Measured Risk

Risk takers lose jobs
Disciplined professionals survive.
Though some risks are successful
This is not the case in the long run.

The Master Seller doesn’t exert
Yet expertly they overcome.
They hold their tongue
By listening the deal is won.
They are unhurried
Yet excel in planning.
They believe in the sales process
and honor it.


National Sales Conference “It’s About Performance: The Art of Sales” Denver, CO -June 6

Conference sponsored by the Sales Association

Next week I’ll be attending the the National Sales Conference hosted by the Sales Association. I attended one of these events in Chicagoland last fall and was extremely impressed by the speakers and topics. I was able to share with peers,  who like myself,  struggle with sales and sales management. I was also able to pick up a number of new skills and strategies that I  applied  immediately.

According to the website , here are some things you’ll learn during this conference:

  • How to align your team for lights-out, peak performance
  • The big difference between making sales and making profitable sales
  • How to sell value and create long-term customer engagements
  • The difference between what you think the customer’s needs are and what they really are
  • The four metrics that determine your sales success
  • How to uncover possible cracks in client relationships
  • 3 steps to building a social selling culture

This is probably short notice, but if you can set aside a day , you’ll not be disappointed.  Again the link is

Please leave a comment if you’ll be attending.

No Two Buyers Alike

Some want quick answers
Others copious details 
Some a relationship 
Others the bottom line
Some see purchasing a necessary evil
Others a social event.

The Master Seller discovers the prospects buying style 
And tunes their presentation accordingly.
Meeting the buyer where they are at
The sales process is crafted as needed.

Following Opportunities

I was talking to two car dealers this week and wanted to buy a car from one I had previously done business. I was sending both of them emails to get the best price, yet this dealer never responded. A different dealer was constantly following up, giving me information I requested, asking me to visit for a test drive. I appreciated their efforts. So much so I visited last night and they sold me a car.

“The window of opportunity
maybe wide,
It maybe narrow.
The Master Seller makes no assumptions
And follows up quick.”

This was from the post Follow Up.

Lead From Behind

Clipping of Lau-Tzu Quotes

This week I came across one of my first exposures to the Tao, a clipping from the Wall Street Journal. At the time I was a lead software engineer for cellular networking features at Lucent Technologies. My team consisted of a half-dozen engineers of multiple age, experience, and ethnicities. It was a new challenge, and a challenge it was.

The clipping had a quote from Lao Tze that said “to lead the people, walk behind them,” and “when the best leader’s work is done, the people say, ‘We did it ourselves'”. Previous to this project I commonly micro managed and ordered the team to do this and that, in a manner I thought managers should act. From that behavior came strife, troubles and fear. I wanted to do something different on this new project and I embraced this notion of “walking behind.”

One of the team members, Serge, came up to me 6 months wondered why I was not “on his case” everyday and why he let some team member struggle and not just order them to do it my way. I showed him the clip and he smiled. From then on he understood this management approach. All of the code written on that project looked like I had personally coded it. It had my style and beliefs in both comments and design. But each member thought they had “did it”. They took great pride and responsibility for their part. In the end the project was a success and deployed to a large Toll Switch (long distance) in London England called Mondial. It was on this project I was awarded two Patents.

Lao Tze’s teachings about management can be well applied to the management of sales accounts. A Master Seller leads from behind, delving deep into the needs of the prospect, discovering their pain, crafting a solution that might work, coaching the prospect into being a buyer, and soon customer. This leading from behind is true leadership. And when done skillfully, the buyer hardly notices it.

Tao Te Ching Daily Blog

Ocean crashing on RocksA few months back a  blogger named  Amy Putkonen reached out regarding my blog the Tao Te Ching of Sales. She had once written a post on the intersection of  marketing and Taoism and believes the two are a terrific match. She was excited to see a new blog solely dedicated to sales,  marketing and the Tao. She kindly asked me to guest post on her blog and today it was published here: Tao Te Ching Daily Guest Post.  I wrote about discipline in sales.

She kindly writes “the concepts of selling can be applied in all areas of life and business and are good for everyone to know.”   I truly appreciate her kindness and urge you to visit her blog the Tao Te Ching Daily. She has been creating a version of the Tao Te Ching and discussing it at great length with a wonderful set of readers. I  find her very perceptive and skilled at making the unclear, clear.

Again you can visit Amy’s blog  the Tao Te Ching Daily or you can follow her @amyputkonen on Twitter.


Lost Deals As Tutors

Sales is a process of becoming.
Like budding trees in spring
They are constant in flux.
Shaped by deals both won and lost. 

While others elect to stay the same
The Master Seller knows this is folly,
A kind of death.
They learn from past mistakes 
See lost deals as tutors
For new deals yet to come.

Trusting in the process,
They are authentic with prospects 
Who see the seller as honest;
A vendor here to help.  

Updated eBook

Much has happened since the first of January. It was on that date I released the first copy of the eBook “Tao Te Ching of Sales”. We’ve blogged and discussed quite a bit since that time. I believe it’s time to release a second draft of the text.

Click to download the eBook


It’s currently 79 pages and I’m looking for readers who might be willing to review and provide comments. I’ve updated the cover and
considering the idea of rearranging the pages into a set of sections (they are currently arranged by the order they were first published). I might add a preface that clearly explains how I’m interconnecting the Tao with Sales. Some of the feedback I’ve received requests clarification on some ideas. Much like the Tao, this blog at times can cause the reader to scratch their head. Sometimes the nuisance is too much. Much can be done to make this book clearer and better reflect the essence of the Tao Te Ching of Sales. Any help would be appreciated.

I have a double-sided printer if you would like a hard copy. Enter your request in the comment below and I’ll respond with an email to get your address offline. Enjoy.

Client Meal

Mindful of  your dress
Choose your dinnerware carefully.

When making your pitch 
Spoon feed the details slowly.

Table any issues 
You can’t address to completion.

Cut your pitch 
Into bite size amounts. 

Be careful not to have the horse
Follow the ala carte.

And when  you come to a fork in the conversation, 
Pick it up
Lest the listener gets bored.

Overcoming The Gatekeeper

Water is soft to touch
Yet can overcome the hardest of granite
An authentic desire to help
Can overcome the hardest Gatekeeper.

I was in the area.
Thought I would stop by.
Here is some information, you may find of value.
Would you like to learn more?

Not pushing, not bullying,
not rushing the moment.
A genuine desire to help and befriend
Opens doors to opportunities.

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