A Humorous Take on the

World of Sales and Management

With Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving both falling in November, it's a great time to show "gratitude for the attitude".

These are my favorite lessons from military style, hard-ass managers from my past.  

Mike S.
On Accountability

When most salespeople are asked why they lose a sale, they usually blame their company's cost structure. "All the customer cares about is price".

My old boss Charlie Nichols would never accept that excuse.  His mantra was "there are only two reasons you lose a sale: you got outsold, or y ou shouldn't have been there in the first place."

There was no room on Charlie's team for whining or excuses.  If you lost, it was YOUR FAULT, period. 

You would have thought a lesson like that would have stuck with me, but sure enough, five years later, I found myself as a new Sales Director giving the President of the company a bunch of reasons why our Virginia office was going to miss our target.

His answer was short, and hit like a jackhammer.  "If you don't think you can do it, Mike, I'll find someone who can".   **GULP**  That was the last time I ever gave a boss any reasons for expected failure.  From that point on, it was all about what I was going to do to hit the number.

On Making Sales Calls

My first professional sales job was at Lanier, and all salespeople and managers were expected to be out of the office in front
Gene Milner
of customers during business hours.  There was a famous story that the top sales rep at Lanier was dissatisfied with his beat up, metal desk.  He marched into the office of the President, Gene Milner, and demanded a nicer desk.  One befitting his status as the most valuable salesperson.

Milner said "the only desk you need to care about is your customer's, and you need to be on the other side of it.  Now get the hell out of my office"

True sales organizations have no use for "Swivel Chair Managers".  Their leaders are constantly in the field, visiting with customers and prospects. They gain real-time feedback and are the first to hear about changing market conditions.

Cisco has always had this kind of culture.  I had a
John Chambers
friend who joined Cisco in the early 1990s.  I asked him if he had ever met John Chambers.  "Met him?  He's been on three sales calls with me this year."

I've always been impressed that Chambers would go on hundreds of customer appointments a year, despite how busy he was.  I know owners of small companies today who don't go on two sales calls a year.


Sometimes the shortest comments are the most memorable.  I'll leave you with another saying by Charlie Nichols, who learned his discipline and attitude at the Citadel

Q:   What do you call a tiger that is not constantly on
             the prowl?
A: A rug
"Victuri te Salutemus" 
Victory, we Salute you

Richard Spencer - Secretary of the Navy

Finally, I need to give a shout-out to my beleaguered Brooks School classmate and former roommate Richard Spencer.  A solid and ethical person.  Hang in there, bud....


"Creating Urgency"
John Asher Podcast
Host John Asher and I discuss how to influence customers to take actio n faster. 

"Accelerate Your Business Growth"
Host Diane Helbig and I discuss how Influence and Persuasion skills impact sales success

"Seven Figure Salespeople"
Sales Game-Changers Podcast
Host Fred Diamond and I talk about success habits of high achievement salespeople


CEO Peer Group
"Business Metrics "
Cabo San Luca 
March 5-6

Trans4mers Sales Leadership Group
"Marketing Automation"
South Beach, FL 
February 27-28

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Mike Schmidtmann
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