154 Drop the Ummms and Ahhhs 1

Drop the Ummms and Ahhhs 1


Junk words and phrases are those that you should work hard to eliminate from your vocabulary and from all customer communications. They provide no context or meaning. Without them, your verbal communication will just sound clearer and more professional. 


One of the biggest offending junk words are those dreaded “word-filler” twins “Ummm . . .” and “Ahhh . . .” 


Here’s how they infiltrate our vocabulary: You can’t think of what to say next, so you just utter an audible sound to continue a voice communications stream: “Ummm, at the end of the day, ummm, we believe that the best approach is, ahhh . . .” 


The compelling message you prepared so diligently can lose its power when your words include waves of “ummms” and “ahhhs”. It makes you sound unsure of yourself, lacking confidence, and that you don’t really believe what you are saying. 


Excessive “ummms” can really distract your audience. On a phone call, or web conference, a speaker might utter an “ummm” once in a while when they are thinking of what to say next, or after a pause, just to signal to the other parties “I’m still here.” That can be OK for occasional use, but overdoing it will lead your audience to tune you out. 


You will notice this a lot on TV, radio, some podcasts, and with nervous or inexperienced speakers… and it becomes very annoying after a short period of time. 


I’m DJ Sebastian. In the next briefing, we’ll discuss how you can eliminate the offending junk words “ummm” and “ahhh” from your vocabulary. 


153 The Risks of a Sales Career 2

The Risks of a Sales Career 2


This briefing continues the discussion on the Risks sales professionals must face in their quest for success. 


Risk: Your customers. The customer opportunities you choose to pursue present significant risks. There is no guarantee they will remain committed to working with you through a sales cycle. Your customer can choose to stop a sales cycle at any time for any reason. 


Risk: Economic factors. Unless your solution is required to meet government or industry compliance, purchasing your solution is an optional expenditure, so the economy presents significant hazards for you.


A downturn in the economy or external events like the recent pandemic could cause a company to slow or halt spending on all initiatives. And even when the economy is soaring, some companies that are performing very well and enjoying smooth sailing might not want to rock the boat, so they could choose to avoid the risks associated with any new initiatives. 


Risk: Your competitive position. Your company’s competitive position could change dramatically and can put your sales opportunities at risk. Perhaps your company is being beaten in the market by a new upstart competitor; perhaps your stable, proven solutions are being outsold by another supplier’s bright and shiny new toy. As the competitive position of your company evolves, significant threats challenge the health of your sales opportunities. 


Risk: Sales amnesia. Sales is a “what have you done for me lately?” business. It doesn’t matter what you did last year or last quarter. Low performance in a measured time period, for whatever reason, puts your tenure in jeopardy. 


Your sales career will be filled with highs and lows, and your path can be diverted by significant risks. You must accept these risk factors and plan for how you will overcome them throughout your journey. 


I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com 


152 The Risks of a Sales Career 1

The Risks of a Sales Career 1


The career journey of a sales professional is often filled with hazard and risk. There are significant unknowns, and outcomes are never guaranteed. You can face several risks in a sales career that have the potential to wipe out many of the benefits outlined in prior briefings. 


Here’s The Bottom Line:


If you achieve your quota, nothing else matters.

If you fail to achieve your quota, nothing else matters.


This maxim often represents sales management’s approach to measuring sales performance. It also signifies a stark reality for every sales professional. 


While situations are not always this simplistic, it is imperative to management that the sales team generates enough revenue so their organization achieves profit goals, continues to fuel growth, and secures the future viability of the company. 


Your sales quota represents both a huge risk and an opportunity. Your quota is your signed commitment to deliver a specified amount of sales revenue over a specified period of time. You have no vote in setting this quota… you certainly don’t have much flexibility in negotiating the amount. It is assigned to you by your sales management, and you alone are 100% accountable to achieve your quota. Often, very little analysis goes into computing quota numbers—they can be arbitrary at best, wild guesses at worst.


In effect, you are betting against the house (your company) that you will achieve or exceed the quota you were assigned. You are placing a large wager that you will hit your number, and it can be a big gamble; and never forget that you bear the entire risk. 

Meanwhile, given your territory and accounts, you do not know the odds for achieving a slam dunk: are they very possible or nearly impossible? It’s your job to make it very possible.


I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com 


151 The Dangers of a Sales Career

The Dangers of a Sales Career


In the prior briefings, we discussed some of the benefits of a sales career. But a career in sales is not always that wonderful. Here’s an example. 


Jeffrey joined a large solution provider as a territory sales professional. He performed well in prior roles and was confident he was ready for this next step. Jeffrey was assigned a territory that was barren of real prospects. He did find one account that he could build into a strategic opportunity. Jeffrey spent the entire year building relationships, establishing executive sponsors, and developing a strong value proposition. Before the year’s end, Jeffrey won an eight-figure deal that placed him at 400% of quota. 


He was awarded the top producer in his region. Through the year, Jeffrey also identified additional revenue areas in the account that were nearly as large as his initial win. 


In the next sales year, Lucille, a new sales director, assumed responsibility for the region. She hired several “buddies” who had worked for her in the past. Lucille then reassigned (really stole) Jeffrey’s mega-revenue-generating account to a new salesperson. This devious director needed to show that she could build a strong team, and that her new sales hires could show progress in winning deals quickly. 


Jeffrey’s pipeline was left barren. Without the follow-on sales revenue he was anticipating from his large account, his forecast showed a big fat zero for two consecutive quarters. Jeffrey was then fired for under-achieving performance. 


Just as a career in sales can be wonderful, it can also become a complete disaster. Events that are often out of your control can occur along the way. Like Jeffrey, you could be riding high one year only to be cast into the danger zone the next.


I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com 


150 The Benefits of a Great Sales Career 2

The Benefits of a Great Sales Career 2


In the prior briefing, we discussed some of the benefits of a sales career. Here are even more:


– Pursue entrepreneurial interests. When you are rewarded handsomely, you could be in a situation where you are able to leave your sales position, financially secure. Then you could launch ventures to build new businesses or do things for pure enjoyment. 


– Hone skills that transfer across industries. Once you have mastered key selling skills, you become a valuable professional who is in demand for other sales career opportunities. Learning a new product, service, or solution is somewhat important, but understanding how to sell is even more important. 


– Nurture your professional network. A sales role allows you to connect and develop meaningful business relationships with customers, business partners, and even competitors. Cultivating relationships with influential people in your market, industry, and region will pay dividends throughout your career. 


– Enhance your international experience. You may have the opportunity to visit other regions and cultures in your country or around the world and visit places you may never be able to see otherwise. These experiences will enrich you and give you a whole new perspective on life.


– Enhance your personal legacy. You may be in a position to make a difference to others who are less fortunate. Dedicating the time or the financial resources to give back to your favorite charitable organizations can help define a meaningful purpose in your life. It is said that “to those to whom much is given, much is expected.” It is always a great feeling to give to others in need. 


Becoming a success in your sales career opens a lot of doors in life and can help you contribute substantially to achieving your life goals, and then forge even greater goals.


I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com