th percentile on a consistent basis. A true "sales wolf" adds extreme value to the Customer through their counsel.

Let's define "problem child".  In my travels, I have met many a "problem child" salespeople.  

A "problem child" salesperson is essentially a prima donna who really does not deserve to act like one.  

  • They believe the company would fail without them.  

  • They believe their value is far higher than it actually is. 

  • They often lean closer to the Customer than to the company. 

  • They believe that past deeds performed five, ten, or twenty years ago merit permanent employment status.  

  • And they often mistreat others in the company to "serve the Customer".  

The problem child salesperson comes in three categories. The first of the three categories need to be immediately encouraged to work for the competition.  

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Topics: Sales Culture

The Worst Thing You Can Do to a High Performing Account Manager

Posted by Chris Young

Sep 9, 2014 1:39:16 PM

The worst thing you can do to a high-performing account manager is promote them.  

Have you ever promoted a rock star account manager to outside sales only to see them crash and burn within six to twelve months?

A good account manager does not always make a good outside salesperson nor a good sales manager.

Recently a Client wanted to know if a high-performing account manager would make a good outside salesperson.  They wanted to reward a high performer.  This account manager was doing a fantastic job managing existing accounts.  In fact, they were even increasing sales per account.  

From experience, my Client knew exactly how I would respond.  

"Let's assess them and know for certain," I said.  

Guessing is for losers...

When it comes to identifying top sales performers, guessing is for losers.  "Get it" executives and sales managers never hire nor promotes a salesperson without ensuring they pass the hiring scorecard and in particular - meet the job benchmark criteria identified by our sales personality aptitude test. 

In other words, the high performer must fit the needs of the job they are being promoted into.  No exceptions. 

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Topics: Sales Management

Don Draper's Four Rules of Selling

Posted by Chris Young

Sep 5, 2014 9:43:00 AM

Mad Men's Don Draper is a "get its, get it".  Thanks to Oren Klaff's brilliant book, Pitch Anything, I am now a fan.  If you have not yet read Pitch Anything, I highly recommend you do so.

The traits that make Don Draper successful include:

  • An insatiable desire to win.
  • Solid business acumen.
  • Ability to take action.
  • A rare ability to see what others will never see.  

I have met many "Don Drapers" in my career. Companies with ten to twenty salespeople are lucky if they have one on their sales team.   

The good news is you can hire salespeople who are "wired" like Don Draper if you use the only sales personality and aptitude test with validity backed by brain research.  If you hire more salespeople like Don Draper and follow his selling approach, you will make a LOT more money and solve more Customer problems than you currently do.  

Whether you are in marketing or sales, I highly recommend watching Mad Men.  Don Draper has learned what works and what does not work.  As a result, his sales strategy is extremely obvious and effective.  

  • Only Sell To Believers
  • Want It All
  • Never Be Needy 
  • Nothing Is Free

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Topics: Sales Culture

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Can You Sell Like Don Draper?