Sales and Sales Management Blog

January 2, 2013

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Filed under: sales,sales training,selling,success,team development — Paul McCord @ 11:53 am
Tags: , ,

Virtually every business day I receive at least one, and often as many as four, unsolicited requests to post blog articles on my blog from sales trainers I do not know and most often have never heard of before receiving their email.  What I have learned from these requests is both disappointing and disturbing.

It is more than reasonable to assume that sales trainers not only know how to generate sales but that they also practice what they preach.

Based on the requests I receive to help sales trainers expand their reach and influence more people by posting their articles on my blog the concept of practicing what one preaches is foreign to a good segment of the sales training community.

One of the fundamentals of sales is to concentrate on your prospect rather than on yourself.  As sellers we have to have a message that appeals to our prospect, that is, it meets a need the prospect has or it fulfills a desire or want.  At the least we need to put our offer in a format that answers the most basic prospect question of “what’s in it for me?”

It would be absurd to approach a prospect with a proposal that totally focused on our needs and totally ignores the prospect.

But that is exactly how sales trainers who should know better approach requesting help from someone they do not know and who does not know them.

Why is this issue one that should concern you?

I think it is a reflection of the state of the sales training industry.  Let me point out a few of the more glaring issues with sales trainers—and very possibly the training they provide—the above reveals:

  1.  They don’t recognize a sales situation when they are in one.  How a trainer approaches me tells me a great deal about them.  I don’t need nor do I expect a trainer to do anything for me in order for me to post their article—if it is good I’ll post it.  But the trainer who is requesting my help can’t make that assumption.  When they approach me or anyone else to solicit our help they must recognize that they are in a selling situation and therefore must act accordingly.
  2. They don’t practice the fundamentals of selling.  As noted above, one of the fundamentals of selling is to focus on the prospect, not on oneself.  But in most cases the solicitation email I receive is totally focused on what I can do for them without so much as a thank you for your time.
  3. They can’t effectively teach what they don’t practice.  In many respects selling is similar to sports—consistent, effective practice is the foundation for success.  Although we might be able to mouth the right words, if we aren’t actively practicing what we preach we really can’t be effective teachers.  Like sellers, sales trainers need to be immersed in sales and that means actively practicing selling.  Sales training is more than simply saying the right things, it is demonstrating through practice what works; it is turning words into actions.  If one cannot turn words into actions in their own life how can they expect to effectively help others do what they can’t?

I attach a great deal of importance to how a sales trainer solicits me to post an article they’ve written as I believe it tells me a great deal about them as a seller and thus as a sales trainer.  If they aren’t demonstrating the fundamentals of selling I ignore their request.  The fact that so many fail that simple test isn’t surprising but it is very disappointing and disconcerting.

Whether you’re a seller seeking a sales training coach or a sales leader looking to hire someone to do training for your team, find out how they sell, it will tell you a great deal about what to expect from them—and don’t be surprised if their real message is “do as I say, not as I do.”



  1. This one brought a smile to my face, Paul. I, too, receive unsolicited requests to post articles and other material on my site, and the way I’m approached is all too often how you’ve described it: it’s all about the person doing the requesting, what he wants from me, not the slightest interest in me. However…perhaps because I’m retired and have the time that someone working a business does not have, I often respond to these people, offer my constructive criticism, offer to try to help them learn a better methodology. In a number of cases, this has led to establishing a great relationship, which benefitted both of us. One young sales manager wound up ordering my book for his entire team, is trying to promote it throughout his company. It’s very gratifying when “paying it forward” turns into a win-win. The point you make about SALES TRAINERS specifically, exhibiting the “all about me” approach is spot on; if they can’t properly approach you, they’re in no position to teach their approach methods to anyone. “Do as I say, not as I do” should be a red flag to all of us! A really great article, Paul!!

    Comment by Robert Terson — January 2, 2013 @ 3:19 pm | Reply

  2. Paul, this one hit home. We get the same requests daily and that is fine. What really makes me crazy is the people who write blogs and offer services in the sales area that are not in sales, have never carried a bag or built a team. Or, if they have, it was in the 90’s when the world was a different place!

    If you are a sales trainer, consultant, writer or whatever… if you are not making a minimum of 10 sales calls a day.. get out of my face! You truly have to be out there every day fighting the fight to understand what it is like to sell in today’s environment. So much has changed and all for the positive. The buyer has stepped up to the plate and owns the sales process, there are technologies galore that make our lives easier and more productive and a world of information is at your fingertips that can make you a trusted adviser and someone your buyer wants to learn from.

    So…buyer beware.. do not judge a book by its cover. Judge it by how many sales calls it made today!

    Comment by trish bertuzzi — January 9, 2013 @ 5:58 pm | Reply

  3. I don’t have a blog and I’m not in sales, but I do have an important tip for those who are…don’t be lazy.

    I’m a notary who specializes in witnessing borrowers sign their loan documents. Last night my appointment was with a young couple who told me about their refinancing experience. The husband checked the rates in bankrate and called the lender with the lowest rates. Simple enough, he gets a Loan Officer on the phone who asks him his current lender, which he tells him. This LO then asks for the phone number of the current lender. My customer says he doesn’t know it, can the prospective LO look it up. No, says this genius. My customer says okay, I’ll find it and get back to you. He looks up the number, and just to be sure he’s getting the number to the correct department calls it.

    I think you know where this is going.

    His current lender asks why the inquiry and proceeds to tell him that they will refi him at the same low rate minus any origination fees. Does he call back the prospective LO, no but he does laugh when he tells me how much this guy lost by being lazy and not taking 30 seconds to look up a phone number.

    Don’t be lazy, rule 101 for everything you do.

    Comment by Amy Tatusko — January 12, 2013 @ 8:39 am | Reply

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