#6 of the 25 Most Useful Sales Stories: An “I’ll tell you when I can NOT help you” story

{The 6th in a series of the 25 most useful sales stories.} One of the things I learned from interviewing professional buyers was that there are two things salespeople can do to immediately earn buyers’ trust and credibility. In the words one buyer used to explain it, “First, tell me when you can not help me. [read more]

“How Did We Kill This Man?” A Management Nightmare that Led to a Better Leadership Philosophy

I recently had the chance to visit with performance coach Cort Dial, author of the book Heretics to Heroes: A Memoir on Modern Leadership. He shared the story of a fascinating but tragic incident early in his career that led him to develop a very different leadership philosophy. It’s always more exciting to listen to [read more]

What Self-Reliant People Do When “I’m sorry, we tried everything” Just Won’t Cut It

What can kids and grown-ups learn from a 5-year-old boy with Down syndrome, an unsympathetic insurance company, and a leadership team willing to take matters into their own hands? A lot, it turns out, about self-empowered, and self-reliant behavior — something most parents want to see in their kids (and most executives want to see more [read more]

#5 of the 25 Most Useful Sales Stories: A “Why I Do What I Do” Story

{This is the 5th in a series of the 25 most useful sales stories salespeople should have in their repertoire.} The major premise of Simon Sinek’s bestselling book Start with Why can be summarized in his statement “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” It should make sense, then, that in order [read more]

How to Hire Top Talent Without an Interview

“Be slow to hire and quick to fire.” That’s the conventional wisdom in human resources. Take the time to make sure you’ve got the right candidate before making an offer. The result is a lengthy process that starts with a detailed online application and multiple rounds of interviews spread out over weeks. Some companies even [read more]

5 Ways Great Salespeople Get Buyers to Tell Their Most Important Stories


This series is dedicated to helping you tell better sales stories. But your first objective in a sales call shouldn’t be to tell any of your stories. It should be to get the buyer to tell you their stories. If you don’t hear their stories first, how will you know which of your stories to [read more]

Forest Fires, Missing the Boat, and Sleeping in Our Clothes: 11 Life Skills Learned Through Our Mediterranean Vacation Disaster

I’m writing these words from a tiny, hot, and unglamorous airport hotel room at the Charles De Gaulle airport outside Paris with no luggage, no change of clothes, and no air conditioning. I should be home in Ohio right now. But instead, I’m hunkered down with my family at the end of a 10-day vacation [read more]

How to Earn Trust on Day One

In July of 1999, the New York Times and CBS conducted an interesting survey. They asked, “Of people in general, how many do you think are trustworthy?” The average answer was 30 percent. Then it asked, “Of people you know personally, how many do you think are trustworthy?” The average answer shot up to 70 [read more]

Sales Story #4: How to Relax and Take the Stress Out of a Sales Call

[This is the 4th in a series of the 25 most useful sales stories salespeople should have in their repertoire.] In conducting my research on storytelling in the sales space, I read dozens of books and interviewed sales and procurement managers at over 50 companies around the world. One of the more unexpected, and quite frankly, amusing, [read more]

Justice, Conscience, and Backyard Fireworks: An Independence Day Ethical Dilemma

Every culture has a code of conduct by which behavior is measured. Some is written in our laws, and we often learn of those expectations in formal schooling. But much is left for subtler forms of influence. We generally learn those from our own gut reaction and from the reaction our behavior elicits from other [read more]