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Thoughts for the Week

Posted on June 24, 2012 under Thoughts for the Week.

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Make a difference today, pay it forward,  and try to remember:  Taking chances is one of the hardest aspects of life.  Taking a chance is leaving a safety net and stepping out into the unknown. Sometimes the unknown is better than where you were before, and sometimes it simply isn’t. Taking chances though is absolutely necessary to advancing in life.

Craig McConnell, President, PrintGrowPro/SalesGrowPro

“Great selling is a process artfully done.”

Follow me on Twitter – and

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Sales Management 101: The “Truth” About Sales Force Turnover

Posted on June 23, 2012 under Sales Management 101.

Sales Force Turnover:  Good or Bad?

The words Dissoi Logoi are Greek words for “different words.” The phrase really carries the meaning of contrasting words, and it refers to the ancient rhetorical practice of arguing both sides of an issue.

That’s what I am going to try to do today:  argue both sides of what I will call the SALES FORCE TURNOVER (SFT) issue. 

I have some pretty strong biases as it pertains to SFT and admittedly, my positions are certainly not embraced by the majority of CEOs, sales managers, and owners.  That being said, I’m going to do my best to be fair, balanced, and objective.

Our minds can find evidence to support ANY belief.  They are designed this way to allow us to experience the reality of our choice. In theory, there’s nothing wrong with this. The problems begin when we start to see the world in “black and white”, believing that since I have evidence to support what I think, all other concepts are patently invalid and false.

This can be very dangerous if applied to SALES FORCE TURNOVER.  So regardless of which side of my argument you take, you need to constantly be in a recruiting, hiring, and developing talent.

I don’t want to become too esoteric or academic, but I feel a review of SFT is an ‘argument’ that doesn’t happen often enough.   Since sales managers are responsible not only for revenue growth, but for controlling cost of sales, they have to know which side of the issue they are on and manage accordingly.

Low turnover is obviously proof of sales managerial excellence right?  High employee (sales) retention must reflect that a sales manager is fostering a great and productive sales environment.

Not necessarily. 

Is it possible that  low (or non-existent) sales turnover numbers are evidence of just the opposite  –  a culture that fails to challenge the individual, condones mediocrity, promotes entitlement, and does not demand sales excellence?

Former GE CEO Jack Welch’s marching orders to his sales management team were that every year, the bottom 10% of the sales organization needed to be replaced.  The management challenge was to insure that the right people ended up leaving — your hangers-on versus your top producers.  If the departures are from the top tier of your sales team, you have a serious problem.  If however, you lose people from the bottom end of your sales force  –  those who are just covering their draw,  aren’t developing new business, and are just ‘taking up space’  –  turnover will actually improve the quality of your sales organization.

Obviously, any time someone leaves, there are potential negative consequences: a client perception of instability, a sales territory left uncovered, disruption of service to a customer, potential loss of business to a competitor, etc. Anytime someone leaves however (their choice or yours), you have the opportunity to upgrade your talent; and, as you have heard me pontificate repeatedly in articles I have written:  it’s all about talent!

Losing top performers will have a significant negative impact on your bottom line.  Losing poor performers however can improve your bottom line, if you replace them with more talented reps.

Are there ‘hard’ costs tied to SALES FORCE TURNOVER?  Absolutely!  Research reflects that the cost of making a mistake and hiring the wrong person will cost the company between 4 and 6 times the individual’s annual compensation.  Numbers like this promote the tendency to hang on to unproductive salespeople for way too long.

Turnover of new sales people has got to be viewed using different criteria. The rapid departure of new hires usually reflects basic selection problems or initial training problems. Do you have a formal sales process? Are your sales people coached on a daily basis? Do you have an ‘on boarding’ process that prepares a sales person for success at your company?

80% of sales hiring decisions are made in the interview (hire and hope?). Because the one skill that almost all candidates for sales positions have is their ability to ‘sell’ themselves, traditional interviewing is less than 10% accurate and a terrible predictor of success.

Talented sales reps will find a way to succeed, even when they receive inadequate coaching and training.  But the best coaching (and training) in the world can’t make up for a lack of talent and I remind you to never confuse experience with talent.


Considering that healthy turnover occurs when the bottom 25% of your sales team is impacted, if your losses continue to come from the top 25%, senior sales management needs to do some real soul searching.  Your top sales people usually don’t leave over money.  They don’t leave over a lack of advancement opportunity.  They don’t leave because of an inherent need for change.  They leave because management isn’t giving them what they need.  Turnover in this case isn’t sales person induced, it is management induced.

Willingness to change is a strength,even if some chaos is the short term end result.  So the next time you consider the positive and negative aspects of sales force turnover as it applies to your organization, consider the way that Jack Welch looked at things:  “My main job was developing talent.  I was a gardener providing water and other nourishment to our top 750 people.  Of course, I had to pull out some weeds too.”

Make a difference today, pay it forward,  and I would ask you to ponder one short question as you enter a new work week:  “would you hire you?”


Craig McConnell, President, PrintGrowPro/SalesGrowPro

“Great selling is a process artfully done.”

Follow me on Twitter – and


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Father’s Day 2012

Posted on June 16, 2012 under Happy Father's Day!.

Father’s Day 2012 will be different for me than any of the other 60+ that I’ve experienced.

For the first time in my life,  there will be no Father’s Day cards sent, no  calls  made, or meals shared.  After a lengthy struggle with Alzheimer’s, my Dad passed away back in January.  I still struggle with emotions far to complex to verbalize or put to paper (although I am going to attach a link to a marvelous piece that my daughter generated not long after my Dad’s death); maybe someday that will change.

But on this Father’s Day weekend, I do want to share someone else’s thoughts and observations on life (and death) with you.



My Dad’s Hospice/Palliative Care Nurse was a true angel.  She was kind enough to share with my brother, sister and I a paper she had written about her experiences in dealing with death. and dying. Her patients were those who had gone home to die.  She leaned never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth.  Some felt that many of the changes she experienced were phenomenal and every patient she dealt with found their peace before they departed  –  every one of them. 

I want to try to share  her key thoughts and observations with you today.

Father's Day Quotes, Quote About Father Son Looking Alike

When she questioned her patients about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again.  Here are the most common five she discovered:

1)  “I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me”  –   ”this was the most common regret of all.  When people realize that their life is almost over, it is far easier to look back and see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled; from the moment you lose your health, it is too late.  Health brings a freedom that very few realize until they no longer have it.

2)  “I wish I didn’t work so hard”  –  “this came from every male patient I nursed.  They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship.  All the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”  “By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to create more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities.”

3)  “I wish I had the courage to express my feelings”  – many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others.  As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence.  We cannot control the reactions of others.”


4)  “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”  –  many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years; there were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort they deserved; everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

5)  “I wish that I had  let myself be happier  –  “many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice.  They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits.  They longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their lives again.”


Fathers Day Quotes, Father's Day Quotes, Happy Fathers Day Sayings, Inspirational Pictures, Motivational Thoughts

“Life is a choice.   It is your choice.  Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly.  Choose happiness.”

Make it a great week and I’ll leave you with a final Father’s Day thought from Carl Coats:   “A father is a man who expects his children to be as good as he meant to be.”               

Craig McConnell, President, PrintGrowPro/SalesGrowPro

“Great selling is a process artfully done.”

Follow me on Twitter –



PS:  here’s that link I promised



Father's Day Quotes, Quote About Father Being in Children's Life

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Thoughts for the Week

Posted on June 10, 2012 under Thoughts for the Week.

Make it a great week and ask yourself daily:  what would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

Craig McConnell, President, PrintGrowPro/SalesGrowPro

“Great selling is a process artfully done.”

Follow me on Twitter –

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