The 4 Steps to Managing Uncontrollables in Customer Relationships

At times, things completely outside our control are negatively impacting our customer relationships – we cannot control many factors beyond sales process, like the execution of the solution. What can we do to prevent losing these customers forever?

Many times, we on the front lines of the selling relationship can control only so much: we can sell the earth, moon and stars, we can promise and commit and spout the corporate talking points. Beyond that, we very often rely on others for administrative responsibilities, for the delivery of the solution or product or service, and we can only inspect the progress on the assembly line so far. However, because we are on the front lines – we are the face of the company to our customers! – they will most certainly reach out to you when things go wrong, promises are broken and commitments you made go unkept on the “back end.”

1. Level-set expectations. If you know that processes are ambiguous or still being ironed out, if you are in a transformational or incubation environment, or you are aware of a current issue facing potential customer satisfaction at the end result, be sure to inform your customer up front of the issue. You are often a liaison between your company and its processes and the end user: your customer. Being open about potential issues that will be faced during the process can temper the pain points down the road. It also can cost you the business, but this does accomplish a few things: you can provide this feedback to your organization as a pain point that must be overcome, you further gain your potential customer’s respect because you were honest, and once you are able to iron out these deficiencies it is more likely you can earn their repeat business down the road.

2. Be incredible at what you can control. No matter how many links there are in the chain to the solution, it’s always possible hitches can present themselves. What you can control are the quantity of customers you target, the effectiveness of your pitch and message, the tenacity with which you provide efficient and consistent communication, how and how often you follow up, and the support you provide throughout all layers of the sales relationship. You won’t win every relationship, and sometimes things outside of your control will hamper your success, but no one but you can control how you react and respond to that. You choose to play the numbers’ game – if 1 out of 10 customers won’t do business with you solely because of process hang-up’s, you can control providing this feedback to your organization and you can control calling the necessary additional decision-makers to reach your goals.

3. Own it. There are many sales professionals who will distance themselves from the process, but your customers see only your company. Take ownership of the totality of the relationship – acknowledge that there are issues at certain stages of the game, that you take your customers’ needs and feedback very seriously, that you are getting the information into the right hands, and that you are doing everything you can to expedite the situation. The sales food chain is very similar across all links; just like a sales team does not expect a manager to literally fix everything that ails them, they just want to see that their voice is heard, they want to see the manager communicating their issues elsewhere and they want to see the concerns addressed. We win some, we lose some, and customers can accept that. But give them a forum for process improvement! If you have the chance to get them in touch with others who impact the business and the links in the chain that are currently faltering, do just that! Your customers will be part of the solution, which gets them more involved in your operation and relationship and it strengthens that bond and enhances your chances of doing future business. They’re invested. You invested in their solution and they’ll be invested in the potential for a positive outcome.

4. Exercise patience and revisit the big picture. We will sometimes lose customers for one of a variety of factors. Sometimes, our organization will roll something out before it’s ready because it’s imperative to have something in the marketplace so they don’t fall too far behind. The more plugged in you are to the overall big picture reasons why things are the way they are, the more you are taking it upon yourself to get the necessary problems with potential solutions to powers that be, the more you are positively impacting your business and the potential customer relationships to come. You’ve no doubt heard that to make an omelet, you have to crack a few eggs. Customer relationships can be fragile, and many times they are looking at you amongst a rather large field when making a decision. It’s possible you will not lead in every single facet when it comes to price, efficiency, productivity and capabilities, but where you can lead is in communication, honesty, building and gaining respect, and doing everything you can to provide value.

No sales product or solution is completely perfect in every way; if it was, there would be no room or need for competition! You provide a product or solution that is unique, and you are a unique additive to the solution. Be honest, be receptive to feedback, relay the feedback and needs of your customers to those who are paid to make the process enhancements and changes necessary and be effective in your outreach and support. Always remember to control what you can; don’t sell yourself short on what you think you can’t control, don’t just accept what you view now as a failure – own the customer’s experience, get them involved as you can in solutions and keep working toward an optimum experience for all. For that is the plight of all sales professionals and organizations after all.


Carson V. Heady has written a book entitled “Birth of a Salesman” that has a unique spin that shows you proven sales principles designed to birth in you the top producer you were born to be. If you would like to strengthen your sales skills, go to

Heady posts for “Consult Carson” serving as the “Dear Abby” of sales and sales leadership. You may post any question that puzzles you regarding sales and sales leadership careers: interviewing, the sales process, advancing and achieving. You will also be directly contributing to his third book, “A Salesman Forever.”

Question submissions can be made via LinkedIn to Carson V. Heady, this Facebook page: , Twitter via @cvheady007 or e-mail at or you may post an anonymous comment as a reply to my WordPress blog at the bottom of this page:

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The 3 Keys to Survival In Sales Jobs Where Few Hit Goal

Every company wants to achieve a lift in results. They can take their budgets and their expenses and growing headcount costs and equipment costs associated with their internal growth and those costs will be assigned to salespeople to achieve so they can “make their number.” High above us all, many equations and figures factor in to what numbers we have to hit – if a division wants to achieve 25% growth this year, guess what? Your goal is going to be 125% of what it was the year prior – across the board, no matter what’s possible or feasible or changing in the environment. We can be rockstars crushing goal one year and do more the following year, miss goal, and be the goat.

Once upon a time, I worked in an environment with 121 peers. We went from over half of us hitting goal to only 2 of us at one point (yes, I was one). The reason for these drastic swings fully illustrates the guesswork that often goes into goal-setting. No one wants to severely under-cut setting goal, because they pay out far more than they desire in bonuses. I also believe that no one wants to drastically misfire the opposite way either, because it is excruciatingly depressing to top performers to suddenly be told they are failing, to take pay cuts and be scolded despite selling more than they did when they were “great.”

Realize that like the House always winning, your bonuses and goals will often be offset – feast with famine. Equilibrium can be difficult to attain, specifically in newer sales channels, because no one truly knows the potential, a few huge wins can really change the curve and the dynamic dramatically, and you may break the bank one month, quarter or year only to have your goal jacked up so high that no matter how you perform you’ll never get paid like that again. Or, after a period of famine, if you can survive the drought, you may get to the point where your goals are reasonably adjusted again.

It can often be an inexact science, causing the result – our performance, our recognition, our payout – to be difficult to foresee. Frustrating and perplexing, to say the least, but it’s important to handle such issues similarly to other obstacles in your workplace.

1. Communicate with leadership! As always, develop a good rapport with the supervisor who is paid to protect and serve you and your peers. It’s vital you are tactfully and respectfully explaining the situation. The job of everyone above you on the sales food chain is to stay at the pulse of your team, so it is important you are explaining the drastic swing from everyone crushing goal to everyone missing goal is having its effect.

2. Stay the course. Be patient. As I alluded to, and let’s face facts, there are times when goals are severely under-set! If this happens, you are making a ton of money during these times. Be smart, don’t spend all of your bonus because a famine may follow the feast! If you spent all of the bonus money you made, this can make it increasingly difficult to keep a cool head when these swings hit. Make a living on your earnings and put extra earnings away if possible so you can find a consistent flow to managing the money.

3. See the bigger picture. Trust me – from a person who has had to set goals for brand new divisions, it is very difficult to do. Malice is not necessarily intended when goals are played with. Sure, there are companies who will make more and more profit and will find more and more ways to pay employees less – that’s a completely different story and those companies certainly warrant their terrible Glassdoor reviews and low morale. But I do believe that for the most part, you have a leadership team who is making their best prognosis on what salespeople need to achieve to make the business profitable. If they under-cut those goals, they will attempt to right the ship. Be cognizant that sometimes that’s going to result in drastic highs and lows on our bonus structures. As for how you are managed based on performance next to sometimes arbitrary goals, that’s a whole other issue – that all comes down to the quality of your management.

You’re not alone in dealing with sometimes drastically moving targets on goals and bonus structures. That said, if you have a consistent way of dealing with the inconsistency, it can certainly make it easier to bear.


Carson V. Heady has written a book entitled “Birth of a Salesman” that has a unique spin that shows you proven sales principles designed to birth in you the top producer you were born to be. If you would like to strengthen your sales skills, go to

Heady posts for “Consult Carson” serving as the “Dear Abby” of sales and sales leadership. You may post any question that puzzles you regarding sales and sales leadership careers: interviewing, the sales process, advancing and achieving. You will also be directly contributing to his third book, “A Salesman Forever.”

Question submissions can be made via LinkedIn to Carson V. Heady, this Facebook page: , Twitter via @cvheady007 or e-mail at or you may post an anonymous comment as a reply to my WordPress blog at the bottom of this page:

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How to Be the Ultimate Sales Manager

The sales manager: occasionally (and hopefully) a more highly evolved salesperson who exists to lead, guide, assist, remove obstacles and eliminate excuses for, set the example, coach, train, serve and protect the salespeople reporting to him or her.

Sales managers are all around us; those in the selling game have likely encountered multiple. Like salespeople themselves, they have a wide range of qualifications, personality traits and work ethics, but the role of this figurehead is one that ties them all together.

This crucial leader is in place because of the people he or she leads, and this is a fact that can never be forgotten. Often, these coaches were once players of the game – likely above average or exceptional at that – but this is a new role, with new responsibilities and unique challenges. Whereas the salesperson is responsible for and accountable for one set of numbers, results and efficiencies (their own), the team leader must manage processes to achieve optimum results for their entire team.

Yes, that’s right – the sales manager’s primary role is management of process and people in perfect harmony.

In the realm of managing people, the boss needs to learn and understand them – their needs, strengths, areas of opportunity that need improvement, their potential and their pitfalls. It is important to stress to the team they manage that they exist to support them, answer questions or know where to find the answers (and know when to give them and when to require the work fall upon the seller), and that they take responsibility for doing their part in the salesperson’s career path. For, in any selling environment, sales manager and salesperson have a contract: upon issuance and acceptance of job offer, both parties agree to give their all, fulfill obligations in training, effort and results. Neither party can forget these promises.

The manager’s role in managing process – like any other facet of management – can have many different styles and approaches, but it boils down to one thing: the mechanics of successful leadership. Time management, ensuring that the training and coaching needs of his/her employees are being met, spending the right amount of time on each project and investing the right time and energy in the proper places – these are all incumbent upon the sales manager.

We will never see everything the sales manager grapples with, which is why an unclear picture of their worth sometimes exists. But an effective leader is so pivotal to any organization; their motivation, their wisdom and their ability to create and foster an environment that is conducive for results can and will make or break teams, offices, departments and companies.

Sales managers are an extremely valuable resource. They, too, must be trained, coached and shepherded along the path to exceptional leadership.

Just as a quality investment of time in a sales representative can positively impact every futuristic call they make, quality training and molding of a sales manager will trickle down to the hundreds of actions they undertake in a day, the hundreds of situations they face and the hundreds of employees who prosper under their tutelage.

The role of the sales manager – like any other rung on the ladder of the salesperson hierarchy – is imperative to make the sales wheel go around, be it for any part of the holy sales trilogy: the customer, the company and employees.


Carson V. Heady has written a book entitled “Birth of a Salesman” that has a unique spin that shows you proven sales principles designed to birth in you the top producer you were born to be. If you would like to strengthen your sales skills, go to

Heady posts for “Consult Carson” serving as the “Dear Abby” of sales and sales leadership. You may post any question that puzzles you regarding sales and sales leadership careers: interviewing, the sales process, advancing and achieving. You will also be directly contributing to his third book, “A Salesman Forever.”

Question submissions can be made via LinkedIn to Carson V. Heady, this Facebook page: , Twitter via @cvheady007 or e-mail at or you may post an anonymous comment as a reply to my WordPress blog at the bottom of this page:

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5 Keys to Harmony Amongst Sales Reps and their Managers

Relationships – whether business or personal – have their obstacles to overcome. And, as much as we want to blame others for our problems or for their stubborn behavior, there are things both parties can and should do in order to foster the healthiest working environment possible.

Beginning as an entry level worker, beware: there is literally no telling what to expect. Sadly, in the corporate world, many people who have been appointed to management positions are not very good ones. On the same token, while often that is their fault, often it is not. Poorly run shops are not poorly run because of first-level managers; the finger-pointing should be on the person who should be coaching them and holding them accountable.

That said, when you enter a company from the first rung of the corporate ladder, you will see all sorts of things. Your virtue and integrity will very possibly be tested, you will likely be treated unfairly more than once and you will definitely not agree with a lot of things. On the flip side, however, you will most definitely have no idea everything your managers are grappling with – the pressures, strains and struggles to prioritize everything on their plates can be overwhelming. And, if their managers are inept as well, it is the blind leading the blind.

Much of the ownership of your job falls upon you. It should, and it does. The training – however adequate – is there, and you have to always be on a quest for knowledge. It is your manager’s job to remove obstacles, foster a healthy environment and coach you, but there are no guarantees this will happen.

As an employee, the best thing to remember is that you work for your leadership team and your job is to be the person you pledged to be on interview day. Even if they are not an ideal boss, that is likely not going to change anytime soon. Remember the basics of the holy sales trinity – the customer, the company and you – with every choice you make, and even if you have to smile and nod a lot, search for a compliment or grit your teeth/bite your tongue, hear them out, make them feel like the smartest person in the room and do your best to meet them halfway. Let them do their talking. Say your peace; you will need to test the waters as to how open they are to your ideas and occasional disagreements. If they yell at you or demean you daily, there’s a problem, and you will often have to softly convey any disagreements like you are breaking up with a longtime lover or just keep quiet. If they are open to your ideas, lucky you. You might have a good relationship with that person.

As a manager, you will face 10-to-30 times the personalities. There’s the prima donna superstars, the overachievers, the under-achievers, those who aren’t cut out for the gig but try their behinds off, and those who stink up the joint.

The trick with removing potential or real obstacles is – similar to above – letting them air their grievances. Listening. Make the relationship about them; because that’s why you’re there: to serve and protect.

Sales reps respect managers who respect them, who roll up their sleeves and do the job, but also who hold them accountable to set parameters of rules. Obstacles arise if you are too nice, but obstacles are minimal if you show mutual respect, invest your time in them and treat everyone fairly. They need the perception of justice, they need to know you are there if they need you for anything and they need you to be a human being. Do not put yourself on a pedestal. Be part of the team.

Wherever the weak link lies – be it the rep, the manager, or anyone above or below on the sales food chain – the keys to a relationship are communication, understanding and sometimes knowing when to keep your mouth shut. We all have to work together, so it’s better to learn how to make it work between each other rather than to allow rifts to form and grow.


Carson V. Heady has written a book entitled “Birth of a Salesman” that has a unique spin that shows you proven sales principles designed to birth in you the top producer you were born to be. If you would like to strengthen your sales skills, go to

Heady posts for “Consult Carson” serving as the “Dear Abby” of sales and sales leadership. You may post any question that puzzles you regarding sales and sales leadership careers: interviewing, the sales process, advancing and achieving. You will also be directly contributing to his third book, “A Salesman Forever.”

Question submissions can be made via LinkedIn to Carson V. Heady, this Facebook page: , Twitter via @cvheady007 or e-mail at or you may post an anonymous comment as a reply to my WordPress blog at the bottom of this page:

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3 Tips to Effectively Market Your Business Event

Marketing fundamentals, while they vary in scale of execution, typically remain revolved around target audience, geography and message content.

The marketing process for an event starts long before the event takes place, as you must ensure there is a mechanism in place to capture leads and allow your customers to opt-in to a lead capturing device. For some, this happens on the website you maintain; a visitor has the opportunity to opt-in to newsletters and notifications and stay abreast of the goings-on of your business. For others, you may utilize a CRM tool to store customer information and export data for such a task. No matter what you are using to secure leads, this segment will be imperative when it comes time to market for an event.

1. Consider your target audience. Who do you want to attract for this event? What topics will be the most well-attended or be of most value to the target audience? In essence, you are forming a commercial – a call-to-action – for this target demographic you seek. Put yourself in their shoes and contemplate what wording and event content would prompt you to make this a must-see! Current methodology of lead storage and social media will give you the capability to geo-target, find groups and meet-up organizations whose interests are closely aligned with yours and will also give you a platform with which to submit your information. Furthermore, everything you need to know as you market this event is centered around adding value to your target audience.

2. Examine your methods of outreach. Sending a newsletter that can be personalized, utilizing social media groups, using meet-up organizations that are available in your location, liaising with local networking groups like Chambers or BNI or affiliations that are in line with you or your company’s goals – there are a litany of different ways to get your branding and message in front of the right eyes. Success can certainly be found a number of different ways by not discriminating against any of the potential portals of participants. Think about where your target audience is viewing information and where your desired customers are looking for events and plant yourself there. You have also accumulated a number of leads and will continue to do so; having a newsletter that goes out to them can spread the word, but many of these will also provide analytics so you can see what topics are highly regarded and where your customers are engaging the newsletter – this assists you in the future as you continue to market more events and solutions.

3. Invest in your message. You want to make your message really speak to your audience. Is it something very specific and niche to a select group of people, an industry or an area of specialization? Then your messaging will reflect that – spelling out and fine-tuning the verbiage specific to that group. Are you trying to cast a wide net to attract a larger audience? Utilize appropriate wording to entice large groups to take interest; be relatively broad about the topic – feel free to spell out any specific items that will be covered, but give a more general message so that the curiosity of your recipients will be piqued.

Continue to evolve this process as well. Often, it takes time to build a following – just like building a sales funnel. In reality, you are building a community around your brand. Depending on where the recognition currently lies of you, your brand and your events, you can be at a starting point that will require consistent application of the aforementioned principles in order to thrive. As word spreads of your events, you continue to add leads who are on the receiving end of your newsletter, and you figure out what really works and what doesn’t in these events and your outreach, the momentum will grow and you can reach optimum levels in effectiveness and productivity – and value for all!


Carson V. Heady has written a book entitled “Birth of a Salesman” that has a unique spin that shows you proven sales principles designed to birth in you the top producer you were born to be. If you would like to strengthen your sales skills, go to

Heady posts for “Consult Carson” serving as the “Dear Abby” of sales and sales leadership. You may post any question that puzzles you regarding sales and sales leadership careers: interviewing, the sales process, advancing and achieving. You will also be directly contributing to his third book, “A Salesman Forever.”

Question submissions can be made via LinkedIn to Carson V. Heady, this Facebook page: , Twitter via @cvheady007 or e-mail at or you may post an anonymous comment as a reply to my WordPress blog at the bottom of this page:

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Sneak Peek: First Chapter Sales Book Inside Business Novel “A Salesman Forever”

“A Salesman Forever” on Kindle and Amazon

Also available at Barnes & Noble

“What excited me most about ‘A Salesman Forever’ was that I got to weave in parts of an actual sales speech I did 10 years previously, parts of interviews I had done, and previously unused material from writing I did after ‘Birth of a Salesman.’ The writing, the story and the characters come full circle.” – Carson Heady


Over a decade has passed since most of the events of sales book inside business conspiracy novel “Birth of a Salesman” and a nearing-40 Vincent Scott, once the 25-year old sales management prodigy, now faces several realities of career and life. Did he already peak? Can he play the prickly political game he’s embroiled in? What will be his legacy? His weekly columns, “The Vocational Viewpoint by Vincent Scott” are featured, highlighting his lessons learned on business and career while this time, those who have known Vincent since birth take turns in telling his sometimes tragic, sometimes tumultuous, sometimes triumphant story. Chapters chronicling involvement with our hero are included from old friends, lovers, co-workers and employees, each with their own take and tale of the weathered, seasoned salesman. The Vincent Scott tale reaches its conclusion as the series protagonist faces his biggest challenges yet: time, acceptance, forgiveness and the reality of attempting a sales management comeback after the brutal decade he’s been through and being put through the ringer worse than ever before in this final quest.




© 2016, Carson Heady

Copyright notice: All work contained within is the sole copyright of its author, 2016, and may not be reproduced without consent.

This book is a work of fiction and any similarities between real groups, corporations or persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.”

Orson Welles



“Sometimes, we think the more information we give a customer – if we just keep throwing facts and minutia and statistics at them – that they’ll eventually cave and make an educated decision to buy based on everything we’ve told them.  That is the greatest myth of sales.

“We also occasionally feel that if we’re in a slump, the best way to break it is to just get a sale – any sale! – and that we should just start offering low end products solely to get someone to say ‘yes.’ Like desperation dating, begging someone to go out with you.  It’s not true.  We haven’t even overcome the price in our own mind, so we underestimate our customers’ intelligence and we totally break from any behaviors that have made us successful previously. Congratulations: you’ve decided to settle.

“When you meet with me or with your sales manager, we talk and talk about all of these great new ideas to try on our calls – we see the merit in these ideas and agree to go out there with this new method.  Yet, when we face a couple of setbacks – which is normal in this racket where we’ve got a small percentage chance of even getting a decision maker on the phone, let alone getting one to listen – we just go back to old, comfortable ways of failing.  We get so excited to even get somebody to listen to us that we turn back into amateurs.  We try something on one or two calls and we stutter a little because it’s foreign to us… and instead of staying the course, and seeing out this new way of potential success that we already agreed was better than our old way, we give up and go back to the same old thing we’ve done to get us to mediocrity or less than expectation.

“Let me ask you something – how many of you are truly happy with where you are on the sales report right now?  And, Alan, it’s OK if you are.”

The room was filled with laughter and Alan Banks – currently the top rep in the department – smiled and acknowledged the statement with a point and wave.

“There’s not really any hands up in here, which indicates to me you’d all love to be doing better.  And to do better, to do more we have to make a change.  A permanent, positive change.  Because if we change and then fall back on old habits, we’ve been counterproductive.  And we have to stick with that permanent, positive change through whatever setbacks present themselves.  Obstacles are imminent, but your choice to let them stop you or to steamroll through them determines your destiny.

“Closing sales is sexy.  It’s probably one of the five best natural, legal highs in the world.”

This statement also elicited laughter from the crowd.

“So why don’t we do it more?  The biggest way to figure out why you’re not closing is to realize that 99% of their excuses are bullshit and that you’re not setting yourself up to win from the get-go.  Every single thing you do, from the way you announce your name and purpose with confidence to the questions you ask and what you do with the information they load you up with determines your success.

“Do you think every time I pick up a phone and dial I know every single thing I’m going to say to that customer?  Of course not!  The problem is we over-think it so much; we try to arm ourselves with every little tidbit about the

customer and morsel about the industry – and then we get a voice mail.  Come on!  Turn your brain off, pick up the phone and dial.  When you get a gatekeeper, you have a process: confidently state who you need.  If you’re questioned, confidently say you manage the account and need to speak to the decision maker regarding the account.  Don’t flinch. ‘Is he expecting you?’ ‘He very well may be!’  And when that decision maker comes on the phone, it’s the same thing: confidently state your purpose and roll right into the questions whose answers will help you build your case.  It’s you against their objections and you’ve got a very brief window.  Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible has nothing on you.

“I love you guys.  I love that you know so much about this product.  Knowledge is power, but power is nothing if you don’t know how and when to strategically use it.  Throwing out random statistics that have nothing to do with showing them how and why they’ll make a return on investment do nothing to build your case.  Expecting them to buy without following the right process does not have a happy ending.

“It’s like you’re doctors, getting ready to perform some medical procedure, but you’re heading in with your scalpel without knowing anything about the patient!  Step back for a minute.  Get in your customers’ shoes.  What do they need to hear before they make a buying decision?  That they’re gonna make money!  That the failures they’ve had with our competitors are not something they are going to face here.  That trusting us to do their marketing is better than having them sacrifice their own time and effort or having their brother or sister or cousin’s co-worker do it. That they are going to get more back than they put in. That you’re going to be there for them every step of the way. That’s what they got into business for.

“I get it, it’s like a relationship.  When you’re in the heat of battle, you’ll say just about anything to get what you want and sometimes you get desperate.  But they can smell that desperation and it’s a turnoff.  The words you choose to use and how and when you say them will make or break you.  Telling them the history of the product without them asking or telling them you’re going to get them guaranteed Internet searches or their contract is extended for free just muddies the water; it confuses them. They didn’t ask. Stop the gimmicks.

“Sure, it’s great you know the details and fine print but these customers care about a return on their investment and the chances of that happening.  That’s it.  They’ve all advertised before – they’ve had some bad investments and that makes them a little skittish around you.  They don’t know you and they don’t trust you.  Until you have established yourself as different than every other salesperson who’s called them since the dawn of their business and you’ve shown your product is better than everything else they’ve seen, you’re not worth their time.  And with all of the potential customers we are putting them in front of in our online and paper directories and our fliers and our materials, how in the world can they not make a huge profit?

“Do you believe in our product?  More importantly, do you believe in yourself?  Every call and day has its ups and downs, but it begins and ends with your decision to excel.

“And I get it – we do the same thing day in, day out, every day.  Cold calling two-to-three hundred times in a day sucks and it’s easy to get caught up in that.  But do you want to be doing this for the rest of your lives?  Is this your end game?  If you’re happy doing this forever, that’s fine and good, but a lot of you want to use this as a stepping stone to something better. As well you should!  But once you’ve paid your dues and you’ve learned how to master the cold call

or sell huge programs over the phone to these CEO’s and business owners, you can write your own ticket.

“But it isn’t going to happen overnight.  You can’t have a good month or two or even six and just magically expect a promotion and shut down when you don’t get it or get an attitude or walk around like you’re better than this place.  This game it’s about bringing your ‘A’ game every single day no matter what – no matter how many changes occur or things you think are unfair happen.

“It’s a marathon race, and you can’t let up for a second because somebody will pass you up.  Look around – there’s 220 people standing with you.  Are you the top half-of-a-percent in this group?  Because that’s what it’s going to take to get promoted in this bunch.  If not, what are you going to do to get there?  Because it does you no good to whine and complain about getting passed up after the fact, after you’ve already let it happen.

“You just told me you’re not satisfied with where you are on the sales report, so what are you going to do about it?

“And here’s the thing, ladies and gentlemen: I’m not asking for major, drastic changes.  It’s just small tweaks to your presentation that make all the difference in the world.  Tired of being hung up on?  Figure out where you’re losing them and fix it.  Tired of being told ‘no?’  Figure out where you’re losing them and fix it!

“Tired of being treated like a telemarketer?  Don’t act like one!

“From the moment they answer the phone, you’ve got to act as if this is the most important call they’ll ever take – you’re calling to save their business with an ingenious idea.”

The crowd laughed, smiled and clapped, clearly agreeing with these sentiments given to them by their leader at the onset of their selling day.

“There’s no reason why you can’t do anything I’ve done.  My job is here for the taking.  In fact, aim higher.  Be fearless.  The only thing to fear is continuing to have results you’re not happy with.  Don’t let your name be on a report next to a number that’s not indicative of who you are and what you want to become.  Don’t get off a sales call without either closing the sale or knowing exactly why your customer didn’t buy.  The truth is, every objection is a load of jive.  If they believe in what you have – if their fear of missing out on something outweighs their fear of change – they’ll put their partner on the phone… they’ll understand that they will make a return on investment… and they’ll make the time.  There is only one real sales objection.  Do you know what it is?”

The audience clamored, but not with answers.  They were teeming with excitement over what had been said and what was to come next.

“It’s lack of belief.  Think about it.  If I told you today that you could donate $1 toward the Vincent Scott Aston Martin fund, you’d laugh at me – and rightfully so.  Because I didn’t show you any value.  Maybe if I gave you a ride in it, you would, but that’s neither here nor there.  However, if I told you that I could turn a $100 investment you make today into $1,000 tomorrow, you’d rush to the ATM.  Right?  And why?  Because I showed you a return.

“Show your customer a return on investment, and they will make the decision to buy.  And I want you to think about those words: they will make the decision to buy.  You don’t sell anything, and you can’t say anything that will force them to open their wallets.  However, when you overcome that one sales objection – their lack of belief – they will make the decision to invest in you and what you’re pitching.  When they fear missing out, they will make the decision to change what they’re doing in favor of what you propose.  When they understand

that this is a strategic risk instead of just the same old, useless advertising they’ve wasted money on before, they will follow you and they will sign the contract.”

“Yeah!  That’s right!” the shouts came from the crowd.  This team was pumped and ready to dial.

“In closing, team, I get asked all the time what my greatest accomplishment in my career is.  And it’s being right here, right now, around the greatest sales professionals I’ve ever been blessed to be around.  When I hired each and every one of you, there was this conviction and passion and fire in your eyes.  Sometimes, it dwindles and flickers in even the best of us.  But I’m telling you right now – every single day, we have to make the conscious decision to re-light the fire.  Accomplishments look great on a wall or desk, but the experiences we create today for ourselves and the business owners we save last a lifetime.”

More cheers erupted from the crowd.

“Let’s finish this month out like the champions we are!”

In Present Day, Vincent Thomas Scott, the Third finished watching the tape of a speech he had given nearly a decade prior during what was now undoubtedly what he considered his peak professionally and personally.  His former self pointed to the back corner of the office, behind the gathered crowds that encircled him in the midst of the sales floor of a call center, where sales manager Jimmy Sander activated his computer speakers at full force filling the office quadrant with the strains of Queen’s “We are the Champions.”

The video version of Vincent waded through a crowd of sales managers and reps that high-fived him and marveled at his presence, his bravado, his swagger.  Today’s Vincent watched his former self genuinely smile and bask in the praise and accolades while making his way past cheering people he had hired and coached. Ironically, there were also a handful of female sales reps in the audience he had foolishly succumbed to at various points because the workaholic married to his career never made time for anything outside the office pool.

This experience of reviewing documented evidence of such a climactic moment in what felt like a past life was wholly bittersweet.

The longing for those days occasionally crept into his consciousness.  He missed the ovations, the responsibilities, the coaching, the feeling of accomplishment and accolades from those days that seemed so far away.

Why he still had the tape, he had no idea; the thought had crossed his mind numerous times to do away with it and any other relic from that seemingly other lifetime ago.  However, they remained in a box that seldom saw the light of day. A box that was stuffed with awards, old sales reports and a stack of thousands of pages of documents pertinent to the sum of his career’s parts.

He put the tape in the box, glanced at its contents and closed it yet again. Contemplative, he sipped from a scotch at his side.

Asleep in her room midway down the hall was his precious, smart, beautiful 8-year old daughter, Elizabeth Scott.  They had spent an evening playing games and watching a movie prior to Vincent’s departure the coming morning. When with his daughter, even workaholic Vincent dropped everything.

The 8-year old love of his life had been the shining spot of the last several years of his tumultuous personal and professional existence.  That innocent face that Vincent had fought and sacrificed so much for – those cheeks he kissed incessantly both while she was awake or asleep – was what kept him going.

She was the spitting image of Vincent at the same age, albeit in female form and exhibited many of his other qualities in her advanced intelligence, articulation, vocabulary and gifted abilities. She was also occasionally – like

Vincent – a little too smart and sassy for her own good.

Now older and significantly hardened emotionally and psychologically, greying at the temples with longer brownish, reddish-blond hair to mask any thinning that had come with age, with the scruff of several days’ worth of facial hair and significantly less twinkle in his greyish blue eyes, Vincent sipped from his scotch while he contemplated the past, current state of affairs and potential outcomes.

What seemed a lifetime ago, he had enjoyed a meteoric, tremendous rise eventually followed by a crushing and undeserved fall. In the years since, he had been obsessed with scratching and clawing his way back all by himself.

Tomorrow was a very important day and this stroll down memory lane – while partly necessary – could wait.


The alarm from Vincent’s phone erupted to the tune of Huey Lewis classic “The Power of Love” from Back to the Future to signify that it was 4 AM.  Reluctantly, Vincent reached for his phone, fumbled for it and managed to activate the snooze mechanism.  He would utilize it three times totaling thirty minutes on this day, rising at 4:30 to put on socks, tennis shoes and some shorts.

He would hit the treadmill for a run of a few miles, slow to a fast walk intermittently while he could read a novel or watch Netflix or blare tunes and take a break to lift weights.  It was the only time of day he could control and only time he could completely block out everything – as his feet pounded against the tread, the music and the motion drowned out any preoccupation with the day ahead or present circumstances.

At precisely 5:50 AM, Vincent would kiss his princess on the cheek, hoist her from her bed into his arms and carry her to the living room couch.  Lying in wait for her would be a Netflix selection of kids’ shows, a bowl of cereal and her clothes for that day.

Vincent showered while his daughter ate; then dressed.

“Elizabeth, it’s time to brush and brush,” he said, switching off the television.  “Please hurry – we need to go soon.”

“Are we late?”

“Are we ever?”


After the routines of brushing teeth and fixing hair and dressing, Vincent helped Elizabeth put on her coat.  He grabbed his black leather jacket, diamond-crusted Bulova watch, his fitness band, a baby blue wristband on which was inscribed “Blue Skies” and a gold ring etched with the emblem of his most prominent former employer that bore a diamond.

“Please grab your bag,” Vincent instructed.

Elizabeth picked up her book bag and Vincent retrieved the two bags of luggage sitting by the door.

“I’m going to miss you on your trip, Daddy.”

“I’ll miss you too, baby.”

“When will you be back?”

“I’ll be gone for three days, so I’ll be back in time for the weekend.”

Vincent knelt down and hugged his precious daughter.

Walking outside into the crisp, cool fall air of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Vincent Scott and his daughter Elizabeth walked to the garage. Vincent unlocked and lifted the door, revealing his black Aston Martin DB7 Volante convertible. While ten years ago, he could joke about his aspiration to own one, he had finally made the acquisition.

With the flick of a key switch, the boot opened and Vincent placed his luggage inside.  He opened the driver’s side door and Elizabeth made her way into the backseat’s child seat.   It would be mere months and she would not require it anymore; she was getting so big, so fast.

Vincent checked his mirrors, backed out of their garage and headed toward Elizabeth’s school which was less than a mile away.  He dropped her off at the before-school care he provided for her, hugged her multiple times and relished those last few seconds of happiness with her.  She would wave and say, “Goodbye, Daddy!” and blow him a kiss that he caught with his left hand and rubbed all over his face to her delight.

Once he hit the door and walked back into the frosty morning, Vincent’s demeanor shifted to mirror his surroundings.  He had learned long ago to acknowledge the existence of any feelings of sorrow or doubt and dismiss them into the same oblivion to which he had banished many painful memories of his past.  He had to consciously switch from loving Daddy mode to his ice cold, no mistakes persona. He wouldn’t see his daughter for three days and had to shut off the part of himself that would allow that emotion to exist.

Today was a very important day and he had no time to let these ghosts of sales lives past stand in his way.

Vincent left his Aston Martin in the garage adjoining Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport and retrieved his bags. A brief stint awaiting his turn in the security line followed by the walk to his gate ensued.  He boarded the flight to Washington, D.C., and took the Sherlock Holmes novel from his bag. In a few hours, he would be in the spotlight, and while Vincent Scott didn’t allow his nerves to bother him, today they carried with them a slight twinge.


The Vocational Viewpoint, via Vincent Scott

(Republished with permission)

“How do I ‘sell myself’?”

Answer: “You’re already in sales, and you don’t even know it!”



From today’s mailbag: “I’ve been told that sometimes I need to ‘sell myself’ like when attempting to get a job or to be considered for other projects or roles at work. How do you suggest I do that?”


It’s been said everything comes down to the psychology that lies behind selling, whether we’re trying to convince our kids to get themselves ready on time in the morning or eat their vegetables or we’re selling a dinner companion on going where we want to go or what we want to do.  All methods of convincing, from business to politics to personal relationships require utilization of the same principles used when we successfully negotiate a deal – large or small.  These interactions require a knowledge of our target audience that can be ascertained through experience or inquiries, of the scenario and of the factors required that could lead to the outcome we desire.

We are constantly utilizing a process of some sort to obtain desired results, for a variety of reasons in a number of circumstances.  It is up to us to determine the goal we have in each individual situation, figure out how we will uniquely and exceptionally approach the scenario, what steps we will take to uncover any opportunities or challenges, and ultimately how we will persuade the recipient of our words and actions to choose our proposed course of action.

Look at all of the similarities between the sales cycle and sales food chain (my terminology for the ties that link leadership to sales professionals to customers).

When you seek an additional project or new role for yourself, you have a clearly defined goal in mind.

Similar to when you are selling a product or service, there is competition – other people are also being considered for these potential roles and projects.

Similar to a sales process, it falls on you to show a potential customer/end user – in this case, an interviewer or person in charge of the project you seek – why you are the one and only.

Similar to selling, you have to uniquely stand out, show that your relevant experience is superior to anything else out there, and you must present specific examples of times in the past when you successfully fulfilled tasks that will be required of you in the new position.  An interviewer wants to visualize you achieving these things for them; it’s far easier to do this if you have done these items before to great acclaim and have the numbers to back up the success you claim.

1. What is your goal?  Look at what you are attempting to achieve and contemplate fully why you are the perfect choice.  It really comes down to you convincing the interviewer or manager that you are the right choice.

2. Foresee challenges and areas of opportunity, and be prepared to answer for them. Do you lack necessary experience that you can make up for with supreme excellence in another area?  For example, you do not have any experience on a certain component they are looking for but you have adapted well in previous situations and have a plethora of experiences in a certain component of sales?  Closely examine a job requisition or project description so you know exactly what is expected of you.  Prepare your approach and how you

plan to correlate your relevant experience to the task at hand. Be sure, however, not to brush off the significance of what you do not know, or attempt to undermine its importance to the role; acknowledge the challenge you see before you in making that skill a part of your toolbox and have a plan to do so.

3. Stand out!  It’s so easy for anyone to have a resume, wear a suit, and show up.  What did you do to make yourself memorable?  Do you have a video resume, showcasing your speaking and presentation skills?  Do you have a brag book compilation of awards and recognition and achievements and letters of recommendation from your career?  Have you arrived at the conclusion of why you are a better candidate than anyone else out there?  If 100 or even 5 people are up for the same role as you, it’s vital to stand out as the obvious choice because the odds are against you unless your distinctive vitality stacks the deck.  In most of these cases, unless you are seeking a role that is hiring a massive group at once, there are no points for second place.

4. Learn.  No great salesperson was flawless on their very first sales call.  Like any situation, you follow a process and make a presentation and you make tweaks here and there as necessary as you learn what works and what does not.  You may stumble through a job interview.  You may not have a perfect answer to an out-of-left-field question.  But the more you seek out and experience these scenarios and the more you put yourself in the situation to be in these discussions, the better you will be at them.

5. Seek feedback.  Even if you are not qualified and the final decision is to go with someone else, ask for constructive feedback during and after the process.  Find out who other people you should connect with might be.  Figure out where your skill set may even be a better match in their department or organization.  Following up with these people who took time to consider you for a role makes an imprint!

When in doubt, think about what the average candidate for any of these things would do, and take it upon yourself to do more, do bigger, do better!  Remember that when you are selling yourself, you are showing why you are the clear choice; you are rising above the pack of status quo and you are ensuring your target audience sees in you something that they want for their team.

Lack of experience can actually be made up for with passion and enthusiasm; they can train you on what you don’t know, but cannot train personality.  Lack of sales experience can be made up for with the right attitude and work ethic; you can gain necessary experience on the job, but you cannot be successful in sales without hard work and perseverance.  Lack of knowledge of a certain component of their business can be made up with by a track record of adaptability and success – we all have a knowledge gap when we start a new role; if you’ve shortened that up in previous roles, it can bode well in a new one.

Just like sales, you will not win every time out, so you want to prepare yourself for that and be realistic with your expectations; you also want to take each experience and learn from it, expound upon it and master that process until it becomes second nature.  You will take the losses as lessons and the wins will become more frequent.

Selling yourself is like selling a product, only when you sell yourself, you must believe you are selling the greatest service of all!


From the moment you were born until the second your soul vacates your body, you are convincing people to do things: feed you, hire you, assist you and that they need what you have.  A certain degree of these survival skills are

innate; we cry out when it is our only form of communication to indicate hunger.  Many of us find ways to persevere through bad news, dark days and loneliness.  But, in the case of using these skills as your occupation of choice, there are those who come with only the weapons life handed them and those who spend their lives improving their craft and sharpening their sword.

Selling ourselves is the most important sale we make.  In this life, outside of those who genuinely care about you and are in your corner, few are going to give you “a shot,” much less the time of day, unless they see value to themselves in doing so.  In a world where many are obsessed with finances and careers and superficialities, if you are going to get ahead you will very much have to learn how to make yourself a product other people cannot live without. You’ve got to create the demand to provide the supply.

Irrelevant to your current circumstances, everyone has a talent, the fortunate have several and the smart work to improve in numerous areas; there is no better life than the one where you can use yours to make the world just a little bit better for others.  Making a difference is not always going to consist of being elected to high-ranking public office or rescuing those in distress.  For the vast majority of us, it will come down to being able to leave your mark by giving to others with what you have.  It will revolve around finding people and influences and inspirations that make us better and enable us to fluently express the best versions of ourselves and our gifts. It is about being the best we can be in all facets and with everyone we are fortunate enough to come into contact with.

When the word “sales” is uttered, our minds leap to a variety of connotations – often negative.  Any moniker can be sullied by dishonorable inhabitants of the species; not all lawyers or politicians are beloved either despite the necessity for their kind and the hard-working, valiant among them.  Salespeople are integral to the economies of our society; they keep the mechanics behind supply and demand flowing by increasing the demand and moving the supply.  Many of them are hard-working, bread-winning, example-setting mothers and fathers who take up this noble trade to provide. Others are schooled professionals making their splash in the working world. And a multitude are those who entered the workforce early so they could support themselves.  Considering the rewards for ruling this terrain, the population of the salesforce will never waiver and the incentives to master the craft will never dry up.

Your connotation of sales could quite easily be one of avoidance; you elude the sales call, have zero desire to be a part of the selling culture and you lump salespeople all into the same stereotype: over-aggressive, egotistical, unethical pigs who prey on anyone they can to make a buck (and there are plenty of those out there).  Nevertheless, unless you never intend on supporting an initiative, landing a job, getting a raise, entering into any kind of relationship or getting your way in any aspect of life, you will require these selling skills in order to effectively forge your path on the road of life.

Figuring out your desired or chosen journey in the workforce is something that takes shape over many years of your existence.  While you may be one of the lucky ones who plots your course early and sticks to it for the duration of your career, many are not so fortunate.  It can take years to determine a career path, a career can be derailed or an industry can change so much that you must decide to change with it or move on to something different.

Once you have established how you wish to impart your gifts on the world in a chosen field (if you are lucky enough to get to do that), you must determine how you will earn the credentials necessary to start on the ground

floor of said industry.  You must ascertain how you will utilize or construct a network of people able to aid you in this endeavor.  You must compile your qualifications and accomplishments into a piece of paper and a process that will get you noticed by the right people, face a plethora of potential opportunities and likely rejections and weave your way through the idiosyncrasies of the interview and hiring framework required just to participate.

Each step along the way necessitates selling yourself: why are you qualified above all other applicants?  Why should a hiring body recruit you over someone with more education and more experience (because there will undoubtedly be someone to rival you)?  Why will you keep the promises you make on interview day?

Those looking for rhyme and reason to each and every occurrence in the application and interview process will often come up quite befuddled; these are processes – like games of chance – that are designed for a particular outcome and the House can very well win.  The odds are stacked heavily against you even if you are quite capable and qualified; in any particular role you could be up against hundreds – if not thousands – of other applicants.

The automated resume reading tools are designed to eliminate your resume if they do not feature minimum thresholds of required experience and education and keywords that can change as rapidly as the search engine algorithms or politicians’ stances on the issues.  Getting the interviewer who will mesh with your canned responses can be like getting the right judge in a court case.  Being able to recall and recite the right responses at the most opportune times, keeping your interviewer captivated and following all the unwritten rules like following up with a note and showing the right amount of interest and responding to questions about money properly are like Han Solo navigating the Millennium Falcon through the asteroid belt in The Empire Strikes Back. “Never tell me the odds!”

In short, you are in the highest stakes situation of your life and you must maintain your calm and cool like James Bond swilling martinis staring death in the face at the baccarat table.

Whether you have it in your job title or not, you are going to have to sell concepts, philosophies, your will and yourself every day of your natural life. You might as well be great at it.

“A Salesman Forever” on Kindle and Amazon

Also available at Barnes & Noble

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What Matters More: Hiring for Experience or Attitude?

It is natural to consider a number of variables when hiring sales professionals to fill your team roster. Many of us painstakingly wade through resumes to find the candidates with the best experience. Others of us are looking for something specific in the interview. Whatever your approach, it begs the question: do you hire mostly based on skills, talent, personality or attitude?

The skill hire is one who has exhibited certain competencies or gained a level of schooling and experience. On paper – tangibly – they look good and you feel relatively confident putting them in a role where they will perform tasks similar to what they have done previously.

The personality/attitude hire is more intangible; we rely on instinct and often gamble that someone with less experience or tactical training can become – under our guidance – the long-term producer we wish them to be.

That said, what we must derive is something extrapolation and data cannot give us: How will these folks fare under the rigmarole and unique factors of the role we are eyeing them for? Someone with experience may certainly come in with polish and come out of the gates with more strength and poise. But the real X-factor is who will be the right long-term contributor?

Attitude and personality can propel an employee to new heights; beyond the parameter, perhaps, of someone without that will to win. Skill hires can be quite reliable and often safer bets, but many of them transition often and have filled numerous roles because they may lack that drive to take it to the next level no matter what.

Hiring managers often start looking for the reliable skill hires only to transition over time to the attitude acquisitions; as a manager sees the desire and drive it takes to constantly and consistently bring a contributor back to the table and plow through obstacles and hurdles, they will seek out people possessing that potential. As they realize how difficult it is to “teach an old dog new tricks” – in this case, training new skills and process to someone who is considered or considers themselves skilled (even though they have often done an adequate, average or mediocre job at multiple roles) – they gravitate toward someone more likely to acquire new experiences and skills and abide by this unique process.

Fresh attitude and approach can generate new ideas and ways of doing business, which can invigorate the workplace, break down walls and open new opportunities. Tried and true and skilled and experienced can be less of a risk, but hiring the person who is bent on being the best, working toward change and promotion and wants to challenge the norm will result in the most lucrative reward.

Go for the personality and the attitude and over the long haul, the payoff will be grand.


Carson V. Heady has written a book entitled “Birth of a Salesman” and sequels “The Salesman Against the World” and “A Salesman Forever” which take the unique approach of serving as sales/leadership books inside of novels showing proven sales principles designed to birth you into the top producer you were born to be. If you would like to strengthen your sales skills, go to

Heady posts for “Consult Carson” serving as the “Dear Abby” of sales and sales leadership. You may post any question that puzzles you regarding sales and sales leadership careers: interviewing, the sales process, advancing and achieving.

Question submissions can be made via LinkedIn to Carson V. Heady, this Facebook page: , Twitter via @cvheady007 or e-mail at or you may post an anonymous comment as a reply to my WordPress blog at the bottom of this page:

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