Sales Wolf Blog

The Leadership Boom Is Making Sales Managers Stupid

Posted by Chris Young

Dec 17, 2014 9:30:00 AM

Tim Sanders recently penned a piece titled, Is the Leadership Boom Making Us Bad Managers?

Tim writes...  

"Over the last fifteen years, leadership programming has dominated training programs, bestseller lists and conference agendas. No one really wants to write or talk about management, as it lacks the allure of helping others become leaders...
But still, there's something eating away at me: Are we neglecting to train managers on what it takes to manage? Name a best selling book you've read on it lately. How about a general session keynote at a conference on management excellence?" 

I have been concerned about this for some time.

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Topics: Sales Management

Keep Tabs On Your Top Performers

Posted by Chris Young

Dec 5, 2014 11:33:30 AM

Are your top salespeople quietly unhappy? Do you have a star performer outside of sales considering a move where they will be loved more than they are currently?

Tasha Eurich's post titled "Eight Enduring Lessons I Learned From My Clients in 2014" hooked my attention - particularly number 6 - Keep Tabs On Your Performers.  

Eurich offers sage advice that you must hear.  Stop what you are doing and focus on her words.  She shares:

"I am always amazed at how surprised some executives are when star performers leave. Smart executives understand that since their superstars are being actively recruited, they must keep tabs on how they’re doing. You can’t be so removed from their day-to-day reality that it’s a surprise when you learn that they weren’t happy. Also, their resignation letter is not a signal to negotiate. At that point, you’ve already lost them. For your best employees, you have to stay involved in their world. Conduct, or ask their manager to conduct, regular “stay interviews” that head off any retention issues as they arise."

I could not have said it better myself.  


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Topics: Sales Management

How The Best Salespeople Sabotage Their Own Potential

Posted by Chris Young

Dec 2, 2014 10:30:00 AM

The best salespeople often sabotage their own potential.

If you are like me, you play to win.  It is hard-coded in your DNA.  Losing is not something you take lightly.  

Do you use your word against yourself?  Do you say things like, "Sometimes I am so stupid" or "I suck"?

Sounds insignificant, doesn't it?  I often hear people proclaim, "I am hardest on myself."  It is almost like a badge of honor. 

Negative self talk should not be a badge of honor.  

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Topics: Sales Performance

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

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Can You Sell Like Don Draper?