Right FIT Newsletter #212 – Trust Chaka, Commission Plans, Disappointing

Sales and marketing Newsletter

Quick notes to help you grow your business in less time with less effort. . . sometime next week.

In this issue:

– Techniques for FIT
– Being Human
– Random Stuff

Techniques for FIT

  • When you have to garner a favor from a third party, where do you start? As Chaka Khan said, try getting them to “feel for you.” One tactic lifted from teenagers: anticipate the worst reaction and lead with it. “You’re going to hate me. . .”
  • No is a safe word but saying yes can be dangerous. Super negotiator Chris Voss suggests re-phrasing “yes” questions to “no” because it builds trust. Try it. “Do you have a few minutes?” becomes “Is now a bad time?” Ridiculous idea?
  • Beginning next week, hold on to this thought: Every day your company doesn’t work on improving business development, it loses 11-13% in growth. Yes, even if your company is already growing at that rate or faster.
  • Unless you are privy to some special information, assume you don’t know what’s going on in someone else’s head. And even if you do have special information, double check its accuracy before moving forward.

Being Human – Commission Plans

“You call yourself a salesman. .? . . .the good news is you’re fired. The bad news is you’ve got just one week to regain your jobs, starting tonight. Starting with tonight’s sit.” Blake from Glengarry, Glen Ross 


In the past, I have labeled fear as being the ultimate motivator. Ask a sales manager though, and they’ll tell you the best motivator for sales people is money. “Align an aggressive commission with goals,” they say, “then stand back! You’re about to see sales fly through the roof!” There’s an element of truth there, but a killer commission plan works best when it’s part of a more comprehensive momentum building effort.

Monetary incentives, like fear as a motivator, are temporary. An aggressive comp plan will help stimulate action, but it won’t sustain activity. A comp plan acts like any other management metric which has an effective lifecycle resembling a standard distribution curve. It builds up to a peak, then declines in usefulness. (see my 2013 post, “The Challenges of Measuring”)

Knowing this, commission plans should change. Yes, your comp plans should change because with each step we take toward your company’s goal, the future changes. Sales gurus will scare you from making changes with statements like, “changing commission plans is a great way to lose your best people.” You may have even lost a great sales person over a comp plan dispute, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Commission plans are a tool in the toolbox and your managers have to learn how to manage them for building momentum. Your managers need to spend less time thinking about motivation and what motivates. They need to spend more time thinking about momentum, building and sustaining it.

One more thing, if you’re using a simple X% of sales as your commission plan, we should talk. Every day it stays in place you’re missing out on more revenue and killing momentum. Don’t do it.

Random stuff


The price of everything and the value of nothing. 


So disappointing

I’m bumping into a lot of past acquaintances, and we do a perfunctory catch up with each other. “What’s new? How are the kids? Any trips planned? Say hi to your spouse!” It’s very pleasant and brings me joy when I can remember their kids names and approximate ages.

As I’m running through one family’s fortunes, we get to comparing our children’s cost of living in big cities. Rent here, salaries there, followed by a lot of “wouldn’t it be great to be young and free?” statements.

This reminds of something my young adult son said over the Christmas holiday. His birthday is in early January, and we’re out shopping for him when he stops, looks at a price tag, shakes his head, and turns to me saying, “the thing I’m most disappointed with in adulthood is how much everything costs.”

Amen brother. Amen.


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