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Sales Management 101: Retaining & Motivating Your Sales ‘Stars’

Posted on June 27, 2013 under Sales Management 101.

Retaining & Motivating Your Top Sales People -  What’s The Secret?

It’s far from ‘brain surgery’ or ‘rocket science’ and it really isn’t a ‘secret’:  If you get the right people in the right places doing the right things, your sales results can be amazing.

But how do you find and keep the ‘right’ sales superstars?

And more importantly, how do you guide the ‘right’ superstars toward success at your company?

For starters you have to hire smarter.  The era of ‘hire and hope’ is gone and (as I jump back on my ‘importance of testing soap box’ again) every sales organization needs to know exactly what the success profile for their top producers looks like.  As a part of the interview process, you need to evaluate what drives and motivates a candidate and then compare their behavioral assessment to those of the top performers (success profiles) on your team.  An analysis of the behavioral assessment should not be the only determinate, but if a candidate’s levels of assertiveness, imagination, social need, competitiveness, and sensitivity (as determined by the assessment) don’t compare favorably with your top producers, you should probably move on to your next candidate.

In most cases, top sales people are pretty well compensated (or they should be).  But are they looking for more than a paycheck? Absolutely!

They are looking to be managed!

They want a clearly defined career path meaning that, like their non-sales brethren, they are entitled to quarterly performance reviews that are based upon more than whether or not they made their numbers.

Like professional athletes, they want ongoing coaching and will continually want to be exposed to new ways to learn and to grow.  If you don’t have a sales manager who is willing and able to coach, mentor and motivate,  the sales superstars will always be looking elsewhere.

Sales : 3D Sales Revenue Crossword on white background Stock PhotoSales : Three man team of sales people stand in front of a business profit growth success chartSales : simple business chart

What are some other things you have to do to keep your superstars?

1)     Give them autonomy

Top sales people want and expect a degree of freedom. Your most successful sales people are going to be self starters; let ‘em run.

2)     Give them recognition

Although they will seldom admit it, most top sales people thrive on recognition; give it privately and publicly.

3)     Reward them

In sales, “What gets measured gets done.” And ‘You get your reward.”  Be creative when considering special perks for your top producers.

Sales : sales trend Stock PhotoSales : Disabled businessman smiling in office Stock PhotoSales : teamworks to make success in business Stock Photo


4)   Give them negotiating authority

And customers prefer working with sales people who have the authority to make decisions on the spot.

5)     Give them cutting edge sales technology

Top sales people recognize that selling is an art and a science; give them the sales aids they need: PDAs, contact management software, etc.

6)   They need to have pride in the company

Top sales people want to work for and be part of a winning team; success in sales is tied to believing in the company, manage accordingly.

7)   Hold them accountable

Top performing salespeople expect to be held accountable. Make sure you set clear standards and expectations.

8)    Listen to them

Many top salespeople leave their jobs because they feel they are not listened to. Become an active listener; solicit their opinions.

9)    Treat them with respect

Top salespeople work smarter and harder than average producers. Treat them well and when dealing with your sales team remember: Everyone needs to be treated fairly, not necessarily the same.

10)               Make sure they know you appreciate their efforts

Periodically, send your top producers a handwritten thank you note (to their home where the spouse or significant other will also see it) letting them know how much you appreciate their efforts (an email will work also, but will not be as impactful).  Don’t be afraid to consistently verbalize how much you appreciate their hard work.

Sales : Confident businesswoman giving a presentationSales : Men shaking hands as a sign of friendship and agreementSales : High resolution graphic of hands holding the word success.Sales : handshake isolated on white background

Here’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about.

One of my clients, recently changed jobs.  She received an unsolicited call from a head hunter (don’t fool yourself, your top people receive the same kind of calls weekly) and without compromising her existing commitment to her current employer, went through an extensive interview process, and ultimately received a solid offer.

When she notified her currently employer of her intention to leave, guess what they did?    They fell all over themselves (for the first time), telling her how important she was to their long term objectives; she was personally contacted by every top executive in the firm (for the first time);   she was publicly and privately praised for her contributions and efforts on their behalf (for the first time);  they committed to giving her additional support staff to help manage her existing business;  and they matched the competitive offer (actually ‘sweetened’ it a little with a ‘stay’  bonus).

But you know what?  It was too little, too late; she was already on her way ‘out the door’.

The bottom line:  Your top producers know they’re top producers and will do whatever it takes to stay that way.  They expect opportunities to develop their sales skills and will demand smart coaching, strong guidance, and solid mentoring.  They are lifelong learners and will always prioritize perpetual improvement.  Career development will always be a top priority for them and they will demand a defined training curriculum.  The question is:

Are you prepared to provide it?

Have a great rest of the week and remember:  if you EVER have the opportunity to help some one, just do it!!!

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Thoughts For The Week

Posted on June 25, 2013 under Thoughts for the Week.

Motivational, Inspirational, Failure, Success, Personal Growth, Success Quotes

Life, Inspirational, Motivational, Encouraging Quotes Inspirational, Motivational QuotesLife, Motivational Quotes

Love, Life, Motivational QuotesInspirational, Motivational Quotes Letting go, Motivational, Inspirational Quotes


Thought Questions

Thought Questions

Thought Questions

Thought Questions

Make it a great week, always be memorable, and always try to keep that self talk positive.
Remember how you act determines how you feel, not the other way around.

Craig McConnell, President, PrintGrowPro/SalesGrowPro

“Great selling is a process artfully done.”

Follow me on Twitter –

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Thoughts For The Week

Posted on June 17, 2013 under Thoughts for the Week.


Make it a memorable week; pay it forward and keep that self talk positive.

Craig McConnell, President, PrintGrowPro/SalesGrowPro

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Father’s Day 2013

Posted on June 16, 2013 under Happy Father's Day!.
Father’s Day 2013

For only the second time in my 63+ years, I am experiencing Father’s Day  without my Dad.

For the second 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, 2012.  I still struggle with emotions far to complex to verbalize or put to paper; maybe someday that will change.

But as I did last year, 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 remarkable woman and she was kind enough to share 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. 

Her thoughts are below; enjoy.


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.”

Danielle Toews - Daddy Dance    Adrienne Fox-Keesic - Cycling

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.”

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




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.”

As Always, thanks for being here and  I leave you with this from former NC State basketball coach Jim Valvano:   My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.

PS:   Corey and Ross -   other than marrying your Mom, you are the best things that have ever happened to me.  I am very proud to be your Dad  –  ALWAYS!       

Craig McConnell, President, PrintGrowPro/SalesGrowPro

“Great selling is a process artfully done.”

Follow me on Twitter –

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Sales 101: Don’t Worry, Be Happy! And Sell More!

Posted on June 4, 2013 under Sales 101.

Have you ever stopped to consider what really makes you happy? Happiness must be pretty important because everyone from Socrates to our Founding Fathers to Bobby McFerrin felt we had the right to pursue it.

I’d be willing to venture a guess that  very few of us have ever really given the happiness question very much thought.

We all want it, but we don’t take the time to ask ourselves what it really looks like.


If you relax and close your eyes and think about your favorite things, I would be very surprised if you were able to keep a big smile from materializing out of thin air.

For your consideration:

Happy (Sales) People = Smiling (Sales) People = Friendly (Sales) People = People Who Sell More

And here is the point I really want to drive home: It is the sales person’s responsibility (along with senior management) to set the tone for the entire company. No one, other than sales, can lighten the mood, make things fun and bring positive stress free energy into the building. No one, other than sales, can provide the aura of emotional consistency that is so important to a company’s overall level of friendliness and commitment to customer satisfaction.


So beginning immediately, do something everyday that will raise those endorphin levels; be more aware of what makes you happy; and share that feeling with others.

Want to sell more? Be happy! Be friendly! Smile more! Lighten up! Don’t take yourself so seriously.

So, commit the rest of the week to positive self talk , be thankful, stop worrying, count your blessings, celebrate the successes of others, give more than you get,  compliment others, believe in yourself,  and pay it forward.


Craig McConnell, President


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