The strategy to Selling in a Post-Trust World

One of the things Tony Robbins teaches is to be outstanding, you have to stand out.

I learned this early in my sales career. So one of the things I did to act on this was I was always open to take on a sales territory that was open and called ” net new.” Net new territories are ones you have zero current accounts to work, and you need to develop and prospect from scratch.

Many people shy away of these as it takes time, effort, focus and persistence. And in today’s fast moving world, most sales people want the quick satisfaction of a win, show a number and get the pats on the back.

My mentor told me that the big satisfaction is in delayed gratification and owning your territory and commission. If you have current accounts, your company owns that relationship. There’s nothing wrong with that but I determined in my first sales job and going forward with each of my sales positions, if I could develop a net new opportunity from scratch, the commissions were higher and I would be responsible for the relationship, taking those calls at 2am when my client needed help.

This stategy worked in each of my sales positions. There were some years where I would have a big “0” on my quota and commission but the following years, I would be a top producer and stand out.

In my position at Oracle, I adopted this strategy. Fortunately, I had a Vice President of Sales who understood my strategy and supported me, while I had some regional management who did not. When I first went to Oracle, my VP told me he’d give me a territory with zero Oracle accounts and I had to start from scratch.

I was used this so I accepted the opportunity.

It took 18 months to get my first net new sale, which ironically was during 2009, a recession and after I went through a plane crash and I was the top producer in our business segment. Over the next several years, this was the model, about 18 months, a large net new sale then rinse and repeat.

The one thing I have always wondered is why no one at Oracle ever asked me about this approach and HOW I executed. I guess most of them had accounts and were doing well enough and were not curious.

Last week, I was speaking with a former Oracle associate who is now working for another technology company and he asked me if he could ask me a question. Of course I told him as I am always open to share, teach and educate.

He asked me the question I have always been waiting to be asked.

What was my strategy, approach and HOW to be a top sales producer in every organization I was associated with.

This was perfect timing for this question as this week, at COACHCON in Nashville, TN, I will be sharing this in detail in my talk about how to “Change the Narrative for your Future” and I just received my copy of my friend, Larry Levine’s new book ” Selling in a Post-Trust World.”

One of the things my father taught me when I had just graduated from college was you don’t have to know everthing about everything, but you need to have ACCESS to someone who does. It’s the same thing that Henry Ford did and explained when he was dragged into court to be asked several questions to show that he was a fraud.

Finally, Henry Ford told the attorneys asking these questions, ( paraphrasing) ” if I need to know the answers to these questions, I have a row of 8 buttons on my desk and within minutes, have someone to answer it.” He had access and didn’t clog his mind up with useless information as he had to ” keep the main thing the main thing.”

So before I knew that it was called ” finding your who for your how,” I was focused on access to the right associations to help me leverage.

Access is good but it doesn’t mean anything unless you CONNECT. You need to do what my friend Mark Hunter so eloquently teaches, how to prospect effectively and focus on what’s important to them first.

Access leads to connection.

Being connected is good but doesn’t mean anything unless you do what Larry Levine shares in his new book. You must take that connection and build meaningful RELATIONSHIPS. That was what I did with my net new client in 2008-2009. We connected and built a meaningful relationship, to the point, his company brought me into their “family” and after the Miracle on the Hudson, went out of their way to take care of my family and me.

Connection leads to relationships.

Having these relationships is key but it’s when you invest into the relationships is when you build AFFINITY ( a feeling of closeness and understanding that someone has for another person because of their similar qualities, ideas, or interests. )

When you have an affinity with someone, you are kindred spirits and they know they can call you at 2am when all stuff is breaking loose and you pick up the phone and get it resolved. I cannot tell you how many calls I have taken after 12am for my clients to do what every top sales producer does, “make your client’s day better” and they will remember that.

Relationships lead to affinity.

When you build affinity with your clients, they become your coach and sponsor. They advocate for you when you are not there. When you have affinity, you build a coach and that leads to having INFLUENCE in your account.

Many times my management would get a little skitchy and wary about our position in an account. If I had invested the time with my client, had affinity with them, I knew they were advocating for me and would eventually introduce me to the key stakeholder who would share the TRUE concern/opportunity they were trying to solve.

During my last sale at Oracle, this was the case. Many times over that 18 month period my management was concerned, or wary or skeptical. And I understand why and at times I was questioning if I had executed the way I needed to . At the end though, I had a call with my prospective client/coach/advocate and he shared what the real concerns were.

And in about a three week period we were able to address these questions and concerns and the client pushed through the paperwork so that my company and I were able to announce the sale in the last hour of the quarter. That helped me become one of the top five producers for the year.

Affinity leads to influence and influence leads to CONVERSION and having a raving fan and new client.

When we ended our conversation, I told my former associate, that is why I always took on a net new territory, why he should in his next position and what I am doing and teaching now that I have my own company.

It takes time, patience and a leader who will support you but if your desire is to become a top producer in any sales position, this is one strategy that if you rinse and repeat, will not only bring you the commission checks you desire but will help you stand out, which is another way to say “Be Outstanding.”

I want to thank all those sales leaders I have had that gave me ” air cover” to execute this and bring many new clients to the organizations I represented over 37 years. I know it’s not comfortable showing a “0” for a year and management gets pressure to “take action, ” but if you have a leader who wants you to win, they will win, the company will win and it is alot easier to keep a client than to have to keep getting new clients to cover the backdoor.


Get access, leverage your network, marketing, and go outside your organization to do it

Access leads to getting connected

Connection leads to building relationships

Relationships lead to building affinity

Affinity leads to obtaining influence

Influence leads to converting your prospective client into a client and raving fan.

If your organization would like to learn how to EMBRACE the UNCERTAINTY of finding net new clients which will IGNITE massive OPPORTUNITY, please reach out to me at and we’ll set up a few minutes to connect.

Thank you to my former Oracle associate for asking me me that question. I have been waiting over 15 years for someone to ask.

This week, I’ll be sharing this in further detail at COACHCON and going forward and showing how when you do this, you start to live