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Are you part of the problem, or part of the solution?

Copyright 2002, by Dave Kahle.

We've all heard the numbers: Consumer confidence is down, retail sales are down. And for many of us, the markets we serve are down, as well. There is an important relationship to note here. Confidence - an attitude - is down, so sales are down. When confidence is up, sales follow. The principle at work here is this: Our actions follow our attitudes. The relationship between actions and attitudes is so close, that the two go hand-in-hand, and our actions can be seen as outward expressions of our attitudes.

Ok, so what does that have to do with you? Here's what: If the markets you serve are down, that action (lack of buying) is a result of an attitude (lack of confidence). And you can influence that attitude, and be part of the solution, or be influenced by it, and thus contribute to the problem.

Attitudes are contagious. You know that if you spend a lot of time with negative people, you begin to see what’s wrong with everything and everyone. Hang around a lot with depressed people, and you become depressed. On the other hand, if you are with energetic and optimistic people, it rubs off on you as well.

Here's one more piece of this puzzle. You can choose your attitudes. You can choose to be happy, you can choose to be sad, you can choose to be confident, and you can choose to be cautious. Don't believe it? Take this little test. Tomorrow, as you are eating breakfast, tell yourself these things over and over. "It’s going to be a rotten day. Everybody's afraid to buy. Most people probably won't even see me. I'll probably be laid off soon anyway." Now, having repeated that litany of dreariness to yourself, pay attention to what kind of attitude you exhibit during the course of the day. You are probably not going to be effervescent and overwhelmingly positive. Instead, you'll be depressed and discouraged, and you'll spread it to the people around you like the plague.

You could, on the other hand, dramatically change your attitude for the day if you were to get up in the morning, and repeat this kind of dialogue with yourself: "It's going to be a good day. I can't wait to see what good things are going to happen. I know there’s some good things I can do for my customers. I'm going to make a difference in their businesses and their lives." The result of that kind of train of thought is confidence and positive energy. And you’ll spread that, also.

Here's the point. You can choose to be part of the problem, or part of the solution. You can choose to be influenced by the negativity around you. You can reflect that cautiousness and lack of confidence. You can contribute to that downward spiral in attitude. In that case, you have chosen to be part of the problem.

On the other hand, you can choose to be part of the solution. You can choose an attitude of confidence and optimism. By so doing, you influence those around you and you do your small part to contribute to the solution. Of course you are not single-handedly going to change world attitudes. But you can positively influence those in your spheres of contact.

You are a professional. You contact more individuals in the course of the day than most people do. Your customers, prospects, colleagues; your friends and family; the people you work with and supervise; even your managers - all of them can be influenced via your attitude. Because of your position of great potential influence, you have a greater responsibility to be proactive, and to lead others.

It's time for you to step up to the plate and to become a positive leader for those around you.

Here are a couple guidelines to help you:

1.  Start with yourself. Make sure you are nurturing your own personal attitude. Now is the time to revisit and revitalize your faith in God. Hang around positive people. Make a point to read uplifting books and articles. Get some additional training, expose yourself to positive audiotapes. Create a set of strong affirmations, and read them to yourself at the start of every day.

2.  Assume that you are the leader that people around you are looking for. Be sensitive to opportunities that come up in the course of the day to influence the attitudes of those around you. If you are a manager, doing something positive for your people. Invest in them someway. Enlist their input and involvement in some new initiative. Don't just talk the talk, show your attitude by your actions. Walk the walk.

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, I have become convinced that the terrorists consciously chose a symbol of American business to attack. It is the combination of applied energy, knowledge and wisdom of American businesspeople that has brought freedom of choice, dignity and financial opportunity to our own people, and has been a model for billions of people around the world.

American business people need to step up and accept our leadership opportunities. It's time for each of us to contribute to the solution, not to be part of the problem.


Dave Kahle offers a variety of resources that can help your business stay competitive in changing times. To learn you can reach Dave by phone at 800-331-1287 or send him an email request.

Transforming Your Sales Force for the 21st Century
Transforming Your Sales Force for the 21st Century
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Distribution companies, by their nature, should be sales-oriented companies. But, most distributors don't do sales very well. That's the premise behind this new book.

The book, written for sales managers and executives in the distribution industry, provides a blue print for executives to transform their sales forces into highly directable, effective, focused performers.

The book begins with an analysis of current conditions that pressure the distributor to revise the way he/she thinks about his sales force. Kahle then paints a picture of the distributor sales force of the future. The sales force will be:
  1. more specialized
  2. more directable
  3. more flexible
  4. more professional
  5. more productive.
His advice begins with "See it as a system," a concept that is based on one of the key principles for the book, "When you change the structure, you change the behavior of the people who work within that structure."
 
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