Posts belonging to Category Business Ethics

The Dreaded Mid-Term Performance Review

It is that time again! This post is for all of those professionals, and sales professionals, who are concerned about their mid-term review. The performance review can be a stressful event, a difficult time for many.

Many of us have been there before, and thus the need for this post.  A tough interim or mid-term review is sobering, and if you are in sales it is easy to have a couple of tough quarters.  The importance of this is apparent when it gets to writing.  Use this post, to prepare for this important upcoming event, or to respond to a difficult mid term that has already happened.

Are you currently on a performance program? Remember, you must be on top of your game, and working all of the time.  You might refer to BSJ 4/30/2011, Are You on A Sales Performance Program? Can You Beat it?

Remember, this is the mid-term, and there is some time left to get goals, but you must do something different, or the results will be the same. This post was from last July but applies now as much as any interm period.

Never give up!


If you are with a fairly large organization, you have probably recently experienced an interim or mid-term review.  As trite as it sounds, you knew it was coming; yet it is one of the least enjoyable activities for a sales professional.  Having someone tell you where you stand in comparison to a goal that you had no choice but  agree to.

Historically, that is the nature of sales.  Review Black Sales Journal – 1/10 Preparing for the Performance Appraisal that discusses the performance appraisal process and the sales professional.  These points are applicable here, yet I am highlighting “what is after the interim appraisal” as a result of the urgency getting on track, meeting goals, and having a successful last 5 months.

You Must Do Something Differently!

This is not an issue if you had a great interim review as you are on track, although you need to remain there.  The problem comes when the interim or mid-term was problematic, exposing what even you have to agree are sub-par sales results and as a result low attainment.

When you are in that mode you have reasons to despair and frankly, I can tell you I have been there. It is a place that you don’t want to be as you are up against a clock (actually the calendar) and you know something has got to change, or you won’t be there down the road.

The real deal is that you might not be doing anything wrong, yet you might not be doing enough right.  Something new has to be tried, and now is the time to do it.  I will propose a few things that may help; yet you cannot stop the normal sales process while you execute them.

Those items are as follows:

  • You must increase your prospecting effectiveness. It is a proper activity for even those who are having success.  Please to refer to Black Sales Journal 2/10, Prospecting Tips For Black Sales Professionals.  Making your prospecting activities most effective will include changing, yet it is still an activity that is basically short-term that will yield dividends.
  • Reckon with the numbers game that prospecting represents. There is no doubt that there is a formula that successful prospecting continually requires.  See this in Black Sales Journal 2/28, How Many Prospects Do You Really Need? You must know your success formula, and make it happen.  The formula is different based on your own effectiveness.  I might be able to make my numbers with fewer prospects, based on my own approach and characteristics.
  • Continue to work hard. There is no magic in this statement.  You can increase your effectiveness and recognize your prospecting formula and the numbers that make it work; yet you still can do more.  Here is where you put it into high gear.

Here are some activities that you can do that you might not be doing right now:

  • Utilize networking as a prospect source
  • Use seminars as a prospecting tool

Networking - can be a very effective prospecting source.  It does take work and some planning, yet proper networking will change the prospect base you are exposed to as well as create face-to-face opportunities for prospecting intimacy.  I went deep in this topic in Black Sales Journal 2/21, Networking for the Black Sales Professional.  Using networking effectively is possible in the short term and can be done while the normal prospecting activities continue.

Seminars - can be extremely effective.  Done correctly, this activity can be more effective that networking, yet require more preparation, and potentially some resources.  Black Sales Journal 3/24, Finding Prospects Though A Seminar gets deep into this activity that I am partial to.  Now to make this activity work, you do need to have a group that has some has some commonality in buying habits, product needs, industry type, or other characteristics just as the 3/24 post describes.  Once you pull a group together like this, and deliver a message a message with value, you will potentially have followers, prospects, and some customers that you may never have been exposed to.  It would help to be an expert, or regarded as one, yet not necessary.  If you are not an expert, you should engage one to speak to your group, and as is described in the post, keep meticulous records and do not let anyone in, or out, without their contact information, especially their email.

In Summary

These are tactical activities.  They do not replace normal prospecting but can supplement that activity.  You cannot make it in sales without prospecting and need to face that important issue if you have problems there.

Prospecting is the price of admission to being successful sales professional.  Prospecting Tips For Black Sales Professionals were designed specifically for up and coming Black sales professionals in recognition that if you are going to be in this profession, you will need them to smooth out the difficulties of sourcing prospects.

Be effective and prosper.

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Truth Vs. Lie – What Lie are You Going to Tell Today?

Tell the Truth

“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

There something about telling the truth!  It can disarm, humble, or even impress a buyer. The truth builds relationship, even contentious ones.  There is also something else about telling the truth that is even more important: Its the right thing to do and its easy to remember!


You have seen in previous posts my comments about telling the truth in the sales process.  It is without fail that when a sales professional gets immersed in small lies, they graduate to being able to tell the larger ones with aplomb, and without much hesitation.

I will clarify what I mean, and I am almost certain you will know someone who engages in the practices that we are talking about.  The truth has a strange way getting in the way for some sales professionals.  Being honest about the fit of your product and the customer’s needs is an essential part of the process.  If you are caught in a lie in the sales process, your chances of a good relationship are diminished.

What Kind of Lies?

There are several different types of lies that are common in the sales process.  I would suppose that it would be simple to say this a prohibition against lies should apply only to the “big ones.”  To be truthful, that is not correct.  Sprinkling your encounters with customers with lies cannot result in any great advantage worth losing your credibility over.

We spoke in Black Sales Journal 3/31 Credibility – The Goal of the Black Sales Professional,regarding this issue, which is so important.  It cannot be denied that credibility is the “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow” for the Black sales professional.  You cannot manufacture it, you must earn it, and it can be fleeting if you are not careful.

Lies of Convenience

I am sure that we all believe that there are small imperceptible lies to customers that don’t matter.  They are small, and meant to be “convenient” type lies.  This is convenient for whom? I think you get it.  The small lie, which is told to the customer, is for the convenience of someone else.  It may be that you cannot get delivery until next month, even though the product is needed next week.  Missing this sale would be better than losing the confidence of customer.

If you are lying for convenience, rethink it.  That small lie for convenience can break any confidence and trust you have if you get exposed.  Think of your relationship with the customer based on the “life value” of the customer.  The total amount of business that you can get from this particular buyer, whether he/she stays at this current organization or not, is what should be considered, this year, the following year, and the years after.  The total of this is the life value.  To guess at it, multiply the value of the average sale (in dollars) times the average amount of transaction or sales that will occur in the life of that relationship.  Sometimes, you might find yourself surprised by the size of that number.

The confidence that you maintain with the buyer will go well past the fact that you don’t deliver in a particular instance.  Tell the truth and you will be recognized for delivering “when you say you will.”

Lies in the Middle

Obviously, these are not necessarily big, but they do happen. Yes, there are sales professionals who would tell something other than the truth about their product or service to get the commission or bonus. The problem comes when the performance is not there, and someone loses confidence in you and your product or service.  Knowing the features and benefits of your product or service, is what you do.  You can easily substitute, or contrast a different feature when you know your product/service is not the leader in particular area.  When you say things about your product/service, or your organization that are misrepresentations, it may be sales talk, but it is still a lie in the eyes of a customer.

Lies to avoid embarrassment or cover for mistakes are lies told which could be avoided.

Lies for Profit – The Big Ones

If you know someone who is telling lies to consummate the sale, and thus pocket commissions or bonuses, then they are involved in the “big one.”  I only say this because if they can twist the truth for the self of self-aggrandizement, I suppose that they have decided that this is a job, and not a career.  It will catch up with them at some point.  Obviously, no suggestion in a journal like this will change their mind.

I will say a couple of things about the process of lying in sales.  In a profession where relationships change everything, a lie can change the landscape.

A Case for the Truth

The energy expended on the lie, and the “maintenance of the lie” is consuming.  Additionally, the truth is easy to remember. No need to expound on this issue.  So it is noble to tell the truth, and may expose you to some chagrin, yet we all make mistakes, forget, and have errors in judgment.

Resort to the truth and you will find that the best customer is the one that appreciates you because you are an honest professional.  Sales professionals who tell the truth don’t always get the business, yet they secure and grow relationships.

Some sales roles are transactional, but for some of the best compensated it is a relationship game.  Don’t forget it!

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