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Sales Rescue with the Apex Predator

July 1, 2015 · Apex Predator · 10 Minute Read

In his 3rd post, the Apex Predator offers sales motivation inspired by Bar Rescue

Welcome back to the no-spin zone, my dear readers. I'm beginning my third installment in this series with a confession - I love reality TV. There are maybe a dozen people in this world I truly look up to, and half of them are investors on Shark Tank. But the person I revere most out of the reality TV world is a man by the name of Jon Taffer

Who is Jon Taffer? I'm glad you asked. He's the host of Bar Rescue, a popular reality TV show where Taffer seeks to save fledgling bars in a span of 48 hours. And in almost every episode, in the process of getting the bar up to standards, Jon Taffer FREAKS. THE. HELL. OUT.

Usually with good reason, as the clip above will attest.  If only a Jon Taffer existed for the sales world. I've often thought. Wouldn't the world be a much better place?

It damn sure would. But until Bravo gives me a paid consulting gig and accompanying TV crew, we're going to have to make do with a Bar Rescue-inspired post. This is "Sales Rescue with the Apex Predator."

B2B Sales Rescue with the Apex Predator

Voiceover narration: This year, 6500 failing sales organizations nationwide will close their doors for good. If things don't change soon, your sales team will become just another statistic. 

Another great reason to love Bar Rescue: Every episode opens with Taffer and 2 experts from his team performing recon on the bar in question. Which makes for great shots of Taffer doing what he does best.

sales rescue

I don't know you, but I know how most B2B sales orgs operate. And I'm sure as hell judging you. So let's get our hands dirty. Here's #TafferTip number one for your sales org.

Taffer Tip #1: Don't embrace excuses. Embrace solutions.

Jon Taffer doesn't want to hear about all the things preventing bar owners from achieving success. And no one in your sales org wants to hear about all the things preventing you from closing deals.

Adversity is a part of life in sales, people. I'm sorry that Competitor X is offering a lower price, I really am. Now tell me how you're going to overcome that. 

Sales reps: the more excuses you make, the worse you are going to perform. That's not tough love, that's psychology. Let me share with you a personal story from early in my career, when I was really struggling.

The company I was at was a super cutthroat, by the numbers sales organization. Reps at my office had a territory roughly 40 percent smaller than our New York and Chicago offices. But guess what -- we had the exact same quota as reps at those offices.

During one particular rough stretch, I spent a lot of time commiserating over the phone with a colleague who was also struggling. We bitched to each other about how our company put us in positions to fail, ran a toxic culture, blah blah blah.

Then one day, my colleague got fired. All of a sudden, I had no one to complain or make excuses to anymore. And the thought crossed my mind, I may be next on the chopping block. 

So I put my head down, stopped making excuses, and proceeded to start absolutely crushing it. And looking back, I realized how my mentality had changed during that time. How not spending time making excuses and commiserating with my mentally-fatigued peers had made me that much more locked in. 

Excuses don't just piss off management. They put the wrong thought in your head. The ones preventing you from closing deals and realizing your full potential. Moral of the story: Show some resourcefulness, for Christ's sakes.

Taffer Tip #2: Accountability begins with management.

First of all, I pray to God that your sales manager (or if you are the sales manager, YOU) are not as obnoxious as this guy.

What this clip illustrates really well (besides about 50 compelling reasons 40 year old dudes with Peter Pan-complexes should never be DJ'ing a nightclub) is how dramatically a miserable manager can submarine a bar, or, yes, a sales team.

The sales equivalent to the situation in the above clip would be having a sales manager who's more interested in promoting his or her "personal brand" on social media than running a sales team.  Never, ever hire someone with that mentality to manage (or even be a part of) your sales force. Do so one too many times, and you're going to be going all in - to Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Unless you just propelled your company to an IPO, or, you happen to be one of those studs who can crank out excellent content while running a well-oiled machine of a sales team, save the self-promotion.

Taffer Tip #3: Be a professional, for Christ's Sakes.

Sales Managers: Hopefully your sales reps don't dress up like pirates. But if they do, there are two actions to take immediately: 

  1. Fire each and every one of them.
  2. Fire yourself.

Okay, extreme example. But I've seen many a sales team that has let boisterousness slide into immaturity. And to the sales managers who let that happen, I have the following message:

taffer sales

Let me spell it out for you:

Rep comes into work in ripped jeans and Tivas? SHUT IT DOWN. Arrives one too many mornings hungover? SHUT IT DOWN. Makes an inappropriate comment to a peer? SHUT IT THE F*** DOWN. 

This isn't just about maintaining company culture, either. To borrow a great phrase I heard recently from a favorite consultant -- When you cold call a company chief executive, "You'll get delegated to whomever you sound like you are."

If that's a junior sales rep, you're getting passed to a non-decision maker. If that's someone at the Director-level, there's your next stop. Sound like a fellow chief executive? Congratulations, you're staying on the line.

Think, act and communicate like a chief executive during your cold calling. Better yet, adopt the mentality that you're the Jon Taffer of the B2B world.  That's not a joke. The best sales reps I know share similar personas -- myself included.

Taffer Tip #4: Treat employees with respect.

Jon Taffer doesn't tolerate disrespect in the workplace. Be it from manager to employee, employee to manager, or employee-to-employee, Taffer knows there's only one way to respond to verbally attacking a colleague with in personam remarks.

sales management

sales force management

sales team management

Don't get it twisted -- Only Jon Taffer can publicly humiliate a manager or employee, and only when he or she has shown disrespect to Taffer or a member of their staff. Why? Three Reasons. 

  1. Because he's a Consultant. You wouldn't believe how much of consulting is getting paid to be the bad guy.
  2. Because he's the star of a reality TV series and contractually obligated to manufacture drama for ratings.
  3. Because he's Jon F***** Taffer! 

Trust me, it's a lot less heartwarming when this happens in your office.

Here's the thing, though: it's a different era now. Back in the good old days, employee disrespect came in the forum of public humiliation, profanity-laced tirades, and intra-office trash talk. Nowadays? It's sales managers "incentivizing" performance by giving reps cartoon avatars, badges and rinky-dink gift cards.

I'll never understand how making reps feel like they're in some third-world knock-off arcade game is anything but a sign of disrespect. When I hear cartoon avatars and badges, I think of a 5th grader's birthday party gone horribly awry, not a sales bullpen. But hey, there are grown men and women out there who want to dress like pirates everyday, so what do I know?

Pre-Order a Copy of Sales Rescue 

Do you have any idea how long it would take me to write a book?? Just be glad you're getting a monthly blog post, and a badass one at that. My time is winding down, but I hope that Sir Taffer and I have shown you the light and given you the insights needed to rescue your sales organization.

Last thing before I go, by the way. Taffer likes to re-conceptualize bartenders as something called a "mixologist." If you, or any of your people are trying to get "hip" with your professional title on LinkedIn or elsewhere -- and I'm talking:

  1. [Anything] Hacker (should be punishable by death),
  2. Sales Rock Star (still waiting to see a Sales Mogul) 
  3. Thought Leader (self-aggrandizing, yet also meaningless)

SHUT. IT. DOWN. Taffer missed the boat on this one. Friends don't let friends be unnecessarily pretentious. Now, all this talk about Bar Rescue has me thirsty. Time to go rescue my favorite watering hole down the street and relieve them of their excess draft imports while it's still Happy Hour. Until next time, comrades.

Read More from the Apex Predator

The Apex Predator writes regularly for Ambition. He has a contractual obligation to recommend scheduling a demo to see Ambition's sales management platform. Read his previous articles below.

  1. Sales Motivation from the Apex Predator
  2. More Sales Motivation from the Apex Predator
  3. Sales Rescue with the Apex Predator
  4. The Return of the Apex Predator
  5. The Apex Predator's 5 Essential Sales Articles
  6. Sales Mailbag with the Apex Predator
  7. 15 Real Songs to Pump Up Your Sales Reps
  8. Why You're Losing the War for Talent
  9. The Apex Predator Explains the Laws of Power

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