Archive - December 2016

What Makes a True Leader?

follow-leaderBeing a leader is different then most of us think it is. Most leaders are actually managers in disguise.

Sarah was excited to be promoted to sales director. After all she has been in sales for almost 8 years and has always been at the top of the leader board. She knows she will really be able to help the other salespeople with their sales and they already look up to her since she had always been a top performer.

Colin comes to Sarah one day and asks her what to do about a customer who doesn’t seem to be making a decision though they really like their product. “I’ve tried everything” confesses Colin. I’ve offered free delivery, a 10% discount, I’m just stumped” Sarah asks, “can you get a meeting with the decision makers?” Colin says he thinks he can and Sarah says, “good, I’ll come with you and we’ll get it done!” Colin knows Sarah will and is eagerly dialing the phone while at the same time spending the commissions he is confident Sarah will help him win!!

Real Leadership is not managing. Telling someone what to do is absolutely not leadership. Neither is doing it for them. This reminds me of that old saying, “Take someone fishing, they’ll eat for a day. Teach them how to fish they eat for a lifetime” The idea of leadership is to get someone to self-realize what they can and should do make some decisions on their own. Once they feel good about what the answer is that they are looking for, they will continue to use that information and not have to “check in” with you before making that decision.

We often believe that to be a good leader you need to be outgoing and charismatic. That is often not the case. If you remember the old EF Hutton commercial. If you’re not familiar it is a room of people that are talking and talking but all of a sudden EF Hutton has something to say and everyone stops to listen. Often what happens is being a bit humble, a very good listener, it seems to really work well when it comes to leadership.

Here are some tips to create true leadership;


Stop being a parent to your salespeople. If you think about how we grew up, we asked questions to our parents as curious kids do, and as parents, they answer our questions immediately.   As parents they wanted us to know the answer. That’s fine but we are not parents to our salespeople. Our job is not only to get the answer to them but to get them to engage with us by thinking about the answer themselves. When they engage in the process with us, it becomes more their idea.


Help them feel empowered. Try this. The next time a salesperson says what should I do about … or how do I … try this, “if you couldn’t reach me right now and needed to make a decision, what decision would you make?” The key here is whatever they say, confirm and if its not right you can say and in addition to that you may want to say…”

You need to be a soft place to fall so if their answer is wrong using this process, you cant get upset with them making the wrong decision or they’ll never feel empowered again!


Let them be involved in setting goals. I am always astonished when sales managers/CEOs set goals for salespeople without any of their input. If you want to get them engaged and feeling that the goals are not just for what the company dictates, which by the way are most often never met, but this process should have the sales person involved in the process by not only looking at revenue goals but what are their goals? What kind of money do they want to make and why? What are the activities they will commit daily, weekly and monthly to achieve them? Give them the responsibility to come up with what they feel their goals should be and have them put the proactive behaviors behind it. Then review it together to see if its real. If it doesn’t meet your standards then push on them a bit. “oh I feel you are better then that. Don’t sell yourself short, lets relook at this..’


Look realistically at their motivation. Are they making more money then they ever have before? If so you often find that your salespeople are satisfied with the amount of money they are making but you aren’t. Meaning the commissions they are making may be great to them but they aren’t hitting the numbers you need them to hit. Motivation will come from them, not you so make sure that there is always a carrot and if the carrot stops working, you may need to change the ‘horse’.


You can’t motivate anyone to do anything. You can only give them an opportunity to motivate themselves. It may be easier to just do it yourself in the short term but remember if you do that now, you will always have to do that. Burnt out much?

Experiential Learning, my Top 6

PrintHow fast the years pass. I am always so shocked when it is holiday time…again!

My kids were just pulling on my leg and now I can barely reach their shoulder! I try to reflect a bit about my life personal and business and being a trainer I’m amazed that as much as the world of business has changed, some of the same mistakes are being made by business development professionals. I have 6 that I was writing down in examining content creation for training:


  • Searching for customers is different today. Networking is the true key to finding and keeping customers but most people do it wrong. Networking is not for direct prospecting, “hey do you guys use promotional products, here’s an example..” NO! Instead I say go to an event and look for Strategic Alliances, people that you can refer business back and forth to as opposed to hitting you prospects hard. We all know building business on referrals is the best way to do business so lets network for good alliances that you can refer business to and that is a good source for your referrals.


  • Tell the prospect it’s OK to break up….Rejection is a result of trying to sell someone your product or service as opposed to tell them you what you are calling about, let them know it seems that because of what they do you could potentially work together, but (pull back) you don’t want to assume that you are a g0od fit. What you’d like to do is ask a few questions to see if the two of you are a fit and if not, we decide it’s a NO then we only wasted a few minutes? Sound OK?

This allows you to give a NO as an option right upfront. Then you have asked for it as opposed to a prospect pushing you away and that is the rejection.



  • Be a reporter. An example of the best salespeople today are reporters. Reporters don’t have a specific agenda besides learning as much as they possibly can about a person, subject or situation. They do their research, ask great open-ended questions and always listen in between the lines. They are trying to dig out all of the information they can to recreate it in a great story. Sales people fall short because when they hear something they want to jump n what they heard and try to solve it with their solution. When you stop someone from telling you more about their situation to sell them, it is usually too early to do so and you loose the sale.


  • Research is important but not for the reasons you would think. Research should be used for credibility purposes but most importantly to create good, quality questions to engage your prospect in conversation and truly understand their needs. Additionally research the heck out of an organization or person before you call them. Refer to that information you learned to form a good question, not s ‘salesy’ one.


  • Cutting prices is almost always a result of one of 2 things. 1) The customer doesn’t truly trust you/your product or service so there is only price to use as a differentiator or 2) You haven’t truly understood the need for the product. I know need seems simple but it isn’t. What are they trying to say, what impression are they trying to leave, how do they want to be seen? What are they using it for? There are lots of questions to not only understand what a prospect needs but the true deep-down ‘whys’. Asking questions will let you also gain credibility and trust but not selling and truly asking and listening…


  • Listen and shut up!! Wow! If I could teach people that are in sales/business

development to ask questions and listen there would be a lot more success in business! Write this down; WAIT (Why Am I Talking)?

Telling isn’t selling…but it comes from a good place. We are excited about what we represent and want other to be excited too but excitement doesn’t sell, questions and true engagement does.

Long ago we were taught to ask a few questions and when you hear a “ buying signal” jump in and tell them you can help with that and how. NO!

When you ask a question, wait for the answer and whatever the answer is, especially if it may be something your product or service can help with, the best next question is, “tell me about that”, then SHUT-UP!!!




Greta Schulz is President of SchulzBusiness, a sales Consulting and Training firm. She is a best selling author of “To Sell IS Not To Sell” and works with fortune 1000 companies and entrepreneurs. For more information or free sales tips go to and sign up for ‘GretaNomics’, a weekly video tip series or email sales questions to

Does your sales team OWN their goals?



This is the time most of you are creating goals and objectives for nest year. It is the time you crunch numbers to decide your revenues for the upcoming year. Are you doing it right?


I had an in depth conversation yesterday with a sales VP of an aeronautical products company. We were discussing how good he was at gathering the sales data on how many customers they gained, the percentage that each customer spent as to the overall budget, what the top products ere and so on. He then explained to me how he created the budgets for the next year for each of the salespeople. He said he had been creating salespeople’s budget this same way for several years


I asked a few questions here and got that look that you get when you speak to your dog and he obviously doesn’t understand you. My questions were:


  • Have each of the salespeople made their budget numbers?
  • Why or why not?
  • How did you involve them in their sales budget decision?


I admire someone who has the ability to create spread sheets of probability when creating goals and budgets. The problem is there are actual people involved in making this happen and just because someone puts it on paper doesn’t make it so.


In a perfect world we can come up with a logical budget on paper based on statistics and data. Great. Then we have to actually get our salespeople responsible for making it happen, make it happen. There of course are several reasons why we often have a short fall here and this article isn’t long enough to list them all but one of the most important is to create ownership with each sales person and the goals you create.

We all know that when we are a part of a decision, when we have skin in the game when creating goals, we are much more likely to make them happen because they are ours.


This year whether you have come up with goals yet or not, lets get your salespeople to define what success is for them. What do they want and need to earn? Why? What will they have to sell and how much will they have to sell to reach that goal? What do they have to do, activity-wise to reach that number?


Having your salespeople each come up with their own “business plan” since it is really their business as well being that they have say in the economic outcome, will help create buy in and therefore ownership of their business.


Give them the basics of your data that you have for their territory. Give them everything but your budget numbers for them. Ask them to take a week or so, review all of the information and create a goal and a plan that they will follow for next year to reach the goal they have set. Have them present that to you and any other senior executives and tell them to be prepared for questions about their plan.


Typically you will find that they are harder on themselves they you would be and they often come up with a higher number for their goal they you will. If not, push them back on that and ask them why so low?


It is also important that their goals are attached to something that is meaningful to them so not to just put some pie in the shy number to impress you. If you would like a form to download to give to them that will help them figure out how much money they want and need to make here is a free one for you;


Give your salespeople all of the tools to be successful but don’t expect them to follow your goals without involving them by making them theirs as well.


Greta Schulz is President of SchulzBusiness, a sales Consulting and Training firm. She is a best selling author of a new book “To Sell IS Not To Sell” and works with fortune 1000 companies and entrepreneurs. For more information and free sales tips go to Follow her on Twitter @SchulzBusiness and sign up for ‘GretaNomics’, a weekly video tip series or email sales questions to


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