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From The Top Down 'Where's The Beef?'

(Posted on Jan 30, 2014 at 04:40AM by William Cosgrove)
While I am travelling I thought that I would repost some of my old blogs that cover subjects that I have not touched on recently but ones that I feel strongly about.

There have been a lot of postings and discussions over how best to improve a Sales Organizations performance. I personally have written many of them.

One thing that they all have in common is the need to have the right people in the right positions and the need for Leadership.

It all starts with Leadership because a true leader will posses all the qualities needed to do the things necessary to make a business successful. Because a true leader is always striving to hit that next level of success and surrounds himself with other leaders who have the same goals.

True leaders are the people who can leave the emotion out of the equation. All emotion stems from insecurity and has no place in running a business or in life in general for that matter. Insecurity gets in the way of truly clear thinking and objectiveness which are the benchmarks of a true Leader.

And this is where we hit the first wall to climb because in my relatively short tenure working for others I have not met many totally secure people who fit the true definition of a leader.

You can have all the systems in place that are designed for success but if you don’t have true leaders it won’t matter how well the system is designed it will not function properly.

One big reason that Businesses today lack the leadership needed to build a truly successful business is the lack of compensation. This for some reason lately has become a dirty word in some circles.

All this touchy feely talk about remembering someone’s birthday, giving extra time and pats on the back in lieu of compensation is just placating the powers that be. Anyone who talks like this is either doing it so as not to upset clients or have never been in the trenches in commission sales trying to make a living-or both.

All this is good stuff but if it isn’t backed up with proper pay for performance you will never attracted the true Leaders that can get the job done.

And other members of these circles are comprised Darryl, Darryl and Darryl (For those of you who remember) who are quarterly driven publicly owned companies that will do anything for a buck for Top Line and Bottom line growth. Doing more with less for the Bottom line and ethically questionable things to grow the Top Line. We have all seen it.

Unfortunately a lot of private companies have adopted the same kind of practices to their own peril which brings me to to “WHERE’S THE BEEF”

You can have all the proven systems in place that you want if you don’t pay for performance the true Leaders will find another home in the same or different Industry. Because the real talent in sales can perform anywhere.

For example, If you think about it and have studied or have been in the automotive industry long enough the forerunner of the 4 square, the track system, came along in the late seventies, early eighties.

This system owners thought the track system would give them the ability to hire any sales clerk off the street at lower compensation and get the same results as the real talent.

This didn’t last very long and I know because I was one of the salespeople who left when they lowered commissions. In retrospect, in the early eighties, I was making much more money as a Manager “then” than is being offered today. Add the rise in cost of living and you must question the motives.

Before I went back on my own in 2010 I was making more as a salesperson at one of the few companies that believe in "pay for performance"  than most managers elsewhere without all the responsibility.

The Commission Sales Industry is a unique Industry in the fact that commissioned sales is one rung below being self-employed. There are a very limited number of truly talented professionals in management or sales who can make it happen consistently.

Give me a group of talented professionals with a pay plan that is going to draw them and I will take any system out there and make it seem like the best thing since sliced bread.

I recently wrote an article where I talked about compensation and even offered anyone interested in a "pay for performance" pay plan to e-mail me and I would gladly sent it to them.

I even gave an example of a Dealership who had this pay plan who consistently had the highest front and back end grosses in their region and district and were growing sales.

I received “0” requests.

You can argue all you want about systems and teamwork but in the end if you  don’t get off that diet your on and put the “BEEF” on the menu to attract the real talent you are doomed to high turnover and mediocrity.

William Cosgrove

Is Bigger Really Better?

(Posted on Jan 19, 2014 at 04:44AM by William Cosgrove)
I write this article because I want to discuss the notion that bigger is better and bring up the idea that smaller can be beautiful and more often than not can produce much more effective results. I will be out of the country on a working vacation and wanted to leave you with thoughts on a subject I feel very strongly about.
I am also sharing these thoughts in hopes that it might encourage decision makers to remember what most likely made them successful and open their minds again and take a look at the same types of people they once were and may have forgotten.
I talk to and meet so many incredibly talented innovative people who have the knowledge, talent and drive to do the best job because they are motivated more by the doing than the bottom line.
 I know from my years of experience that one size fits all cookie cutter solutions are not the best answer. I do know that anyone who has had the acumen to make it happen by doing it themselves are the most creative and motivated resource you will find. Along with the creative, customer service from a smaller more nimble company is second to none and the ability to customize solutions to each individual’s needs by being able to take the time necessary to understand and address those needs.
People who are self-challenged and who are simply driven to think out of the box to come up with creative solutions are the people who are going to make a difference. These are the people who really care about you because they know what it is like to run a business and not just sell a product or service.
For almost 40 years I have subscribed to “small is beautiful” because it is the only way you can retain control- meaning being able to stay true to yourself, be able to focus on being creative and maintain the flexibility to serve your clients in the best ways possible.
Is bigger really better? Think about it, share your thoughts or at the least remember what probably got to where you are today.

William Cosgrove

Why Entrepreneurs Are Animals—And How That Can Help You Get Ahead

(Posted on Jul 13, 2013 at 06:09AM by William Cosgrove)
I always equated making a sale with the basic instinctive urge to make that kill. I as I am sure many others have experienced all these emotions and perhaps without knowing why.

Ever regretted a business decision you made in the heat of the moment?

Most of us have. And most of us have felt the urge to yelp with excitement when we win a big success, too.

That’s your inner animal at work. Literally at work; you don’t leave it behind when you’re taking care of business!

You might like to think you’re a cool, clear-headed entrepreneur making rational decisions, but what’s really going on underneath is a bit… messier. Whether you know it or not, you’re acting and reacting just like an animal.

Here’s why:

Why Entrepreneurs Are Animals

Your business decisions are strongly influenced by your hormonal state. Yep, even if you’re a man. In fact, the effect is typically stronger in men, because a lot of it is testosterone-based.

John Coates, a Wall Street trader turned neuroscientist, found that fluctuating testosterone and cortisol levels have a massive influence on the decisions we make. He’s seen the effects first-hand on the trading floor, and his research shows that we’re no different than other animals in our hormonal behavior.

Testosterone is released into your bloodstream during a victory, a risk or a competition. It’s like a chemical battle cry that echoes through your blood, your brain and your body.

In times of stress and uncertainty, your body produces cortisol, which has the opposite effect. It’s calming in small amounts, but too much leaves you feeling exhausted, anxious and depressed.

What does this all mean for your professional life? Well, if everyone’s decisions are influenced by their hormonal state, you can use that knowledge to further your ambitions.

Understand Your Inner Animal to Get Ahead

Coates calls it the “winner effect”: the excitement of competition and success prompts your body to produce testosterone. That influences your brain to make riskier decisions, and for a while you keep winning bigger and bigger, smashing through targets like a charging rhino.

In the end, of course, overconfidence turns one of those optimistic gambles into a failure. You kick yourself (how did you fail to see it coming?) as cortisol floods into your bloodstream, making you anxious and miserable.

You try to protect yourself by avoiding further risk, which means you miss out on worthwhile opportunities until your hormones level out and you regain your confidence. If this had a name, I guess it would be the “loser effect.” But don’t worry; you can turn it around!

Once you know how your hormones affect your judgement, you can consciously correct for these effects and keep your business decisions on a more even keel:

  • When you’re feeling cortisol-stuffed and risk-averse, remind yourself to look rationally at any trade-offs you’re considering. If the benefit is high and the risk is small, maybe you should give it a chance!
  • Remember that asking for help when you need it is a sign of professional strength, not weakness. Don’t let a cortisol downer isolate you from your support network.
  • Understand that a little bit of testosterone and risk does you good, making you more productive and successful at work—as long as you’re not overdoing it.
  • When you’re feeling on top of the world with a testosterone high, remember that it’s a long way down! Rein in your risk-taking urges a little and consult with colleagues or friends to find out if they think your plans are genius or just plain nuts.
  • Notice when your hormones are being manipulated to influence your decisions. Brands likeThe Sales Lion and Shark Tank, for example, aren’t named after large predatory animals by sheer chance; they’re designed to appeal to the testosterone in an ambitious entrepreneur like you!

Learn to Tame the Animal in Others

You aren’t the only one who gets hormonal, you know. It’s every single one of us.

We get angry, tearful, euphoric or nervous because our hormones overrule rational thought. Every business meeting or transaction is influenced by these biological factors, so let’s learn to work with that.

If you know a contact or colleague has just suffered a setback in their business or personal life, remember that cortisol will make them less interested in opportunities that carry any kind of risk. You might want to offer brief, friendly condolences and wait a while before bringing them your latest proposal. Or perhaps you can frame your idea as a risk reduction. “Let me take responsibility for X and you’ll never have to worry that it’s been overlooked again” could work pretty well at a time like this.

The flip side of this is to press your advantage when you know someone’s on a testosterone roll. They’ll be feeling exuberant and generous in victory, so make the most of it. In other words, ask for a raise or promotion the day your boss wins an award, and you’re more likely to get your wish!

Whatever your ambition, understanding our animal biochemistry will help you to achieve it. Armed with this knowledge, you can survive even the worst moments of your career with dignity and take full advantage of the best.

You’re an animal. Recognizing that gives you power. Use it wisely, and you’ll be unstoppable!

Sophie Lizard is a freelance blogger and copywriter on a mission to help entrepreneurs boost their income and professional reputation by blogging for hire. Download her free Ultimate List of Better-Paid Blogging Gigs to get started with 45 blogs that pay $50 or more!

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