Years ago, as an accountant, I reported to a manager named Bob.  One day, I excused myself and went to the restroom, and when I returned, Bob said, “Steve, you took too long.” My response was, “What?” Then he said, “You took 8 minutes.  I can go to the bathroom and back in 4 minutes.”  I responded, “Good for you.”  The conversation was very insulting and degrading. Should I hurry my time in the restroom to keep my manager happy?  Did the 4 minutes matter? What about proper hygiene? There were other similar incidents where Bob watched over me every...

Singer Paul Simon wrote and recorded a song called “Slip Sliding Away.” Like many of Simon’s songs, the meaning of the lyrics is often obscure.  But he does say that the nearer you are to your destination, “the more you’re slipping and sliding away.”1 Has this ever happened to you in your pursuit of closed deals? Perhaps you have been calling on the prospect for several months, and during this time, the prospect has shown some interest in your solution and was receptive to your proposal.  You have met with the key decision-makers and influencers and have not heard any objections...

The behaviors of some excellent, high-performing salespeople are sometimes like those of typical American teenagers.  This can be considered both positive and negative attributes of salespeople. I first noticed the similarities when managing a group of primarily high-achieving salespeople while helping my wife raise our two then teenagers.  I was confronted with many of the same issues at work and home. For example, top salespeople and teenagers can be obstinate, challenging to manage, and resist direction or supervision, like herding cats.  They want to be left alone, to make their own mistakes.  They do not care that we previously faced many...