Posts belonging to Category Business Practices

Are YouTempted to Cheat?

Are you ever tempted to cheat?  Do you know some of your sales associates who have “went out of bounds” in this profession where they may be convinced that no one is watching?  Never give in to the temptation!


I worked for a sales organization that believed in having sprint contests as well as sales incentives.  It was the nature of the beast to have a contest that had incentive trips, as many organizations have, as well as to have a contest to introduce, or spur the sales of slower moving products.

But this contest was different; it involved a sprint contest that would ‘pay’ on the basis of activity and not actual sales of the product.  In other words, you could get paid on the basis of working on something as opposed to the success of selling it.  Quite strange that an organization would be so desperate to get its sales professionals to work on a new product that they pay on the basis of working on it as opposed to the norm of selling the product.

Here is what I witnessed:

Sales reps in our office were buzzing as they talked about this new ‘program’ that they would be paid to deliver quotations on a new retirement product for small businesses and entrepreneurs.  You got paid for selling it, and if you did not sell it, you got paid in prizes and merchandise for getting to business owners to sit down and discuss it with you even if you did not sell it.  What could be better than that?

The unintended consequence of the contest was that unscrupulous sales professionals could easily augment their real activity with false activity in order to walk with some valuable prizes. As a matter of fact they could totally fabricate enough activity to walk away with stereos, televisions, sporting equipment, and gift certificates.  And that is just what happened.

The sales staff was tempted to ‘pad’ activity and those without morals did just that and were rewarded with a bounty of electronics and other items.  As a sales manager and a manager of sales managers for that same organization later in my career, it was clearly the example for what program never to undertake again.

Play Fair… Everywhere!

“I would prefer even to fail with honor than to win by cheating.”

Yes, companies can decide what programs not to implement again, but the bigger story here is not that there was a ‘dumb’ program; it is that when the moment availed itself, these sales professionals ‘cheated’ for trinkets.

They took the opportunity to ‘fudge’ their activity sheets for some items that they could already afford!  That is the problem with cheating.  Sales professionals work by a system, and the system can be ‘gamed’.   Even more, in most cases no one is watching many of the activities.

Mr. or Mrs. Clean

The impression that you will want to leave on your employer will be based on a squeaky clean image, which negates any perception that you might cheat.  The perception that you may cheat is as damaging as cheating itself.  You need to be Mr. or Mrs. Clean.  I have had this conversation with Black sales professionals on numerous occasions while mentoring.

With that in mind, you should note that if I were your sales manager, perception of your propensity to cheat would be based on some important points:

  • If you will cheat your fellow sales professional or co-employee, you will cheat me!
  • If you will cheat the IRS you will cheat me!
  • If you will cheat on your wife, you will cheat me!

Cheating obviously occurs in more than the workplace.  In the areas that are above we must consider the possibility that if it is known you violated the truth, you can possibly do it to your employer.  You may have no intent to do it to your employer, but the perception that you could do it is what can damage you.

Your personal life is yours, but says a lot about you.  It helps you establish your credibility (Read This - BSJ 4/16– Credibility …You Can’t Buy it, You’ve Got to Earn It!) as well as build a positive perception of yourself as I stated BSJ 4/9/2012 Build a Positive Perception.

Cheating in the workplace includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Expense management
  • Handling of company property (cars, computers, etc.)
  • Your time management (while you are supposed to be working)
  • Your sales prospect data

Protect you future and your career.  Put your energy into maintaining credibility and winning the right way.  Remember, it is always easier to tell the truth! (Read it in BSJ 6/30/2011 Telling the Truth…It Works Wonders for a Relationship).

Be the Best.

I welcome your comments. Contact me at

Jump Start Your Sales Career….Here’s How!!

Black Sales Professional

I know that I seem to spend a lot of time and effort getting someone to re-boot their sales career, without as much regard for those individuals who are doing well, and just needing to fine-tune some of their efforts.  During this post we will spend some time talking about some activities that will help you to sharpen your skills.


You may want to ”sharpen your saw” for a variety of reasons.  Among these reasons could be:

  • To make more money
  • Exceed sales goals
  • To increase your effectiveness and efficiency
  • To get a promotion or better job

There are things you can to that will affect these areas.  If you are doing well, and want to consider these while there is not serious survival pressure.

The activities that a sales professional does can be common and some are based on particular situations.  There are activities that are done everyday, and there are those that are done as a reaction.  The good part about sharpening skills is that you move away from survival techniques and move to the items that make you more effective.

9 Items to Help You Tune it up

I know that you have heard these items somewhere before.  I hope the explanations will hope you understand why you need to consider them.

Here are some items that I would suggest:

  • Seek out a mentor
  • Mentor someone
  • Get up to date on technology
  • Examine your goal setting
  • Institute a networking plan
  • Attend a sales seminar
  • Improve your knowledge – Take a class
  • Join a group or association with common interest
  • Get a sales coach

Seek out a mentor – You have heard this one from me before, and I cannot emphasize it enough.  I have done two posts about it, and the interesting part is that most Black sales professionals do not do it.  I will note that the mentor need to be accomplished, rather than of a particular race or creed.  It is always good to have someone that shares some of the same challenges in cold calling and organizational interaction.   If you want to see more, check out Black Sales Journal 1/27 Do You Need A Mentor, Probably Two, and Black Sales Journal 7/18 When Mentoring Goes Wrong.  Remember, mentoring can be formal and informal in terms of the arrangements.  Make sure that you arrange it so you can get what you need out of the relationship.

Mentor someone - Nothing helps you re-examine the most important areas of sales professionalism like when you are teaching it to others.  Whether it is the finer points of prospecting or the timing of a close, you think about it harder when you have to teach it to others.  You may refer to Black Sales Journal 3/28 Being A Mentor on this important topic.  You will be giving back, but also re-examining your sales base in the process.

Get up to date on technology – This is a good one to examine.  Increasing your mastery on your system at work is just as important as some of the actual face-to-face work you will be doing.  If you are on Sales Genie or, you may need to bring yourself up to date to be most efficient.  These programs have good functionality, and your ability to shorten use times depends on your mastery, so get good at it.

Examine and change your goal setting – Stretch yourself on your goals and internalize them.  You all know what stretching means, now I will quickly say that internalizing them means that you will substitute them for the goals that you were given for the year or period.  The new number then is “your” number, and it is taken for granted that your new number is more ambitious.

Institute a networking plan – I will point to Black Sales Journal 2/21, Networking for the Black Sales Professional for this valuable suggestion.  The strength of networking is that prospecting can be less tedious.  They know why you are at the function (chamber meeting, business function etc.) and they know you are going to “touch” them at some point.  It is expected at this function, so your comfort level is high.  The good thing is that this is where your elevator pitch (Black Sales Journal 8/12, Know Your Elevator Pitch) comes in handy.  If all goes well, someone in there is in need of a widget, whether they know it or not.

Attend a sales seminar – There are many that believe sales seminars are a waste of time.  There are some that are worse than others, yet I believe that if you come out of it motivated, and believe in the boundless ability to make money, then it cannot be a total waste of time.  I went to a Zig Ziglar event one time, and he delivered a lot of platitudes, yet there were some sound messages delivered as well.  Note – If you pick up one kernel that develops you, you have been successful.

Improve your knowledge; take a class or course – It does not even have to yield a certificate, let alone a degree, but a course that strengthens you technically can yield strong benefits.  Knowing more about your product, marketplace, or the sales process is a plus and an excellent way to sharpen skills.

Join a group or association – This one is a solid way to network as well as capture an audience for your skills.  Joining a group or association is an excellent way to develop contacts, show expertise, and gather the backing that you need to be considered a true expert.

Get a sales coach – I saved this one for last because it may cost money.  A sales coach is a solid way to get someone to evaluate your sales style and help you improve your weak areas.  Do you have a problem probing, supporting, or probing?  If you sales manager is not giving you constructive comments, you may need someone to help.  Coaches are not free, yet depending on the resources that you have at your disposal starting with your sales manager this might be necessary.  Try your manager first, then a mentor next.  If that does not give it to you, consider a sales coach.  Sales coaching can be on-line, personal, or for teams of sales professionals.

Be Honest With Yourself

The most important thing is to be honest about what you really need help on.  If you are just low in spirits and need some uplift, consider attending the sales seminar.  If you are in need of someone to bounce things off of seek a mentor.  I think you get the drill.

If you career is not sputtering, this is really for you.  If you don’t need to do some emergency triage to stay in your position, you can strengthen areas that others are forced to ignore.  Pick one, and make yourself more complete with the objective of continuous improvement.

We welcome your comments. You can reach me at