A good friend of mine always said that success was earned, and that it's important to accept the fact that success normally carries a price.
When I work with my clients' sales teams I always inquire about their goals, actions and commitments that are aimed at achieving their objectives. What doesn't surprises me anymore is their inability to fully understand that there is a "price to pay." I am not suggesting that our lives should be so consumed with achieving success that all other facets of life are out of balance. Those of you who have taken my "Personal and Professional Pizza" assessment understand my focus on life balance; if you haven't take the assessment yet, view my "Gourmet Life" video here. More
Posted by Ken Thoreson on April 21, 2013 at 11:43 AM0 comments
This past week I had the opportunity to participate in what is called a "speakers showcase." Ten professional speakers had an opportunity to stand up in front of over 100 association managers and give a 15-minute program based upon their desired topic. My topic was "Gourmet Living: Building a Menu for Your Life!"
The real opportunity for me was being able to sit back and observe other speakers -- not only to hear their messages, but more importantly to see: More
Posted by Ken Thoreson on April 08, 2013 at 3:51 PM0 comments
The first quarter is over and sales leaders are capturing forecasts for the next two months -- and hopefully celebrating the achievement of their first-quarter results.
I am sure not everything has been smooth. After the last 90 days of working with a variety of clients and speaking at a variety of conferences, I've found that the odds of some "uneven" achievements and unexpected events are real. In one client's case, we didn't hire the salesperson we wanted. In another, a salesperson left without management knowing it would happen. And in another, the marketing campaigns didn't launch on time. More
Posted by Ken Thoreson on April 01, 2013 at 3:26 PM0 comments
As a sales manager, one of your responsibilities is to develop your sales team's professionalism. After reading Doug Lipp's Disney U: How the Disney University Develops the World's Most Engaged, Loyal, and Customer Centric Employees, you will come away with a notebook filled with ideas to improve your employee development. Lipp lived the Disney U experience and gives us the inside stories that back up the results.
The book provides you insights into the genius of Walt Disney, but also the other people in the organization who brought their vision and dedication to make Disney U an exciting and valuable part of the Disney organization. Each chapter breaks down various subjects with excellent summaries that you can turn into action steps for your own organization. While reading the book I picked up the various "mantras" that drove the development of Disney U. For example: More
Posted by Ken Thoreson on March 24, 2013 at 3:07 PM0 comments
Recently, during several coaching calls, I heard a common theme among comments -- either the prospective client was asking for some kind of discount or the salespeople were asking for some sort of promotional discount so "I can close the deal."
These comments always pop up during the last month of each quarter. Generally, this occurs because: More
Posted by Ken Thoreson on March 17, 2013 at 11:25 AM0 comments
It seems that every client I have worked with over the past 14 years has had a challenge creating enough leads driven through their sales teams. Does that sound familiar?
Last week, I was fortunate to read The Sales Winner's Handbook by Wendy Weiss, self-professed "queen of cold-calling." The book is subtitled "Essential Scripts and Strategies to Skyrocket Sales Performance." It delivers on that statement. More
Posted by Ken Thoreson on March 09, 2013 at 10:54 AM0 comments
I recently presented a webcast to a number of people on the topic of how to partner or work with other organizations that are non-competitive but sell to your existing market. I call these "business ecosystem partners." It is a tactic that executives can use to leverage expertise, resources and ability to grow their businesses.
During the program, I stated that if successfully implemented, the partnering program would bring in the equal of one salesperson's revenue/quota per year without the cost of hiring another salesperson. If you would like additional information on this topic send me an e-mail at Ken@AcumenMgmt.com. More
Posted by Ken Thoreson on March 06, 2013 at 4:04 PM0 comments
One of the main jobs of sales management is to help their salespeople see where they are in the sales opportunity. Are they early? Do they know what they need to know? Do they have an excellent strategy to close?
I like to think that a salesperson is a juggler, tossing x-number of opportunities in the air and the sales manager's job is to assist the salesperson on judging what opportunities to keep and which ones to toss away, and to providing ideas on how to work the selected ones. During a few recent client/consulting meetings, I realized that this remains an extremely important aspect of any salesperson's life -- as well as any sales manager's or president of any firm. Exceeding monthly sales objectives are the goals of the sales organization, especially the sales manager. What to do? More
Posted by Ken Thoreson on March 03, 2013 at 1:43 PM0 comments
Last week in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., I provided a closing keynote for an international association's annual conference. The program was based on a topic that has proven to be very popular: "Gourmet Living: Building a Menu for Life." During the same week, I spoke to a group in New York at its 2013 kick-off meeting -- that topic was: "Changing Environment Means Changing: A Plan for Success." In both cases, with different programs and certainly different audiences, the after-program conversations were identical.
It is normal for members of the audience to come up to me and make a few comments after a keynote. After both keynotes, everyone commented that they had been needing an uplift, new thoughts or simply a reminder of something they knew. These words hit me on the plane from Fort Lauderdale to Destin, Fla., where I have been taking some time off as well. At Destin, I monitored e-mail, attended a few conference calls and did some limited management coaching. I have also walked the beach, played golf, enjoyed friends and I am almost halfway through a fun book I am reading. More
Posted by Ken Thoreson on February 06, 2013 at 12:17 PM0 comments
On Sunday, I was reflecting on what might be a good topic for this week's sales management blog, when I realized the idea was right there in front of me. On Friday afternoon, one of my client's two new salespeople called me individually to practice making a telephone sales call and performing a sales discovery call. My client and I wanted to make sure the salespeople knew what questions to ask a prospective customer and if they could roleplay effectively. The salespeople have been going through our three-week new-hire training program, which is a prescriptive approach to ensuring new salespeople know everything from how to sell their company and their company's products/services, to how to use the copier and telephone system.
Next, on Monday morning, I led a client's sales meeting, where we discussed the concept of account planning and learned how to "cross-sell and up-sell" to increase their sales revenues. Each salesperson will create 10 Accounts Plans in the next two weeks. Tuesday, I am speaking at a sales kick-off meeting on the topic of "Changing Times Means changing Tactics." More
Posted by Ken Thoreson on January 29, 2013 at 11:51 AM0 comments
During the past few months, I have been consulting with several clients on a variety of issues and coaching others via our new "Acumen Project" (more on that later). In both environments I have begun to revert to a similar sales management technique to achieve the desired results. For this week's blog, I thought I should share this fundamental concept with you. If you are attempting to bring an increase in focus on weekly sales and activity and on exceeding your monthly sales goals, this idea will help you.
First, you should be using Acumen's Sales Meeting Template. When you get to the sales forecast section and opportunity discussion, note your monthly sales objective (for example, $250,000). You can either go to the "white board" or via Excel and a PC projector to do this. More
Posted by Ken Thoreson on January 21, 2013 at 12:01 PM0 comments
I woke up in rural Wisconsin on Christmas morning. When I peeked out the window of my mother-in-law's home it was seven-below on the thermometer. I grew up in rural Wisconsin -- that is how it is supposed to be on Christmas morning.
What do I mean by rural? Well, driving the last seven miles on a twisting county road during a blizzard means no plowing, drifting snow and no actual idea where the road was. Rural also means no cell phone coverage or e-mail connections unless I drove 15 miles to a McDonalds to find a wireless connection. More
Posted by Ken Thoreson on December 28, 2012 at 11:07 AM0 comments