Creating an Effective Map – The Buying Process


Greetings friends,

In the last post on setting goals we touched briefly on the aspects of training, quota, and territory assignment.  In this posting I would like to explore a fundamental measurement of success for a sales person.  This is the outcome of closing a sale.  My view of the terrain in the “sales person/buyer exchange” is one where the power to buy rests solely with my buyer. Let’s spend a few minutes using this lens to identify the steps we would consistently observe in the buying process.  Since we are looking at this from the buyer’s perspective perhaps a better outcome for the high performing sales person would be observing the buyer getting his expected results from the purchase!

Consider these events:

  1. Our buyer has a need and is motivated (ahead of other competing priorities) to make a change.
  2. Our buyer has the ability to make a change.
  3. Our buyer can articulate how my product or service will help her meet her need.
  4. Our buyer believes the risks and costs of making the change are outweighed by expected benefits of making the change.
  5. Our buyer has resources (money/budget) to buy and the resources (time/people available) to address his need.
  6. If the buyer is buying from me, he believes that I will, better than any other alternative, help ensure the greatest opportunity for his success.
  7. Having already made the purchase decision our buyer has confirmed she is now seeing her expected results.

We will come back to each of these topics in future posts.  For now, let me leave you with these thoughts:

  1. Take a look at your “sales process or methodology.”  If it has not been documented, consider doing so.  How are each of these items facilitated and tracked as they are completed?  Remember these steps will occur with or without you. Your ability to predict (or forecast) success will be directly linked to your success in anticipating and adding value to each step.
  2. In a business to business sale it’s very likely that an exchange will occur with a   funding executive or someone other than your primary contact.  This individual will make or approve the final buying decision. Are you anticipating this event in your planning? How might a high performing sales person be proactive in helping this event occur without unnecessary delay and in seeing a positive outcome of this inevitable step?
  3. Next to helping your buyer get to this point, make it a top priority to be able to clearly articulate your buyer’s needs, motivation to change and how your product or service will uniquely help your buyer meet her needs.   In addition to getting better at predicting the likelihood of success in each engagement, it is an excellent step in ensuring the high performing sales person’s continual growth as an effective prospector and value add resource to his buyers!

In my next posting we will discuss how a high performing sales person or organization might articulate the buying steps into it’s personalized framework or sales process.  At another future point we will come back to this topic when we explore the interesting topic of forecasting!

Your Salesman for Life!


Quote on my mind:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”

The True Starting Point

Old Young Women


Greetings my friends in sales!

Have you heard the term, “Beginning with the End in Mind?”  It encapsulates the practice of establishing what the destination looks like before taking the first step.  It’s the starting point for constructing and navigating the map of the journey.  In subsequent posts I will share some thoughts on how a high performing salesperson might work in setting goals, creating his map, and navigating the voyage.

For this post, I would like to summarize the key aspects of the material covered to date. In many respects I believe the content attempts to encompass the essence of the true beginning point of any journey: A clear understanding of where you are now!

Let me start by reinforcing this thought; ” The map is not the terrain.” As a high performing sales professional, my success is linked directly to the clarity of the lens  through which I see the world; and the degree to which the map that I have created to navigate it, accurately reflects the terrain as it truly exists.

As you  read the summary below, have you thought about my view of the terrain and the lens that informs it.  Do you think my map is accurate?

Those things that are most personal, are most general.”  Just like I cannot expect to cram for the harvest, The Golden Rule governs consistent behavioral consequences in response to my actions on both my internal and external worlds.

“Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing.”  If customers are not buying, I am not successful. If I am not constantly looking for ways to personally engage buyers (to understand and meet their needs), chances are I am not focusing on the highest leverage activities that will result in the outcomes I am seeking.

Understanding “Power” and who has it.   I do not sell, my customer buys!  This was a very powerful realization for me and it took many years to internalize.  Choosing how I spend my time and how I make make commitments based on this awareness (part of my power), has a major impact on my productivity and internal balance.   Think about how you might respond to the immense power of an oncoming 50-foot wave?  One could exert tremendous energy fighting the wave for a return of only fatigue and stress; one could give up and allow the wave to consume them, or one could learn to surf and leverage this tremendous power as a guide to the destination facilitated by the surfer.

Yes, the high performing sales person is an expert surfer!

If you have any questions on these topics I encourage you to look through my previous posts for more discussion.   Of course, I would be delighted to hear from you!

Your Salesman for Life!


Quote on my mind: “Let every interaction be an opportunity to lift the other up”

Being Proactive

Gabby Andrrew

Greetings my friends in sales!

Let me start our visit with a question. If you had to observe a behavior that is consistently demonstrated by every highly performing sales person, what would it be? At the top of my list would be the highly developed practice of “Being Proactive.”

What do I mean by this? Before going into the short answer, I encourage you to read through  Habit 1 of Stephen Covey’s novel “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” In this section on private victories  he talks about four unique compositional elements we possess as individuals in our common life experience.  Covey points out that the most highly developed and successful people, are those that manage life experiences, regardless of external conditions, in a proactive manner!

Now the short answer: being proactive is the practice of increasing the space that exists between stimulus and response; and being consistent in using this refined awareness to keep promises made to one’s self.

To clarify, let me ask you to think about an achievement  in your personal or professional life that brings you satisfaction? To what degree are you able to credit the outcome to your success in delaying gratification; and to consistently following a plan that credible sources would agree was sound?

My take away thought for today…. We are fast approaching the time of year that many in sales would say is the slowest.  Are you being proactive in keeping your pipeline development commitments…? If yes, I humbly salute you!

Your Salesman for Life.


Quote on my mind: There is no standing still.  We are going either forward or backward.


What is Personal Power?

Bar Harbor Light House 2.jpg

Greetings my friends in sales!

I must apologize for the time that has passed since my last posting.  My intent was to publish something weekly and I have found that other obligations and my desire to publish thoughtful content have made this goal more challenging than I should have anticipated.

A short thought and very important life principle for me. The word “power” can be defined as “the ability to influence.”  Part of being a highly productive sales person lies in my ability to consistently make and keep promises to myself.  Doing this builds personal power and failing to do this has the opposite effect.

At the end of the day, my own grounding is based on my sense of personal reliability.   Further, my ability to influence others, perhaps in no greater measure, is directly related to my ability to influence myself.  Think about this!

My takeaway; Think about your commitments, no matter the size, before you make them.  If you don’t keep a promise, acknowledge it and correct what you can.  Don’t be too hard on yourself and be tenacious in your life long commitment to developing this golden character attribute.

Let me close by first thanking my wife Reguina for her consistent, patient example.  Second I ask your pardon and that you allow me to commit to Biweekly postings for the remainder of 2017.

Your Salesman for Life!


Quote on my mind:   What you are doing is screaming so loudly I can’t hear a word you are saying!

Prospecting Part Three – What might Prospecting with Integrity look like?


Friends, by now you are properly not surprised  that I would like to start this post  with a question.  Can you think of a time in your professional career when you realized that you were truly being heard?  For me it was over 20 years ago.  I was sitting with an important executive undisturbed in his office.   This individual sat across from me; away from his computer, no phone in hand or secretary standing at the door.  I started talking and became almost oddly aware that this individual who had given me his valuable attention, was really listening to me!  It was a brief meeting and yet had a very powerful impact on my life.

In thinking about my buyer and the prospecting experience, perhaps the best description of the thought I would like to share was encapsulated by Stephen Covey in a communications term he called  “psychological air”.  In this instance it means that no matter how eloquent I think I am, my prospective buyer will not be listening to anything I have to say until she controls the space to breath.  One way for her to do this is to hang up the phone.  One way for me to improve the opportunity of being granted the privilege for more time is to pause and ask for permission to continue!   It’s interesting, I can almost feel the experience of my buyer pausing, taking a breath and leading our path forward!

Several thoughts on what prospecting with integrity might look like. If you don’t recognize the term I invite you to read last week’s post before reading on!

  • Demonstrate that you value your prospective buyer and his time by conveying early who you are and why you are calling.  Is there something you know about this buyer’s  situation that might peak his interest in what you have to say?
  • Write out your script. Think about the words you use.  Be concise.
  • In the first 20 – 30 seconds, pause and ask for permission to proceed!
  • No matter what the outcome, even if the prospective buyer elects to terminate the exchange, be sincere in your appreciation for his brief attention and wish him  a good day. Believe it!
  • Plan for and meet your call targets! Making and keeping promises to ourselves is also an expression of self-integrity and a driving force in personal power!

In treating my buyers the way I want to be treated  I am not only consistent in taking  the necessary steps of earning the opportunity to “understand”, I am making it easier on myself to execute on my prospecting goals.   Why?  You guessed it. I am prospecting with Integrity!

Your Salesman for Life,


Thought on my mind:

“Your actions are screaming so loudly I can’t hear a word you are saying!”

Prospecting Part 2 – Is it possible to love doing this?


I just finished my last phone call of the day yesterday at 4:50 p.m.  253 calls this week and 19 conversations.  Do I love doing this?  The answer is “No”.  Do I want to do this?  “Yes!” Like a consistent routine of exercise and proper eating I believe doing so will have a direct positive outcome on what I desire.   Second, I can do these things with Integrity!

If it is not clear to you how consistent prospecting or other measured activities driving direct buyer contact are key ingredients to lifelong sales success, I encourage you to invest the time in determining whether or not you believe it is true.   After 29 years in direct sales, I believe without any further convincing that my success as a sales person is defined by few greater factors than my ability to make personal contact with my buyer.

For this post I would like to spend a few minutes on what integrity in prospecting means. Let me start with another question; “Do you believe in the Golden Rule?”  It simply says, “treat others the way you want to be treated”. I believe it embodies correct principles that when followed, will guide me to the true life outcomes I most deeply seek.  Just like I cannot expect to defy gravity by walking on air, or a farmer cannot expect to be successful in cramming for the harvest, there are true north principles of behavior that govern consequences I cannot circumvent (positive or negative).

I am living in integrity when my mind, body and heart are acting in accordance with what my inner most world already knows to be true!

To explore this further, let me ask you some questions about your current view, or map of prospecting. Do you:

  • See it as a contest where the sole objective is to get agreement on what you want?
  • Hold your breath with every dial in anticipation of what you are going to blurt out before the reciever is slammed in your ear?
  • Believe there are acceptable fringe rules of engagement like telling white lies to get past a secretary, or calling cell phone numbers left for emergencies?

If you do, then even the best “can do attitude” will be sorely tested in consistently executing under these conditions.  Why?  This outlook, or manufactured world map of prospecting, provides a destination that is in discord with the “true north” map directed by the Golden Rule.   Even if you succeed in the verbal debate, get past the secretary, or close a deal, some part of your internal world will be resisting with every call.  “Our map is taking us in the wrong direction!”

In the next posting I will discuss some specific examples of what prospecting with integrity might look like.  Let me end this posting by leaving you with these thoughts:

  • Invest the time to determine what you believe about the importance of prospecting.
  • As a long term motivator and predictor of success at multiple levels, do you agree that a “can do attitude” pales in comparison to choosing to prospect with integrity?  Think about this in a quiet place.
  • Now with the right outlook and preparation, fire up that “can do attitude”. It’s still important! Prior to every call be your own personal coach.  Is this the prospective buyer I can help?!  Will this call be the one that gets me one step closer to that family vacation?

Your Salesman for life!


Thought on my Mind:
Thank You Stephen Covey. I will always be grateful.
7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Prospecting Part One


I want to start this post by saying Thank You. One of the great benefits of going through an exercise like this is that it reminds me of three related attributes I admire in every high performing salesperson; A passionate commitment to lifelong learning, evaluation, and application.

Let me begin by asking if you have heard about prospecting discussed in terms of these four stages of learning and execution?

1. Unconscious Incompetent – A salesperson  who “doesn’t know he doesn’t know” how to prospect!  Depending on outlook this might include a salesperson who has decided prospecting is not important.
2. Conscious Incompetent – A salesperson who “knows he doesn’t know” how to prospect and wants to learn!  I hope that some part of me remains in this stage and the next for all aspects of my life.
3. Conscious Competent – The salesperson in training. This is the one who is consistently practicing at making his learned prospecting skill sets proficient.
4. Unconscious Competent – This is the salesperson  that is so practiced at consciously developing her prospecting skills that she can execute perfectly without even thinking about it.

Let me stop for a moment to clarify my definition of prospecting as the process of personally hunting for and actively speaking with prospective buyers.  No, it does not include solely sending 500 emails unless this is part of a process that gets you into a forecastable number of conversations!

Now let’s make some observations about the learning stages just introduced and prospecting.  First, as a sales person, “Do you think prospecting is important?” If you think it is, “How vigilant are you in planning and execution?”   To answer this objectively,  “Are you are looking at your metrics?”

If you are not a consistent prospector (I have been in this category) I encourage you as a fellow salesperson to think about why that is.  More on this topic in the next posting.

If you are a consistent prospector and have refined your approach (research, clearly defined objective, execution, tracking, adjustment  and consistent achievement of call targets), I humbly salute you!

If you are in the unconscious competent category, I encourage you to continue to evaluate your metrics and determine if your approach can be adjusted to increase effectiveness (improve ratio of calls to conversations). Do this at least on a weekly basis. Technology and resulting options are changing rapidly. There are no substitutes to personal contact. The right questions is, “What can be used to enhance it?”

Whatever the outcome of your personal assessment, I encourage fearless reflection and self-honesty.  Do not decide that consistent, prioritized prospecting is not important   because you don’t like it!  I believe that many including myself are tempted to do this. With two full rings, no voice message, and a 7.5% conversation rate, I found that I can make and log up to 50 phone calls in an hour.  8 hours of uninterrupted phone work a week means 400 calls and 30 conversations!

Whatever your approach and execution tactics, personal engagement is the goal. Without it you are not helping your customers buy!

Is it possible to love prospecting? Join me next week for more on this topic.

Your Salesman for life.


Quote on my mind:

An unexamined (sales) life is not worth living!

Keeping the Main Thing, the Main Thing!


Being a salesman for life, let me begin with a question, “When the world around you is good, how are YOU feeling inside?”  How about when the world around you is bad?

I ask you to reflect on the following thought.  The impact of the very same world conditions will effect my outlook of the world (good or bad) based on how “I” feel in moment I am having the experience.

There are many layers to this topic. For this posting I want to ask you to think about where the power is in the “Buying” exchange?  Drum roll please!  At the end of the day, the only world view that is important is that of my customer.  In the exchange between the salesman and the customer, I don’t “Sell”; My customer makes the decision to “Buy”.  In terms of solving a problem, I don’t “Do” anything; I help my Customer “Do” something!

I encourage you to take a look at your written correspondence.  If you have the opportunity to record a conversation, consider doing so.  If you are open to the idea, make a conscious effort to use the word “YOU” as often as you can.  If you need to use the word “I” or “My” look for a way to connect it to “Help You”.

This exercise requires constant vigilance! I believe it’s worth the effort.

Remember, at the end of the day my customer does not care about me or my product. The only thing my customer cares about is how “she is going to meet her need”.  My job, as I see it, is to fully understand what that need is and to earn the opportunity to help her meet it.

Your Salesman for Life!


Quote on my mind:
“Those things that are most personal, are most general.”

Inspired By Gabby

Lake George


My name is Jim Morgan, I am 56 years old; Husband, father, beginning Russian speaker, family photographer, developing musician/vocalist and grinning ear to ear.  “Why?” In naming my blog I am aware of how proud and excited I am in sharing such a big part of who I am.   In this sharing I humbly allow for the thought that what I say in some way brings value to your journey in being not only the best salesperson, but the best person you can be.

Yes, my name is Jim Morgan.  More than a friend of Bill, I am a salesman for life!

I have found that my constrained attention span (some would say ADD) has made disciplined reading difficult.  I have always, however, loved to listen and learn.

In coming posts I will be sharing observations from my 29 years as a software salesman and as a human being sharing this true life adventure with you.

My hope is that you live long and prosper!

Your salesman for life!


Quotes on my mind:

  • “Let every encounter with another be an opportunity to lift that person up”
  • “You see the world today by what you carry in your heart”