“Have I Created A MONSTER….did I make a mistake”?!

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“Have I Created A MONSTER….did I make a mistake”?!

 

I had one of the top sales reps in the country reporting to me early in my career….this lady was awesome. Yes, the complete package, smart, relentless, focused……and unabashedly beautiful. At the time she had completed about 3 years into the job and exceeded almost every competency under the sales rep responsibility model and her sales performance far surpassed anyone in the nation at the time as a matter of fact they use to joke that she would schedule her “President’s Trophy” trip in January before the sales year even started. So, it wasn’t even a stretch at succession planning time that I made the decision to promote her to district manager where she became responsible for 10 sales people….the same sales people she was once a peer with (I’m sure you see where this is going). I felt at the time because of her relationships with her previous peers and the fact she was well respected among them and even considered a leader the decision to have her step into the role as their district manager seem “commonsensical”……biggest mistake I made in my career hands down. I took her under my tutelage from mentoring to sending her to developmental seminars to weekly follow ups, what I didn’t do is properly prepare her prior to moving her into the new role. She pretty much governed her team like “General Patton”, which was interesting because if you remembered these folks were her previous peers so she literally pulled a “carrie” (the horror movie) and changed 360 degrees for the worst. I actually asked myself “Have I Created A Monster….did I make a mistake”, and to make matters worst my job was in jeopardy because of the decision I made….she was that nightmarish. Job vacancies were rampant in her district as people who she was close to prior to taking over the role was fed up with her antics and decided to leave the company for “stress free pastures”, this ultimately created poor district sales performance and the result was me letting her go. As you can imagine not only did this tax my conscious as I felt responsible for her failure in her new role and ultimate firing that I considered putting in my resignation, which as “Karma” has it I ended up leaving my current position for a lateral move at the guise of my management (a fati accompli career move).   

That experience was years ago and I haven’t forgotten about it in fact for the past 12 years or so I have dedicated my career to educating, teaching, mentoring and consulting others on the importance of “Personal/Career Development”. I consider myself the “GOD-Father” of competency modeling” complete with pre-development training programs designed to prepare succession planning candidates for leadership roles prior to moving into them. I’m unwavering in my commentary that it’s a crime to promote people who aren’t ready for roles just based on prior success without putting them through a proper development plan process.

 

Below is a brief caption of an article I wrote for a sales magazine in 2007 followed by a link to a “Competency Modeling” exercise I conducted with a great deal of success:

 

“Do Successful Sales People Make For Potentially Successful Sales Managers”?

 

This is an ancient argument that has been debated from the very tops of  organizations and while most agree that success at a certain position “may” predict with some certainty success at the next level…it’s rarely guaranteed.

There are characteristics that appear to be consistent among successful sales people for example: focused, competitive, driven, “failure is not an option”-attitude, strategic etc…all characteristics you would love your sales leaders to have. However, the big piece missing here is what I call “human connective tissue” how do you drive those same characteristics through others….at the end of the day LEADERSHIP.

Leading others is one of the most challenging and rewarding positions one can undertake but is does offer developmental opportunities that are critical for any new manager. In my previous position it was identified right away that the organization was promoting successful sales people to sales management roles without properly developing/training them prior. Those decisions were disastrous the vacancy rates skyrocket, HR issues became the norm, new managers became burned out….all because of the lack of proper development/training.

We devised a plan to attack this issue head on by incorporating “Competency Models” which addressed the development/training issues but importantly improved the morale of the effected audience…”the salespeople”.

 

The attached article provides the granular detail on “How Competency Models Can Transform An Organization”.

http://www.slideshare.net/aharrell2000/2008-spbt-focus-competency-article

 

We also have conducted a podcast on “Do Successful Salespeople Make Good Sales Managers…take a listen!

Do Successful Salespeople Make Good Sales Managers 10/11 by The Sales Professional Network | Blog Talk Radio.

 

Andre’ Harrell

AH2 & Beyond Consulting

ONE MAN’S PASSION FOR SALES!

 

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ONE MAN’S PASSION FOR SALES!

 

 Let me just say I HAVE NO REGRETS and frankly I feel blessed that I made the right decision in my career path to be the most successful sales & marketing professional I can be. Now, notice I added “Marketing” along with that, I’ll explain that addition later. It’s a question however that I haven’t personally seen presented out there on the “Digital Platform Highway” and I thought I’d present it as a way for all of us to step back and ask ourselves “WHY”. In my humble opinion the question/word “WHY” is the most intelligent, innovative, and still unique nomenclature of our times….and it always will be. Not to digress any further but to say we should ALL pose the question to ourselves on “WHY” we’ve made the decisions we’ve made, and in this case “WHY” did you choose the “Sales Profession” to make your living? It’s okay if it takes you some time as I mentioned it took me a bit of a gander before I came up with some cogent/honest answers. More than a year ago I wrote a blog on why “I Love Sales” and I thought I would present some of those passages just to possibly get your juices flowing when you ask yourself that question (“Why did I choose the sales profession”?)….here goes:

 

“I Love Sales”

“I Love Sales”. How many times have you heard this from a salesperson? I’m sure you have with some sales people…but not with the majority. Why is this? Why does the statement “I’m a sales person” still give off this negative connotation? Are we not past the terrible door-to-door salesman pitch or the infamous “vacuum cleaner salesman” stereotype? Okay, enough with the questions I’m trying to illustrate upfront that we should be totally past this negative view that ALL sales people are nefarious and unscrupulous. Quite frankly we all sell every day in our lives, negotiating, persuading, and convincing are behaviors we all demonstrate on a day-to-day basis to get what we want in a given situation. Dale Carnegie and others have captured the essence of selling in this very same way and that is “selling is a part of our natural being” it’s a survival trait for each of us. If no one sold something we would not progress as a society…as a world, the sales transaction “advances us”, “improves our lives”, “challenges us”, and in many cases keeps us “ALIVE”. I love selling, I love the art of selling, and I love everything about selling…you probably think I’m trying to sell you on selling…I am. As long as those who do sell for a living have a “help” focus and truly try to achieve “Creating Customer Value” the art or industry of selling I believe will have a marked effect on the perception of selling among the masses. The next time you’re being sold to keep these thoughts in mind and if the sales person doesn’t have your best interests at hand send them over to me for “Basic Sales/Selling Skills Training”.

 

Again, I wrote the above passage some time ago (I hope I’ve gotten better with my writing skills…I’m still learning haha!!). I’ve shortened the above take dramatically however I still to this day feel the same way about “the sales business”. I truly feel like I make a difference every day in someone’s life…..and it’s not necessarily selling a product. As mentioned above EVERYONE sells in their life whether it’s a product or themselves the “sales process” is part of our universe/natural lives….it’s how we interact with each other on a regular basis.

In explaining “WHY” I added “Marketing” earlier in this post I believe we should never stop learning other crafts to bolster our core skill. While “Sales” is my core skill adding “Marketing”, “Sales Training”, “Sales Operations” strengthens the core skill so that your “Competencies” are better-rounded. I do believe Sales & Marketing go hand in hand and without each together both fail.

 

ONE MAN’S PASSION FOR SALES!

 

Andre’ Harrell  (AH2 & Beyond Consulting)
www.ah2andbeyond.com
 

 

PLEASE “Wolf of Wall Street”….was NOT a gifted salesman!!

 

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PLEASE “Wolf of Wallstreet”….was NOT a gifted salesman!!

 

If I have to hear one more time that the real “Wolf of Wallstreet” Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo Dicaprio ) was a “Master Salesperson”…..I’m going to choke someone out (just kidding….no I’m serious!). The movie is gathering a lot of appeal and up for many of these “Winter Season Long” awards that we’ve been inundated with the last few weeks. I’m looking forward to catching the movie soon and because I NEVER comment on anything that I’m not fully competent on this post will not be a critique of the movie, but regarding a recent interview I saw on Piers Morgan where his guest was the real-life “Wolf of Wallstreet”. It was a rather engaging interview where the guest was very forthcoming regarding their actions running a rogue financial company and all the ridiculous trappings that came with it. The one theme that came through in the interview over and over and over again was this knucklehead’s gift as a salesman….which as you can imagine I wanted to jump through the TV and stop the ridiculousness. This gentleman was not a gifted salesman….his was a gifted con artist who in the end got caught and is now trying to repair his life.

Folks, this is why the “Sales & Marketing” business while I believe has had a significant impact on our lives as human beings (we wouldn’t exist if a sale wasn’t made!), movies like this in some way sets the profession back a couple of steps to those who aren’t paying attention. You see for the average person who’s not in a particular sales position or see it as a conniving, manipulative, and unscrupulous profession will see this movie and say “See, this is why you really can’t trust the man/woman salesperson at the car dealer….they’re ALL con artists and crooks”!. Now, let me keep this real we do have IDIOTS in our profession that reinforce theses negative stereotypes…this is NOT the norm. For those of us who love the “Sales & Marketing” business we have to stand up and call “B.S.” when we see or hear this kind of nonsense portrayed about our profession. The “Wolf of Wallstreet” doesn’t depict the world of a “Sales Professional”….it depicts the world of a “Con Artist” who was conniving, manipulative, and unscrupulous!!
I find it hilarious that now the real-life “Wolf of Wallstreet” guy is now doing guest speaking engagements and is implementing “Selling Skills” training workshops…..ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME??!! (HAHA!!). What’s not so funny is he’s probably doing spectacularly well because of who he is and NOT the “Value” of his lectures or quasi sales training programs….I guess that’s just the life we’re in.

Lastly, and I’ll say personally as an African American male I have to deal with ridiculous stereotypes walking out the door of my house everyday so I understand and fully comprehend the reality of what many honest, hardworking, and Integrity filled sales professionals have to go through…..on a much larger scale. This is why the interview on Piers Morgan and this joker struck a chord with me which precipitated me to post this blog.

I look forward to seeing the movie and even possibly providing you my critique, however, I’m comfortable in saying before stepping into the theatre “THIS IS NOT THE PROTOTYPICAL SALES PROFESSIONAL”….it’s a movie of hyper ably to sell tickets!

 

VIVA “Sales & Marketing” Professionals!!

 

PLEASE “Wolf of Wallstreet”….was NOT a gifted salesman!!

 

Andre’ Harrell
AH2 & Beyond Consulting
www.ah2andbeyond.com

How Do I Increase My “Closing Ratio”?

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How Do I Increase My “Closing Ratio”?

 

It’s a question I’m sure each sales professional says to him/herself at some point in their career….especially if their sales numbers appear to be tanking. The question really is “Do you keep track of your sales closing ratio and how do you define closing ratio”? As sales professionals you certainly track your monthly/quarterly “sales” performance and if you don’t I’m sure your “Boss” will….however do you have the same rigor for tracking your closing ratio/percentage? Okay, enough with the questions (haha!!). My opinion is you should track your closing ratio in correspondence to your “Sales” because it will provide you if anything an honest look at your skill level of selling.

Let’s be real if you’re in the sales business your job is to “Sell” nothing more nothing less and it truly comes down to that infamous line in “Glengarry Glen Ross”….ABC (“Always Be Closing”). However, because I’m a “Fundamentalist” I subscribe to the thinking that the art of “Closing” comes down to a simple basic question “Have You Deserved the Right to Close? You see there are a lot of sales professionals out there that do “Close” with a high degree of frequency but that does NOT mean or equate to sales success. The thinking that “Quantity” matters when it comes to increasing your “Closing Percentage” in my humble opinion is faulty thinking because if you have not done your work/due diligence upfront prior to “Closing” for that business your closing percentage for hearing the objection “NO” is going to be high…. not the type of high percentage you want. Prior to the sales call and the “Body” of the sales call is so critical when it comes to determining “How You Increase Your Sales Closing Percentage” and that’s something that needs to be microscopically examined first before constructing such a metric.

 

How Do I Increase My “Closing Ratio”?

 

“How Do I Increase My “Closing Ratio” is what we talked about during this podcast, check it out by clicking on the link:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/aharrell2000/2012/10/16/how-do-i-increase-my-closing-percentage#.UHV8Z8IJeHg.twitter  

 

Thanks!

 

Andre’ Harrell (AH2 & Beyond Consulting)

www.ah2andbeyond.com      

BAD SALES TRAINING…is a good nights sleep for sales reps!

 

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BAD SALES TRAINING…is a good nights sleep for sales reps!

 

As a former individual sales contributor and sales VP I can honestly say I hated “Sales Training”. Please don’t get me wrong I certainly understand and can appreciate the importance of ensuring your sales people continue to sharpen and develop their sales craft….I just hated it because it was boring and un-inspiring.
Now having had the opportunity to build and lead a global sales training department/infrastructure I absolutely can appreciate the importance of sales training, but, most importantly ensuring that it’s educational, engaging, and INSPIRING!

I’ve place together some strategies/tactics you can consider when building your global sales training department. If you have any questions or if you’re interested in my services in helping you build a global training department my contact information is below and in the link (Thanks!!).

 

BAD SALES TRAINING…is a good nights sleep for sales reps!

 

Avoid Building A Boring Training Department! Building a global sales training department takes on many facets…. click on link to view my presentation on building a global sales training department:

http://www.slideshare.net/aharrell2000/building-a-global-sales-training-dept

 

Andre’ Harrell
AH2 & Beyond Consulting

www.ah2andbeyond.com
 267-221-8529

What I learned from “Rockie”……

beautiful rockie

 

She still to this day has impact on my life!

Rockie passed away last night March 14, 2013 8:30pm (EST) she was 14 years old……….please pardon me I have to walk away from the keyboard to blow my nose from crying.

It’s been 14 years past the expected time for most dogs to expire so we were blessed with Rockie’s presence unrealistically for a considerable time. However, it still hurts it hurts so much that my wife and I really thought Rockie was going to be around after we left this earth……a fantasy/dream that was broken up abruptly last night. As I left for work the morning of the 14th of March Rockie had a spring in her step as she ran up to me for a kiss, her sister Tuffy (who we still have and is our solace from last night’s events) often times competes with Rockie for my affection…..this is EVERY morning. Well, when I returned home from work yesterday something was different Rockie and Tuffy who typically rush to the door to greet me this time it was just Tuffy honoring my arrival. As I screamed almost to the top of my lungs for Rockie I noticed walking around the corner Rockie laying still on her floor pad in the living room. Rockie was awake sitting up staring at me no longer with this excitement but with this sense of malaise. As I walked over to her it appeared she hadn’t moved since the moment I left for work, and it was heartbreaking as she just looked up at me with this stare. I tried to pick her up so that she would be able to stand on her feet…….but she couldn’t, I tried to carry her outdoors to go to the bathroom….but she couldn’t. She just became limp as she stared at me as if to say “Andre I’m sorry I love you but it’s time for me to go”…….please pardon me I have to walk away from the keyboard to blow my nose from crying.
While this is a cliff note version of what really happened last night as I witnessed my 2nd best friend (after my wife) go away right before my eyes I didn’t want to give the granular play by play simply because I can’t without crying. However, I do want to go over what Rockie has taught me in the last 14 years and hopefully those of you who have experienced a loss like I have last night will know exactly how I feel right now and why sometimes the best lessons can come from your pets.

What I learned from Rockie

•Rockie was a very affectionate dog, I can personally improve in this area and she’s taught me it’s not difficult or time consuming to “Kiss” the ones you love when they’re alive…..and not when they’ve died.

•Rockie was a beautiful black retriever mixed with chow and she had the confidence and humility to not be worried how people viewed her……I’m a black man who has experienced such thinking and after my time with Rockie I’ve learned to not waste my time but enjoy the pigment God has blessed me with.

•Rockie was a “Servant Leader” she took great care of Tuffy (our 2nd dog) often times at the expense of her personal needs; I’ve now incorporated that attribute in my life by being a mentor and servant to the unfortunate. Before Rockie I was a selfish pig.

•Rockie never cared about the “spotlight” often yielding to Tuffy who can be a little princess sometimes (haha!). I’ve always been one who feels the need to compete for the “spotlight”….after learning from Rockie that sometimes those behind the scenes garner the most respect….I’ve changed that thinking.

•Rockie was an extremely focused dog often relentlessly looking for her ball as if it was her last meal, once she set her mind on something the objective was going to be met. I pride myself on getting things done, but, I’ve never had the focus as sharp as Rockie’s and it’s a development goal I continue to work on.

•Rockie went out on her own terms, no pain, no discomfort and her best friend by her side……me. I can only pray I have that good fortune when I leave this world.

•Rockie behaved like every day was the best day of her life……something we ALL can learn from.

“Rockie” was a real life “Marley and Me” and I’ll miss her devastatingly!

Thank you ROCKIE………!

“Sales Dinosaurs”…..need basic selling skills love too!

Old timer Salesman

 

“Sales Dinosaurs”…..need basic selling skills love too!

 

Back in the day we use to affectionately call those who’ve been in the sales profession for a considerable time “Dinosaurs” because of their “old-school” prehistoric ways of selling. Now don’t get me wrong these folks were some of your most successful sales people….they just never took to kindly to being trained GOOD BASIC SELLING SKILLS. I know this personally because I’ve tried to train them on basic selling skills (hahaha!!). In the sales profession often times basic selling skills are ignored or kicked to the side because of the rudimentary of their nature. Listening, Probing, Identifying Needs, Addressing Solutions are common basic selling attributes that are often overlooked because it’s just assumed that these traits are a given….but they’re never executed. Customers find sales people who just “Listen” most of the time they’re best sales people, and listening by far is the one area we ALL can improve on. I’m now one of those “Dinosaurs” and I can’t tell you how important it is to sometimes go back to learning how to ride that bike……..Basic Selling Skills Rule!!!

 

Checkout this past podcast from our network (The Sales Professional Network) where we had a great discussion on this very subject: http://bit.ly/v3iyHY

 

What are your thoughts on this subject?

 

“Sales Dinosaurs”…..need basic selling skills love too!

 

Thanks!!

 

Andre’ Harrell

AH2 & Beyond Consulting

ANIMAL HEALTHCARE…..”EXCELLENCE WITH CARE”!

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ANIMAL HEALTHCARE…..”EXCELLENCE WITH CARE”!

 

Having a background in Sales & Marketing in the Animal Healthcare industry I’m always curious and interested in the latest advancements in animal care. On my internet radio show “The Sales Professional Network” we were very fortunate to have an up and coming animal healthcare care company “Quadra-cure” conduct a “Wound Board” presentation featuring and launching one of their most successful products for wound care. “Quadra-cure” an innovative corporation that I feel is going to make a SPLASH in the animal healthcare market space and we were ecstatic to have them present their groundbreaking new product developments and “Key Opinion Leader” Dr. Nicole Andrews, DVM; Owner/Practitioner Moreland Animal Hospital.

It was not only a show that featured a new advancement in animal healthcare, it turned out to be an excellent educational program for anyone interested in the well being of our animals. Checkout the podcast show….it was phenomenal!!!

To check out the show in it’s full entirety click on the link below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/aharrell2000/2013/04/16/quadra-cure-wound-board-with-nicole-andrews-dvm

ANIMAL HEALTHCARE…..”EXCELLENCE WITH CARE”!

Andre’ Harrell (AH2 & Beyond Consulting)

www.ah2andbeyond.com

 

 

“Mentor-ship”…is the new “LEADERSHIP”

Giving back is such an invigorating feeling and the opportunity to help someone in need (especially our young children) is a priceless act! In keeping with the theme of the last few shows we’re going to focus on “Mentorship” and how that word is synonymous to “Leadership”. Giving back to the community is something we should all aspire to do, but, when it comes to cultivating, nurturing, and developing our most important asset…..children, we should be more attentive.

Join me as our usual show subjects take a slight turn….to focus on the young! “Mentor-ship”….is the new “LEADERSHIP”