Creativity...It's a Sales Thing!

There is no question about it. Top performers are more creative that your average salespeople. They seem to come up with unique ideas to prospect, find ways to enhance client relationships and close more effectively. Sales leadership requires creativity as well -- sales managers that are exceeding sales quotas, hiring and developing their teams and building a sales culture require huge levels of a creativity quotient. More

Posted by Ken Thoreson on June 22, 20101 comments

Changes in Selling or Sales Management?

Living in the Southeast where football is a lifestyle, the radio sports talk shows and the newspapers sports pages are covered with discussions regarding the changing PAC 10, Big 12 and even Nebraska going to the Big 10 and the potential impact on the SEC. The changes that could occur impact TV, basketball and all non-revenue sports, and as expected-there are opinions on all three sides of each issue.  Change is always a good word when attempting to gain interest in any subject and last week I was reading a LinkedIn discussion group that was discussing how social media has changed selling and sales management.

As someone who usually has an opinion on most subjects, I jumped into the discussion. While  not being aggressive in my comments, I simply pointed out that selling has an emotional, technical and strategic element. Many authors or sales trainers have put multiple spins on each of these aspects in an attempt to create unique messaging for their programs.  However I claimed the fundamentals are still the same.  There is no question social media has allowed salespeople greater insights into their prospect's backgrounds and potential leveraged relationships, but the execution of that knowledge is still the important aspect of selling.


Posted by Ken Thoreson on June 14, 20100 comments

No Regrets: A Do-Over at 25,000 Feet

After working on my keynote, I had plenty of time to reflect as we flew over South Dakota and into Montana. First, it has been great to hear from many of  you who have enjoyed our many blog accounts on sales leadership, motivation and sales training ideas.  I plan to continue to offer my thoughts, concepts and tools to assist you in building high performance sales organizations.


Posted by Ken Thoreson on May 11, 20100 comments

Sales Leadership, Marketing and Social Media

As sales leaders, we must all seek to understand new approaches, current technologies and how marketing and sales execution must work in conjunction to exceed our revenue goals. I have found two quality sites that I would recommend you review on an ongoing basis -- as I do -- to keep current.

If you are in selling in a B2B business, then B2B Marketing zone is a great resource.


Posted by Ken Thoreson on May 06, 20101 comments

Be Prepared

I'm a former Boy Scout camp counselor and I was recently invited to a reunion. We hold them every two years to honor a man that was a mentor. For those who have heard me speak at events, you know about Sam. He impacted the lives of thousands in Wisconsin, but he has impacted others throughout the world with his energy, leadership and friendship. But this blog is not about Sam, but the invitation.


Posted by Ken Thoreson on April 28, 20100 comments

Growth, Value Partners in Success

Building your business requires both leadership and management. The first step in that journey is understanding the difference between the two. Leadership is the ability to make things happen by encouraging and channeling others' contributions, addressing important issues and acting as a catalyst for change and continuous improvement. Management is the skill of attaining predefined objectives with others' cooperation and effort.


Posted by Ken Thoreson on April 22, 20100 comments

Do Over

Over the past few months I have written often on the impact of emotion in the role of sales leadership and as a salesperson during the sales process. This time, I am taking a slightly different viewpoint: you as an individual, and your personal life.

In the role of sales management, here's a coaching technique I recommend: After every face-to-face sales call and after every sales training session at your office, you should ask that person, "If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently -- if anything?" The purpose is for the salesperson to self-critique first before you provide your insights. The real secret in building a self-managed sales team is for you to train your salespeople to personally use this coaching technique when you are not with them -- so that it becomes a daily self-improvement, self-check system for each salesperson.


Posted by Ken Thoreson on April 16, 20100 comments

Execution: The Magic of Sales Leadership

"There is no magic!" Oh, really? We hear grand stories from many organizations -- stories of new business strategies, exciting marketing concepts and sales programs designed to accomplish corporate objectives. Then initiatives are defined, people assigned and six months later...nothing. The cycle of frustration continues. Nothing has changed.

Sales leaders must understand that if they fail to show progress on planned commitments or display a lack of attention to detail, the sales team will pick up on that behavior, and that will translate to their sales performance. Sales calls are no longer crisp, activity levels drop off and negative attitudes build up.


Posted by Ken Thoreson on March 09, 20100 comments

Celebrating Celebration

If you're a University of Tennessee fan, you had plenty to celebrate this past weekend: The men's basketball team beat the No. 2 team in the U.S. (the rivals from the University of Kentucky), and then the Lady Vols won their league title. Being big fans, we decided to take 16 big, rocket fireworks and blow them up after dark. We laughed, had fun and enjoyed the color and noise.


Posted by Ken Thoreson on March 01, 20102 comments

March Already?

If you've received an e-mail from me, most likely you've noticed my signature line: "Looking Forward." That wording has multiple purposes. First, looking forward is a positive statement. And two, looking forward is also a reminder to stay focused on a goal and your plans.

As a sales leader, you must be consistently looking forward to ensure all your plans and programs are well-designed and ready to activate and that your metrics/dashboard pipeline values are within acceptable levels.


Posted by Ken Thoreson on February 22, 20100 comments

Selling the Emotion

During this past weekend, I attended the National Speakers Association conference in Nashville. But instead of speaking, I actually went to the breakout sessions, chatted in the hallways and listened to the keynotes. It was an amazing learning experience; in four days, I was exposed to concepts and methods to make my keynote more effective and more meaningful to attendees -- including the two hours I spent with Max Dixon learning how to create and tell a story.


Posted by Ken Thoreson on February 16, 20100 comments

Finding Positives Is a Must

Amazing -- we're already two weeks into the second month of the year. As 2010 moves along, sales and executive management will become engrossed in managing the numbers and actions designed to ensure quotas are achieved. This is essential to building a prescriptive methodology for a business.

While I've written much about discipline, accountability and control and the importance of finding your own formula for success, today I'm looking for your ideas on something else.


Posted by Ken Thoreson on February 09, 20100 comments