Feel Naked and Embarrassed About Your Numbers?

There is nothing in this world as embarrassing as sales meeting when you don’t have your numbers! You might  as well be naked!  If you sold long enough, you know this feeling.  Read on….


As a first year sales rep I never looked forward to the dreaded sales meeting. As always, unit results would be reviewed early on in the meeting and my production, which was severely lacking, would stand out like a sore thumb. The sales meetings were also tough because the unit was not doing well, not to mention that my production “sucked”.

In front of the other sales reps, the regional sales manager, and God, they focused on the results for the month.  Quite frankly, it was ugly, I felt as if the world, and everyone in it was looking at me when they read the results.

I don’t have to go much deeper into this story as I think you get the picture.  This scene plays out in sales meetings across the globe, and will continue to do so. It may be lessened with ‘virtual’ sales meetings, but the feeling is the same.   Poor results, for even a portion of the year, affect you in the form of embarrassment and performance hampering stress.

Motivator? Yes or No?

No one wants to surrender to this condition.  Is it a motivator?  Can you use this to increase your energy level and effectively change your situation? Your ability to deliver job saving, high-level results can be at risk when you put up your defenses, or even retreat because of this condition.

There are better, more effective ways to be motivated. See Black Sales Journal Getting Motivated – What Motivates You? Just maybe it is one of those items that has a life of its own.  It might just be part of the landscape of sales that will always be with us.

Does this act as a motivator?  It probably does.  Black sales professionals consistently battle with the perception that they will have difficulty in the corporate sales world, and the bright lights of the sales meeting seems to have the effect of amplifying that if they are having some sales difficulty.  You cannot only succeed; you can make money and enjoy the spoils of a good job.  Don’t let anyone tell you differently.  If you are good, you only need to survive the difficult periods.

What Can You Do?

No one wants to be embarrassed by disappointing sales numbers.  If you are in sales for a long period of time, it will happen to you and often it is just situational, a matter of timing which will solve itself at some point.  No matter whether short or long lived, there are some things that you might want to consider:

  • Look Confident – as if you know it is going to change.  If your co-employees and management can tell you are embarrassed by your performance, your customers will be able to tell also.
  • Body language is important
  • Your expressions will make you transparent
  • You will live through this…there are others just like you in the room
  • Be Productive – I know, this does not solve the pain, but this is the only way to make sure that you won’t have the embarrassment in subsequent sales meetings.  Work through this issue.
  • Thicken your skin – As best you can, harden your exterior as you are in the most measurable occupation out there and you will continue to be measured by your peers, your management, and yourself.

The Shoe on the Other Foot

To be sure, there are some things that you will not be able to control, and this is one of them.  Practice on your ‘poker face’, and recognize this is a ‘place in time’ and with good work ethic and some good luck, things will change.

Think about what happens when the fortunate ones that do have great sales results ‘spike the ball’ in the sales meetings as opposed to taking a nod of the head and accepting praise.  We know that this happens, and it can be embarrassing as well.  When you do sell remember to act like you have been in the end zone before.

Above all, always be prepared.  It is natural to have pride in what you do.  If the numbers are not there, it can be a fleeting moment.  You will get over any embarrassment and move forward.

Your comments are appreciated.  You can reach me at Michael.Parker@Black SalesJournal.com .

Motivation! The “X” Factor!

Motivation is an interesting subject.  I believe that it has to come from within, although each of us may need some ‘cheerleading’ it at some point.  Success can motivate some individuals, while lack of success can be the fuel for some others.  Some sales professionals respond to challenges, some to sarcasm, and others to the thrill of being ‘numero uno’.


In my case motivation had to come from within, and could not be ‘supplied’ by a great speaker or a reading.  I did respond to personal pride though.

There are motivational factors that are good and bad, including motivational speeches that stimulate and excite.  My favorite of all time is below, and I hope you will enjoy it.  Note, there is some tough language in this great video, yet it is priceless:


I know that the majority of you will never have to endure this type of speech. Although it is great theater it is something you would never forget.  Motivational speeches can come from many angles, and I suppose that some could come from individuals other than the sales manager, as was the case with this screenplay.

Your Sources of Motivation

Whether or not you agree that motivation comes from within, you might also recognize that there is a great following for the sales gurus that would like to create that atmosphere of motivation.  Zig Ziglar is sales motivator who has made millions in his speeches and seminars.  He is world renown, yet his quotes, albeit catchy, and for the most part true, did not do anything for me.  Google Zig and see if any of the quotes and quips do anything for you.

I am not endorsing or criticizing any of these individuals, as I believe that their worth is based on what the listener needs.  As I mention in Black Sales Journal 8/15, Tuning-Up Your Sales Career, I mention that these sessions can be important as you attempt to “sharpen your saw”.

Other motivation can come from reading sales books, online sales blogs, as well as attending seminars that are replete with exciting speakers and content.

When I was selling, there was a more omnipresent form of motivation.  As a single father with three children in tow, the picture on my desk showing the faces of my three children, looking angelic even though they were a handful was the motivating symbol.

Obviously it was never quite like this, yet the reality is that your family and a desire for the best life you could have is serious motivation.  Wanting family vacations, new vehicles, and a home that you can be proud of provides fuel that is intrinsic and long lasting.  Sales managers often encourage overreaching by sales professionals as it provides a constant motivation that is sometimes dangerous.  This can be dangerous, and can backfire on the sales professional.  I counted on the fact that I could not fail in providing for my children and that was an enzyme that gave me serious motivation.  It was more humble than overreaching, yet effective.

Many of you are in the same situation as you start your families, or raise them to maturity.  You recognize that your family is dependent on you, so as you ‘hit the bricks’ you realize that your motivation is at home.  Your children do not know, or need to know, about the difficult sales environment for a Black sales professional.  Your husband or wife might serve as a good sounding board on that topic, yet maybe you don’t want to burden them with it either.  No one knows it as well as the Black sales professionals who read this journal.

It Gets Real Personal

Know that your skill level is important and you should keep it sharp.  Recognize that the tactics that you use must be honed sharply as your compete with other sales professionals looking to show the advantages of their products and their own attributes.  More than anything else you should realize that the motivations that you thrive on, if they are as intrinsic as your financial and family needs will propel you better than anything external.

Use the external stuff for a finishing touch, and realize that you can find some darn good tips out from these clever speakers well as the benefit of being with those sales professionals who are in the same situation.  Knowledge is everything.

Maybe more than anything else, your probably recognize that I believe that motivation is a personal issue no matter what color you are.  I will also note that pride is an important factor, and provides motivation as well.  Being able emerge as a sales leader even in the face of the obstacles that you encounter as a minority is an accomplishment that few will understand, but is real.

Always be the best.

Your comments are always welcome.