Each Day Is A Second Chance.


Do you ever feel like the day won and you lost?  That your busyness got the best of you.  That what you thought you wanted for you you didn’t spend any time working on.

Today passed and you aren’t a better person.  Today came and went and nothing changed for you.

You feel like a loser. Like you failed.

And you aren’t sure if it’s ever going to change.

You aren’t sure if you can grow your sales, if your marketing will ever start connecting, and if you business is going to start leading your industry.

And those are the easy problems.  It’s your personal fears and pain and doubts that make you feel like a loser most days

It’s being physically fit and mentally fit and financially fit that drive you sideways.

Today changes all that.  Tomorrow too.

It’s all new today.  Each moment is an opportunity to win back the day.

You still have baggage from yesterday — unfinished dreams and lasting consequences – but right now is an opportunity to move a little bit closer to where you want to be.

And just knowing that might be enough to fuel a little extra effort and emotion.  It might the difference between you winning the day today and feeling like you did yesterday.

Business strategy is a gritty conquest.  Fixing problems with sales and marketing and engagement isn’t easy or fast.

That’s why each day matters.  Why today matters.

Because it’s a craft of “inches”.  You fix failing by winning.  And that begins with what you do right now.

This moment.  And the ones that follow.

You don’t need to forget about the past.  You just need to do something (and that’s hard).

So take a deep breath and then go be awesome.


7 Types of Sales Managers

Over the past decade, I’ve worked closely with hundreds of vice presidents of sales, and like all of people, each has a unique personality. Some are gregarious. Some are assertive. Some are action-oriented. But even as I observe their individual differences, I have recognized patterns of behavior, which have allowed me to catalog their styles of sales management.

I have found that seven management styles are most prevalent: mentor, expressive, sergeant, Teflon, micromanager, overconfident and amateur. Most likely, a sales leader will use several different management styles and move from one style to another depending on the situation.

To better understand these sales management styles, I asked more than 60 top vice presidents of sales from leading high technology and business services companies to estimate what percentage of their time they used a particular management style, and then to rank the applicability of the style to the success in their role on a scale of 1 (least important) to 5 (most important). Below, you will find a description of each style and the average results for the study group.


Mentors are charismatic leaders and sales experts who measure their success using three criteria: exceeding revenue goals, creating an environment where the entire team can succeed, and helping all team members realize their individual potential. Mentors are confident in their own abilities and possess the business insight to know what needs to be done and how to do it. On average, study participants reported they used the mentor management style 26 percent of the time. In terms of importance as a driver of success, they gave mentor management style the highest ranking of all the styles at 4.3.


Expressive managers are people-oriented with a flair for sharing their emotions and amplifying the emotions of those around them. They have a natural ability to put people at ease but are also quite comfortable extolling or admonishing the team. Expressive managers create an environment where a considerable amount of energy is focused on how their organization is thought of and perceived within the company. Study participants indicated they used the expressive management style 30 percent of the time on average and ranked the style’s importance at 4.


The sergeant is named after the field sergeant in a military organization. Sergeants develop an intense loyalty to their team, perhaps even greater than their personal loyalty to their company. They are hard workers who are constantly worrying about their “troops.” They will even sacrifice their own best interests and tolerate personal hardships if they feel it will benefit their team. The sergeant management style is used 18 percent of the time on average and its importance was ranked at 3.2.


Teflon managers are pleasant, agreeable, and polite people. However, unlike sergeants, they tend not to have deep personal relationships with their sales team members. Another characteristic of Teflon managers is their ability to stay above the daily fray of politics. Regardless of the situation, Teflon managers are even keeled and rarely frazzled. The Teflon management style is used 10 percent of the time on average and its importance was ranked at 2.


Micromanagers are the most organized and methodical of all the management types. They have a strong sense of responsibility to their company and they pride themselves on achieving their revenue goals. They tend to be all-or-nothing thinkers who want things done their way. The micromanager style is used 7 percent of the time on average and its importance was ranked 3.3.


Overconfident managers tend to be more self-centered. They are charming and gregarious in public, excellent on sales calls. They tend not to be open to feedback and will get the job done their way and succeed at any cost. The overconfident management style is used 6 percent of the time on average and its importance was ranked at 1.8.


The amateur management style should not necessarily be equated to someone who is new to sales management. Rather, the style reflects that the person is outside of their comfort zone in a new management role, working with an unfamiliar product at a new company, or in a new industry. As a result, their management style may suffer an identity crisis until they are able to build back their practical sales experience. Study participants indicated they experienced the amateur management style 3 percent of the time on average and ranked the style’s importance at 1.

The structure and effectiveness of the sales department will mirror the sales management style of its leaders. This is because sales leaders naturally imprint themselves on their organization. Therefore, it can be argued that the vice president of sales is the most important person within a company because this person is in charge of an organization’s most critical assets: customers and the revenue they generate.


Don’t Be Overconfident

Don’t Be Overconfident

You know that you are better than your competitor; you’re confident in your ability to create more value for your dream client. You know that your ideas are better.

You also know that your offering is better than your competitor’s. You’ve proven it time and time again by competitively displacing them. You know you have the right solution and that it will produce results.

Your competitor feels the very same way.

To win, you need to be confident. But you don’t want to be arrogant. Arrogance is dangerous; you don’t want to underestimate your competitor.

You know your relationships are strong. But don’t believe that you are the only one with strong relationships. Believe and behave as if your competitor has strong relationships of their own.

You have political backing of some key stakeholders. Believe and behave as if your competitor has the political backing of some key stakeholders too.

You have built consensus with some of the buying committee members. Maybe you have the one stakeholder that gives you of the majority you need. Expect that your competitor has the rest of the buying committee, and expect that they have the ability to flip a vote their direction.

Your pricing is higher than your competitor’s, and you believe that you have justified a higher price by proving beyond any reasonable doubt that your solutions produces the greatest return. Anticipate that your competitor has the ability to price their offering at a level that some stakeholders find compelling and that they are willing to reduce it in order to win the business.

You’ve done your homework. You’ve studied and you are prepared. Believe and behave as if your competitor is hungrier than you, that they want it more than you do, and that they’re working harder than you are. Don’t be overconfident.


How are confidence and arrogance different?

Why does confidence help and arrogance hurt your results?

How do you know you’re working harder and smarter than your competitor?

Why is important not to underestimate your competitor, especially in sales opportunities?


Taking Control of the Sales Process

Taking Control of the Sales Process

Sometimes it takes a massive change to produce better sales results. It might take a major overhaul of what you do and how you’re doing it. But sometimes small changes can have a major impact on your sales results. You might be doing most everything right, but something relatively minor causes serious problems, like losing control of the sales process and extending your sales cycle time.

Here are two small changes that can give you back control over your sales process, shorten your sales cycle time, and allow you to create more value throughout the process.

Linking Commitments to Commitments

Sales managers and sales leaders complain about persistently long sales cycles. They have a sales process—even if isn’t given the attention it deserves. Reducing the cycle time would help them produce better results, and it would help their clients to realize the value that they create sooner too.

One simple change can make all the difference in the world. Here it is: never leave a sales interaction without scheduling the next sales interaction.

By never leaving a sales call without another commitment for some activity that advances the sales, you link commitment to commitment and more the sales process along. This little change alone can squeeze weeks out of the sales process, normally those weeks that you spend trying to get your dream client to return your calls, respond to your voicemail message, or return your email messages.

Choosing the Right Medium

Some people insist on emailing pricing to their dream clients. But by emailing their pricing, they lose control of the sales process. Once your prospect has your emailed pricing and proposal, they can make their decision without you. If they have concerns, they can resolve them to their satisfaction—but not to yours.

Email is a poor medium for delivering pricing and proposals, unless your business is seriously transactional, and even then you’d gain an advantage by choosing a more effective medium. Email is also a poor medium for negotiations. It’s more effective to speak face-to-face or by telephone to talk through issues than it is to send revision after revision back and forth with no real dialogue.

The nature and outcome of the interaction drives the choice of medium, not what’s easiest. Maintaining control of the sales process means choosing what’s most effective, not what seems to be most efficient. In fact, the effective choice is the most efficient choice—it’s the one that most quickly gets you the outcome you want.


Have you ever made small changes to realize a dramatic improvement?

Can one seemingly minor mistake have outsized repercussions?

How do you recognize the blind spots or mistakes you might be making?

Do you ever leave a sales interaction without scheduling your next sales interaction?

Do you ever choose a medium that might not be the very best choice for the outcome you want?


On Being Young and In Sales

On Being Young and In Sales

Tom writes: “I am 25 years old and sometimes feel as though I am not perceived as a peer to the business owners to whom I sell. Do you have any tips to combat this?”


I started working in sales when I was 19 years old. I never thought of myself as being in sales at that time, but I was making cold calls, making sales calls, and making deals.

I wasn’t officially in sales until I was 24 years old and a mentor forced by to become an Account Executive by threatening to fire me if I didn’t leave an operational role and go outside full time. I was young. I looked young, and I wore my long hair in a ponytail. I also wore a nice suit every day. Of course, that was Los Angeles, so I didn’t look out of place at all there.

I did, however, when I came back to Columbus. Then I was 25, still looked young, and was now selling major, multi-million dollar deals.

Here’s my advice.

Be Respectful and Learn

The reason the business owners you call on don’t look at you as a peer is because you aren’t yet their peer. That’s okay, too.

The business owners you are calling on are likely entrepreneurs. They’ve taken risks. They’ve built businesses. They have a profit and loss statement and balance sheet for which they alone are responsible. They have a depth of knowledge and experience you likely haven’t acquired.

What I found worked when I was young was my insatiable curiosity to learn from people that knew more than me. Since they had experiences I hadn’t had, I asked endless questions to better understand their business and to learn from them. The more I asked for an education, the more I received one.

After some time, I knew something about a lot of different business, and I gained an understanding of how businesses generally work. Later, when I called on business similar to the ones who were tutoring me, I knew how their business worked and the questions to ask to open opportunities.

So start by being respectful of what they know, and be genuinely curious. You’ll be surprised how much people enjoy teaching you everything they know about their business.

Become a Subject Matter Expert

The other thing that I did that helped me combat my youthful appearance (and the ignorance that accompanied it) was to become a subject matter expert.

My clients knew their business, but they didn’t know mine. I sold temporary staffing, so I started to study employment. I started to read all the labor market releases. I researched legislative changes that would impact my client’s businesses. I started to develop ideas as to how I could add value by helping them see around corners, identifying areas of concern and making plans long before they were necessary.

I discovered that by having subject matter expertise, my clients and dream clients began to think of me as a business partner, as a member of their management team, as something more than just another vendor.

You don’t have to be perceived as a peer by your clients. You don’t have to be their equal right now. They’re older, and they have more experience. But you can—and should—be more than their equal when it comes to your subject matter expertise. Instead of trying to be a peer, try instead to be the member of their management team. Be someone they trust to own the outcomes that you can produce for them.

And as a final note, don’t worry about the whole “being young” thing. I promise that will pass much faster than you can imagine.


Why is being young sometimes a disadvantage in sales?

Do you have to be considered a peer or equal to sell effectively?

What should you do to be something more than equal in your subject matter?

How do you make yourself more valuable when you lack experience and situational knowledge?