Advice, humor and more!

About Those Sales Superstars

The National Society of Sales Training Executives conducted a sales competency study in an effort to reveal the traits commonly found among sales superstars. A look at some of the findings:

  • Outstanding salespeople have the ability to think from the client’s point of view. They understand that they must earn the customer’s trust, respect and interest at each stage of the sales process.

  • Sales success today demands a radical shift from the peddler mentality of merely expounding on product features.

  • Top performers ask better questions and listen more constructively to what the clients say, thereby gaining better information about their needs.

  • Sales superstars manage the use of their time and territory better.

  • Sales successes go to those who increase their problem-solving abilities.

  • Sales achievers regard their relationship with key clients as advisors, consultants and partners.

  • Top performers are masters at collaborative negotiation.

Nothing terribly surprising here, right? It does give us a chance, however, to have a look at these things and see where we might be able to make some improvements and get recharged a bit.

Mother’s Day Gift Advice Sought

Mother’s Day is May 13 — finish your shopping yet? Our guy Grant “Stiff Arm” Logan hasn’t; he can’t make up his mind.

You might think that a guy named Stiff Arm would be an accomplished ex-running back or something, but that’s not the case here. The aptly applied sobriquet is the result of an incident that took place in 1982 when he was but seven years old. The young lad was sent home from school with a bad fever. Mrs. Logan couldn’t find a sitter on such short notice so she took him along to her moonlighting job — sticking up liquor stores. In his weakened condition — and burdened with two cases of Road House Lager (smooth, refreshing flavor with no bitter aftertaste) — the frail felon was a little slow getting back to the car during the getaway, giving the proprietor time to squeeze off a couple rounds. One bullet lodged in the boy’s now-permanently straightened right elbow, providing him with both his nickname and an uncanny affinity to Skeeball.

For his entire adult life up to now, Stiff Arm’s gifts to his mom on Mother’s Day consisted of cigarettes and magazines — very practical items during her 8-year stretch for aggravated assault and grand theft auto.

But she recently got out of the joint, so her boy wants to have a special gift for her. He has it narrowed down to three admirable — if not heart-warming — choices:

  • flared pantsuits to hide the bulge from her electronic ankle monitor;

  • accounting software upgrade for her grifting and numbers-running rackets; or

  • procedure to remove “Kill The Screws” prison tattoo from her bicep.

If you can offer Stiff Arm any counsel, kindly do so. Look for him down at the bus station. You can’t miss him — he’ll be the creepy-looking guy (on the odd chance of there being more than one creepy guy at the bus station, his rather unique handshake style is a good clue).

Your Retirement Savings Plan

If you’re like most business owners, you probably aren’t socking enough away for your golden years.

Business owners estimate they need 60 percent of their final earnings once they retire and claim to save 14 percent of their earnings for that purpose, according to a recent survey conducted by the accounting and management consulting firm Grant Thornton.

The real deal: They actually will need as much as 80 percent of their final earnings for a secure retirement, says Grant Thornton’s director of employee benefits. Executives over 50 should be saving substantially more than 14 percent of their earnings to prepare for retirement.