Archive for the 'Sales' Category

“The Differences Between an Independent versus a Dependent Personality Type and its Impact for Management” Vol. XCIX

Management Strategies, Sales, Sales Staff No Comments »



Dear Manager,

Have you ever considered the difference between the dependent and independent personality types found in your organization?  Having primarily worked with self-employed contractors over the years – relatively independent souls by nature – I have a distinct affection for their thought process over the alternative.  Certainly, not all who are self-employed are independent thinkers, no more than all employees are dependent thinkers.  Their contrast to one another, however, brings a vastly different set of perspectives and priorities to an organization.

As young children, we are totally dependent on our parent or guardian.   If they don’t provide the food, we don’t eat!  That first taste of “dependent independence” comes in our teenage years, with a bit more flexibility in schedule and modes of transportation.  Remember the insatiable appetite for additional freedoms, and what we perceived at the time to be “our independence?!”  By the time college comes around, we can hardly wait for “total independence.”   Oops, wait a minute.  Can we financially and emotionally support this new level of authentic independence?  As I recall, that was an issue I didn’t want to discuss around the dinner table!

While finding independence from parents is likely (we’re all adults by now!), does this automatically suggest one is authentically independent?  I would say no.


At some point, one of these adults will find their way to our doorstep.  Convincing us that they can provide a positive impact and experience for our companies, they will be hired.  What remains to be seen is whether they will become a dependent drain, or an independent resource, for our company.

While we should be able to assume that an adult would have become independent by now, think twice, no, three times about this assumption.  It is possible that, as managers, we have simply taken on the parenting role for a dependent few.

There is a percentage of our culture that never fully assumes complete financial and emotional independence.  I am not speaking of those who need government care in order to find a degree of independence in their lives.  I’m talking about Joe and Betty employee, the few who have simply never been willing to accept their role and responsibility in life.  These individuals would never admit to being a dependent personality type and, in fact, would argue strongly with those who suggested otherwise.  These are the individuals that drain management’s vital time and resources.


I can’t think of a single instance where I have “owed” a person in my employment.  If I haven’t borrowed anything from my employees, how can I possibly “owe them” anything?  Certainly they deserve respect, a safe and productive working environment, and to be paid the negotiated wage.  Some have deserved significant compensation and severance for a job very well done.  To deserve suggests choice, owing can only suggest obligation.     

I find nothing more disconcerting than to hear someone complain about an employer or job.  On more than one occasion I have thought, “is someone holding a gun to your head in order that you work for this employer?”  I don’t understand a thought process that suggests the government, ones employer, ones school, let alone ones parents, owes them anything!  While there are certainly legal and ethical rights, the word OWE in this context has taken on new meaning and life of its own. 


With authentic independence comes the realization that if we were involved, and if fault is an issue, we must always share in the end result.  We cannot have selective participation in only life’s up side.  If we have chosen an environment, made a commitment, or been a willing participant, in the vast majority of cases we were in a position to have chosen in our own participation or to have shaped the outcome.

Have you noticed how often people get duped in some form, only to turn around and blame the “duper?”  Be it a quick fix, easy money, a shortsighted decision, or poor evaluation, we must share in the eventual consequence.  Those with a dependent personality find it very difficult to accept this.  (Tell me again how it’s McDonald’s fault you’re overweight?)

We are fully accountable and fully responsible for all outcomes in our life, with the exception of an act of God.  I guess blaming Him wouldn’t help much either.

Think about the people who make excuses and complain about a bad day or a bad life.  What they don’t realize is that all of us, in order to find any sense of success and independence, have endured frustrating circumstances.  Are they looking for sympathy?  The second-to-last thing I want to do is bore people with my day-to-day aggravations.  The last thing I need to hear about is theirs.   Now, present me with an opportunity to discuss circumstances that can create a positive outcome and solution, and I am eager to assist.

There is value in understanding this element of our culture.  Experience has taught me that this limited group of chronically dependent individuals has little sustaining value for most managers.  I believe we have a responsibility to our organizations to eliminate this draining influence.  While often difficult, we have a moral and fiduciary obligation to do so.  The bottom of the barrel never gets any fresher.

As managers, we work with very limited resources, and economically we have a very limited number of positions for key people within our organization.  We cannot afford to sacrifice even one of these positions for an individual who is mired in their own, and often self-defeating, agenda.  We all know that a single individual can poison our companies’ momentum, and the independent and responsible personalities that we cherish.


Personal Regards,



INTERPERSONAL© is published by INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM, Keenan Longcor, Editor, ©2013.  Duplication of this publication is permitted for both personal and business use. Excerpts may only be quoted with acknowledgment of INTERPERSONAL/INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM as the source. For re-publication rights, please contact the editor at KEENAN@INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM

“A Reasonable Balance between Perfection, Expectations and Reality” Vol. XCVIII

Consulting Strategies, Management Rewards, Management Strategies, Sales, Sales Management Abundancy, Sales Staff, Sales Strategies, Uncategorized No Comments »



Dear Manager,

I believe we all strive daily for the highest level of performance, both for ourselves and for those we manage.  If you are anything like me, there is a desire to reach for perfection in the hope that the final result might come close!  Too many of us have “expected” perfection only to be disappointed by a less than perfect world.  Although I finally gave up trying to achieve perfection decades ago, the ongoing search and the subsequent benefits continue to reward. 

I was recently working with a client – a perfectionist by nature – who was completely frustrated with sustaining time lines in her Product Development department.  She had established these time lines in order to insure her products would get to market well ahead of their selling season; her performance evaluations would be based on her ability to meet these schedules.  As is common, there were diverse parties and factors influencing the outcome, with priorities that sometimes varied from her own.

Meeting marketing time lines comes as close as there is to having to find perfection.  Customers (not to mention Christmas) won’t wait for you to get your act together.  Our discussions revolved around having the ability to impact those areas over which you have some control.  If you have a huge rock in your path, you must find a way within your control to get around it; the rock is not going to move, nor can you let it stop you.

So, if we accept that perfection will not happen, we can strategize around it.  My client and I discussed the possibility of asking for greater input in defining her timelines, knowing full well when her drop-dead dates were.  In anticipation of resistance and misfortune, the plan included backing up the dates to a time line that would insure success.  No one needed to know the absolute drop-dead date other than her.  The “soft dates” would become, for all intents and purposes, her published time lines.


The initial challenge this individual encountered was that her predecessor had not created any degree of urgency or accountability in this process.  Having failed to do so, this individual had very effectively trained her partners to believe that they had no personal ownership in the outcome.  This is also very likely why this individual had been replaced!


The objective then became searching for progress with each and every obstacle, as compared to perfection.  She would begin by meeting with members influencing her time line, ask for their input, and share her appreciation for their support.  She would then ask what they thought would be “reasonable” for her to expect with regards to her schedule. If they were in her shoes, how would they proceed?   She also had to determine if they were indeed committed to their participation, and determine a completion date that would be workable for all parties.  She then wrote down the date of the meeting, their commitment, and the date agreed upon.  A copy would be given to each person for future reference.

Back at her desk, a calendar was established with all the dates that had been committed to.  Additionally, she noted dates on which to contact these individuals for a status update.  In each case, she would reference their prior meeting, and the agreed to time line.  Was she being a “nudge?”  Probably, but she was also taking much greater control of her own destiny.

Once the ground rules had been established, her team began to understand that she was absolutely serious, conscientious, and committed to their collective success.  They also realized they did not want to be the one person who fell short of their commitment.  A winner is born!


My wife and worked on the restoration of an early 1900’s apartment building.  It was a wonderful project with many surprises and even greater potential rewards. We’d done other restoration projects, yet nothing of this magnitude.  As general contractor, I worked on the design, city code, bid process, purchasing, and staging, with over fifty independent contractors.  If there was any doubt about where the word chaos was coined, it had to have been on this type of project!

It can be a matter of orchestrating a diverse group of pieces, players, and parts, into a semblance of cohesion.  In a compacted time line, the process becomes an ebb and flow of forward and stalled motion.  My wife is convinced that our experience in staging trades shows is what  saved the day.  (Thank goodness someone was paying attention to our trade shows!)

If just one piece of the puzzle falls out of place, it quickly impacts the next three stages of the process.  I began to realize early on there could truly be no sense of confidence in meeting even reasonable expectations and time lines.  This said, I have also learned a great deal about how to quickly shift and find flexibility in the development process.


With perfection seemingly out the window, it was time to plan a workable strategy. If I could expect challenges on a daily basis (a proven fact), how could the process be staged in such a way as to anticipate and prepare for these obstacles? We certainly weren’t going to head home at midday whenever “an issue” arose.

The objective became to create as many as three workable options in staging contractors, finding parts, or actually completing the specific work.  Fortunately, my lead contractor is someone I had worked with for years on other projects, and I am proud to say that we only “had words” once during the entire process!  His patience with me, consistently sharing appreciation to all the players, and their collective willingness to overcome obstacles – to be flexible – made all the difference.

The final weeks of the project produced results that exceeded our wildest expectations … and was only a tad off budget. While my wife and I had labored over the smallest of details (seemingly thousands of them), success has been in the ability of the team to implement our collective vision.

Never underestimate the potential of a group of professionals with a single purpose.  So, how did they ever complete The Panama Canal?


Personal Regards,



 INTERPERSONAL© is published by INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM, Keenan Longcor, Editor, ©2013.  Duplication of this publication is permitted for both personal and business use. Excerpts may only be quoted with acknowledgment of INTERPERSONAL/INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM as the source. For re-publication rights, please contact the editor at KEENAN@INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM

“Turning the Page in a New Era of American Commerce” Vol. LXXXVIII

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Dear Manager,

American Business is collectively ready to turn the page on what have been the most difficult years in the past few decades, or at least as difficult as in my professional career. We’re clearly stronger, and have a much clearer understanding of those areas of our business over which we have control and, in turn, those areas that are indeed out of our control.

The real question becomes, are we truly better prepared? Difficult times require us to raise the bar to meet all challenges or, in fact, we won’t be around to worry one way or the other! Most all of us have taken a shot; the business climate has certainly gotten our attention. Yes, the potential for a positive transition is always within our grasp. Past avenues must now be reviewed, and adjustments are likely to be required to endure and flourish in a new marketplace.

A few issues back, I discussed the effect of the predictability quotient on managing our staff in challenging times; we can all become a bit tooooo consistent. Can it also be time to put a new face on how we communicate, not only with our staff, but also with our customers, business alliances, and the marketplace as a whole?

This, too, is worth a new era evaluation. Logos get tired, standard sales promotions get stale, advertising gets dated, and even new product introductions can begin to look like the “same-old-same-old.” My own experience suggests predictability and ones complacency can seep in long before its reality becomes obvious.


… would suggest we maximize our promotional budgets to gain the greatest potential return on investment. This is where predictability and promotional investment decisions, based on prior and successful economic scenarios, may no longer be relevant. If this is one of the most difficult climates in our professional careers, all prior marketing decisions for your company MUST now be re-evaluated relative to current climates. If marketing budgets seem to be diminishing, this further suggests that “bang for your buck” is essential in more challenging times.


… would suggest it’s time to stick your neck out a bit further. If your company’s marketing strategies are past their “freshness date,” it’s is also very, very likely that many of your competitors are unknowingly in a similar position. This can be the very best possible time to step out of the pack by distinguishing yourself as well, yes, a bit “unconventional.”

Most companies promote themselves online, through trade shows, product promotions and releases, trade advertising, via email campaigns and by word of mouth. Yada, yada, yada, – it’s more and more of the same. Are these marketing efforts inspiring the market, capturing the imagination of your clients, and creating critical mass?


Some of you may have heard of Bill Veek. He was the promoters’ promoter of baseball in both the minor and major leagues. This is the man who created a near riot at Comiskey Park for his “Disco Destruction” night in Chicago. OK, the White Socks did end up having to forfeit the game due to the unanticipated riotous level of inspired “disco destruction,” but few could deny the night set an unconventional foundation for future Veek antics. Bill’s eccentricities, and those of his son, are legendary. One promotion a few years back was to set a record for the fewest fans to watch a professional minor league baseball game. The fans were locked outside the gates until the seventh inning, when the game became official, then let in to celebrate the accomplishment!!

When was the last time you entertained a marketing meeting with the sole intent of being different, creating true innovation, being willing to take some risk, let alone thinking upside down? In all my years of business, this type of “extravaganza,” properly orchestrated, can truly be one of the most exhilarating business “happenings.”


It’s essential that only those individuals who thrive in this eccentric environment be in attendance. You’d never invite your mother to a wet t-shirt contest! One of the easiest ways for an event of this nature to self destruct is for the mix of individuals in attendance to be in conflict with your true objective: intellectual chaos. It’s a rare breed, those who are unencumbered by “conventional wisdom.” They have the self-confidence to visualize, express, and assume partnership with unconventional thought. All it takes is one myopic personal agenda to quash the inspiration of other individuals, not to mention the whole group.

Begin by establishing the ground rules. The first rule is that no individual thought will be ridiculed or diminished in any way. The second rule suggests the objective is to create total innovation and substance to the eventual, and totally unknown, outcome of your meeting. Egos must be checked at the door if the sole objective is to foster communication and “ultra innovation.” If need be, participants should be “red flagged,” and possibly excused, in order to protect the inspiration and innovation of the whole.

While seeming drastic, this clearly sets the stage for unencumbered, unbridled thought and dialog. I’ve participated in meetings of this type yet, on occasion, the guest list was poorly thought out and the effort’s potential was ultimately diminished.


Review the current marketing efforts in place and their historic cycles of execution. Which of these cycles will continue to provide significant return, and which of these cycles are in place out of simple redundancy or unjustified industry standards? What will ignite an “industry buzz” and generate conversation? Will it be further extended word of mouth: your least expensive form of marketing potential?

Would (or should) it be possible to launch products or promotions prior to the current industry expectations? Is it possible to stage a promotion over a period of days, weeks, or months that would build anticipation and excitement to an otherwise more predictable introduction? This could be accomplished with daily/weekly emails, or in faxes providing expanded promotions and recognition.

Are there products, or categories of products, whose sales are so spectacular that a totally “no risk” guarantee promotion is in order? Are there one-time discounts, terms, or incentives that can be easily justified in order to gain placement and momentum? Can you find some “free stuff” or “cash” that holds more value as a promotion than in its current form?

Now, let’s fall even further off the cliff. Are there one-time, or a series of “upside down” marketing strategies or incentives that, to your knowledge, have never been tried? This is where off-the-wall inspiration will begin to serve the group well. One “ridiculous thought” after another will bubble to the surface. I’ve found that each of these thoughts serves as a springboard for second and third generation thoughts that may indeed be the gem with truly amazing potential. The scenario goes, “Gee that’s a great thought, but what if we used it in this context? Yeah, and we tie it in with this product category to maximize its potential.” Once momentum takes hold, you’ll be amazed with where it leads you. Be sure to have someone taking detailed notes for further review in a smaller forum!

Finally, are there any strategic alliances with companies who share a similar agenda to yours? One of the best promotions I’ve seen was a national office supply store’s offer of a 5% donation of all purchase amounts to be given to the school of a customer’s choice. Tell me a parent who wouldn’t be motivated by such an offer during their back to school shopping. The incremental sales growth was substantial, effectively negating the additional discount. Additionally, this corporation established themselves as being very supportive of the community. And where do you think all of the schools and teachers shopped for supplies this past fall? Brilliant, unconventional, and very effective.

May these thoughts inspire and propel you, and your company, into an outrageously spectacular outcome.

Personal Regards,


INTERPERSONAL© is published by INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM, Keenan Longcor, Editor, ©2012. Duplication of this publication is permitted for both personal and business use. Excerpts may only be quoted with acknowledgment of INTERPERSONAL/INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM as the source. For re-publication rights, please contact the editor at KEENAN@INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM


Management Rewards, Management Strategies, Marketing, Sales, Sales Staff, Sales Strategies No Comments »


Dear Manager,

There have certainly been many lessons to be learned from the rise and fall of the world. In its first incarnation, the pace was so frenetic, and there was such little historic knowledge regarding these uncharted waters, many companies simply made decisions by the seat of their pants or on a wing and a prayer. This was a time of great anxiety and pressure to play ball with the BIG kids.

There’s no question that these lessons greatly assist the survivors as well as those who venture into business in the future. Which of these lessons might apply to our own business experience? Is there a connection, and can we learn and apply these lessons without having to pay our predecessors’ price?

As suggested, in the aftermath there were many lessons learned including the fundamental need for profitability, and never to put one’s cart ahead of one’s horse. Why did some survive while others with much greater funding and clear potential proceed to fail? The single answer that seems to continue to apply to those who survived the test of time suggests the following: Those who found success never deviated from their model of insuring a positive and clearly rewarding customer experience!

The successful companies only followed applications that would allow them to enhance or improve upon current standards of service for their potential customers in the marketplace. Those who survived executed this premise very well. While it didn’t guarantee their success, in retrospect failure to do so certainly negatively impacted their potential or led to their ultimate demise. How can this lesson enhance our own “more low-tech” organizations?


Anyone who’s spent time on the Internet with business-to-business or business-to-consumer websites will understand the frustrations that can occur in conducting business in this forum. By nature, Internet commerce best accommodates those individuals or companies that are fully prepared to complete an immediate transaction. In many cases these sites are ready and willing to finalize the sale, if we could just figure out what information is required to do so! I’ve found the circuitous routes used by some websites to guide me to the “purchase” button make me want to jump in my car and drive to the mall! Aren’t they trying to grease my path to this mutually productive outcome? One would think so, yet many have failed in this most obvious area of conducting business.

From the outside looking in, how user friendly is your company’s sales process system? Have you ever asked someone with no current awareness of your product or service to evaluate their ability to purchase from your company? There are now very successful companies who are doing this for the high tech industry, so why not for the low tech industries as well?

As often as not we are developing client relationships with individuals with little or no understanding of what we do, who we are or what benefits and services we can provide them. Wouldn’t there be significant value in reviewing current marketing materials, product initiatives, and customer support agendas with this thought in mind? Are you effectively communicating and translating “your best sales effort” with regards to your most basic sales initiatives?


This is a great place to begin the process. When a new or existing client initiates contact with your company, what will their experience be? Whether with a receptionist, through customer service, or with a professional sales person, will this be a positive and memorable experience? Do these individuals have the current information readily available to assist this person in meeting their immediate needs? Even though not all these individuals may be classified as “sales people,” do they fully understand their personal value in meeting the sales objective?

Since sales is not part of their formal “job description,” these first lines of contact may not fully understand or implement this clear objective. These individuals must learn to consider every potential line of contact as a sales initiative, and be trained to effectively do so. How often have we contacted companies, only to get the run around with regards to gaining basic information about a product, service, or placing an order? It can make a frustrated client wonder, “Do they want me to buy something or not!?” Develop a training system that will allow these individuals to provide at least basic sales procedures. We must also provide instant access to individuals who can meet the needs of more complex customer demands.

This process should not include leaving messages on a voice messaging system. The objective here is to focus on providing an exceedingly satisfactory customer experience. We want to create the “wow factor” by anticipating their needs, having the answers to their questions, and having all members of our staff on the same page in meeting this goal.

It’s easy for organizations to take these fundamentals for granted. Management often assumes that its staff instinctively understands the need to communicate a positive and supportive sales message with each client interaction. I would encourage you not to assume this. Now is the time to (re)establish a company-wide initiative with regards to this clear objective.


Based on the assumption we can’t assume anything, wouldn’t this be an excellent time to develop a document and single agenda relating to this objective? This then becomes the standard by which all members of your staff will be judged. As managers we must first establish the standards, and then be prepared to provide the training to fulfill this objective. Finally, we must also – and very consistently – send a strong message in support of this program. Awards should be established for superior performance, perhaps on a monthly basis. Those who are in a position to benefit, including the sales team, should also recognize individuals who have provided excellent sales support.


One would like to assume that in each and every sales environment, our sales people would understand the value and importance of creating a positive customer experience. While this would be true in many instances with our best sales people, it’s not the case in many instances. Creating these standards of customer experience might seem obvious to management, yet fulfillment is totally dependent on the message takers: your sales people.

An addendum to your mission statement should be targeted directly at the point of sale. This document should not only suggest your mission and its merit, it should also suggest the minimum standards of performance related to your expectations in this area. These standards should clearly state defined timelines relating to customer follow up, problem solving, assistance to one another in the sales arena, and the principles relating as to how to exceed your clients’ expectations.

We are no stronger as a company than the message embraced by each and every member of our staff. Clearly these ideals will feed off one another once a consistent and inspired message is delivered each and every day by your management team. You need to become the exception rather than the rule if you are going to improve your “customers’ experience” with the objective to truly dazzle the marketplace. In fact, this could easily become the title of your mission statement.


Personal Regards,


INTERPERSONAL© is published by INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM, Keenan Longcor, Editor, ©2011. 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.