Professional men

In my humble opinion, the term sales manager is extremely misleading yet most companies continue to use this description for one of their most important positions. Let’s think for a moment how sales are actually made. Do we as sales people create the sale through our dynamic personalities and outgoing demeanor? Hardly; we make the sale through our continued activity with the client. I will go out on a limb and boldly say we never manager sales, rather we manage activity. Should you disagree with this please read on.

Nothing happens until a sale is made! The truth in this age old comment sometimes amazes those new to the field of sales. In a prior life I would always begin a sales meeting with this statement and always begin my interviews with potential employees with the same comment.

So, if we have to manage activity and nothing happens until a sale is made, how do we accomplish both tasks in order to be successful at the science of sales? The answer is rather simple. As the “Sales Manager” one must put into place some very simple but effective methods of managing activity. Some very successful and seasoned professionals will disagree with my suggestions and that is OK. If you are satisfied with the performance of your sales team and are making as much money as you want to make then stop reading now. Otherwise read on for some proven tactics.

The plan is very simple as one activity leads to another and eventually to a sale. Regardless of the amount of money being spent on the sale, the steps to making the sale are always the same and must be orchestrated if you are to be successful. We will discuss sales training another day so let’s concentrate on the activity required and how to track it properly.

As elementary as it may seem, you must require each salesperson to make a predetermined number of sales calls per day or week but this number must be specific and rigid.

Second you should set a goal each week for number of demonstrations or proposals or both. Naturally the product will determine if you need demonstrations or presentations prior to the actual proposal. A good rule of thumb is to expect 5 personal contacts before a presentation can be expected and possibly more for the proposal. This varies from industry to industry.

Third, you should determine a closing ratio for each member of the sales team. Naturally you can use one of your successful salespeople as a benchmark but each salesperson has to have their own closing ratio. This an excellent method for forecasting sales and for modifying commission plans.

Fourth, each sales person has to keep a list of their top prospects and the sales dollars forecasted for the account.

Fifth, where is the account in the process? i.e. are they ready to make a decision or are they still kicking tires?

And sixth, every salesperson should keep a record, either electronically or written regarding personal information of every person involved in the process from maintenance person to executive Vice President.

There are always more steps that may be added or perhaps you might reduce some step but the key is to keep sales people from wasting time on non-productive accounts or individuals.

We all spend money on countless items each day and in my case I like to purchase costly items from someone I know. The individual who has sold me over 100K in automobiles during the last two years realizes the value of everything listed above especially step six. He knows a lot about my and my wife because he took time to ask the questions and was rewarded with us purchasing another vehicle from him recently.

Remember none of this is brain surgery and just takes a little effort to accomplish.

Have a great day!


Wise Old Men and Treachery

Snowfall and cold weather always makes me glad I am no longer a road warrior. No offense to those of you who are kings of the road or air but I paid my dues in 25 years of traveling and no, I do not miss dragging a laptop and rollaway through a crowded airport.

Airports seem to bring out the best and worst in individuals. I do not know why unless the un-indoctrinated simply have no clue and the road warriors are fighting for the last upgrade while trying to make the last deal of the day screaming on their cell phone. Not too many years ago those with fancy cell phones had to be sure everyone knew what kind of phone they had and sometimes would demonstrate the speaker capabilities to anyone sitting within a football field distance.

To my amazement most of the “studs” of travel are all alike regardless of city or airport. They all believe they are the most important person in the airport. For example if a flight is late or cancelled they are the most boisterous and rude of all individuals. These most important of all fliers would spend time explaining to the airline employees how important they were and how they could not miss a plane or be denied an upgrade. I discovered early on that appearing to be sad and a little lost would get you quicker and better attention than telling everyone of your importance.

Prior to 2001, one sure fire way to achieve sympathy from female gate attendants was to show up with my tie slightly askew, my hair slightly wind blown, my shoulders slightly slumped and a sad look upon my face. To add to the pathetic scene I could always stop and purchase a fully loaded hot dog prior to approaching the gate. Then, with a little mustard stuck on my lip and a little chili dripping from the hot dog I would muster up my most pitiful voice and say in a low octave “could anyone here possibly help me?” The results were normally beyond belief. Upgrades and seat assignments were passed out like candy. Alas, those days are gone forever.

Once in St. Louis, I was denied an upgrade on a flight home due to my frequent flyer status. I was a mere “gold level” and some young stud behind me was “platinum”. He got the upgrade and let me know that he had paid the price for the upgrade due to his constant travel. I do not converse with self important near-do-wells and did not bother to tell him that I was gold on 3 airlines instead of platinum on only one. It would have been a useless comment.

Instead I looked out the window at the aircraft assigned to fly me to Atlanta. The nose cone was up and the entire radar unit was on the tarmac. This was only one hour prior to the flight. Immediately I inconspicuously walked three gates down the concourse where another flight to Atlanta was scheduled to depart one hour after my scheduled flight. It was almost empty and I secured a boarding pass and an upgrade after a little begging and groveling. I always tried to not check any baggage and this trip was no exception. I walked past my original gate as an announcement was being given but due to the noise it was not understood by those waiting. I informed those who would listen that this plane would not be flying tonight due to the maintenance it was presently undergoing. Young “Platinum-stud-frequent-flyer” heard me and told everyone not to worry because he flew all of the time and radar being on the ground was not a major problem.

The time for the original flight came and went and no departure. I walked back to my new gate and about the time I did they called my original flight. Oh well, I had been wrong before. I loaded into my upgraded seat and prepared to eat some crow and be a little late getting into Atlanta. At our scheduled time we were treated to an announcement that we would be delayed slightly while the luggage and passengers from my original flight were loaded onto my new flight. (the original flight was scrapped due to aircraft maintenance issues.) By now some of the passengers had listened to me and had already made the change. I got home a little late but I slept like a baby on the plane after hearing one of the transferred passengers speak of an angry young man at the gate that could not get on our flight because the flight was full. There is something to the old adage an old man and treachery will always defeat a young man and skill. It may not always work but when it does, the taste is as sweet as ambrosia.

Bubba Terry

Signature file … AKA, Sig File. Why everyone doesn’t have one and use one is beyond my comprehension. It ain’t brain surgery.

We’re talking a sig file for your emails. It’s really simple. You create a standard (and alternates, if you wish) signature file that is included with every email you send. It should contain basics such as:

  • Your name (and title, if a biz sig file)
  • Your company name
  • Phone numbers – all of them including fax (I know, so 1990s)
  • Address of business
  • Blog addresses (if you have a blog)
  • Company web address

Of course, the above can apply for a personal email sig file or a small business sig file. Modify to fit your situation. Some people I know even scan their signature and include it in the sig file. I’m not a big fan of this practice – simply from a security standpoint and all the crazies out there just looking for an opportunity to steal your identity. But do as you like – it’s your call.  Just create a sig file and use it.

Why? Because people will notice the information, probably make a note of it in their contact manager, and just might do business with you one day or be able to find you when they need to at some point in the future.  The more you share your sig file, the more others will, too. It’s contagious. And you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to do it.

Until next time.


I don’t know about you, but when I see a business man/professional with dirty and nasty fingernails, it tends to tell me something about the person. It’s pretty much a given that women take care of their hands and nails better than men. And I, for one, love it. Women with pretty hands and nails are attractive. Men, on the other hand, as a rule, don’t seem to do as good a job as the women – and there really is not a good reason why they shouldn’t.  They can either do it themselves or go to a professional and get it done. I do it myself and have for about 30 years.

Manicuring is the care of hands and nails. Weird that it’s a word that starts with “man” and more men don’t practice it as much as women. It is my opinion that businessmen should take care of their hands and nails. Now I’ve done some work in the past where it was almost impossible to keep my hands and nails looking good – but I did it. From building antique replica furniture to loading airplanes to cleaning offices – to name a few – I still always managed to keep my hands and nails in pretty good shape.

I had some training. Almost 30 years ago, before I went to my 10-year high school reunion, I ran into one of the HS sweethearts and cheerleaders – a girl everyone wanted to be with in HS. Long story short – we ended up dating for a few years and attended our 10-year reunion together. Her name is Cathy. You should check out her gallery in Roswell, GA.  Anyway, Cathy purchased for me my first nail file, buffing creme and polisher, and all the other little tools you need to do your nails. And I’ve kept a nail kit together every since then.

Nail care for a man is not that difficult and it damn sure ain’t brain surgery. I do a major job on my nails every two weeks. That means I trim ’em down, do the cuticles (if necessary), take the ridges out and then buff to a light shine. Probably takes me 2 to 3 times longer than if I had a professsional manicurist do it for me but I do a lot better job. Plus there is a lot of satisfaction in doing it. In the summer time, I can knock out this job while the charcoal is getting ready in the grill – thus killing 2 birds with 1 stone (reminder to self … topic for another blog!). Maybe it doesn’t sound very manly, but I can tell you this – during my 19 years of being a batchelor, the women noticed!

If you don’t keep your nails in good shape, try it for awhile and see if you don’t feel better about yourself and see if other people notice – I’m betting they will. If you go to a manicurist, try it yourself – I’m betting you’ll like the results – and you’ll save a few bucks, too. Nice nails on a man just looks good. It says a lot about a guy. You young guys … get started now. It will pay off.

By the way, thanks Cat!