(Excerpted from Giff's Graduate School For Sales Management)

How many sales do you make during a fact-finding call? "Say what? Sales, you say?”

Yes, sales! What kind of sales? We’ll start with a reminder from a previous blog…

Sale #1 By demonstrating you’ve done your homework, convince advertisers you're there to help them grow their businesses. Example…

"Mr. Garcia, my name is Dave Gifford, I’m a Retail Brand Manager at Results Radio. I don‘t know if you recognize me or not, but yesterday—after checking out Costco’s website—I made the Grand Tour up-and-down every isle of your store…and whereas we both know you can’t match Costco price-for-price—you have a tremendous local branding opportunity when it comes to…well…here, take a look at this…handing Mr. Garcia the following 5” x 7” list) 


1. Fully staffed Service Department!

2. Parts stock: Extensive!

3. Apple • Sony • Dell • hp • Customized!

4. Outstanding Expandability!

5. Extensive Accessories!

6. All Major Credit Cards including Amex!

7. 90 days same as cash!

8. Lease with option to Buy!

9. Recognized Community Involvement

10. Local business Local people support





Acer? • Alienware? • Dell • hp • Leveno


Very limited

Amex only

No way

No way


National Chain Box Store


 Mr. Garcia, this is what I do. I help local, independent retailers increase their store traffic, turn over their inventories faster, and increase their cash flow...and last night I came up with a Media-Mix marketing plan—not just radio—that will help you, one, ensure continued loyalty to your store after Costco arrives, and two, drive more store traffic to your store at the same time. All I need to prove how it will work for you is sixty minutes of your time sometime next week...which is most convenient for you, Monday at nine or, uh...Tuesday afternoons at two, any preference?

Important Note: If you came into my store, and your opening line is—or any number of variations thereof: "The reason I wanted to meet you is to learn something about your business.", my response would be...

"I don't mean to be rude, but I didn't get up this morning to provide you an education about my business. Tell you what. Let me give you a sales tip. Learn about my business first, the way you should. There are tons of sources* available including Goggling 'the computer industry', and then call me. When you do call, remind me of our conversation, and I promise to talk with you then, fair enough?" (under the circumstances, that is about as "diplomatic" as I can be)

* Radio Advertising Bureau. 800 232-3131;; Instant Background: Computers.

Sale #2 That you are an expert on advertising, among the most advertising people in your market, someone who knows what you're talking about and—in earning their respect and trust—a media sales representative to be taken seriously. Note: You are not in the Radio Business, you're in the Advertising Business! Which is why your sales training curriculum should include a major in the basic tenets and principles of advertising. If you do, you will then be able to make...

Sale #3 That you offer advertisers a "unique expertise" unavailable from every media salesperson calling on them.

Sale #4 That you ask intelligent, relevant, insightful, analytical questions, and are quick to recognize what is particularly significant to their business.

Sale #5 That you gain crucial agreements that help you in the Test Closing (if necessary!) of your follow-up presentation.

Sale #6 That any company which fails to expand its customer base, cannot survive. And the
only way advertisers can increase their share of market is to take market share away from competitors. Business goes where it's invited! Period.

Sale #7 That today advertisers need only two things to succeed in business: new business and repeat business because they can't have one without the other. That they get new
business by advertising for it, and they get repeat business by advertising for it consistently. Fail to advertise go for new customers consistently, and their repeat business will dry up.

Sale #8 That you correctly identified their real #1 sales problem...that the fundamental flaw
in their advertising is that they are not reaching enough people, enough of the right people—with the right message—enough times—at the right times!

Sale #9 That there is a consequence for not solving their #1 sales problem: their best accounts will become their competitors' best prospects!

Sale #10 That they're spending too much money on newspaper or Yellow Pages or TV
advertising, or whatever they're spending too much money on. Especially, given the fact that most locally produced TV commercials look like they were produced in your neighbor's garage, the vast majority can't afford to advertise on TV effectively.

Sale #11 Reality: Radio gets only 5% of advertising's total spend, and selling your Station-Mix only (spot and/or interactive and/or below-the-line) has not increased radio's market share one iota! Not that is isn't important to your revenue, but if radio fails to go after the 95% of ad moneys radio is missing, there will be fewer radio ad dollars to go after. Consequently, Radio's #1 source of 2013 "GROWTH" money has to come from, 1) Getting radio and your stations included on as many Media-Mix schedules as possible, and, 2) Selling Customized Media-Mix Marketing Campaigns to non-radio advertisers! That's it!

Advice: To grow your revenues exponentially, get into the Advertising Business, and major in selling Customized Media-Mix Marketing Campaigns to non-radio advertisers.

Your Sell: With the proliferation of new media since 2000, no single ad medium is a one-size-fits-all solution for advertisers, thereby explaining why Media-Mix (integrated advertising) is today's marketing strategy of choice. But whereas Media-Mix advertising helps advertisers reach more potential customers through the addition of more and different ad mediums, adding more ad mediums increases the cost of advertising. Warning: overspending in Reach ad mediums at the expense of driving their ad messages home re-peat-edly (Frequency!), represents the biggest mistake in advertising today. Consequently, as advertising's #1 Frequency ad medium, Radio is the perfect Media-Mix-Medium!

Sale #12 That you uncover and overcome their major objections.

Sale #13 That their advertising is only as good as 1) Their credibility with consumers, 2) The persuasiveness of their sales messages and offers, 3) The creative execution of their sales messages and offers, 4) The consumer's receptivity to their sales messages and offers, and 5) The number of times their sales messages (commercials) run. Having made that point...

Sale #14 In the discussion that followed you identified their needs, their concerns, their aspirations, and their fears. Note: Find out their greatest fears are about the future of their business, and you can sell them. "Fear of loss is a far stronger emotion than the desire for gain."—Giff

Sale #15 That changes in the marketplace require changes in their advertising.

Sale #16 That they are not the "Coke Is It!" for what they sell. Because of same...

Sale #17 They need to re-position themselves by marketing their company or store or
service as if it were a "brand".

Sale #18 That you will come up with a choice of unique positioning statements to select from, each conceived and written to drive home a unique message consumers will quickly recognize, relate to, and respond to.

Sale #19 That, if the opportunity presents itself (appropriate to the circumstances), you should be prepared to sell them something that, over time, will 1) Increase their traffic, 2) Expand their customer base, and 3) Elevate their company net worth. If not, you will need to make...

Sale #20 Sell them on a follow-up meeting for the purpose of presenting a Customized Media-Mix Marketing Campaign strategically designed to solve the major sales problems you identified during the fact-finding call.

Lesson: All fact-finding calls are "sales" calls! 


Dave "Giff" Gifford/DGI © 2012



“Value Added” Selling vs. “Value Less” Selling

(Excerpted from Giff's Graduate School For Sales Management)

Despite the fact building good client relationships is as important as ever, Relationship Selling remains the most misused sales technique in selling! The misuse of Relationship Selling is a matter of logistics: when and how good client relationships should be constructed, putting the horse in front of the cart.

"The Results Lead Sell"
"Relationship Selling"

For over five decades I enjoyed some wonderful relationships with my clients, but not through Relationship Selling as practiced today; rather, through elevating each client's Top Line and company Net Value—which in turn results in building good client relationships.

Face it, Radio does a pathetic job of investing in and educating its sellers. Today, in companies of all sizes, Radio sales departments are overloaded with poorly educated sellers managed by poorly educated sales managers (poorly educated as sellers as well) who continue to poorly educate new sellers.

Radio Sales' "Death Cycle".

To Owners & CEO's who take offense to that statement, I mean YOU! Unlike Radio Owners & CEO's who excel in training their salespeople—"true" Radio Broadcasters—YOU are Radio's #1 Sales Problem!

Absent what Radio salespeople should be taught, the basic tenants and principles of advertising at the very least, and deceived by the hypothesis that "the first law of selling is selling yourself", no wonder so many salespeople take bloody forever to make a sale... salespeople I identify as SFRS: Sweetie Faced Relationship Sellers joined at the hip in fear of trying to make a sale before building good client relationships.

"But boss, it takes time to build relationships!"! How unfortunate, because that speaks more about that sellers timidity, lack of self-confidence, incapability of being assertive (selling advertisers for their own good!), their unwillingness to take risks and irresponsible sales training, more than anything else. As a matter of course, super glued on a plateau, SFRS...

  1. Become complacent.
  2. Take clients for granted.
  3. Turn into SFRDS: Sweetie Faced Relationship Dependent Sellers.
  4. Lose accounts to competitors working unceasingly to add "value" to client relationships.
  5. Live off depreciating account lists, and eventually...
  6. Turn into SFRDCB: Sweetie Faced Relationship Dependent Cry Babies having stopped prospecting for New Business long ago.

No, I cannot feel their pain. Relationship Dependent Sellers—"soft" sell to a marshmallow's
consistency as opposed to introverted salespeople who recognize when it is essential to sell
assertively with enthusiasm and conviction—who fail to add "value" to client relationships (new ideas and concepts for expanding each client's customer base) get what they deserve.

Raise your hand if you'd like to learn the secret of how to build strong, long lasting, money making relationships with advertiser faster? Here's how...

Sell advertisers sooner, get results for advertisers sooner, and I guarantee you will build stronger, longer lasting, money making, relationships with more advertisers...faster!

The "Results Lead" Sell

Strangers before we met, you just walked into my computer store without an appointment, my biggest pet peeve, I'm immersed in taking inventory—the single task retailers detest the most—I stopped advertising on radio long ago, and worse, Costco, a huge Box store that sells computers for less, just announced it's opening a store in my town.

Regardless, in five minutes or less you walk out with an appointment to make a presentation to me next Tuesday at 2PM. How is that possible?


Obviously, it is to every seller's benefit to be liked, trusted and respected. Please select the single impulse (above) you think most likely prompted me to give you an appointment in five minutes or less: I liked you, I trusted you, or I respected you? Which one?

LIKE: Call it chemistry or a spontaneous shared rapport, it happens doesn't it? What I characterize as a "reciprocal transference", i.e., you like someone you meet for the first time and that emotion becomes a shared experience. Meet someone you instantly dislike, and that emotion comes swooping back at you like a boomerang. That is how many relationships begin. Thus explaining why most salespeople, taught from day one that the first rule of selling is selling yourself, select LIKE.

I'm ruling Like out at the outset. Hitting it off with someone on a first call does not a "relationship" make. What are you selling, your charismatic personality? What should you be selling? H-E-L-P! That is what you should be selling! Besides, most prospects don't get up in the morning to make a new "friend".

TRUST: The second most selected impulse. Hmmm. How quick are you to trust a total stranger? How about a total stranger trying to sell you something? The fact is it takes time to earn trust, real trust, true or false? To be "trusted", Rule #1 is keep your mouth shut; what a client shares with you is proprietary, confidential, "company" information.

RESPECTED: During a first-time-ever "Opportunity Call", what most sellers disparagingly refer to as "cold" calls, how many times in your sales career have you earned a Buyer's "respect" in five minutes or less, especially during challenging times like today? It takes time to earn respect, as well as trust, does it not?

What impulse would I select?

Respected! You better earn the Buyer's respect in five minutes or less, or your first
impression will be the advertisers' last impression...why, spending time with you is a waste of time.

What follows is the most "basic" opening statement to make to a single location retailer.

"Mr. Garcia, my name is Dave Gifford, I'm a Retail Brand Manager at Results Radio. I don't know if you recognize me or not, but yesterday—after checking out Costco's website—I made the Grand Tour up-and-down every isle of your store...and whereas we both know you can't match Costco price-for-price—you have a tremendous local branding opportunity when it comes, take a look at this... (handing Mr. Garcia the following 5" x 7" list)



1. Fully staffed Service Department!

2. Parts stock: Extensive!

3. Apple • Sony • Dell • hp • Customized!

4. Outstanding Expandability!

5. Extensive Accessories!

6. All Major Credit Cards including Amex!

7. 90 days same as cash!

8. Lease with option to Buy!

9. Recognized Community Involvement

10. Local business Local people support





Acer? • Alienware? • Dell • hp • Leveno


Very limited

Amex only

No way

No way


National Chain Box Store



Mr. Garcia, this is what I do. I help local, independent retailers increase their store traffic, turn over their inventories faster, and increase their cash flow...and last night I came up with a Media-Mix marketing plan—not just radio—that will help you, one, ensure continued loyalty to your store after Costco arrives, and two, drive more store traffic to your store at the same time. All I need to prove how it will work for you is sixty minutes of your time sometime next week...which is most convenient for you, Monday at nine or, uh...Tuesday afternoons at two, any preference?

Excluding the time it takes to cover that list, the above wording takes only 75-seconds. In five (5) minutes or less, my approach would earn RESPECT for The Elephant Man.

Suggestion: During your next sales meeting, instruct your sellers (not a group assignment) to write down the specifics as to why they believe the above approach makes sense. For example, identifying yourself as a Retail Brand Manager who works for Results Radio—in addition to positioning yourself as a retail specialist—invites the "What's Results Radio?" question, thereby providing you an opportunity to expound on your company's advertising philosophy and commitment to help local retailers get results ("The Results Led Sell").

Next, in reminding them that salespeople have only one sales tool to work with: their native language, the words they choose, the order in which they place those words, and how they say and express those words, give your sellers a homework challenge requiring them to come back the next morning with the wording they would choose to improve my approach. It's my wording, but I can see room for improvement. Note: should your sellers miss anything, there are some very telling subtleties you would be wise to point out.

When I was a Sales Exec I made it a priority to find out which of my competitors, and not just in radio, called on which accounts, i.e., which accounts were ripe for the taking because, rather than adding value to their client relationships (being a constant resource for solving sales problems and ideas to help grow their companies) my competitors were living off their lists; Consequently, their Account Lists became my Target Lists.

Obviously, "The Results Lead Sell" is the antithesis to Woody Allen's admonition, "Eighty percent of success is to show up". Show up for what? There is a huge difference between OVER servicing clients and OUT servicing your competitors. "You win with Solutions, not Smiles!"–Giff


Dave "Giff" Gifford/DGI © 2012

10 Giff Quotes for Self-Talk Sellers

(Revised excerpt from Giff's Graduate School For Sales Management)

  1. "Salespeople have more control over how much money they can make than anybody else in business! Whereas everybody else in business is totally dependent on someone else to make a value judgment as to whether they deserve a raise or not, salespeople have the opportunity to give themselves a raise every day. And, what better time than today... to give myself a raise?"
  2. "Life is full of choices. Life's greatest choice? Either you win in life, or you lose in life. I choose to win!"
  3. "Winners do what losers don't. Winners get things done! Can do, will do, done!"
  4. "People who succeed in life, succeed for only one reason...because they can't help themselves... they have to succeed."
  5. "If I haven't got a plan to win, I've got a plan to lose! Do I have a plan to win—a real game plan?
  6. World Class Salespeople are success-driven salespeople! They have a total commitment to succeed, they have a game plan that puts them into a position to succeed, they're focused on what it takes to succeed, they have the discipline to stay on plan, and they work their butts off!. That's what I've got to do."
  7. "The price one pays for success—in terms of the hours a salesperson puts in and the sacrifices one makes—is a very high price to pay. But what is the price of failure? And which is the higher price to pay? Failure! For me, failure is not an option."
  8. "The greatest stress I'll ever face in life won't come from a company or a boss. It will come from my own personal guilt for not doing what I know I should be doing. It's time I kept my promise to myself!."
  9. "There isn't a sales problem in the world that can't be cured by more presentations! More presentations equals more sales! Period. Ask and I get, don't and I won't! Starting today I need to make more presentations."
  10. "Change can happen for me as well as to me. The trick is to make change work for me! Change nothing, and nothing will change! I need to make some changes."
  11. "If I want more, I have to sell more!"

Coming to Grips with Reality!

(revised excerpt of Giff's Graduate School For Sales Management)

Raise your hand if you would like to retire at age 50.

Whoa! That's a lot of hands.

Ok, for the rest of you, raise your hand if you plan on retiring at age 65.

Now wait a minute. Some of you raised your hand in answer to both questions. What's the deal?

Oh, I see, you'd like to retire at age 50, but you probably won't be able to afford to retire until age 65, is that it? Because if its not at 65, 70? Later? Never? No, I am not being negative, check out the title above. Actually, I categorize myself as an "Optimistic Realist".

Will you be able to retire at age 65? As of today, financially, are you ahead of pace to make that happen? On pace? Behind pace? Face it, you're getting older.

What happens if you live to 100?

Between now and the date of your 50th or 65th birthday, are you going to be able to accumulate enough personal wealth—should you live to 100—you would be able to sustain yourself for an additional 35 to 50 years...with most of your money going out, and with very little money coming in?

Face it, people are living longer. In fact, not long ago Colorado researchers discovered a protein in a tiny worm that might lead to the cure of diseases affecting the aging process.

You might very well live to 100, and beyond! And so might your parents. Not likely of course as each generation manages to breath longer than the previous generation.

Has the reality kicked in that one day you may have take in—to live with you—one or more of your parents, or your partner's parents? Or, that one day your offspring will have to help take care of you? Reality!

And what about the cost of catastrophic you or to someone in your family...costs not fully covered by medical insurance?

Do you have disability insurance, or have you checked out the cost of "long term care" insurance lately?

Additionally, compared to today, what will the cost of breathing be for the life you want to live in the future?

If you own your own home, is that the dream house you always wanted? Or, do you have something else in mind? Don't own your own home, but want to? What's that going to cost? And those of you with young children, what's it going to cost to give them the education you want them to have? Or, considering that tuition, room & board and books today costs over $50,000 yearly at a private school, what do think it will cost for your youngest child's education when he or she or they are of college age? Or, given where you are financially today, will your children's education be restricted to only what you can afford?

Bottom Line: Are you where you are in life, financially, because you planned it that way? Or, are you where you are in life, financially, because you didn't plan it that way?

Tough questions! Makes you think, doesn't it?

Look, it's called coming to grips with reality. The older you get, the more acutely aware you're going become of how much more money you are going to need than you think you're going to need now, I guarantee you.

Is there a point to all this? Yeah, there is.

For your sake, the sake of whomever is dependent on you, and for your salespeople and their dependents, first thing tomorrow morning arrange for a "reputable" local financial planner, stock broker or a local banker to do a series of after hours seminars on how to save money and how to invest that money wisely in the future.

What's that going to cost? Nothing! They will be only too happy to conduct same, gratis; they will see each attendee as a potential future client.

Please, if you really care about the financial future of your salespeople and their dependents, this is the most valuable no-cost-to-the-company "benefit" you could ever provide.

"If you haven't got a game plan to win, you've got a plan to lose!" Right?

Please, keep your promise to those dependent on you...and provide those who work for you the best company benefit ever offered: an opportunity to start planning their financial security now.

Until you make those arrangements, remind your salespeople they will have a great deal of money to invest in their future if they finally come to this reality: salespeople have more control over how much money they can make than anybody else in business! Whereas everybody else in business is dependent on someone else to make a value judgment as to whether they deserve a raise or not, your salespeople have an opportunity to give themselves a raise every day. So, what's their excuse for hanging around the office so long today?

"If you do not think about the future, you cannot have one." --John Galsworthy

How to Plan Media-mix Campaigns!

(Giff is listed in Marquis "Who's Who in Advertising")

As my bio references, I have consulted and/or done seminars in 49 states and 18 countries, and within same I have positioned and repositioned (Branding!) 257 different categories of businesses. With the result I am familiar with business on a great many fronts.

Additionally, regardless of my background in Radio, TV and Advertising, I am a strong advocate of Media-Mix. Below is a Media-Mix planning guide I created.

Obviously this is useful to advertisers visiting, but also equally useful to Media sellers whose clients - prospects need to properly position or reposition their company, service, brands, etc. That is where I come in, providing the Branding. The selling, planning, scheduling and buying of advertising is the responsibility of the Media Sellers, Advertisers and/or their advertising agencies. My only provisos are that advertisers uses a Media-Mix that achieves "Effective Reach & Frequency", and that I am compensated directly by said advertisers. Market exclusivity is subject to market size. Please note copyright notice below.

Why is Media-Mix the answer to growing your Top Line? Because without Media-Mix, advertisers can not reach enough people, enough of the right people, with the right message, enough times, at the right times!. Today, no single ad medium can provide "Effective Reach & Effective Frequency" by itself.


  1. Mass Reach Media
  2. LifeStyle Targeting Media
  3. Interactive Media
  4. Last Word Media
  5. High Frequency Media

Mass Reach Media: Radio, TV/Cable & Newspaper to create the buzz for Products and Brands with Lower Market Shares...New Products...New Brands...New Businesses...Branding... Repositioning...Major Story Campaigns...Name Changes...Services...Products & Brands with Long Purchase Cycles, and Dominant Players who can afford "Effective Reach".

LifeStyle Target Media: Radio, Special Interest & Micro Targeted Magazines, Social Media and Direct Mail to make contact with advertising's "moving targets"...LifeStylers: activity driven, aware, involved, multi-responsive people who influence other consumers. Market Segmentation by Psychographics: motivations, attitudes, behavior, opinions, interests, political, philosophical, religious, humanistic ideologies and stage life influences.

Interactive Media: Radio and combinations of two-way, online, portable, digital, visual, communication & entertainment consumers use to interact with brands. This means that through blogs and Social Media platforms as Twitter, facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc., consumers and brands can communicate in "real time"—all based primarily on the primal need to communicate and be a part of something.

Last Word Media: Radio and Interactive to intercept advertising's most difficult-to-reach consumers immediately before they make a purchase...LifeStylers out of touch of static, "Hide & Seek" media requiring consumers to find their ads: Newspapers; FSI, Network, Cable and Satellite TV; Direct Mail; Yellow Pages; Micro Targeted Magazines, etc., whereas Radio is advertising's primary media for finding customers wherever the go.

High Frequency Media: Radio and Interactive for Lower Budget Campaigns...New Products...New Brands...New Branding...Re-Positioning...New Businesses...Name Change... Major Story Campaigns...Complex Messages...Short Purchase Cycle Campaigns...Package Goods, Pharmaceutical Drugs, Retail, Political candidates, etc.)...Recency Campaigns designed to drive home messages re-peat-ed-ly to consumers in the market to buy today. What you say X how many X you say it, is the only thing that works in advertising today! Repetition builds Reputation! Repetition builds Reputation! Repetition builds Reputation!

Caution: Spreading ad dollars too thin by buying too much Media-Mix, and overspending on Reach Mediums at the expense of failing to drive your message home re-peat-ed-ly! (Registration! Retention! Recall!), are the two most common mistakes in advertising today! Which is precisely why ROI Marketers consistently add Radio to their Media-Mix campaigns.

How to Manage a Corporate Manager

(Revised excerpt from Giff's Graduate School For Sales Managers)

Imagine you get a call every morning from an absentee Group Manager with zero people skills, one who instead of opening the conversation with Good Morning! or How the heck are you?, doesn't even identify himself...not that he needs to because just hearing their voice is enough to ruin your day.

Worse, said manager begins every conversation with: "Where are you today (sales pace % against sales target), versus where you should be?" A real ________!, you know what I mean?

I have a friend who had to deal with a guy like that every morning, and it was driving him Loopey.

Here are the 10 suggestions I offered to deal with this situation.

  1. Look, when he calls you he's working from his agenda, and you're usually caught off balance, true or false? And, whereas the first thing he want wants to talk about is the purpose of his call, the last thing he wants to talk about is the 'sensitive' issue, true or false? His answers? True & True! Therefore, the solution is to call him first, early in his day, before he calls you! That way you're working from your agenda, and now he's off balance, true or false? True!
  2. Never fake it! If you know you're going to miss a given target, tell him well in advance. Nobody likes surprises!
  3. Don't Expect, Inspect! Anticipate problems, and put them to sleep before he calls.
  4. Always take control! That is, start every conversation with: "I've got good news and I've got bad news, which do you want first?" Trust me, he will want the bad news first. Which means you're going to finish on a high, ending each conversation with good news.
  5. Always over-inform! To the point where he eventually complains your constant phone calls are driving him nuts. Don't stop there! Choose your weapons: emails, Text, Twitter, Social Media, fax, overnight letters, hand written notes, humorous cards, or, if you need a more direct connection by way of Miss Cleo of the Psychic Readers Network. She still around? Lesson: By over informing him, he'll have fewer reasons to call you.
  6. Never lie! Become famous in your company for being honest"! Note: I have never regretted being honest to a "fault"...even when it cost me.
  7. Engage brain before opening mouth! Admit screw-ups before they get discovered. The sooner the better!
  8. When he has a question you can't answer, you respond: "I don't know! I'll find out and get back to you". (Quickly!)
  9. Go to him with solutions, not a recitation of sales problems you haven't addressed!
  10. Don't manage Group Managers, SELL them! If you want his job some day, you've got to get him promoted. Therefore, you're job is to help him look good to corporate by feeding him ideas he can cash in on. Worry not, your company will figure out where these ideas came from. How?

    In time he will be discovered for his lack of creativity, you will be discovered for your creativity, and in your emails to this three dimensional creep, make sure you put everything in writing. Everything!

Big Expectation, Big Return!

small expectation, small return.

Problem: One of my clients was having difficulty getting her salespeople to make more presentations.

Solution: During my next in-market visit I asked half of her 12 salespeople to leave the conference room—any six salespeople. No politics here, right? At which point I passed out 5" X 7" sheets of paper to each of the salespeople remaining.

At the top of each page I had written The Quote of the Day, followed by instructions for each salesperson to list reasons why non-radio advertisers should advertise on Radio.

They were instructed to list their answers down the left margin of each sheet of paper, pre-numbered 1 through 6. Then I gave them five minutes to complete the assignment, collected their answers, and asked them leave the room.

When their colleagues returned to the room I gave each sheets of paper from a Legal Pad with the same instructions...but with spaces numbered 1 through 17.

Five minutes later I collected their answers, invited their fellow salespeople to return to the room, exited to my office to do my calculations, and shortly thereafter returned to reveal the results.

Those salespeople provided only a small piece of paper averaged 6.2 answers (one of them took the initiative to add a seventh answer, but scratched it out, it wasn't required), while the salespeople provided Legal Pad sheets of paper averaged 11.5 answers.

After which I re-made the point of The Quote of The Day, just in case someone didn't "get it."

"He who is good at making excuses, is seldom good at anything else." —Ben Franklin

Two weeks later the sales manager called to inform me--during the week following my visit--her salespeople increased the number of presentations weekly significantly.

Lesson: Big Expectation, Big Return! small expectation, small return.

Attention COO's: Who Should Manage What & Where?

(Revised excerpt from Giff's Graduate School For Sales Management)

Almost a dozen years ago at one of my client seminars, I invited a guest to attend, a Wall Street analyst specializing in Radio stocks. His name, on my promise, will remain confidential.

The session? "The Giff System: New Game/New Rules Selling". His attendance was inspired by a punch-and-counter-punch email debate initiated by opinions expressed in my column, "The Case For A "Stock Analyst Teach-In".

My position: Given stock analyst recommendations are based primarily on objective financial indices, assessing top management, weighing the significance of each company's vertical and horizontal growth plus their future plans for acquisitions and/or diversification, I contended that stock analyst's recommendations, in part, are flawed. Why?

Imagine the telling discoveries analysts would make, I pointed out in my column, if they altered their investigative methodology by looking under the hood of some of these companies at street level...certain to discover how much better some companies operate than other companies whose share price may be higher.

His position: My commentary was "uninformed"; 30% right and 70% "off-base".

Steadfastly, he maintained most analysts—in addition to many fiscal, operational and valuation variables (many more than I realized; it was a real education)—look beyond income statements and balance sheets by investigating individual companies, their customers, their peers, their competitors, and even their clients. Most importantly, supported by multiple examples, he demonstrated why a company's stock or share price is not the same as the company itself.

In my opinion one of those companies, currently one of the largest radio companies in the industry today, may be the worst major company in the history of "Broadcasting" business, it would appear, only for Wall Street despite the fact its first responsibility (as governed by the Federal communications Commission) is to serve the public: the communities they serve, its listeners and advertisers. Not to forget, in the example of this particular company, its legions of employees, past and present, forever looking for opportunities to find employment elsewhere.

Nonetheless, because of the analysts admission: "Some (analysts) do not do as thorough a job...", and that, in fact, "...analysts disagree in their analysis of companies", because 24 of the 25 Radio analysts at that time had never worked a day in the radio business, and because immediately after my column first appeared I got a call from another analyst who wanted to pick my brain as what to look for, I doubt many analysts have looked under the hood as thoroughly as my guest did during my one day seminar.

Besides thanking me for an "informative" seminar, and telling my client I was a good investment for his company, he also told me I gave him "an idea for a new benchmark that maybe investors should be using". So, what did I teach him?

He asked me, "When it comes to managing properties in different size markets, Is it easier to go from a small market to a large market, or vice versa?"

Answer: It is much easier to go from a small market to a large market...the route I took to prepare for working 14 years in NYC.


  1. Career small market managers wear many more hats than large market managers. For example, in hiring more entry level people department by department in small markets, in the process small market managers serve as "teachers" for a variety of job descriptions large market managers are accustomed to filling with trained specialists. Result? Small market managers are more complete managers because they are more hands-on. When large radio companies began reaching deeper into the top soil of lower ranked markets (a trend since reversed), many COO's discovered the hard way that small market radio was a far different animal.
  2. Whereas small market managers also have experience selling agencies, albeit not on the same level as large markets managers, most "career" large market managers reassigned to smaller markets are fish out of water when it comes to selling "direct" and developing new business.

Synthesized, large market managers—absent experience in small markets—have much more to learn about selling "direct" accounts than small market managers have to learn about selling agencies.

Lesson: As a COO, it is absolutely essential to appoint managers who have proven track records in the same size markets they're hiring them for. Need more proof?

Recently an outstanding manager was promoted from DOS (Director of Sales) to VP/Market Manager in a Top 100 market after failing miserably in a market ranked 250+. He will succeed in the Top 100 market, I promise you.

So why did he fail in the small market? His previous "successful" experience was in two of the "Top 10" markets in the country...Houston and LA.

In his words: "Giff, I had no idea how much tougher it is to manage in a small market."

So Your Top Biller Wants to be a Sales Manager

(Revised excerpt from Giff's Graduate School for Sales Management)

This is a test of your conscious. Do you mentor your top billing Sales Exec (SE) until he or she is ready for management, or do you opt to discourage same because you can't afford to lose your #1 producer?

It has been my experience that most "Best Sellers" (51% or more!) don't make "Best Sales Managers" for a very simple reason...each job has entirely different skill sets. Third option: explain the job description of Sales Manager, and leave the decision to the SE.


  • Multi-Tasking*
  • Delegating
  • Planning each day by priorities
  • Planning
  • Organization
  • Setting Sales & Cash Flow targets
  • Preparing & monitoring the Budget
  • Rates, pricing & average unit rate
  • Inventory
  • Collections
  • Setting required "standards of performance"
  • Sales policies, procedures & reporting systems
  • Hiring and training
  • Account distribution
  • Building a winning sales culture
  • Managing Sales Execs as individuals
  • Monitoring day-to-day sales activity
  • Preparing sales meetings
  • 1 on 1 in-field & off-field coaching
  • Holding the salespeople accountable
  • Discipline & Firing
  • Group and 1:1 Communications
  • Communicating with whom you are resnsible to
  • Servicing Key Clients
  • Crisis after crisis
  • Conflicts
  • Criticism
  • Disappointment and discouragement
  • Rejection & frustration
  • Patience (yours, the SE's & your Boss's)
  • Anger (yours, your SE's & your Boss's)
  • Company politics
  • Constant in-station interruptions
  • Telephone-twitter-texting Interruptions (get control!)
  • Your desk, files, and "things"
  • Change, change and more change
  • The dizzying highs & lows of your industry
  • Who or which new owner you could be working for next
  • Pressure & stress
  • Hitting your Sales & Cash Flow Targets
  • Building a Personal Track Record you can cash in on!
  • Your personal life (including personal guilt)

    * Been there, done that! Too big for one person, but that is the job!

Micro Management? You're Kidding!

(Revised excerpt from Giff's Graduate School For Sales Management)

The cultural and technological changes in our society, heavily influenced by events shaping the 60's and 70's, and in the decades since, have profondly affected people's attitudes in the workplace.

With the fallout of a war that killed America's optimistic spirit as well as its young men; with the changes prompted by challenging the validity of the "establishment; the plague of drugs that still spreads like cancer; the emergence of the "women's movement" and its influence on the growth of two paycheck households; the "sexual revolution" and emerging new lifestyles; the breakup of families via an epidemic of separation and divorce; the pulling up of ones roots; with hop-scotch job switching, the terrifying rise of senseless, violent crime; and with technology catapulting us from a Lego to Nintendo to a Text & Twitter world, is it any wonder (it's called "coming to grips with reality") sales managers have to manage different attitudes in today's 9-to-5 workplace?

The most obvious manifestation of those differences is the fact that, whereas most sales-people in the 1950's got up in the morning for their careers, too many of today's younger salespeople get up in the morning to subsidize their lifestyles only. An attitude change! A sweeping generality, to be sure, but one most Professors of Management, business historians and human behaviorists would be quick to support.

Paradox. Psychologically, most salespeople today abhor the idea of being micro managed. Consistent with that intolerance, however, in ever increasing numbers among new clients I have observed (clients seeking help with stagnant sales or worse), is an alarming attitude that certain things expected of them can't be done.

Not isolated to this example alone, but as rule of thumb some things have to be micro managed, period.

Keeping in mind that salespeople who feel good about themselves, sell better (an observation most 1950's "My way or the highway!" managers failed to grasp), I'm telling you right now—if you're a sales manager who wants to build a track record you can cash in on—you better micro manage how many new account presentations get made (quality presentations!) and you better micro manage how many DNA ("Diagnostic Needs Analysis") fact-finds get made...or you can kiss your track record goodbye.

Lesson: Hire the right people (self-motivated people!), people who can work comfortably in a "structured sales environment requiring daily accountability"; sell them during the interview process on how they will benefit as much as the company by being accountable; treat them with respect and finally, whatever you do, stop apologizing for asking them to do what they agreed to do when you hired them.

Empowerment, Emshmowerment!

(Revised excerpt from Giff's Graduate School For Sales Management)

What kind of managers are we developing today? That question troubles me.

Great managers of historic record are perceived to possess all the attributes you might expect, not the least of which is the accumulated knowledge gained from hands-on experience.

In last weeks' Blog, "Are You A Junk Food Biz-Fad Junkie", I provided convincing evidence why certain widely acclaimed, flavor-of-the month management theories, failed. One among them that particularly doesn't work in sales, and likely was totally absent from the management styles of the referenced managers above, is "Participatory Management", i.e., empowering salespeople to participate in the decision making process.

Keep in mind as a sales manager, when you empower salespeople, in affect you are authorizing salespeople to act on your behalf—on their own! Problem: In so lacking the capability, knowledge and experience that you bring to bear, said salespeople are not qualified to make management decisions on their own. Their value is best reaped by way of quarterly debriefings (intelligence gathering) focused on finding out what is going on out in the field to help shape your decisions.

For example, managers-in-waiting at Fortune 500 companies today gain their experience (or not!) primarily from working within project teams in a multi-layered "filtering" progression which works far better for product development than it does for sales. Question: Is it not possible that the whole of American industry—heavily invested in this practice—is at risk of developing a generation of CEO's who can't make decisions fast enough to compete with smaller aggressive companies less labored in the decision making process?

With the "acquired" knowledge of a new CEO, expanded not by their own experiences but by the input of fellow teammates equally lacking experience in the field, is there not an equal danger—at a time when crucial decisions are clearly influenced by the decision making process itself—that today's CEO's, insecure in their conviction as to the merits of the decisions subordinates present them—end up tortured by indecision and procrastination? Not a comfortable thought for the future, is it?

Hopefully this problem is being addressed through our educational institutions. In addition to universities such as Northeastern in Boston, Drexel in Philadelphia and The Rochester Institute of Technology—leaders in integrating classroom learning with real world experience—in addition to major schools offering co-op programs, there are a growing number of colleges adding work-study programs to their curriculums.

Typically, the attraction of major companies to Northeastern is obvious: NU graduates offer these companies up to 2½ years of working experience in the very fields they are in the process of recruiting. More over, it is not unusual for its graduates to be selected over graduates from America's most celebrated colleges and universities.

Lesson #1: A CEO is able to grab the whole of a small company in one fist, but when that company grows at a pace where the span of 10 fingers can't get a grip, one should beware whom he or she empowers.

Lesson #2: Knowledge does not come without experience!

Are You a Junk-Food Biz-Fad Manager?

(Revised excerpt from Giff's Graduate School For Sales Management)

Today's scripture reading comes directly from the "Old Testament of Bad Business Fads". First, my sources: business fads as analyzed in Eileen Shapiro's book, Fad Surfing in the Boardroom; an illuminating article titled, The Good, the Fad, and the Ugly by Lucy Kellaway (Management Editor of the Financial Times); a seminar I attended presented by Professor William Dwyer of the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania; and The Economist Guide to Management Ideas which addressed 100 business fads.

Said business fads include the pros & cons (mostly cons) of such familiar concepts as Peter Drucker's Management by Objectives (most but not all of which I subscribe to), MBWA (Management By Walking Around), TQM (Total Quality Management), Participatory Management, Reengineering, Benchmarking, Knowledge Management, Team Management, Mission Statements, Company Values, "vision", and so on.

In Ms. Kellaway's words: "Most academics will tell you that management fads, in aggregate, do not work! Not only did most of the companies that implemented these fads not achieve the predicted increase in productivity, profitability, staff retention or whatever promised, often the effect was actually negative."

Here are some examples of why some business fads failed to enjoy a longer shelf life:

  • Both Michael Hammer and James Champy, creators of Reengineering, "backed off" on some of its tenants and principles after implementation of same led to the downfall of some notable companies.
  • Almost as many books have been published attempting to document why TQM doesn't work than why TQM does work.
  • Today, trying to manage through better IT plans has become so complex and redundant, even Knowledge Management is being contested.
  • Whereas the Supreme Court ruled a corporation is a "person" despite numerous financial scandals that took advantage of consumers in recent years, you might be hard pressed to find employees willing to adopt any corporation's values.
  • A "vision" is a singular experience most employees can't see.
  • The biggest selling recording at a Team Management Conference I attended was titled, "Why Team Management Doesn't Work". Opinion: Unless the income of one salesperson is dependent on the sales production of another salesperson, selling is not a team sport!
  • Benchmarking has more to do with keeping score than how to score.
  •  The vast majority of companies featured in Tom Peters' best seller, In Search of Excellence, didn't come close to that standard.

No, that does not mean the above concepts are worthless. To the contrary, you will find value examining each of these theories. The problem is that the largest market for business fads, good and bad, are managers desperate to adopt a creed that fast-forwards their careers. As a consequence, without benefit of historic references to judge which of two contrasting theoretical arguments is the most defensible, rather than challenging the validity of the arguments many business people tend to be over influenced by who is doing the arguing.

My late father, easily the single individual with the most "common sense" I have ever known, taught me as a young boy, and I quote, to "Argue with the author!" --Darrell L. Gifford. Paraphrased, whether it's a book, magazine, Blog, Podcast, Webinar, talk show host, boss, preacher, teacher or a sales & management consultant like me, do not accept what is offered as "truth" without first taking inventory of the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence presented…thereby avoiding copy-catting management doctrines that have zero relevance to sales managers hitting their sales targets..

Here's the deal…

Arguably the one likely difference between Fortune 500 sales managers and sales managers in less demanding disciplines, is that, generally, the former are better "business educated" than the latter.

And so, seduced by a more celebrated theorist's reputation, we sometimes fall into the trap of believing in the sanctitude of Mission Statements. As a general rule I don't believe in mission statements simply because—immediately after they are officially deified—nobody pays any attention to them. At my Graduate School For Sales Management I suggest that the attendees will be far more likely to actualize their personal goals if they formulate their own mission statements…something they actually believe.

As an example, early is my career as a radio salesperson, the mission statement I created for myself was:

"My mission is to sell more advertisers, more advertising, at higher advertising rates!"

Now if that sounds somewhat Machiavellian to you, I refer you to the headline above: "SELLING IS HELPING IS CLOSING! You win with SOLUTIONS, not smiles! My argument…

If, based on substantive data your product has been test-proven in the marketplace to increase companies' Top lines, is that product not worth more? Therefore, beyond serving your company's best interest, is it not in your interest to "help" as many companies as possible by buying your product at higher rates?

The defense rests…

The 20 Commandments of Sales Management

(Revised excerpt from Giff's Graduate Schools For Sales Management)

  1. Either you manage your Sales Execs (SE's) or your SE's manage you. You're their boss, not their "buddy".
  2. Management must be demanding, honest, consistent, supportive, and "judiciously" fair.
  3. Whereas managers push from behind, leaders pull from the front. Therefore, to manage by "example", management's job is to model the behavior management expects.
  4. As a manager you can lead, influence, inspire and activate, but you can not motivate an un-motivated SE. Face it, some people have an "inner urge" to succeed, others don't, and motivation can not be internalized from an external source. Disagree? You've motivated many an unmotivated SE? Or, closer to the truth, was it because you were successful in activating the trigger mechanism of a self-motivated SE? You didn't motivate them, you activated them!
  5. No two SE's are alike. Effective communicators understand the differences between people's backgrounds, motivations, lifestyles and "life stage" circumstances.
  6. Every conversation you have with an SE changes your relationship with that SE. However minimally, it either improves that relationship or sets in motion it's deterioration. That's how "fragile" the relationship can be between a sales manager and an SE.
  7. Fair to the company has to be fair to the SE. Fair to the SE has to be fair to the company. Never set up your SE's to lose! Sales targets must be as realistic as they are challenging.
  8. Salespeople will not accept change, willingly, without their consent. Key word: willingly! You don't manage change, you sell change!
  9. In addition to their ideas, recommendations & suggestions, solicit your SE's opinions, perceptions, criticisms and grievances as well. Note: Cowards ignore that advice!
  10. Listen first, talk last! Anytime an SE complains about something, turn it around: "Fine, what is your solution?" Make it a Rule: "Come to me with solutions, not problems!"
  11. Recognition and praise are the real "Breakfast of Champions"! SE's who feel good about themselves, sell better! Your management style should be made up of an equal mixture of "positive pressure" and "passionate praise". What I call "Tough Love Management": managing SE's for their own good!
  12. No procrastinating! Poet Robert Frost said it best: "The best way out is always through."
  13. No Train, No Gain! Your SE's need to be known for what they know, not for what they don't know...recognized as professionals with a "unique expertise" for helping companies grow their Top Lines.
  14. Required "Standard of Performance" Criterion for SE's: "Constant Progress"!
  15. A "mature" manager is only as tough as she/he has to be. Never reprimand an SE in public...private, 1:1, face-to-face meetings only. (without bullying!)
  16. Never be negative! Not about the company, not about its policies, not about its products, not about your boss...not about anything! Whereas managers can not motivate, managers can de-motivate. Further, an abusive memo is the hand-maiden of a coward.
  17. Share no "confidences"! Ben Franklin said it best: "Three people can keep a secret...if two of them are dead." Also, steer clear of giving advice addressing an SE's "personal" life.
  18. Let your daily mantra be, "Ladies and Gentlemen, inasmuch as you can give yourself a raise every day, you have more control over how much money you can make than anybody else in business. If you want more, you have to sell more! And the only way you are going to sell more is to make more presentations!"
  19. Never apologize for requiring SE's to do what they agreed to do when they took the job!
  20. If you don't hold your SE's accountable, you're not accountable!

Management Can Not Motivate

(Revised excerpt from Giff's Graduate Schools For Sales Management)

Alexander the Great

Ali, Mohammad

Anthony, Susan B.

Aquinas, Thomas


Armstrong, Louis

Bach, John Sebastian

Beatles, The

Beethovan, Ludwig van

Bell, Sir Alexander

Ben-Gurion, David

Bergman, Ingmar

bin Laden, Osama

Bonaparte, Napoleon

Brahms, Johannes

Braille, Louis

Brando, Marlon

Brown, Jim

Buckley, Jr., William

Buddah (Siddhattha)

Bull, Sitting

Caesar, Julius

Calder, Alexander

Capone, Al

Carson, Rachel

Castro, Fidel

Cezanne, Paul

Channel, Cocco

Chaplin, Charlie  

Chavez, Caesar

Christ, Jesus

Christi, Agatha

Churchill, Winston

Clarke, William C.


Coltrane, John

Columbus, Christopher


Cook, Captain James

Copernicus, Nicklaus

Darwin, Charles

De Mille, Cecil B.

da Vinci, Leonardo

Dickens, Charles

Disney, Walt

Duncan, Isadora

Edison, Thomas Alva

Einstein, Albert   

Elizabeth I, Queen

Elizabeth II, Queen

Ellington, Duke

Faulkner, William

Ford, Henry

Franklin, Benjamin

Freud, Sigmond

Friedan, Betty


Gates, Bill

Gershwin, George    

Gandhi, Mahatma

Gompers, Samuel

Graham, Martha

Guinness, Sir Alec

Guevarra, Che


Hawkins, Prof. Stephen    

Heffner, Hugh    

Hemmingway, Ernest

Hines, Lewis

Hitchcock, Alfred

Hitler, Alfred

Jackson, Michael

Jefferson, Thomas

Joan of Arc, Saint

Jobbs, Steve

Joyce, James  

Kant, Immanuel

Kennedy, John F.

Kerouac, Jack

Khan, Genghis

King Jr., Dr. Martin L.

Kipling, Rudyard

Lama, The Dali

Lawrence of Arabia

Leary, Timothy

Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich

Limbaugh, Rush

Lincoln, Abraham

Lombardi, Vince

Louis, Joe

Luther, Martin


Mao Za Dung

Meir, Golda


Mohammad, The Prophet

Monroe, Marilyn

Montessori, Maria


Moses, Grandma

Mozart, Wolfgang A.

Murrow, Edward    

Nader, Ralph

Nelson, Horatio

Newton, Isaac

Nightingale, Florence


Obama, Barack

O'Haire, Madalyn M.

Olivier, Sir Lawrence

Oppenheimer, Robert

Owens, Jesse

Paine, Thomas

Palmer, Arnold

Parker, Charlie

Parks, Rosa

Paterno, Joe

Patton, Gen. George S.


Peron, Eva

Picasso, Pablo


Pollock, Jackson

Presley, Elvis

Reagan, Ronald

Robinson, Jackie

Rogers, Will

Roosevelt, Franklin D.

Ruth, Babe

Seuss, Doctor

Shakespeare, William

Shaw, George Bernard

Sinatra, Frank


Spock, Doctor

Thatcher, Margaret

Jim Thorpe

Thomas, Dylan

Twain, Mark

van Gogh, Vincent

Washington, George

Wilde, Oscar

Williams, Tennessee

Winfrey, Oprah

Wright Brothers

Wright, Frank Lloyd

Wyeth, Andrew

X, Malcolm  

Zuckerberg, Marc

Was former General Electric CEO Jack Welch a great motivator? If his renowned, inspirational leadership influenced subordinates to do what he wanted during his tenure, as GE's financials would appear to indicate, most people in the business world would agree with that characterization. 

By that standard alone, however, so too are the 148 individuals listed in the left hand column—an intriguing list that includes Genghis Khan, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Osama bin Laden along with Abraham, Buddha (Sidhartha), Jesus Christ and The Prophet Muhammad.

I submit that none of these notable figures "motivated" anybody. Jesus Christ and the Prophet Muhammad never motivated anybody? Preposterous! Influenced, yes, motivated, no!

Many people tell me I "personally" motivated them. That would be most gratifying were it not for the fact I never motivated anybody in my life, and as sales manager, neither have you, or will you.

I shall attempt to document the following:

  1. Management can not motivate.
  2. Management can only activate.
  3. Management can not change attitudes.
  4. Management can only change behavior.


Motivate: To provide with a motive

Activate:  To make active

Actualize: To achieve a personal objecti

Attitude:   A settled way of thinking or feeling

Behavior:   The way in which people behave

In truth, today even the most renowned human behaviorists disagree on the ability for managers to motivate.

Warren Bennis, known for his watershed books on leadership, defined motivation as communicating a vision others can believe in, and then helping people convert that vision into organizational gains. But what if your salespeople don't buy into your vision, at which point the conversion of that vision into organizational change is impossible! WaWas it a flawed vision, was it the lack of credibility of the communicator, or is it because no one can "provide a motive" for anybody but themselves?

Peter Drucker, the late guru of management gurus, counseled that if you "Manage By Objectives" (MBO), you motivate by encouraging communication at all levels. Although I manage by a delineation of Drucker's MBO—advocating instead MBP: Management By Priorities—I am at a loss to understand how it is possible to "provide with a motive" simply by encouraging communication. What if the communication is miss communicated? Wrong words, wrongly placed words and wrongly expressed words are what miss communications are all about. Lack of "clarity".

Behavioral scientist Abrahan Maslo, clinical psychologist Frederick Herzberg and social scientist Douglas McGregor assert that motivation comes from the psyche of the individual, affirming that motivation in the workplace cannot be achieved without first satisfying an individual's higher needs—the "want" satisfactions as opposed to the basic need satisfactions of food, water, shelter and clothing.

In principle, the latter judgment supports my supposition that human beings respond to 16 predominant, personal pressure stimuli—the atoms that galvanize our motivations—all conveniently beginning with the letter "P".


Passion Praise Principles Participation
Pleasure Popularity Parental Pressure Performance
Pain Pride Peer Pressure Profit
Power Philosophy Partner Pressure Protection

John Adair, a foremost authority on leadership development, had an altogether different take—his "50-50 Rule"—a modification of "Pareto's Law" (80% of results come from 20% of causes)—in which Adair contends that the influence of leaders is equal in importance to serving both need and want satisfactions. Problem: To influence is not "to provide with a motive".

Given that managers push from behind and leaders pull from the front, leadership in the words and actions exampled by Franklin D. Roosevelt, General Dwight Eisenhower, Winston Churchill and Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery clearly resulted in "organizational" gains during World War II. At question is whether or not the "whole" of Hitler's inspirational power, by itself, was "greater" than the "sum" of the "parts" of his influence?

In fact, the psyche of Hitler's constituency may have been a more inspiring a factor for the cause of World War II than Hitler's intoxicating persona, his incendiary oratory, and his leadership, combined!

What commonality did the German people share in order to so eagerly respond to Hitler's leadership? Mired in the Great Depression, bitter over the perceived unfairness of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I, uncertain of Germany's place as a dethroned world power, and staggering under an unstable government threatened politically by communism, by circumstance the German people—starved for leadership—succumbed to and embraced a destiny-imagery impossible to resist, i.e., the Germans people were the "master race".

Was it Hitler's leadership, was it the stirring enticement of the "Big Lie", or was it the will of the German people that germinated the birth of the Third Reich? Absent an elusive national identity, obviously there was a deep seeded need longing to be filled by a most receptive nationalistic populace. As a consequence Hitler did not "provide with a motive"; the motive was already present in the psyche of the German people. All Hitler had to do was to "activate" a willing predisposed audience. In effect, Adolf Hitler, albeit aided by his fiery oratory, was preaching to the choir.

Similarly, sales managers need only to activate self-motivated salespeople…salespeople obsessed with a burning, driving obsession to succeed for whatever reasons. Put another way, self-motivated salespeople become successful not because of management—however damaging that may be to our respective egos—but because they have to succeed; it's in their DNA...they are driven...they are "do-ers".

Assuming you possess a certain magnetic charisma, your own brand of inspirational leadership, exceptional communication skills and a proven ability to persuade, obviously you influenced a great many salespeople to translate your vision into positive, measurable results. Nonetheless that doesn't mean you provided the motivation. In reality, what you actually did was cock the triggers of the self-motivated salespeople on your staff. That isn't motivation. That is activation! Interesting, isn't it, how some sales managers—so lacking in their inability to motivate salespeople—work pretty hard in their attempts to de-motivate salespeople. What can you do as a manager?

You can train, teach, influence, challenge, coach, prompt, push, prod, encourage, incentivize and inspire your salespeople. As an external force, however, there is absolutely nothing you can say or do to internalize what is missing—that burning "inner urge" that drives self-motivated salespeople. It will not graft. It will not take! Not buying it? Assuming you're not suicidal, who in the left hand columns could "motivate" you to kill yourself? No one! Think about that?

But, what about those situations where your salespeople did make positive changes in their performance only because of you? Changes in their attitude? No! Changes in their behaviors, Yes! Management can change behavior with incentives, policies and procedures, accountability systems, discipline, etc., but management can not change attitudes. Why not? For the same reason you are the only one who can change your attitude.

Face it, you are more dependent on your salespeople than your salespeople are dependent on you!. For that reason alone as a sales manager, you need to manage your salespeople's behavior, not their attitudes. Test sales applicants for, and then hire attitudes!

My thesis is further reinforced with a single inarguable fact: people will not do what you want them to do, willingly, without their consent. Willingly!

Given how few soldiers jump on live grenades to protect their buddies on the field of battle, one might conclude that those who failed to take the same action, responded to a different motivation. What motivation? The truth is, for most people, there is no interest greater than self-interest!

You didn't get up this morning to fulfill your company's "mission statement", did you? Nor did you get up for your boss or for your salespeople, isn't that also true? No, you got up for yourself and, hopefully, for whomever is dependent on you. Was it any different for your salespeople? It's about time (past time, actually!) management understood its limitations.

To buy into this hypothesis fully, especially when it comes to seminars advertised to be instructional but turn out to be instruction-less, it is important to recognize that while it is true that motivational speakers can not motivate un-motivated salespeople, they do have the ability to inspire them. Sadly, without self-motivation, inspiration soon fades away.

Caution: Do not confuse inspiration for activation!

Finally, self-motivated salespeople do not need inspiration, they need inform-ation.