Archives For Sales

Well, I have to say… it’s been a rough week.

Mistakes happen.  I am a firm believer that one key to strong leadership is the willingness to be accountable and take responsibility for those mistakes. Good leaders do this even if they contribute to only a small percentage of the situation. They do this even if the blame lies beyond their control. Why? Because the buck has to stop somewhere… and it should be with the leader.

So when mistakes happen, what should you do as a responsible leader?

The answer: Apologize and try to make amends. Whether the mistake affects your internal, external or potential customers, you must take action quickly to make things right.

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This week, I am going to ask you to really think about Courage – it is an important concept that seems to be falling by the wayside. Aristotle referred to courage as the first virtue because it makes all of the other virtues possible. Aside being the most important human virtue, it is also the most important business virtue.


Think about it…

  • Leadership requires making bold and often unpopular decisions…
  • Innovation requires conceiving radical, unconventional ideas…
  • Sales requires being repeatedly rejected and still going back to attempt to close the deal…

Leadership, Innovation and Sales all require Courage. Without courage all of our core business concepts (including leadership, innovation and sales) suddenly lose their potency… withering in obscurity. So why do we put so little emphasis and value on courage in the workplace? Continue Reading…

We all want to communicate well.  But realistically, how often do we communicate with intention? Sometimes, even beyond communicating with intention, we need to stop and consider how to communicate strategically in order to achieve what is important to us.


This week, I am going to step back to a very simplistic communications tool that may give you pause as you consider how you communicate to achieve successful ends. It is called the DEAR MAN and it will walk you through some valuable considerations to make as you consider how to communicate with strategic intention. When speaking with someone and seeking to communicate strategically, consider this model: Continue Reading…

Packaging Brand YOU

March 5, 2012 — 2 Comments

Companies spend a lot of money to define and package the goods and services they want to sell. Superficial or not, people make judgments based, in part, on appearances. As most us have been told – You never have a second chance to make a first impression. Your “packaging” has to attract, inform, and persuade … However, the packaging of Brand YOU consists of much more than what is explicitly visible.

So then, what makes your brand not only attractive as a first impression, but memorable for the value and content you bring to the wider landscape? The marketplace is crowded and more competitive than ever. To establish yourself and rise above the noise, you need to have a clear idea what you are about, what you have to offer and to whom.

Here are some ideas of things you may want to consider when developing your Brand portfolio:

Appearance: Obviously, you need to make sure you are representing on the outside the value that you want people to perceive on the inside. Do you look and behave in a way consistent with how you would like others to perceive you?

It’s critical to give your audience something that interests them and leaves them wanting more. The idea is to create content that makes people want to become what Seth Godin calls raving fansof you. If you’re passionate about your brand, your enthusiasm will come across in everything you do – and that’s the most important thing you can communicate to anyone.

Messaging: How do you demonstrate what makes you different? Is Brand YOU a brand of substance? How will you communicate that substance? What do you have to offer that is demonstrably better, faster, or stronger than other brands? Dig deep inside yourself and search for answers to these questions – they are very important and will impact multiple areas of your life. Once you have an idea of what you would like to promote, develop a clear and concise message that promotes how you would like to show your audience what you are all about and how you can be of service.

Once you have put everything together, double check yourself and make sure you are accurately reflecting what you hope to achieve.  Contemplate the following aspects of your packaging:

  • Your space: Does it reflect who you are?
  • Your business card: Does it indicate your expertise or area of specialty?
  • Your personal style: Does it align to what you want people to perceive about you?
  • Your communication style: Does it really reveal what you want to communicate?
  • Your presentation style (including your visuals): Do your presentations represent you well?
  • Your (social) media presence: Are you conscientious about how you present your packaging in all forums?

I know this is a lot to think about… and even more to execute on. However, the results of going through this in- depth exercise in self-discovery will pay off BIG – it will become your competitive advantage. Not only will you know yourself infinitely better, but people will see and understand your packaging in exactly the way you would like them to.

Does your packaging say what you want it to?

Please engage the discussion and let us know how your packaging has affected you. Always feel free to contact me at or by visiting our website at Check back next week for the next installment of Leadership Across Boundaries and Borders, when we will discuss how to communicate Brand YOU.

As a leader in Sales, you are well aware that the waters are rough, indeed.  In the past, the goal has been very straight forward – make sure your teams are capturing customers and making their numbers. Good relationships and ongoing offers of discounted pricing – on products and services – kept sales flowing and ensured the all important numbers were on target.  Unfortunately, those days of smooth sailing are gone.  Adjusting to the new reality means acknowledging that things have changed – customers have disappeared or have greatly reduced purchasing power and costs do matter – even in Sales.

Here’s a life boat with some less well-known tips  that may help Sales to survive, when others around you may be sinking fast:

  • Critically evaluate structure, purpose, objectives, and KPI’s:   In many cases, all of these components may need to change. Perhaps it is wise to reorganize – combining functions, regions, or customer segments? The initial changes may be dispiriting, but if you can make them all at once and they are focused on those who do not display the attitude or aptitude required in the “new” organization, Sales will become stronger as a result of the changes. The goal is not only to reduce costs, but also to get everyone focused on what they need to do for the customer and against the competition. Make sure you understand what the new purpose, objectives, and  KPI’s encompass at each revised level, and that the necessary training is provided to ensure buy-in and commitment to the new organization.
  • Create an intelligent network:  Build information networks that span the clients organization, continually assessing customer pain points and providing solutions before they even realize they are challenged. As a leader in Sales, ensure you are transitioning your sales people into  the eyes and ears of the organization – a network that provides ground-level intelligence that can be used to fuel fundamental decisions regarding overall corporate strategy and tactics. This new, evolved sales person will need to have the capacity to analyze each client to determine current and future profitability. They need to be able to tell you how decisions are made at the client site, what the dominant psychology is, and how that psychology is manifested as it pertains to  client decision-making, forecasts, purchasing, promotions, and product lifecycles. They all affect your ability to sell… and collect.
  • Know what your customers cost: Have a detailed understanding as to how each client affects each piece of the value chain. A good customer on the surface may cause you to incur hidden costs if they demand frequent changes, customized processes, or unusual services/materials. These types demands may put undue pressures or costs onto  production or purchasing departments…or they may tie up too much cash by requiring unique materials or components. An important customer that pays late can also become a liability when the seas are rough and the company is managing for cash. When a client’s ability to pay or credit rating drops, you don’t want to be the last one standing on deck when the Tsunami hits…
  • Know which customers to drop:   Sales people need to be able to help the company answer some critical questions – Is a customer viable? What strains are they under? Are they highly leveraged?  What does their cash flow look like?  What is the real cost of doing business with the client? Obviously the decision to drop a client needs to be made in conjunction with the executive team, however you need to have done your homework in order to make a sound recommendation. If the business case points to the client as a significant risk and they must be dropped, ensure your sales people partner with the client to ensure a smooth transition to a new supplier. Remember, if the client has a positive experience there will be a mutual respect and the potential of working together in the future will remain intact… should the opportunity arise.
  • Link Sales to R&D: Assign your most  aggressive and business-savvy people to a dual role – sales and business development. Creating cost-effective  solutions to client challenges often emerge from  discussions amongst people with different knowledge bases.
  • Tie sales people to CXO’s: The best intelligence is useless unless it is put into the right hands. Set up methods to ensure what is learned in the field  gets to the senior team. Set up weekly conference calls between your best sales people and critical decision makers… or initiate a program where the executive team will call a few of your sales people each week.  Top executives will have the opportunity to pick up ideas or nuances  from your sales people that they would not get from a formal meeting or a report – it will allow them to discern customer patterns, while motivating those participating on the calls to become more curious and vigilant.

In turbulent times, the context of Sales changes drastically. With orders dissipating and numbers falling out of control, the wise leader ensures sales is a critical component to the solution, rather than part of the problem. With the right focus and planning, your organization can steer the lifeboat out of rough seas and become better, faster and stronger in the process.

Please engage the discussion and let us know how you keep sales afloat in rough seas. Please feel free to contact me at  Sheri.Mackey@LuminosityGlobal.comor by visiting our website at Check back next week for the next post on Leadership Across Boundaries and Borders.