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Anthony M. Hegarty

Insight Driven Senior Level Sales Leader

Blog

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Chicago PCA - Fall Driving Tour

Posted on October 24, 2016 at 12:20 PM Comments comments (36)
I just felt the need to post this as I spent last weekend with The Porsche Club of America – Chicago Region on a Fall Road Tour of Galena, IL and Bellevue, IA.  So for those that are unacquainted a “road tour” is basically a group of car enthusiasts that get together to enjoy their prized possessions, their spouses/significant others as they drive energetically through the amazing countryside.   One of the most important aspects of such an endeavor is the actual route you map out.  Kudos to John and Beth Diwik for doing the amazing work of putting together an absolutely amazing route, filled with changes in elevation, sharp challenging corners, incredible views and very little traffic believe it or not.

So, 50+ Porsches and 100+ people assembled for the Saturday Tour event.  Porsches ranging from a classic 924; a beautiful 1980 911 Targa in pristine condition; Boxster Spyder; 911 Turbo S; 986; 928; Cayman, Macan; 991-C4-S/Aero painted in custom 1973 Gulf Blue/Orange colors and a really beautiful black Panamera GTS with red/black interior (OK I’m biased).

We drove approximately 250 miles – 50+ beautiful examples of German engineering excellence.  We had such a good route mapped out for us that we were rarely split from at least groups of 20 cars and for a good while 50 in a row!  Now that is a site to see, it just is!  The route also provided a wonderful opportunity to challenge our cars and driving skills in a very safe and legal(sic) manner. 

I am sure some are thinking, well that all sounds fun but what about the people who have to travel those roads for their daily lives; wouldn’t this be a disruption?  Well from the continual smiles, thumbs-up and enthusiastic waving as the cars went by, from young and old I may say, then I might venture to say we brought a little additional enjoyment to a very beautiful and enjoyable part of the country.  Cars seeing us come up from behind, courteously pulled over to let us by and waved us on.  Kids came to the edge of their front yard to give us the thumbs-up and cheer.  Residents and people driving in the other direction took photos of the column of Porsches passing by and waving back.
And the local economy also benefitted.  50+ rooms for 2 nights (at least) at the Chestnut Mountain Resort, plus a dinner for 100+ people (great food and lodging btw).  50 cars filling up (out of the blue – call it a Flash-Fill) at a BP station in Savanna, IL and lunch for 100+ at the Off Shore Bar & Grill in Bellevue, IA.

It was truly a great event, not the least of which was the camaraderie of the Chicago Region-PCA Club.  All great folks, with many things in common (not just Porsches).  Again, special kudos to John and Beth Diwik for organizing the event, mapping and testing the route variations for the best one - and they nailed it!

The Fire Within Versus the Fire Below

Posted on July 24, 2015 at 5:24 PM Comments comments (13)
I have been pondering leadership of late and some thoughts have come to mind.  We all have heard the adage  “Good leaders light fires within their teams versus under them.”  In almost every situation, inspiration delivers greater and longer lasting improvement when compared to motivation.  I completely agree with the adage of course, yet I think there is much more to it than just that.  

When all the right elements are present, let’s call that “kindling” and the wind is in the right direction lighting a fire within someone is not too difficult, but if, like me, you have led many different sales people over the years, you become aware of some hard facts:

  • Sometimes the “internal kindling” is damp and difficult to light
  • Other times there could be real “fire retardants” present prohibiting even the largest spark or flame from igniting the kindling
  • In some cases there exists abundant, dry kindling surrounded by “fire accelerants” just waiting for (maybe even craving) a mere “inspirational spark” to start the inferno


In the cases where we have dry kindling and maybe even accelerants present, no worries “Light the blue touch paper and stand back!”  Great things are about to happen.

  • We also know that these types of fires burn brighter, longer and produce many more BTUs


But this is reality and some of our sales folks suffer from a variety of SKDs (Soggy Kindling Disorders) such as:

  • A resistance to outside guidance
  • A desire to continue doing things the way they have done them since Clinton was newly elected or was it Nixon?
  • An aversion (if not fear) of any change whatsoever
  • A fear of failure – “if I don’t try how can I fail”
  • A resistance in recognizing that all good things require “extra” effort


So what can a Leader do in situations like these?

Well my experience points to success in cases such as this, by bringing the two types of fire together – the “fire within” and the “fire below.”

A carefully applied fire “below” can dry out the “kindling” and help ignite the fire “within.”

Coaching is the primary example of the “fire below” and proven most successful in drying out the kindling in many a sales person.  Coaching can take many forms, some of which are listed below:

  • Deal coaching
  • Sales Process coaching
  • Additional Skills training
  • Business acumen improvement
  • Pipeline management analysis and adjustment (targeting)
  • Sales Analytics analysis and reengineering for success
  • Even the dreaded comprehensive PIP (Performance Improvement Plan)


All of the above when appropriately applied can "dry out" the kindling, allowing the spark to ignite the “fire within.”

But what to do when “fire retardants” are present?

First of all what is a “retardant?” – some examples are:

  • A lack of the skills needed to do the job coupled with a resistance to learn them - “You can send me to college but you cannot make me think!”
  • A belief that if they try something new and it works, their success will only confirm that “new” should not be feared but rather embraced and that could mean a loss of control/power


In many of these situations attempts to light the fire within are often unsuccessful no matter how much energy you, as the leader, put in to it.  And when you naturally add the “fire below” the result is quite different.  The “retardants” prohibit any ignition occurring “within” and the external heat “cooks” the immovable sales person and we all know what that leads to of course.

So what is the net of all of this?

Good leaders will always rely on inspiration "first" to light that “fire within.”  In certain situations,  those same leaders are required to leverage the power of the “fire below” to dry that “internal kindling” and thus allow the inspirational spark to ignite the "fire within."

But make no mistake; the sales person has significant responsibility in this ignition process.  Without the necessary kindling, the absence or removal of “fire retardants” and preferably, the presence of “accelerants" no amount of sparks, large or small, will start that “fire within!”

Track Day at Autobahn Country Club

Posted on June 28, 2015 at 11:17 AM Comments comments (159)
On Monday I am heading down to the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, IL (http://autobahncc.com/) with PCA-Chicago for a full day of track time. Testing my new AIM Data Acquisition System and integrated SmartyCam (thanks Dave & Dave at Precision AutoResearch in Bensenville, IL and Tony at Midwest Eurosports). Thanks also to Joe Rizza Porsche for sponsoring the event (www.rizzaporsche.com). Video to follow and wish me luck!

On My Way to Circle of Stars

Posted on February 15, 2015 at 3:48 PM Comments comments (59)
I just wanted to thank my National Account Sales Team for an amazing performance in 2014. They were the #1 Team in just about every category. They blew past our team goal in GP Growth, GP percentage; and Revenue. Add to that we swept the Circle of Stars Incentive Trip sending the top Sales Director (Carol), Client Relationship Director (Heather) and even me as the VP of National Accounts - see you in Puerto Vallarta. Thank you to every member of the team – 2014 was an outstanding year indeed!

Thanksgiving for Sales People

Posted on November 27, 2014 at 3:22 PM Comments comments (9)
As we celebrate Thanksgiving (well you do, I am British so our Thanksgiving is July 4th, noting the day we gave back that pesky western colony) I thought it especially important to thank the sales teams that do much of the "heavy lifting" when it comes to moving our companies and clients forward.
 
Without their efforts, we would be in a not so wonderful place, I trust you agree.  Sales has come a long way from what it once was and although many of us as sales leaders installed the tools, training, infrastructure and strategy to make it a true profession and enable our sales people, it is they that go out there, day in day out, working way more than the usual 40 hours per week, and make it happen.
 
With that in mind, I want to personally and publicly THANK my sales team at Manpower - The Central Area National Accounts Team!  I have had the privilege and great good fortune to lead my team for the last four years.  In that time, they have overcome much structural change in the way we do business not to mention ever more sophisticated and demanding clients and let us not forget the competition which is fierce - not better but fierce nonetheless.  In the first three years I led this team they grew revenues by more than 14% and most importantly profit by more than 25% - and these are numbers in the $100s of millions. 
 
This year they have done even better it would appear (although not completed yet as we have 2 months to go) that they have exceeded their previous levels of year over year growth by a double percentage points(confidentiality prohibits me putting forth the actual number).
 
So I want to say a very sincere and very appreciative "THANK YOU" to my TEAM: Mike, Carol, Sally, Jeremy, Heather, Paula, Julia, Keri, Craig, you have all done an amazing job and excelled in your chosen profession.  You set the bar for which others aim!  I will meet you at the "bar" after the final numbers are in to pop a cork or two!
 
Have a great Thanksgiving Holiday everyone.
 
Tony
 

Why do Call High (C-Level) initiatives often fail?

Posted on October 5, 2014 at 6:23 PM Comments comments (10)
In today's highly competitive sales environment it is common for Sales Teams to be instructed to call "higher' in the prospect/client organization to shorten sales cycles and get to the "value buyer/decision maker.  Those folks tend to often reside in the "C-Suite."
 
Yet many initiatives fail and when they fail they often have significant negative impact in terms of future client/prospect relationships, brand damage, sales professional turnover, lost profits and increased costs.  Many reading this will nod their head in accepting agreement.  The big question of course is "why?"
 
In the last 30 years in B2B selling I have seen a number of common mistakes in these initiatives and three of the most pervasive seem to be as follows:
  1. Lack of in-depth pre-call research to understand the prospective client at a different level than when calling at mid-management level or below.  You have to be better better informed with relevant insight versus data to be ready for the dialog.
  2. Too much focus on "our stuff" versus their "stuff."  Sales people today know their product or service very well indeed.  So well that often we become "enamored with our own elegance!"  And we cannot shut up about "our stuff" when given the opportunity to talk.  Problem is, the C-Suite care nothing for your product or service, they only care about how you can improve their business performance, delight their customers, engage their employees, and most importantly, increase their shareholder return.
  3. Lack of a communication "road map."   Effective"C-Suite" communicators build a proactive road map that recognizes many contacts attempts will be made and numerous avenues explored before we get to that one conversation with our C-Suite Target.  It cannot be executed "from the hip" as some might think.  We are not artistes we are professionals relying on skill, expertise, and the potential to improve our target's business significantly.  In the Fortune 500 there are likely just 3,000 C-Suite individuals available and just for a moment, consider how many sales folks are trying to reach them.  You have to leverage a carefully thought out Communication Road map to be in anyway effective.
 
Obviously, there is much more to this, but food for thought. 
 
I have encapsulated my years of experience building "C-Suite Approach" initiatives in a white paper "Three Tactics That Will Assure Your 'Call High' Strategy Will Work." If you would like to receive a copy of that white paper, then please click this link "Contact Tony" and enter your contact information.
 
Selling "high" can be very effective, but you have to think it through and enable your sales folks to make it work.  Get it right and all is well, get it wrong and much time and money is wasted.
 
My advice is......."get it right the first time!"
 
If you found value in this post please don't forget to "like" it!

Tony has entered the Blog-o-sphere

Posted on September 19, 2014 at 5:22 PM Comments comments (10)
Well it is about time don't you think?
 
This blog will be focused on insights from the field of selling and other miscellaneous ramblings!
 
Stay tuned
 
Tony

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