Sales and Sales Management Blog

January 30, 2007

Cynthia wants to know my “Required Reading” list

Filed under: prospecting,Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 1:39 pm

Cynthia from Columbus, Ohio writes:

Mr. McCord;

I have been in the mortgage industry for several years and am in the upper middle of my company’s originator rankings.  I do OK, but would really like to concentrate of becoming a top originator this year.  To that end, what books do you recommend I or any other sales rep read.  Do you have a recommended reading list?

A tough question only because Cynthia doesn’t give any direction in terms of what she believes her issues are.  So, without a guiding training objective, I’ll answer by giving several of what I believe are the basic books:

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.  A classic about desire, belief, goals and attaining the mental attitude required to become a top salesperson

Trust Based Selling by Charles Green.  Excellent on developing client relationships

Advanced Selling Strategies by Brain Tracy

How to Master the Art of Selling by Tom Hopkins

SPIN Selling by Neil Rackman

Cold Calling for Women by Wendy Weiss   If you cold call—not just for women

Never Cold Call Again by Frank Rumbauskas.  Alternatives to cold calling

Selling to Big Companies by Jill Konrath.  Even if you don’t sell to big companies

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.  Don’t be fooled by the title—it isn’t just for geeks who don’t have friends

Creating a Million Dollar a Year Sales Income: Sales Success through Client Referrals by Paul McCord.  Learn how the mega-producers prospect and generate their huge volume of referral business.

These 10 are enough to get anyone started.  Some of the titles you probably expected, some you probably didn’t.  I could list another 20.  But these cover the basics of mental attitude, prospecting, a sales process and developing a client relationship.

If anyone would like the next 20, just shoot me an e-mail at


January 24, 2007

New book review by AllBooks Review

Filed under: prospecting,Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 6:28 am

A new review of Creating a Million Dollar a Year Sales Income: Sales Success through Client Referrals has just been released by Shirley Roe of AllBooks Review:

“Paul McCord has excelled as a salesman, trainer and manager in the financial services industry. This experience has led to the publication of this book, a guide for referral sales. Paul has researched and developed a deep understanding for the psychology of the referral business.

Written like a lecture, the book takes the reader step by step from “Why Salespeople Fail” to “Networking for Referrals”. Easy to understand, yet comprehensive the guide is filled with tips and lessons for the new and the experienced sales person.

Most salespeople have a misguided view of the sales referral. It is not about the name and phone number that someone passed you on a napkin during your lunch-a name and number that will probably never come to fruition. It is about how to get a referral from your clients. How to make the client realize exactly what kind of referral you are looking for and how to use the referrals to your best advantage. Paul tells readers to make referrals a part of their business-on the business card, the phone message, the advertising. He guides the student through the process gently yet effectively bringing better understanding to the entire referral database.

The lessons in the book include a workbook that students can use to answer some common questions and help develop their own success with referrals. The book makes reference to and encourages that readers visit the, and More information and support material is available at all of these sites.

Salespeople from every industry will find this a useful and comprehensive sales referral guide. Chapter after chapter of excellent advice that dispels myth and rumor related to referral selling.

Reviewer: Shirley Roe, Allbooks Review recommends you pick up a copy today. You too can become a successful salesperson using referrals to build your business.

I’m proud to add another strong review to the lengthing list of reviews the book is receiving. If you haven’t bought and read the book yet, I encourage you to do so. It will change the way you relate to your clients, the way you do business, and most importantly, it will change you income dramatically.

January 20, 2007

Nay-sayers on Economy React to My Post on Raising Taxes

Filed under: prospecting,Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 7:50 am

I have received a number of negative emails since my post regarding the moves by Congress to set the stage for tax increases. It seems there are a few sales and business people who let their emotions hinder their view of the economy. A brief sampling:

Randy in New York writes: “Mr. McCord, I am a subscriber to your newsletter, have attended a couple of your tele-seminars and have bought your book, so this is coming from someone who likes and admires your training. But I can’t continue that support based on your last blog post. It seems to me that you are doing nothing but trying to scare people by claiming the Congress, by which you mean Democrates, intend to raise taxes and that will slow the economy, thus making sales more difficult. It looks to me that you’re just shilling for the Republicans. If the Democrates raise taxes they have been very clear it will only be on the wealthest who don’t pay their fair share anyway. I’m sorry you have chosen to get political. The economy is pretty stong despite George Bush. Your training and advice is great, your politics aren’t.”

Another, from Melissa who is a fund-raiser for a non-profit: “I and many others have worked very hard to change the course of our govnerment for the past several years. My organization along with hundreds of others have put our heart and soul into making our country and the world a better place. If the cost is a little slower economy (which I don’t think it will be, I don’t think that you or any of the greedies in business know what the heck you’re talking about when it comes to the economy) then so be it.”

And finally, Joe from Ohio, “Who the hell do you think you are? You really think you know more about the economy than the people in Congress? As a proud retired long-haul trucker and now supplimenting my income by doing some telephone sales, I can’t see a damn thing wrong with raising taxes on those *&**^%%# that have been sucking my and everyone’s else’s blood all these years. Cry for them if you want, but I’m looking forward to them getting taken down a notch or two.”

Well, I didn’t realize I had such a diverse group of readers. To be perfectly honest, I received far more emails that agreed that if there is a tax increase it will have a negative effect on the sales environment. But the above is a sampling of what some salespeople are thinking. Not only do I believe they are very, very wrong on the economy, they missed the whole point of the post that they should be preparing themselves to survive and even thrive in a slowing economy. And what if I’m wrong? If they have taken steps to improve their prospecting methods and the economy doesn’t decline, they simply make more money. Oh, well, if you have an opinion, good or bad about this, that or any other post or subject, I’d love to hear from you.

January 16, 2007

Professional Selling for the New Salesperson

Filed under: career development,sales training — Paul McCord @ 2:29 pm

I received the following email from Virginia in, of all places, Virginia:

Mr. McCord, I’m a recent college graduate and have just accepted my first professional position.  I will be selling employee benefit packages to small companies.  Quite honestly, I’m both excited and scared.  Athough my friends and have always told me I’d be great in sales, I’ve never had a sales job (if you don’t count working in a clothing store while in high school). 

I want to really make my mark and do it quickly.  I think your referral training is great, but a little advanced for me at this point.  I’m expected to be out selling pretty quickly but have NO idea what I’m doing.  How am I supposed sell something I don’t know? 

I’m excited, scared and confused.  I don’t expect you to solve my problem but what suggestions do you have?

Virginia is certainly not alone.  There are thousands of salespeople on the street everyday who are in her position.  Wondering how to hit the streets when they haven’t the slightest idea what they are really selling.  They tend to be pretty easy to spot becasue their greenhorn status sticks out like a sore thumb.  They demonstrate a serious lack of confidence, stumble through their presentation, have a blank look when asked a question they don’t know the answer to, and rush through their presentation, just hoping to get done and get out.

First, Virginia, keep in mind that most companies do a very good job of product training and a really lousy job of sales training (if they do any sales training at all).  I would suggest you rely on your company for your product knowledge and look elsewhere for your serious sales training (which is not to say to not to take advantage of whatever sales training your company offers).

Secondly, if you wait until you believe you are throughly prepared to get out on the street, you’ll fail in your career before you even start.  New salespeople want the confidence to hit the street fully prepared.  Consquently, they’ll try their best to avoid getting into the fray as long as they possibly can, thinking they’ll be better prepared the longer they study their product without having to get the scars of battle until “fully prepared.”  Becoming fully prepared can take months–years–depending on the product.  Can you afford to avoid battle for months or even years?  Even if you can, your company won’t let you.

Third.  Selling is something of a chicken and egg affair.  You need the confidence to get sales, but you need the sales to get confidence.  You need knowledge to get confidence, but you need exposure to questions to really know what knowledge you need.  You need toughness of mind to work through sales rejection, but you need rejection to get toughness of mind.  And so on.

What selling really comes down to is attitude.  You must develop a professional image, attitude and persona.  And, fortuantely, you don’t have to be experienced to develop these.  It is possible to quickly develop the confidence and attitude of a professional salesperson.  It is possible to learn how to professionally deal with tough questions you will be faced with as a new salesperson.  It is possible to hit the streets quickly and effectively while still learning the basics of your product or service.

I encourage you to register for a free tele-seminar to be given on January 30 just for new and relatively salespeople that will discuss all of the issues and give some solid, concrete help in addressing them.  Go to and register for the Foundations of a Successful Sales Career tele-seminar.  I’d also encourage any sales managers and executives, if you have new or relatively new salespeople in your organization, register them.  This seminar will help them set the stage for their first years in sales.

January 13, 2007

Are You Ready for Hard Selling Times?

Filed under: prospecting — Paul McCord @ 8:25 pm

A few weeks before the last election I had sent out an alert to my corporate clients and included that alert in my newsletter. The alert warned that the economy would be slowing down sometime in the coming months and those salespeople and sales teams needed to be preparing themselves for a more difficult sales climate. My reasoning was two fold: first, and short-term, there was a real chance that if the Democrats gained control of Congress they would increase taxes–either through a tax increase of by rolling back some of the tax breaks that had been passed by Bush–causing the economy to slow; or, secondly, long-term, by the natural course of the economy slowing down over a period of time and in reaction to both national and international conditions.

This alert resulted in a number of people electing to unsubscribe to the newsletter and I received a dressing-down from several people who accused me of trying to campaign for the Republicans. In addition, I received a couple of emails from some apparently relatively young MBA’s letting me know that I, like many from my generation, didn’t understand the new economy and that the old rules didn’t apply any longer. There was no reason, according to them, for the economy to ever slow again.

Being hardheaded–and simply observing the world and employing a little common sense, I believe it is again time to speak that alert. Congress has made some arrangements that will allow them to increase taxes if they so desire (over the Republican’s objections) and there is no reason to believe these moves do not indicate future intent. Although I am not an economist and make no such claims, a simple review of history demonstrates our current strong economy is a direct result of the Bush tax cuts. Just as happened in the Kennedy and Reagan administrations, tax cuts resulted in a hot economy. Putting dampers on that economy by increasing taxes and decreasing capital will have the opposite effect.

Now, the subject of this isn’t really economics, but preparation for a slower selling environment. Over the coming months–who knows if we’re talking 6 months, a year, two years?–salespeople are going to find it more and more difficult to find good, qualified prospects who want to buy. If you prospect via cold calling, direct mail, advertising, or any of the other mass marketing methods, you’re either going to end up out of business or have to dedicate considerably more dollars to your marketing campaign.

Nevertheless, fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. There are solutions that can help prepare you for a slowdown and actually increase your income in a slower economy. By learning how the true million dollars a year sales superstars generate their huge volume of referral business, you can learn to find a large number of highly qualified prospects from your current client database, just like the mega-producers. Now, while you have time to prepare yourself for the future, is the time to purchase, read and then implement the tools, techniques and strategies in Creating a Million Dollar a Year Sales Income: Sales Success through Client Referrals. The only effective, cost efficient and proven method of overcoming a sales slowdown is the way the top salespeople do it–by getting lots of quality referrals.

Why do these top producers get so many great referrals? It isn’t because they are lucky. Moreover, it isn’t because they just happen to have clients who know other people or companies that happen to need the producer’s products or services. It is because they don’t do business like you do. Their business, their techniques and strategies and their relationship with their client is totally different from yours. And basically, what it comes down to is–their techniques and strategies work and yours don’t. Take the time and the effort to invest in your career–your future. Now is the time because next year, if you don’t do it now, you may not be in business.

January 10, 2007

Is Desire Enough?

Filed under: prospecting — Paul McCord @ 8:32 am

I received an email from Carol in Chicago who is wondering if her desire to succeed is enough. She is a financial planner for one of the major wire houses and has been in the business for three years. She has a real desire to succeed, loves what she is doing, studies everything she can get her hands on, but isn’t getting the business or income she expected and wants.

Her clients tend to be very small in terms of investment dollars and generally looking for the cheapest way to get things done. To date, she has not been successful in getting many referrals, doesn’t find cold calling to be effective, and hasn’t done well with networking through organizations either.

She is discouraged and is wondering if she shouldn’t throw in the towel.

Unfortunately, desire isn’t enough. In the first chapter of Creating a Million Dollar a Year Sales Income: Sales Success through Client Referrals, I discuss why salespeople fail. There are four primary reasons salespeople fail–lack of desire, which she indicates isn’t an issue; lack of commitment–could be but it sounds like she has been committed to making it work; lack of a good, well developed sales and prospecting process–sounds close; and a lack of training–again, could be in her case.

Without a burning desire to succeed, you will not have the commitment to take the “punishment” selling will hit you with. Selling is a demanding, rough business. A prospect’s favorite word is “no.” Prospects have learned that “no” will get rid of most salespeople pretty quickly. Consequently, desire and commitment go hand-in-hand. One without the other is useless because you simply won’t be able to take the beatings that selling will dish out.

But those aren’t enough in and of themselves. You must supplement them with a good, strong, workable sales and prospecting process. That process must fit your personality, your product or service, and your goals. In Carol’s case it sounds like she is missing this crucial aspect. Developing a sound process does take time, but that can be expedited by sound training and mentoring. Carol has indicated she reads everything she can get her hands on–but she doesn’t say anything about the practical application and practice of those things.

In order to develop a process, you must pick and choose those tools, techniques and strategies you learn that fit within your particular process and then put them into action. Typically, it will take some time and practice to really begin to see results of any new skill or technique you learn. And it sounds like Carol’s issue may stem from not taking the time to hone her skills.

In addition, reading isn’t enough. Most companies do a pretty good job of product training and a lousy job of sales training. In order to learn how to sell, you generally must take the responsibility on yourself. She is certainly doing that by reading everything she can, but reading is only part of training. Interaction and learning from top sales trainers through CD’s, DVD’s, on-line tele-seminars and in-person seminars must also be incorporated. A book is great thing and can teach us a tremendous amount. But the spoken word in many cases can have more impact. We all learn in different ways, but most of us learn in several ways, not just one.

In Carol’s case she probably needs to do several things: first, she needs to determine what her selling style is and then concentrate on developing the skills necessary for that style; secondly, she needs to expand her learning from one method–books, to incorporate several methods; and third, she needs to concentrate on the practical application of what she learns.

In addition, she needs to examine her prospecting methods. Why is she attracting only small clients? Is there something in her process that is directing her to that type client? There could be a number of reasons–where she is prospecting, how she is prospecting, maybe those are the clients she naturally clicks with, maybe she unconsciously is fearful of larger clients, or a number of other things. She must examine what she is doing to determine the reason and then must make a decision as what to do about it. The one thing she can know for sure is if she keeps doing what she is doing, she’ll have the same results.

She needs to do some serious examination of herself and her process. Very possibly she needs to get a coach or mentor to help her work through these items. But she cannot afford to stay where she is. Where are you? Are you, like Carol, stuck where you don’t want to be? Examine your process, your commitment, your desire and how you are gaining your training and begin to make the necessary changes now. Now is the time to make 2007 a break-out year. But if you continue to do what you’re doing, your results will be the same this year as last.

January 7, 2007

Finding Time to Service Clients

Filed under: prospecting — Paul McCord @ 8:26 am

One of the most difficult tasks most salespeople have is finding time to prospect and service their clients. For many salespeople, their pipeline is a roller-coaster. They have a decent month of sales and then spend all of their time servicing those clients. What follows is a month or two of starvation while they reload their pipeline, resulting in a month of decent sales–followed by, of course, a month of servicing clients, followed by a month or two of starvation.

How do you break this cycle? There are only two ways: 1) find a method of generating clients that doesn’t require you to spend 60-80% of your time prospecting, or 2) get organized.

The first method is certainly the preferred. That is the subject of my bestselling book Creating a Million Dollar a Year Sales Income: Sales Success through Client Referrals. It teaches the tools, techniques and strategies the true million dollars a year sales mega-producers use to generate their huge volume of referrals. It works for any salesperson in any industry and will not only increase your sales 200, 300, 400% or more in just months, it will reduce your prospecting time to only 20-30% of your time.

But if you aren’t generating a ton of high quality referrals, then you must find a way to spend a great deal of time prospecting AND taking care of your clients. That means you gotta get really organized if you want to avoid the roller-coaster effect.

I’ve found one of the most effective methods of getting organized is to structure the week so that you have very specific tasks to do at certain times of the day and you stick to them. For example, let’s assume that your best prospecting hours are from 10 am to 4 pm, but Friday is a lousy prospecting day after 1 pm. Then you structure your time so that Monday through Thrusday you are prospecting from 10 until 4, period. You do nothing else during those times. That leaves Friday. You prospect on Friday from 10 until 1. Monday through Friday you get to the office at say, 7:30 and work on service work until 10. On Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, you work on service work from 4 until 6. On Tuesday you work on marketing from 4 until 6 and then again on Friday from 1 till 5. You do not deviate from this schedule without extremely good reason. At the end of the week you’ve spent 27 hours of the week prospecting; 23 1/2 hours servicing clients; and 6 hours a week marketing (sending out marketing emails, writing and sending out letters, working on fliers, etc.). What if you don’t need to spend 23 hours servicing clients? Then take those extra hours and shift them to prospecting, even those aren’t “prime” prospecting hours, don’t waste them–do something to make money. Same if you don’t need 6 hours of marketing time. The key is to use all of the “prime” prospecting time for prospecting and then work servicing and marketing around that time. Don’t allow yourself to lose the best prospecting hours because of some service work. Service work can usually be done almost anytime. And what if you have a service phone call that must be made during prospecting hours? Take advantage of the time you must spend in the car going from appointment to appointment. Turn travel time into service time.

As a salesperson you really only have one thing to sell–your time. You must decide what you are worth and then structure your time to generate those dollars. Evaluate everything you do in those terms during business hours. Is it making you money? If not, why are you doing it? That doesn’t mean you might not have a non-productive acitivity on occasion that you engage in. You certainly may. Mentoring another salesperson isn’t money-making per se. But it is productive in other senses. However, if you send all of your time mentoring, you’ve lost sight of what you are supposed to be doing. You have two activities that make you money–finding customers and making sure they are satisified by meeting their wants and needs. Do your activities achieve one of those ends? If not, is it something you should be doing?

Structure your week and then evaluate based on the two above tasks and you’ll find much more time to smooth out the roller-coaster. Better yet, learn how to generate a large number of high quality referrals and you’ll be spending far more time making sure far more clients are happy–and taking home a far bigger paycheck.

January 3, 2007

Announcing New Free Tele-seminars for Jan and Feb

Filed under: prospecting,Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 6:09 pm

Our free tele-seminar schedule for the months of Jan and Feb have just been announced:

January 11: Understanding Referral Selling
One and a half hour tele-seminar
Offered at two times: Session 1: Noon central time; Session 2: 7:30 pm central
Learn the basics of how the mega-producers generate their huge volume of referral business. Seminar will discuss why the traditional training on referral selling doesn’t work; how to create a relationship with the client that results in large numbers of highly qualified referrals; how to insure the client is satisified and the best way to contact a referred prospect.

January 30: Fundamentals of a Successful Sales Career
One hour tele-seminar
4:00 pm central
For new and relatively new salespeople from any industry. Don’t let being new stand in your way of being successful. Learn how to present yourself as a professional from the beginning. How to develop an attitude and the confidence of a professional; how to handle questions when you don’t know the answer; how to present yourself to the client to eliminate questions of age, experience and length of time in the business. Managers–the perfect course for your new salespeople

February 15: Planning Your Success
One hour tele-seminar
2:00 pm central
Learn the basics of creating and implementing a real, workable, career changing personal marketing plan. How to analyze past history; project future sales and income; research marketing channels and methods; evaluate progress

February 27: Understanding Referral Generation
11:00 am central
Learn the basics of how the mega-producers generate their huge volume of referral business. Seminar will discuss why the traditional training on referral selling doesn’t work; how to create a relationship with the client that results in large numbers of highly qualified referrals; how to insure the client is satisified and the best way to contact a referred prospect.

You must pre-register at

Each class has limited seating so early registration is encouraged.

January 2, 2007

Would You be Willing to Help?

Filed under: prospecting,Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 7:45 am

I need help on my newest book. The book’s working title is Planning Your Success: The Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Personal Marketing Plan.

I am currently about 1/3 through the first draft (about 28,000 words). The book is a highly detailed discussion of how to create a real, workable, career changing personal marketing plan. Although there are tons of books on the market that discuss how to create a company marketing plan, there are few that are directed toward individual salespeople and professionals.

The book offers not only a detailed discussion of how to create a real marketing plan; it takes a fictional salesperson and goes through the actual process in detail. It analyzes her past production and prospecting numbers, examines her potential marketing channels and marketing methods, it examines her strengths and weaknesses, sets out detailed sales, prospecting and income projections based on her personal time and resource commitments and actual historical selling ratios, creates each of her intended marketing materials with scheduled actions, and much more. It is simply the most detailed analysis of how to create a life-changing plan there is.

Now, I need help. I’m looking for several salespeople, managers and/or professionals to read the draft and give me honest feedback. If you agree to reading, you may get some great planning ideas for yourself and I’ll give you a free copy upon publication late this year.

The only issue is I need the feedback by Jan 15. If you would be interested in reading and supplying me with your opinions—good, bad or indifferent—I’ll e-mail you a Word copy of the first draft. Simply contact me at and let me know of your interest.

Blog at

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