Archive for the ‘Keynote Programs’ Category

Why 2017 Can Be Your Best Year Ever!

January 2nd, 2017

Life Enrichment: Why 2017 Can Be Your Best Year Ever!

Individually, at parties and in the news,  questions of New Year’s Resolutions are one of the major topics, recently I posted the following notes on my Facebook page, the post received many “likes and comments’ from a variety of connected friends:

May everyone and I mean everyone, enjoy the new year, enjoy your friends, make new ones, enjoy your experiences, create new and different ones, and as I was trained as a Boy Scout, always leave the campsite better than when you arrived…Life Enrichment should be our focus, living together with harmony, not divide our purpose. Vow to help someone else have a better life.

In a short post I tried to highlight specific actions that as a society and specifically individuals we can all do to “heal” our society but just importantly to ensure you enjoy a better life as well.  In many of my keynote programs I focus on Life Enrichment as a theme. Simply this means by taking positives actions a person can more fully enjoy both their Personal Lives as well as their Professional Lives. This balance of professional/personal life brings a better sense of success that leads to a better life, I call this Gourmet Living.

First, in my post I encouraged everyone to enjoy the year, drop the anger or craziness of the election, it’s bad for your health, tough on your friends and will bring a negative atmosphere to your life. Learn to enjoy the time you have with your friends, laugh, make time for a breakfast/lunch just to talk and develop deeper relationships.

Second, make new friends, expand your network of business/friends and enhance your contact with old friends.  Recently because of two boy hood friends and their current professional lives, I was in a position to help a younger women move forward in her life with a goal of impacting five new lives.  New people may bring you different experiences and perspectives that may broaden your life.  Reach out to open a dialogue at any chance you have;  yesterday at the Lady VOLs basketball game I had an ongoing conversation about the game with the Usher, it was fun and his insights to the team made the game more interesting.  (They won too!)

Third, leave your campsite in better shape, this has become a major mantra for me, perhaps as I reach my current age I have reflected more on life, but I would like to believe it’s a mantra I have attempted to always promote. Work on improving your local community, your church/organizations that impact others, take care of the environment, and mentor a younger person, whatever-volunteer.  I recently read it will make you live longer, make you more healthy, and happy.

A friend of my recently wrote a blog on the “One Person That Impacted My Life in 2016” I think it was a fabulous idea, today is a good day for you to reflect on that thought, name that person and thank them, make them aware of your feelings and then go make 2017 Your Best Year Ever!

A few simple thoughts at the start of our new year I hope you enjoy.

BTW: In February we will launch “SLAMMED! For the first time Sales Manager, this 8 week online boot camp is based upon my last book. We will cover all the aspects of sales leadership, from recruiting, compensation,  leadership, training/coaching, management systems, etc.…I will be using our online video training series, workbooks, discussions and personalized dialogue. If you wish to learn more, send me an email

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

Ken

 

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 19 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the fourth year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2016. His blog has been rated in the sales blogs in the world!

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

3 Secrets to Success from John Wooden

October 3rd, 2016

Three Secrets to Success from John Wooden

 

Last week I was in Chicago keynoting an international association’s sales conference, in preparation I had been making notes and clipping interesting ideas from a variety of sources, one of them was Success magazine.  The specific article covered a young coach, Dale Brown meeting with John Wooden, the Hall of Fame UCLA basketball.

After a full day of discussing a wide variety of topics around becoming a major college head basketball coach John Wooden said at the very end of day that Dale could have saved LSU a lot of money in travel expenses because there are just only three secrets. John went on; the three things that I am going to tell you are fairly simple if you want to be successful. Anyone that has read any articles or books by John Wooden, as I have, would have to read the balance of the article as his ideas are golden.

As a Sales Leader or Executive these 3 secrets will also help propel your sales organization to the next level.  In Chicago I took each bullet and discussed the specific actions sales management must implement to execute on each element.

First: make certain you always have better players than anybody you play. This is pretty obvious to readers of this blog or have purchased my book “Recruiting High Performance Sales Teams”. One of my recommendations is to analyze each of your salespeople, are they Deadwood, Learners, Good for Now, High Achievers.  Decide who to keep, who not to and build a recruiting process that ensures higher quality people. HINT: for every one person you hire, you need to interview five.

Second: make certain those better players put the team above themselves. This was the majority of my program that I called the Effect of Emotional Leadership, Sales Leaders must build a culture of team, of belief in the company/products/services and a focus on team accountability.  This action can start with sales games, hearing customer success stories, sales compensation plans as well as genuine conversations.  Top performing sales managers have the ability to communicate with positive vision, personal awareness and openness.

Third: don’t be a coaching genus, don’t give your players too much information, always practice simplicity with constant repetition. This secret I thought was very interesting as most sales managers either don’t train enough or train very poorly on sales skills, sales operations or product/industry information. The balance of Sales Managers probably train too much early in the salesperson’s life and then fail to reinforce effectively. What I stressed in Chicago is what I think Mr. Wooden meant-figure out what needs to be done during the sales process/sales call, effectively map it, describe it as to why it should be done and how it should be done and then focus your training on those actions and then practice often.

Just this weekend the University of Tennessee won a football game against the University of Georgia during the last 4 seconds of the game with a Hail Mary play. (A Hail Mary play is when you have 3 receivers run to one spot in the end zone and the Quarterback throws the ball hoping someone catches it, this week it was for 43 yards!) Tennessee’s coach Butch Jones was quoted after the game that they have practiced that play every week for three years and this was the first time he has used it! It worked when then needed it.

John Wooden is a legend in basketball, he was a master teacher and mentor to many. If you have not read his book I highly recommend it.

Build your sales organization around these rules and perhaps you will become a legend as well. If you have further questions or want to discuss other concepts from the Chicago presentation please reach out.  Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

 

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 19 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the fourth year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015. His blog has been rated in the sales blogs in the world!

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

 

The 4 Letter Word in Success

August 25th, 2016

The 4 Letter Word in Success

How successful can I really be? People ask me that all the time, my normal response is: Do you know what it takes?

I have worked with thousands of individuals over the many years at Acumen Management Group; a wide variety of salespeople, managers, entrepreneurs and corporate teams.

With all of those contacts you can imagine I have seen many levels of successful and unsuccessful individuals.  I have thought a lot and read a lot about the reasons for why people experience differing levels of either personal or professional success. In my analysis I like to break groups of people into two categories:

  1. A) Those that possessed levels of talent that should have allowed them to take advantage of it to succeed
  2. B) Those that did not have talent but who worked incredibly hard, with long hours and had commitment

However we all know that people with talent can fail and people with hunger or drive and lacking in talent can fail as well.  We also know that talented individuals can experience success as well as those individuals who worked hard to earn success.

As I thought about these two groups (success and non-success) and various levels of failure I had to ask: what is the missing ingredient between those individuals who did not achieve a level of success and those that did?

As many of you know who regularly read my blog and  during my keynote programs I speak often about creating a Menu for Your Life and what recipes are important for success, I breakdown  everything into a recipe.  I believe the missing ingredient in the groups that were not considered successful, and those with talent that were successful and those lacking in talent with a hunger or drive for success and who did succeed is a 4 letter word.  They possessed the will to succeed.

This 4 letter word is a key ingredient not only important to understand but to activate.  As a Sales Manager or in anyone in a leadership position creating this passion to succeed must exist to build a personal or professional success for yourself or any team.

Activating this inter drive or will can be the secret to unlocking your potential. Clearly it can come from a variety of stimulations and experiences based upon a person’s environment.

Taste it.  There maybe exposure to what success “tastes like”, a small dab of emotional success and a will to have more can be generated.  As a manager these are the actions to take to create a sense of reward and the types of reward can either be for each individual experiences or as a team.

Celebrations are important. As an individual there maybe a series of small steps, much like a ladder, that lead to what the person considers success-use each step in your path as a reason to celebrate. Reinforce the emotional connection.

Visualize it.  Much has been written about the power of visualization, I like to believe this consistent mind power can reinforce anyone’s will to succeed.  As a leader, providing a vision to your teams are a Critical Success Factor as well.

Certainly goals are important but an inner will to achieve those goals must be incorporated into your overall plan.   Let me know your thoughts and what has generated your will to win.

 

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 19 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015. His blog has been rated in the sales blogs in the world!

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

Life Enrichment: Using your talents to make a difference

August 3rd, 2016

Life Enrichment:  Using Your Talent to Make a Difference

As Sales Leaders or as anyone, creating a positive life for yourself begins by focusing on others; in my keynote programs I describe how during my work on improving the professionalism of sales managers, we actually began to focus impacting their personal lives as well.  This balance of personal and professional life actually ended up being the real difference in the overall levels of success of the individuals we have worked with during the past 20 years.

I have written in my blog and spoken about Life Enrichment often but a recent article in my local newspaper touched me and made me think about a this idea: using your talent to make a difference might be obvious but in my day to day travel schedule I see and talk to hundreds of people who are simply walking through life vs experiencing life to its fullest.

In the newspaper article it detailed the story about a local women that was a professional writer who connected with a local hospice and offered to interview people at the end of their lives and write their story. She would take her notes from the interviews and prepare a document that formally expressed their thoughts, as expected the stories varied from regrets, loves, experiences and philosophical messages to remember them by after they past.  The story described that the women sometimes actually read her story about the person at their funeral services.  The part that I found extremely interesting was how her experiences have now led  her to speak to various groups about her stores but in reality her story is how her exposure to all of these people and their lives have touched her in an unexpected  and positive ways.

As writers we all desire acceptance and awareness regarding our work, in this story the women described that as her outer awareness dropped because of her hospice writing a focus on others lives, the women began to achieve an inner acceptance.   This is a cornerstone in Life Enrichment. Her overall life began to turn to a positive force and all the other pieces of life began to fit together.

So the questions are:

  • What talents do you have?
  • Whose lives can you impact?
  • When will you start?

With all the challenges, problems and general unhappiness and frustration in the world today, I would suggest it’s time for a positive life force changing action to take place.  Agree?  I would enjoy reading your comments regarding this idea.

 

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 19 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015. His blog has been rated in the sales blogs in the world!

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

 

Life Enrichment: Is your campsite in better shape than before you arrived?

April 26th, 2016

Life Enrichment: Is your campsite in better shape than before you arrived?

 

If you are not familiar with the question posed above it’s a mantra from my Boy Scout days and training. Whether you are a Sales Manager that regularly reads this blog or any other job role I wanted to raise this topic as I see this as a major question in our world today.  During my keynote programs I sometimes use this question to make a point and if there are Boy Scouts in the audience they get it immediately.

First let me explain the question, under the Boy Scout understanding, when you ever arrive at a campsite it should be in good condition but what is the most important is you leave the campsite in better condition that when you arrived. Is it cleaner? Is the campfire/rocks appropriate? Is there firewood set aside for the next campers? Etc.

Second, what does that question mean for you?  In my connotation I would ask you:  are you leaving this world in a better shape than before you arrived?  Obviously, individually we might not have an impact on the world stage, but we have the opportunity to impact the lives of an individual, the community we live in or the people we interact with on daily-weekly basis. It does not have to be something huge or widely recognized. It becomes an attitude with action.

Life Enrichment is about you creating an environment where you feel fulfilled. In my keynote program I often talk about this as a Gourmet Life. For example; last week I had the privilege of interviewing nine high school students for our church scholarship program, during the interview several students spoke about their lives outside of school.  Two spoke openly about their church program where they raised money (washing cars/selling donuts) and then randomly they would walk into a grocery store and pay for someone’s groceries, lunch for the car behind in a drive-in or a shopper at the local Walmart. These teen agers were learning the inner feeling of what it is like to focus on giving back and making their campsite/community a better place.

This past weekend, I helped organize a golf tournament and community fund raiser for our volunteer fire department. We had 100 people golfing, a live auction and other fun ideas to help our fire dept. sustain itself and to help protect our lives.  We had over 55 people working on the committee to help pull off the event, all had differing levels of responsibilities, and everyone pitched in with a smile.  After the event I had a lot of comments about how positive the fund raiser was and while we raised a lot of money the real winners became the people who participated. Lots of laughs, handshakes, new relationships and a higher level of communication between everyone, but also a good personal feeling about making something positive and giving back to the community.

To me that is an enriched life is all about and our campsite/community became a little bit better.

What is your plan this quarter to make your campsite a little bit better? I would enjoy your comments on what everyone is doing to make this world a better place.

  

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 18 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015.

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

Sales Leadership: Why Winners Win!

March 24th, 2016

Sales Leadership Thoughts:  Why Winners Win!

Salespeople must be trained on the emotional elements of success at the same level that they are trained in pure sales skills training.

Last week after speaking at a conference a person mentioned to me she really enjoyed the topic; Why Winners Win.   It is one of my favorite parts of the keynote and the four points I make wrap up many of the beliefs I hold, so I thought I would share them with you today

The first element is: Winners Create Optimism.   One reason is they dare to dream what others can’t imagine.  In the past sociologists told us that you needed talent or hunger to succeed and win.  There was a study done of highly talented individuals and those people who worked extremely hard (hunger) that never became successful and those highly successful talented or hard working (hunger) individuals.  The result was the groups that were successful had an additional ingredient: optimism, not a simple happy go lucky feeling, but a real attitude that good things will happen. The secret to this ingredient is you can develop it. Work on the positives of life.

The second element is: they recognize fear as opportunity.  Winners aren’t immune to fear, but instead of stopping them, the go with it.  They treat fear as a signal and push through to experience new heights of living. Feel the fear-do it anyway!

The third is: they build dreams.  Winners can visualize, they create of the image of their dream into reality.  Our dreams shape us and we can’t do what we can’t imagine, people who get what they want often figure out what that is by letting their ambitions soar instead of censoring them before they emerge. Winners hang on to dreams…they are self fulfilling prophecy; positive illusions promote the capacity to productive work and a successful life.

The fourth action is: Winners reduce frustrations.   Winners focus on what will go right, not what will go wrong, losers see the sand traps around every green, winners see only the greens—go for the pin!   Remember that past frustrations build anxiety, while we must recognize frustration, it is a healthy by product of working towards your goals/dreams. Frustrations are simply steps to achievement.

Keep reading:  Two great books to keep your mind on track.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz

My blog on Creating Intensity is also focused on the emotional aspects of sales leadership and sales team performance.

I hope these ideas will begin to make your week, month and year terrific!  Remember to build a Gourmet Life! Put the right ingredients in place and your Menu for Life will guide you to a highly successful and happy life.

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 18 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015.

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

10 Sales Kick-Off Meeting Idea’s

December 21st, 2015

Sales Leadership: Ten 2016 Sales Kick-off Meeting Idea’s

 While working with a client last week it became obvious that we are moving into the time to finalize 2016 budgets, compensation plans and something most sales managers don’t take enough in developing their 2016 Sales Kick Off meeting.

Already many larger organizations are booking their sales conferences for the first quarter where they will invite their sales teams, vendors, resellers/partners to hear plans to make 2016 the “best year ever”. Keynote speakers, breakout sessions, new marketing plans and product demonstrations will all be coordinated to increase enthusiasm, salesperson belief and excitement that the New Year will bring.  I know this because I am already booked for five events already.  However just because larger organizations are planning their formal conferences, it doesn’t mean a smaller sales organization shouldn’t plan a Kick-Off event.

A New Year sales kick-off meeting can be organized as an off-site/overnight 2 day program or as simply as a ¾ to a ½ day event. You should schedule them no later than mid-February and many firms will hold a mid-year event as well. However the basics of any sales kickoff event should include the following planning ideas. These idea’s are not in order of priority.

  1. A theme for the New Year. This should be a positive statement of your major objectives and something that can be reinforced throughout the year. “Be Brilliant on the Basics” is only one example.
  2. Include time for sales training on sales skills and hand out a sales training book that will be your first quarter “must read”. You can use the book for extended sales training during your meetings. HINT: Roll out your first quarter sales training plans.
  3. Announce a first quarter sales contest. (see previous blogs for ideas)
  4. Announce a 2016 yearly sales contest, this should be a big prize for exceeding the salesperson’s quota. Examples include: a trip to a resort, a cruise or a trip to an island. Remember these kinds of incentive programs are not expenses but paid out of incremental revenues/profits. Your announcement should include pictures of the location, etc. See my book: Creating High Performance Sales Compensation Plans, for idea’s on sales contests. www.AcumenManagement.com
  5. Describe and show your marketing plans for the first six months-at least. This will show the salespeople how your organization is planning to support the sales team.
  6. Schedule the president of your company to give a short message on his/her philosophy on sales and the culture of your organization.
  7. You may or may not announce your new compensation plan at this event, it all depends upon the degree of change you are making. With minor changes, it’s a great time, with major changes schedule a separate meeting. HINT: Do not roll out the new compensation plan as the last topic of the meeting, schedule early in the afternoon, if your event is a full day meeting.
  8. Make sure you make the meeting fun!   As the sales leader work on activities that create the right culture and teamwork.
  9. Spend time having each salesperson presents their “Business Plans” for the first half of the year. Based upon the number of salespeople this can be done by breakouts into regions, smaller groups or as a single group. These business plans include not only forecasts but personal commitments to activity levels and professional growth.
  10. Bring in an outside speaker. This could include a customer telling their satisfaction with your firm, a sales trainer or a motivational message that propels your team to excellence.

This is your time to bring a coordinated program that set’s the tone for the New Year. Make sure you take the time to do it right.

What additional ideas do you have to make your Kick-Off special?

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 17 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015.

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog: www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

 

If you had it to do over again?

December 2nd, 2015

If you had it to do over again; what would you do differently-if anything?

Self Help for Salespeople

Every high performing salesperson and sales leader most likely has used this phrase to increase their professionalism.  Have you?  During the past 18 years of working with  and training sales managers around the world  this phrase is one of the most powerful lessons I believe we pass on to our clients, but it leads to additional unexpected benefits as well.

First, this phrase must be used by the sales manager on a regular basis; after every sales call they make with their sales team members and after every role play situation in their sales training meetings. Its purpose? It really has multiple purposes or results; 1) after a sales call it allows the manager to create a dialogue with the salesperson regarding the performance of the salesperson during the sales call and it allows the salesperson to also critique themselves before the sales manager offers their insights. One of the other benefits is during a sales training classroom situation. Using this phrase allows the salesperson to critique themselves prior to the sales manager asking the other participating salespeople for their reactions to the role play-before the manager provides their ideas. This group focus increases the use and redundancy of using this important coaching tool.

I have asked this question after many on-site sales calls, I have had salespeople tell me they thought the call went well except for something minor, when in reality they had not developed rapport, trust or closed the call without next steps—even after using our Pre-Call Planning Checklist! However after using the phrase over a period of time during our consulting engagement, we begin to see self-corrections and better insights into call preparation and sales call execution. It’s the attention to detail that is critical in improving performance.

Why all the attention of using this phrase so often and consistently? The reason is simple, most sales managers are not on every sales call! Consequently the objective for the manager is to drive into the salesperson to ask themselves after every sales call or customer interaction:  if I had it to do over again, what would I do differently-if anything?  This self-reflection is a must if you are going to create a self-managed and increasingly higher performing sales team.  Only through immediate review and correction can a professional continue to improve their skills and learn how to increase their personal effectiveness.

This is the pay-off for the sales manager-creating salespeople that are independent of their sales manager and that are self- improving.  These are the keys to building predictable revenue.

Let me switch to the second purpose of this question.  I use this phrase as an opener  in one of my keynote programs, I describe that training and consulting on sales management issues has allowed me to see how increasing the professionalism/success of salespeople and sales leaders  sometimes  increased their levels of personal success.  This balance between personal and professional levels of performance is the long term critical success factor.

I ask my audiences to evaluate their lives using the same question and then I say: while we can’t relive our lives we can change the way we live our lives.

In my many years of business life, the individuals who live their lives with a focus on creating a fulfilling experience are the ones that win in the end.  Ask yourself about your life, if you had it to do over again; what would you do differently-if anything?  As a sales professional you have the opportunity to impact the lives of those around you-beyond what you sell- but you first must be in control of your life. We have found that those individuals who are not in life-balance burn out, become ineffective or simply cannot connect on a personal level and achieve higher levels of success.

In my keynote I use a “Personal Pizza” and a “Professional Pizza” assessment tool each having 8 slices and I ask each person to rate themselves on a scale of 1-7 on each slice. Each slice represents one aspect of professional/personal life. This helps everyone see where they are in the professional/personal continuum.  (If you want copy of this assessment send me an email:  Ken@AcumenMgmt.com)

Focusing on improvement takes making a commitment but it’s the difference between being a professional and being an amateur:

A professional has a commitment to a calling…the education, training, and expertise that an amateur does not have. This commitment to become a true professional is a key to differentiating yourself in the marketplace.

Which are you?

If you had it to do over again; what would you do differently-if anything?

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 17 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015.

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

If It Isn’t Fun, It isn’t Selling!!!

March 16th, 2015

If It Isn’t Fun, It isn’t Selling!!!

Last week I was in Arizona speaking at a conference, during my program I used the phrase: If it isn’t fun, it isn’t selling!, and the reaction I received was interesting.  Most of the comments seemed surprised or somewhat taken aback as I discussed the topic, others were curious as to how to have fun during the sales cycle.

I have to confess,  I have somewhat borrowed  that phrase from Sam Hagerman, Camp Director at my old Boy Scout camp, Camp Decorah; his mantra was: “if it isn’t fun, it isn’t scouting”. I did tell Sam I changed his statement to fit my audiences.

My message last week was more about emotion, selling, managing and building an environment of high performance.  There were two aspects around this topic that are important to understand in creating great culture.  First, in every organization that I have been with or have consulted in that had great cultures, those sales teams not only worked hard, were professional in their approach they also had a culture of fun.  Sales Managers that created a culture of high performance always made sure they   brought an approach to managing that included accountability and high expectations, but also one where the team had fun together.   A few ideas to focus on:

  • Build Belief: make sure your sales teams believe in your company, products/services and each other. This is the emotional work for sales leadership.
  •  Make sure your sales contests are sales games!  They need to be fun, with exciting themes and creative. An annual sales trip for spouses/sales teams is a must, these kinds of sales incentives build camaraderie, memories and teamwork.
  •  Create opportunities to socialize with your team; organize pizza nights to breakfast meetings. These kinds of events allow everyone to talk, laugh and build respect between team mates.

The second aspect of creating fun and selling is with prospects and clients during the sales process.  In my program I stressed that I don’t mean you need to be a jokester during the sales process or less of a professional, but a more relaxed approach can separate you from your competition.   Many years ago someone told me there are 3 rules in selling:  Emotion, Emotion and Emotion. You must have it, you must transfer it to your prospect and they must take action based upon emotion.

As a friend of mine Jeb Blount, the founder of Sales Gravy likes to suggest to his training clients, ask yourself about your prospects: Do they like you? Are they listening to you? Are you listening to them?  What kind of sales environment are your creating?

As a salesperson your interaction with your clients or prospects will always create an emotion-positive or negative. Focusing on a positive, fun and interactive approach will lead to a connection with that person(s).  That connection is critical to building the trust and confidence you need to win the opportunity. Several idea’s to improve the power of connecting:

  • Identify the Personality Style of the person you are speaking with, based upon their style, work with them on their communication mode. But bring your personality.
  •  During any meeting, bring a lighter touch to your conversations, while having an agenda for your meeting, being prepared with a Pre-Call Strategy tool is great, make sure you add a sparkle in your eye and smile on your face to your approach.  It’s ok to be yourself!
  •  Make the experience memorable. This is the power of creativity, ask yourself: “What can I do break through the traditional sales process and make the relationship unique?”   If you use social activities in your sales process, can I align an activity that fits your prospect; i.e. a wine tasting? Sports events?  Or if you are selling in a formal sales process can you bring something else to the table during a sales call; a best-selling book autographed by the author, or an invitation to your Rotary Club meeting?

 

Having fun and taking a lighter personal approach can separate you from your competition and that pays off with greater commissions.  You will also enjoy the sales process and that emotion and approach will be felt by your prospects.  What are your ideas around having fun and selling more?
Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 17 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2014.

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

What is all this talk about added value?

February 4th, 2015

What is All This Talk about Added Value?

A mind is like an umbrella, it must be opened to work….

 During my keynote at a recent sales kickoff meeting I opened up the dialogue regarding how salespeople and organizations need to not only create value to separate themselves from their competition buy also the need for a company to prove their value proposition during the sales process.  Many organizations express their value on their website or marketing brochures, but fail in this important step of proof.

At this highly “product” driven company the salespeople were really struggling to understand the concept of being unique or what kinds of value they could offer, it was a lively session.   In a commodity business it is critical you consider value and what is really value. During a 90 minute keynote it might not be possible to create specific ideas around adding value or proving your value proposition but opening the mind to the concept is critical in today’s environment.

It comes down to the fact that without value added, anybody can do what you do, including your competition. Value added is up to the salesperson or organization in making the difference and if it is done right, no one will ever compete with you.

The strategic thought process question that should be asked before every meeting or client situation is:  “How can I add value to this opportunity?

There are three steps to adding value.

Step One: Forget what business you are in.

Understanding your business begins, paradoxically by forgetting your product/service. You’re not the product/services you represent. You sell dreams and you sell solutions; you simply deliver the product/service.  As a young salesperson I learned the power of this step, I found out the reason the client was purchasing my computer/software was to enjoy her weekends at the lake cabin!  That emotion is what I ended up selling. It is critical you always understand what the compelling reason to purchase is driving your client? I always stress this during sales strategy sessions.

Step Two: Move from the big picture to added value options

Ask yourself: What actions can I take that will add value to my offerings-that will exceed by clients’ expectations? What can I do that will position me as different from and more valuable than my competition?”  These can be the big questions that organizations can ponder during a strategic planning session or driven by the salesperson in each unique sales situation. One client of ours sold heavily on ROI; what we did was assist in creating a sales process where on stage 3 the salesperson would have the client visit our client’s website (make it a sales tool). The prospective client then would actually enter a few variables into a data entry form.  As a result the CFO of the client’s organization would create a business case for the project, this business case was then presented to the prospective client.  This added value, proved the companies value proposition and added a unique phase to the relationship.  What kinds of added value actions can you offer is a challenging session and will take time to develop. We suggest group meetings with a variety of employees, customer focus groups and brainstorming sessions during this phase.

Step Three: Value Add Evaluation

How can I bring this idea to my clients? Can I afford to do these things? Does it duplicate any other service we provide? I always suggest that competitors can ‘catch on” to what you are doing, but you don’t want them to “catch up”. It is critical you continually assess your ideas around the value you are bringing to the sales situation. Every six months schedule a strategy session to evaluate your sales process and your value add services.

It is a challenge to create value but the time and investment will pay huge dividends in revenues and profits.  Get creative, open your mind, find your competitive edge and win!

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 17 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2014.

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com