They are always watching.

It’s her new backpack for school, pre-kindergarten.  She is 4 and he is 29.  Her dad knew she would proudly walk to the car if she could don that new prize possession.  He is a good dad.

How does this happen?  And, what does it have to do with sales?

A lot.

Everyone knows a few things about sales, but we all know that there are certain things that if you do them, they always end in success:

Show up.  90% of getting the deal is all about showing up.

Same with being a good dad.

Positive attitude.  You have heard the saying “attitude determines altitude.”

Same with being a good dad.

Learn and care about your prospect.  Find something in common, find a way to add value.

Same with being a good dad.

Have fun.  It’s not all about work, but work can definitely be fun.

Same with being a good dad.

Stick with it.  How many times has a prospect said they were not interested?  But, after time and checking in with the prospect something changed, and now they have a need.

Same with being a good dad.

Follow through.  I read a statistic that said 92% of salespeople don’t follow through.  The other 8% are wildly successful salespeople.

Same with being a good dad.

And so, it goes with all of us.  They are watching.  Who is watching?  Our team, our prospects, our competitors, our boss.

Same with our children.

If you work hard, they will work hard.

If you behave ethically, they will behave ethically.

If you listen and care, they will listen and care.

They are always watching.

The precious photo is of my son and his daughter.  My son learned how to be a good dad from his dad.  And he learned from his dad.  They were watching.

Photo courtesy of Christina Ropp

Runner up!

Who remembers 2nd place?
That may not be a good question if you are asking a sports enthusiast like my husband, he remembers every NASCAR race, college football game and please don’t get him started on my son’s cross country races!!

Second place has been called the first loser, and often we discuss that no one remembers who the “runner up” was. I feel very differently about second place. In my opinion it is a perfect place to be. Let me share a typical second place scenario with you…

I place a call on a prospect, get the appointment, discuss the value we add to each other with a relationship – but I am told any one of the following reasons that a business relationship will not work out:
“My mom, sister, brother, uncle, dad… is in the same business.”
“I am really happy with my current relationship and do not want to upset my current relationship.”
“The company we use now does business with us and that means a lot to me.”
“I get really good service and I don’t want to risk changing that.”
“It is just too much trouble to make a change.”

To every one of those responses I say:
“I completely understand. Would you mind if I hang out in second place? We could build a relationship and then if anything changes, we won’t be strangers. And, if you ever want a second opinion on something, I am right here.”
Second place has served me pretty well. Life changes all the time. Second place becomes first place very quickly. One or two poor customer service problems, a family member changes jobs, companies change policies… anything can happen to move you into first place.
Let me caution you- if you ask someone for their business and they like you, and they trust you, but they don’t pick you… they will watch you very closely. You are automatically in second place in their mind. So, be very careful with that position. Nurture every prospect beyond the “ask.” It is a little bit like the “never give up” attitude.

This week I was honored to be in second place, I was probably in third place but who’s keeping track, right???
Recently, our Columbia Mo. Chamber of Commerce’s Women’s Network honored an outstanding female leader and mentor in my community (Athena International Award). I was one of three finalists; the other two women were pillars in our community and I was deeply honored to even stand with them. Nope, I did not win, but being a runner up was pretty good. Athena was the Greek virgin goddess of reason, intelligent activity, arts and literature. She was a goddess of wisdom and courage. Well, I may not have all of those traits (my sisters are falling out of their seats right now!), but maybe I have one or two – and that is pretty darn cool!

Photo: Jan Grossman, Vicki Russell, Me! (Athena International Award ceremony, Vicki Russell was named 2017 Athena)



[poo sh-ee]

Adjective – obnoxiously forward or self-assertive.

We have all experienced this behavior from someone.  We have all felt uncomfortable because someone thought they had the right to place their goals and objectives ahead of someone else’s.


I call this “blinded by the light.”

Think of a movie scene where the light is at the end of the tunnel and a human is attracted to it with such gravitational force that it is like a meteor plummeting to the earth with a crashing force that it will annihilate anything in its wake.


Just this week I experienced this energy, drive, self-fulfilling behavior with complete disregard to my needs and my feelings.  I was approached by an older gentleman who asked for 20 minutes of my time in the next hour.  I was told it was not an option for me to meet and have a discussion.

Not only was I not feeling well, my husband was not feeling well and I had a number of priority items to handle.  It was also presented to me right before I had to stand and present before a group of colleagues.  I felt a number of emotions: shock, exhaustion, fury, wonder, and even a large lack of self-confidence.


Incredible as it may seem, I succumbed to the pressure and made myself available.  Much to my dismay, anger, frustration – the meeting did not go well and made all the feelings I had even worse.


Great salespeople never push their agenda before that of their clients or prospects.

Great salespeople always ask permission for someone’s time.

Great salespeople never expect someone to drop everything for them.

Great salespeople always want what is best for the prospect or client, and believes that a consumer is intelligent enough to come to a good decision for themselves.

Great salespeople never say “well you better do it this month or else…”


You may be told by your trainer to create a sense of urgency.

You may be told by your trainer to be persistent, “constant contact.”

You may be told by your trainer to share with your prospect how much it will help you if they do it today.

You may be told by your trainer that the prospect doesn’t know enough or cannot make that decision without all of your information.


Whether you are selling or not, professionals don’t behave this way either.


People!  Stop being pushy!!

Let me offer you how I approach asking someone for their time.  And if you are asking enough people for their time, you will have plenty of people to talk to.

First, call, email or ask face to face if someone would welcome a conversation with you.

Ask permission to reach out to them, with the purpose of scheduling a time for that conversation.

Follow through and reach out, via the channel that has been agreed upon, and schedule an appointment for that conversation.

When you do reach out, ask if it is a good time still, (sometime circumstances change and what was planned does not work,) be generous – time is the most valuable item anyone can give to another, handle it with great care.

Thank the person for their graciousness to you.


Do you want to be a great salesperson?  Start with courtesy.


I am so incredibly courteous with others time that this week when I asked someone if they thought I was a good salesperson they answered “I don’t really think of you as a salesperson.”

Good.  I am not blinding anyone by my light.


It’s Arithmetic!

The photo you see in this blog was sent to us from a friend, which tells us that the probability of many others getting a look at the image was a real possibility.  The fun and confident way he wore the hat is what could have encouraged the photographer into taking the photo.  The reality is not the perception and that is the whole point.  Or maybe the point is that he showed up, he joined in, and with a little luck he was afforded an opportunity.  I believe that is one of the secrets to being a successful salesperson.

The reality is that an award was bestowed on me this year.  It was a contest for the town I live in called “Top of the Town”, a voting contest by the readership of a local business magazine – Columbia Business Times.

At the award celebration the winners were given a Top Hat, a very cool Top Hat.

It was a warm day and I was of course worried about my hair looking good for photos so I sparingly wore the hat, and attempting to be a bit humble, I laid the hat on the table we were hanging around.  That was when opportunity struck and my son in law picked it up and placed it on his head.  It looked good.  It fit well. He was meant to be a winner!

Successful sales people show up, join in and take the opportunity to put the hat on.  It is arithmetic!  Preparedness + opportunity + a dash of luck = Success.

Preparedness:  New business comes from meeting new people, so you have to show up to events, meetings and conferences.

Opportunity:  New business comes from engaging in activities (parties to volunteering)  and being open to participating in growth experiences such as trainings (maybe even role playing.)

Dash of Luck:  Should someone with a need, or someone who knows of someone with a need, present them-self to you,  and you are the person who can meet that need, that  = SUCCESS!

Bryan, my son in law, practiced a little arithmetic at the Top of the Town celebration.  He enjoyed a little success by getting his photo in the magazine’s online gallery.  And, he looked good!



Most people want to help.

Do you drop coins in the Salvation Army’s bucket outside retail stores?
Do you hold a door for the mom with her arms full of baby stuff?
Do you let someone with fewer groceries go in front of you at the check out line?
Do you use your turn signal?

Most people answer yes to the above questions, most people enjoy helping.  For most of us, we do the above actions instinctively, we don’t even think about it.  And, interestingly, we do not personally know, the people benefiting from our actions.  That piece does not register in our helping hearts, we just do it.

We could say we were “raised that way”.
We could say “it feels good”.
We could say “it’s the right thing to do”.
We could say “do unto others…”.

If we understand that it is innate to be helpful, then as a salesperson we should expect a “yes” much more than we do.  Many people shy away from sales because of the feelings that come from getting “no’s”.  But I would suggest that it really is all “in our own heads”.  We are creating this negative feeling when it truly does not exist.  And once you wrap your head around this fact and get over your own thinking…you will have mastered the uneasiness in getting started in sales.  That’s it, that’s the secret…it is you.

I have always found that when framing an ask correctly, I rarely get a “no”.  I might get a stall or a timing hurdle, but I rarely get a “no”.  I have also found that if I accept a “no” correctly, both the giver and I feel good about the conversation.  Great sales people learn how to accept “no” with grace and kindness.

We are coming to the end of the Heart of Missouri United Way campaign for 2015.  I have been told “no”, but I have been told “yes” hundreds and hundreds of times more. I have proven my theory that people naturally just want to help.
I know that we have thousands of generous people in our community who want to help one another.
I know that we have thousands of volunteers in our community that want to help others.
I know that we have many people in our community who are thankful for the help given to them during a difficult time in their lives.

In the next few days listen to the number of times you hear and say “yes”. Compare that with the number of times you hear and say “no”.   I think you will find that we say “yes” more often, a lot more often!

This year the United Way asked a salesperson to help with the annual fundraising campaign and naturally I said “yes”.

Give at:



Bad Manners are Bad for Business

Growing up in a family of 10, my mom worked tirelessly to teach her brood manners and courtesy. Every evening at 5:30, my mom would call us in from the yard and serve a meal of meat, potatoes and vegetables. Despite bickering over who had to sit next to my left-handed sister, spilled milk at nearly every meal, and belching, I recall my mom saying, “What if the President were here with us? Would you behave that way?” My mom was teaching us how to present ourselves in all situations—something I didn’t fully appreciate until adulthood—but the lesson I ultimately came away with was to always be prepared for opportunity.  If the President does show up for dinner, the table should be properly set and your manners will be in check.

“If the house is not clean, you should not invite friends over!”

In other words, always be ready to receive an opportunity so if one comes your way, you will be ready and practiced! It’s a lesson I’ve taken with me into the world of sales.

How many times have I gone into work and someone is dressed down or not clean-shaven? Of course I’ll crack a joke, ”Is your razor broken?”  The typical response I get is “I don’t have any appointments today.”

What if an unexpected opportunity arises, and you’re unprepared. But what if the President walked in that day, and you’re wearing khakis instead of dress pants? We are not ready for the President to stop by. We have no plans to receive an opportunity.  We decided to get dressed in the morning for a ‘down day’ of no production.

Shouldn’t we be preparing for success?

We have all heard the phrase “dress for success.” Well, it matters.

And not just for appearances. It’s a mindset; it means there is a plan. When we prepare for success and it happens, we are elated.  When we don’t prepare for success and it happens, we’re blind-sided.

Preparedness + Opportunity = Success

This motto has been around for decades.  Both the Boys Scouts and the Girl Scouts of America state this basic principle in both of their mottos!

If you heed my advice and prepare for a visit from the President, that’s still only one part of the equation. One kid at my family dinner table might have been perfectly well-mannered and prepared, but if the other seven children are acting like hooligans, the household isn’t prepared.

Look around your office. Are your teammates and your environment ready to receive the President? Messy workspaces, ‘dressed down’ colleagues, people eating at their desk. There is nothing more frustrating than bringing a prospect into our ‘home’ when the team is not ready.

Remember, sales is a team sport.  Everyone needs to be ready for success. Sometimes it is about communicating to your team that opportunity may strike at any moment, but more importantly it is about everyone deciding to be ready at all times. This isn’t easy. It takes time. But it can be done, and it’s fun to work on preparing for opportunity together.

I hope you will take some time to prepare you, your team, and your workspace for a visit from the President!