Archive for July, 2009


Management Rewards, Management Strategies, Sales Management Abundancy No Comments »


Dear Manager,

For many individuals, be they managers, staff members or our sales associates, there is a single motivator that runs through their minds on a regular basis. This motivator is very negative and counter productive by nature, yet some try to use it to gain positive results. For most, it brings occasional anxiety and sleepless nights. In extreme cases, it can cause
depression and even suicide. How could something so negative and potentially devastating be passed on from one generation to the next? What could possibly make such an impact on so many?

It is the fear of failure. It wreaks havoc on our outlook, personality and attitude. How can we reverse this destructive source of anxiety? The only way to slay the dragon is straight through the heart.

Yes, we grew up learning through our parents’ encouragement, and in full view of their own anxieties, that failure is one of the greatest fears known to man. A vision of THE POOR HOUSE on the hill, or life on the streets, can’t help but come to mind. Examples were often given of those individuals who unfortunately had not measured up in life. Positive reinforcement such as “being the best you can be,” was often synonymous with the mixed signal “you certainly wouldn’t want to be a disappointment!!” I remember the perceived pressures when I left college to live up to the expectation of “making something of myself.” Failure simply was not acceptable.


I spent the next fifteen years believing I would be a disappointment if I failed. While my business grew slowly at first, it gained momentum as the years passed. I began taking success for granted. Everything I touched seemed to have a positive outcome. The worst aspect came when I began to believe in the praises and platitudes of others. I believed I had a golden touch. Without question, Keenan needed to fail … and he did!

I had started a second business that seemed to have the potential to be very lucrative. I invested heavily (how could it fail?), asked for very little assistance (I certainly didn’t need it) and went on my merry way.

Within two years, I was tapped. I had to make payroll off of credit card advances. 1985 was a very, very long and difficult year. This time in my life was very significant. The lessons learned, while expensive, were the best real life education I had ever had. I learned a healthy respect for failure. There was no question that my business skills would need to improve. I continue to challenge these skills daily.

I am convinced that humans need to fail – to crash and burn – at least once in their life. Until our limits are tested in the good and difficult times, we will never realize our full potential. How can anyone fully comprehend success without having tasted the agony of defeat?! It takes great courage to fail!

I have always believed that we, as managers, are doing a great disservice to our staff by providing an environment with little opportunity for challenge and growth. In doing so, we are sending them the message that they’d better not fail. We must create an environment for success with a full understanding that failure is part of the process. Success and failure are often just inches apart. What greater reward for a manager than to assist others in bouncing back from difficult times?

We have all read of the countless failures endured by the great inventors and industrial giants of years gone by. The ultimate test is not the fact that they had initially failed. It is their resiliency, tenacity and personal resolve to pick themselves up and make as many attempts as required for success. We will never read inspiring stories about individuals who “almost got it right.”

How many of life’s lessons can be learned through success? Child stars and young professional athletes often have the world by the tail. Very few truly understand themselves and their true impact on humanity, let alone their future. I can’t find any courage in this equation. With maturity and good fortune, they will survive some tough times. If not, I hope they have a strong parent or friend who will give them a verbal smack “upside the head.” It is their only hope.

We only learn the most valuable skills through failure. There is no why in success, there is only why in failure. There are very few lessons in success, only in failure. Failure is a very personal moment. It demands that we analyze our circumstances, scramble to pick up the pieces, and develop the patience to deal with our difficult circumstances. It demands the best of us.

So, why have generations continued to agonize over the fear of failure? I believe there are two reasons. First, failure is plain old embarrassing. It takes strength to admit that you’ve made a mistake. Everyone will know! I will state this again, for it is absolutely the truth. In creating an environment in which having failed makes one a failure, we will ultimately surround ourselves with the lowest common denominator and stunt the growth of our companies.

Unlikely as it may seem, I believe the second factor contributing to the anxiety of failure can be a very clear and obvious fear of success! Some individuals may not feel worthy, and mediocrity is a safe harbor! The responsibilities that accompany success can seem too great a price to pay. A person may be uncomfortable with the notoriety, the attention, and of subsequent future failure. Yes, there is also courage in success.

It is time for all of us to banish the anxieties related to failure and success. Emotions related to these anxieties are old news and a personal choice.


With any luck at all, we will each experience times of failure in our lives. The first experience is the most difficult. Confidence and satisfaction are developed through overcoming adversity. Subsequent challenges will be approached with an increased sense of power. An “I survived once, I can certainly do it again!” attitude will prevail.

Fear is the very worst of all motivators. Acceptance of the inevitable roadblocks in our careers, along with a measure of confidence, will assist us at every turn. Our long term health and sense of fulfillment is incumbent upon our ability to survive a periodic stubbed toe.

As effective managers, we must be able to address and accept failure in ourselves and in all of those around us. I’d hire a qualified individual who had experienced and overcome failure, in every instance, over the individual who had not! Ownership of our own failures allows us to build upon the past, and understand the failure of others. It is our lot “of” life.

Personal Regards,


INTERPERSONAL© is published by INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM, Keenan Longcor, Editor, ©2009. Duplication of this publication is permitted for both personal and business use. Excerpts may only be quoted with acknowledgment of INTERPERSONAL/INTERPERSONALBIZ.ORG as the source. For re-publication rights, please contact the editor at KEENAN@INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM


Sales Management Abundancy, Sales Strategies, Sales With Purpose No Comments »


Dear Manager,

We have all marketed ourselves in some form, be it our products, our company or its services. We have seen ourselves, as well as many others, both win and lose in the process. Business can be cruel. What are the disciplines called upon most often to insure success? Does it take a degree from Harvard Business School to gain this knowledge?

Or, can simple experience pave the way to our ultimate goal? Have we paid attention to the marketplace and the fundamentals of marketing? Experience tells us that the State of California will outperform the State of Wyoming in most every facet of business. Experience suggests that a three day fishing trip will generally provide a greater return than a one day trip. It becomes the principal of sheer numbers. One of the most misunderstood marketing fundamentals is the importance of critical mass.

My wife and I at one time had four teenagers between us (now there’s critical mass!). Over the years, I watched them grow and look forward to finding their first summer job. It was a very challenging time for most teenagers, because in many ways they must put themselves on the line for the first time in order to find that first job. Presenting themselves in an adult manner, dressing the part, and showing a bit of confidence is not generally consistent with other aspects and priorities in their lives. I have seen it take weeks to muster the courage to make that first step. (The timing, by the way, is often determined by the release of the latest “to die for” CD or computer game … motivation takes many forms!)

In most cases, teens will have their eyes peeled for that magical sign that suggests a business is looking for them. “Dad, if they were looking for me they would have a help wanted sign out … don’t you know?!” Once the sign is found and their confidence has been strapped on, they march in. A sense of satisfaction has been earned and a job has been applied for. Now the wait begins. Surely, it will just be a matter of days until they are rewarded for this initial effort.

I have found a very similar tendency in business once these teenagers have grown up. A well conceived idea is developed yet never fully executed. A bad idea, very well executed has a much greater ratio for success than a very good idea poorly executed. It is the law of critical mass. If an individual were looking to publish a manuscript, would their chances be greater with a single query letter to prospective publishers or one hundred? I would bet on one hundred, regardless of the manuscript’s literary merits! With niche marketing so successful, there is a market for most anything. You simply have to have the resolve to find it.

As I have taught, encouraged, each of my own teenagers, reach for maximum visibility! If you actually want to be recognized, throw your hat in the ring and make an impact. Want a job? Then present yourself in the most favorable light, again, again, again and then again.

Working with many top sales professionals over the years has shown me the impact of critical mass. From account penetration to market saturation, the very best sales people must execute on a daily basis, or fail. These individuals are possessed with market expansion.

I once worked with an individual who opened in excess of 100 new customers her first year. Until she arrived, this was a territory that was considered a very mature and well developed region. With her efforts, all previously established standards of performance went out the window. How did she do it?

She established a goal to open 10 new accounts per month. This was then broken down into a weekly expectation and reviewed on a daily basis. It was an excellent plan, yet it is one thing to establish a plan and another to execute the plan. This is where many salespeople and managers fall through the cracks. I believe that it all comes down to “how bad do you want it, and are you willing to pay the price?”

By contrast, this individual (a former top vacuum cleaner salesperson by the way) approached her goal with the heart of a champion. With little fanfare, she simply proceeded confidently to achieve her objective. Do you really think she opened 10 new accounts per month by calling on only ten accounts? If so, let me sell you a vacuum!

Her first few attempts brought limited results, yet provided a very strong foundation. Repeated effort establishes the work habits that become a way of life. With time, her presentation developed, her batting average improved and her confidence soared. In each call it became no longer a question of if, but of when. Within “the critical mass” there is abundance available to all of us. Those who suggest otherwise are not being honest with themselves (or their manager!).

The greatest advantage of critical mass is in the number of options it brings to the table. Would we not prefer to evaluate the opportunities and values of ten options as compared to one? Each will have its own advantages, one will be a home run! Human nature often encourages us to take the easy way out, the first and only option. Perhaps it is less a result of human nature than it is of simply being too busy or too lazy.

As managers of our sales and of our companies, we must fight this tendency at every turn. Have you ever reviewed the potential of a product, individual, or service with only a surface amount of information? I have, as have many managers. We can be anxious to form a conclusion based on the information at hand, rather than explore the many options available with patience and commitment to greater understanding. Our fast-paced world challenges this premise each and every day.

The alternative is “garbage in, garbage out.” We owe it to ourselves to explore these options with a firm grasp of critical mass, and a firm grasp on reality in the decision making process.


… again and again, not only of yourself but of those you manage. We
must demand this of ourselves, regardless of excuses or the pace of our
schedule. Anything less, and all of the investment we have made relating to our ideas and to the individuals that have the right to expect our best was an absolute waste of time! If we are unwilling to properly execute our plan, trusting the laws of critical mass, then it is time to fold our tent and accept all consequences. The ideas and execution will now be left to the competition.

Personal Regards,


INTERPERSONAL7#169; is published by INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM, Keenan Longcor, Editor, ©2009. Duplication of this publication is permitted for both personal and business use. Excerpts may only be quoted with acknowledgment of INTERPERSONAL/INTERPERSONALBIZ.ORG as the source. For re-publication rights, please contact the editor at KEENAN@INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM