Archives For skills

The Greedy Salesperson

September 1, 2011 — 4 Comments

In my early day’s of sales management one of my colleagues made the statement, “Greed is good.”  The idea being, we want the sales team to want money, which in turn will drive them toward greater profits.  It sounds right when you hear it in passing…I’m convinced it’s dead wrong.

The Good to Great Paradigm

Collins, in his book Good to Great states it this way, “All companies have a culture, some companies have discipline, but few companies have a culture of discipline.  When you have disciplined people, you don’t need hierarchy.  When you have disciplined thought, you don’t need bureaucracy.   When you have disciplined action, you don’t need excessive controls.  When you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great performance.”  And I would add, “When you have disciplined sales leadership, you don’t need greed – in fact it’s destructive to the trusted adviser mindset.”

Money and Character

Sales performance is largely a character issue.  The fear of failure, the fear of man, lack of focus, lack of discipline – lack of endurance.  These all lead to a lack of sales.  Money does not change character.  It has been show that a pay increase sparks excitement, but only for a short period of time.  Once in place, poor character returns, and the same old habits inhibit success.  Over the long haul, more pay will only direct the paid performer to focus in one area or another, not actually improve their performance.

Money and Aptitude

Money may cause someone to try harder for a moment, but skills are not acquired by greater pay, nor  does one suddenly become confident with the skills they have.  Seeking out new skills and practice that makes perfect, takes us right back to character.  People with desire to grow and learn, are people of character.

Greed, a mindset that leads to poverty

Brian Salcido, Albert Gonzales, and others who have taken the shortcut to success have done so out of greed, not character.  Their skills have been acknowledged for what they are; high-tech hackers with bad character and discernment.  Greed leads people to prey on other’s weaknesses rather than working to demonstrate value.  Greed causes some to recruit others, drawing them into deceptive schemes to make a buck. Greed destroys trust, ruins client relations, breeds customer dissatisfaction, and avoids accountability, leadership, and teamwork.  In the end, the greedy one is found out, and while perhaps hired for their demonstration of skills, is now fired for reasons of bad character.

© 2011, David Stelzl


Mastering the White Board

January 31, 2011 — 2 Comments

Photo by Hannah Stelzl

Last week I wrote several posts on Power Point.  Here are some thoughts on White boarding: I love the white board.  Unlike Power Point, white boards allow for collaborative thinking.  I remember one of my sales managers coming back from an appointment with great excitement, recounting how he and a perspective client had been up at the white board together, adding to a diagram, interactively creating the solution to a problem they were having.  They went from one-way broadcasting to collaborative brainstorming.

Earlier in my career I came up with a powerful story I now refer to as The House & the Cloud ( the Title of my first book).   Every time I was called upon to share my team’s progress with partners or management, I used the House & the Cloud.  It became a brand over time.  People in other regions who had never met me, began referring to me as The Guy with the House!  This is what you want; a personal brand or a signature story.  It won’t happen over night, but as you begin thinking about it, using illustrations on your sales calls, and reviewing the results, your story will evolve over time.  As it grows, don’t be surprised if people are wanting to meet with you just to hear about your “House”.

Start here. Learn the presentation you meant to give in Power Point, strip out the boring statistics, and recreate the message using a more informal white-boarding style.  Look for ways to make your sales story interesting and compelling.  There is something powerful about watching someone draw.  If you have ever seen a speaker use chalk drawings to illustrate their message, you know what I mean.  If not, check YouTube.

Creating knowledge gaps, interrupting ones thinking, and by filling in the blanks in an interactive drawing session, you can magnify the energy in the room, drawing people into your story as you unfold it.  This takes preparation, creativity, and practice.  But once again, it is not something people are just born with.  Anyone can do it.  It just takes some upfront planning and practice.  Start thinking through your presentation.  How can you make it great?  How can you create a story that can be told through pictures and colors, in fifteen minutes, using a white board diagram?

© 2011, David Stelzl

We completed day one of Mastering Boardroom Presentations, in Raleigh.  As I’ve said before, the presentation always seems to be the weak link in the sales call.  If you want to increase sales, perfect your message, and become the best at presenting in!  Some the key take aways from today’s participants were:

1. “Focus on assets, not products – this is what drives budgets”

2. “The most powerful objection handling technique is a customer success story.  Creating a great story takes some work and practice, but once mastered, will become one of the most valuable tools you have  to close business.  I don’t know why other sales courses don’t make more use of this.”

3. “I’ve never been through a sales training class that gives practical instruction on the mechanics of presenting to decision makers; how to present, where to stand, how to demonstrate confidence, etc.  This will change the way I sell and deliver proposals and recommendations.”

4. The most important thing I learned today was how to meet someone – how to leverage an introduction in a way that moves to a meeting.  I can see it takes practice, but I also see the tremendous potential in answering the question “What do you do?” with something other than, “I’m in sales”.

5. “I learned more in one day than I did in a week of Vendor sponsored training.”

Word to the Wise

March 12, 2010 — Leave a comment

Most people are hired for their outstanding representation of skills and experience (whether they are real or not)…most are fired for reasons of poor character.  Work hard and demonstrate outstanding character today!

© David Stelzl 2010

Working on the Value Proposition

Last week’s trip to Boston – we worked on messaging, presentation skills, and strategies for reaching higher into the organization where security really matters.  I had the privilate of spending the day with the Courion sales team, Gartner’s first choice in Access Assurance software, working through the concepts of Making Money with Security.   It was great seeing some snow given we’re at 50 degrees here in Charlotte.

© David Stelzl, 2010

How easy is it to buy from you?  I just received my HP 50g calculator in the mail – their high end graphing calculator.  While I don’t do a lot function plots in my business, I do teach algebra II in my spare time, thus the calculator.  I was thinking about the 41C I purchased while in college when I ordered this.  The documentation was exceptional.  With zero computer skills at the time, I was able to read it, understand it, and use it within a matter of days.  I bought add-ons for it, bought an upgrade eventually, but kept the old one, and had my kids using both of them (20 years later) in their school work.  But alas, both of them recently died.

The replacement is another example of engineers wanting to cram as much as possible into a box that fits in the palm of your hand, without concern for usability.  Every key does about 5 things, with an additional 150 commands that can be typed in.  The documentation is meaningless, and no one seems to have written the “Missing Manual” yet.  So with a college degree in computer science, years of technical work prior to my roles in management and selling, I can’t figure out how to do simple functions on it.

I’m sure the technology is excellent, but if it’s unusable, what good is it.  I see this frequently in proposals, assessment reports, project documentation, and event sales “one-sheets”.  How easy is it for your clients to navigate through your company sales process?  Is it iPhone or is it the HP 50g…I’ll take a few icons over hundreds of  multi-funtion microscopic buttons any day.