Ideas for Managing Change this Fall

Change is in the air, and it's everywhere !

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Tags: closing sales, best sales practices;, sales effectivness, Tufts Entrepreneurship, sales motivation

Do You Believe that Luck Counts in Sales?

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, Nov 20, 2015
Earlier, I wrote a blog about "Luck & Sales".  

No Such Thing as Luck in Sales

As we now face down the critical, last six weeks of the year, it's important for all of us as Sales Warriors to remember that... There is no such thing as luck in the profession of Sales.

The Patriots kick in the last six seconds last Sunday had nothing to do with luck.

That last precision march down the field ending in the perfectly-placed 54 yard kick was all about consistent and dedicated training, nerves of steel and a unrelenting drive of the team to win.

In the world of Sales, orders will be won and lost during these last 22 days of the year solely on the basis of our skills training, our prepping and working on the weekends, our consistent use of every account management and planning tactic that we currently have in our toolboxes, and finally on utilizing every possible connection we have in our individual networks.  Classic blocking and tackling in the game of Sales!  

Over the next 22 days, this is when everything must come together perfectly

  • All the training, the videos and the practice sessions
  • All the value propositions and the rest of your marketing tools 
  • All the embedded sales process tools and their related technologies

Luck would be nice, but it ain't gonna happen.

Nothing but experienced skills, detailed account plans, full force time-management practice and 12 hour days. Luck would be nice, but it ain't gonna happen.  My experience is that luck actually never happens when you need it, which is why we call orders that surprise you and fall out of nowwhere, "Bluebirds". They come and go and you're always amazed and thankful that they happen, but they never occur when you're up against a quota deadline. 

When I wrote the blog about luck a few months ago, my dedication to the formality of planning and, in fact, my addiction to "over-planning" was heightened by comments the blog received from a number of sales and business leaders that I have come to greatly admire over the years.

  • "One of my favorite sayings:   'you create your own luck' ”.
    Paul Frascoia, CEO
  • Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity,” a quote attributed to Lucius Annaeus Seneca, a Roman Stoic philosopher. 
    Bob Flaherty, CEO
  • Your article reminds me of a quote from Jack Nicklaus.  Someone asked him how much luck played into winning a tournament.  He replied, "You know, it's funny.  The more I practice, the luckier I get." Arnie Greenfield, CTO
  • I'm not a big believer in getting lucky with sales. I am a big believer in good timing and sales. I suppose they might be similar in that a combination of skills plus high levels of activity will eventually lead to events that result from good timing. So not sure luck is involved when a prospect lives through an event that finally makes them think about your solution. To me it's more about good timing resulting from skillful relationship building combined with high levels of activity, leading to "hey, thanks for the call, we were just thinking about you", type of good timing responses.   
    Ray Bixler, CEO
  • Two comments came to mind while reading this post: 
    1 - Hope is not a strategy
    2 - luck is where preparedness meets opportunity. 
    Art Brault, VP Sales.
  • Luck does come in to play in a major way in sales, as in a group of factors that you have no control over. How you sell lets you control how much of an effect luck has on the outcome.
    (1) Cold calling- all luck, just a numbers game
    (2) Consultative selling increases the odds dramatically of the Luck being good.   
    Rob Turbett, CEO
  • Years ago, a fairly close friend told me that my success and good fortune in life had come from my being “lucky.” I responded that no one is simply lucky and that you have to put yourself in the path of luck, in order to benefit from it if/when it comes and that you cannot sit around and wait for the phone to ring or for luck to happen.
    Jack Gaziano, SVP
  • For 17 years I passed a stained glass window in the old H.J. Heinz HQ building in the Northside of Pittsburgh. The words: Luck helps you over the ditch if you jump well. True in late 1800s. True today. Tom Powell, CEO
  • Jack, I recently gave a talk at the Plastics News Executive Forum in Las Vegas. The title was “The Accidental Strategist” (you were mentioned a few times!) and my opening slide was “Great Thoughts on Luck”
    -“The harder I work the luckier I get” – Samuel Goldwyn
    -“Luck is the residue of design” – John Milton
    -“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity” – Seneca
    Jeff Somple, President 

All very powerful reminders as we now move relentlessly down the field, play-by-play, with the clock ticking away the 22 days, setting ourselves and our team up to drive across the goal line.  

As the book, Hope is not a Strategy, (a very worthwhile read, btw), points out, take the words "hope" and "luck" totally out of your vocabulary, especially now.

At this time of year, success is now all about you during these last 22 days of the selling season 


Good Selling Today!  



Finally, as you move through your own 2016 Sales Planning process at this time of year, if you have specific planning questions that you want to bounce off me or the other Derby Management Coaches regarding sales plans, sales comp programs, sales tools, or any part of the sales and marketing funnels, just email me, and we can set up a time to talk with me or any of our other heavily experienced Coaches.  There's no cost, of course, for a call.

Selling today is complex enough without trying to go through this process of account, organizational and compensation planning by yourself. Just give us a call.  



 TUFTS University Marketing Projects

I'm in my third week of continuing to look for new solid marketing projects for my spring Tufts marketing class at Tufts, where I'm a professor.  A unique and highly successful opportunity for your company to wring out a new product idea or a fully developed marketing plan with Tufts' Best & Brightest from one of the leading universities in the country.  This semester-long program is designed to incorporate marketing projects from companies ranging in size from venture-funded startups to divisions of major corporations.  This current semester, we had 22 companies apply for the six positions.
The deadline for submissions for this spring's semester is December 15th.  Projects will be sent to the students for assessment and team creation at the end of December.   

If you're interested in finding out more, just email me at  Of course, I'm biased and, yes, more than a bit passionate about Tufts, but I must say somewhat objectively that our results, as attested to buy our customer companies, have been outstanding with many companies coming back year after year and hiring our seniors to be part of their companies.



Head Coach  

Derby Management...for 25 years
-Sales & Marketing Productivity Experts
-Business & Strategy Planning Specialists
-Senior Management Coaching for CEOs & VPs

Box 171322, Boston, MA 02117
Jack's Cell: 617-504-4222 




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Tags: sales coaching, sales, sales coach, sales tools, selling, closing sales, Sales quota, sales training, sales plans

Leadership...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Thu, Jun 25, 2015

There's so much written about sales leadership, my eyes gloss over.  

By now, I've listened to countless speakers, including the legendary Zig Ziglar, viewed hundreds of videos, and probably read a couple of hundred books and who knows how many blogs on the subject of sales leadership.  The problem is that most of the training advice focuses on the motivational, which too often disappears into the wind as soon as the speech or the chapter has ended other than the notes taken and the highlights yellowed.

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Tags: closing sales, business tools, best sales practices;

Following Directions...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, Jun 12, 2015

By now, I figure I've taken over 2,400 trips to Vermont over the years traveling back and forth from either Boston or NH.  At three hours, the trip takes about the same amount of time from either starting point, and the distance evens out between 150 and 180 miles.

The problem, as the Boys on the Bench down at the Winhall General Store frequently tell me is that "you can't get there from here" whenever I mention that I'm leaving the mountains to drive to the NH beach...and they're right.  There's no easy way to go east and west between Vermont and New Hampshire, and every trip presents a variety of decisions that ultimately end up just frustrating me.

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Tags: sales productivity, Sales Optimization, sales effectiveness, sales tools, improved sales management, sales management training, closing sales, how to close sales, best sales practices;

Eat the Frog...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Wed, Jun 03, 2015

strategic_planning-2Trust that you finished the month on Plan and are now racing toward the all-important end of the quarter.  I always enjoy this second quarter since it's that perfect time of year to...

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Tags: closing sales, business planning, business coaching, business plans, best sales practices;

Managing & Taking Control of Your Time...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Thu, Aug 01, 2013

 We're all squeezed for time. 

  No new news here.  We continuously balance our work and 
  personal time commitments.  We endlessly shuffle our
  schedules cutting off 15 minutes here and there to be able to 
 squeeze in another call, another meeting or just maybe a vacation day here and there.  We know that there is no such thing as Work-Life Balance except in the fantasy world of academics, and what always loses out in trying to create that balance is that over-rated sleep thing. 

Up at 4:00 yesterday, after a 2 hour trip, I found myself at a customer's at 8:00 and then spent the afternoon in Providence at a quarterly board meeting.  The company is doing great, and perhaps not coincidentally the meeting began and ended with comments from the senior management in this high-performing business about the fact that they were more stressed for time than ever before.  They commented that there customers' demands for their time were accelerating at a quicker pace and that those same customers were constantly being pressured themselves by their customers and the new normal of their retail markets for even quicker deliveries and faster design cycles. 

Arriving back in Boston just before a customer dinner at 7, I managed to squeeze in a few minutes with my friend Brian, a long term EVP at one of our customers.  With 5 weeks of vacation every year, he proudly told me that the only way that he had figured out how to use any of that time was to put himself on a regimen of taking Friday's off.  Cute idea, but in the reality of Brian's unforgiving schedule, let's see just how many weeks that in NEVER!

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Tags: Sales Optimization, Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, sales, sales management, sales effectiveness, sales enablement, sales planning, closing sales, sales boot camp, sales management boot camp

The Rolling Stones, Summer Networking...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Wed, Jun 19, 2013

So, this logic may not make sense to anyone else but me, but here goes...

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Tags: summer networking; rolling stones, martha and the vandellas, Sales Optimization, sales management effectiveness, sales effectiveness, sales enablement, sales planning, improved sales management, closing sales, sales boot camp

Wicked Cold, Happiness...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, Feb 22, 2013

Cold enough for ya’?

Last Saturday and Sunday were wicked cold on the hill.  Temp was around 10 when I left the house, about the same at the base, and who knows what is was on top since I couldn’t see anything due to the blowing snow from the 50-60mph gusts.  Wind chill?  Off the charts.  At the same time, perfect snow, great cover everywhere, but just wicked cold.  And, of course, to make it colder, we all told one another riding up the lifts that it was…what?  Wicked Cold.   This weekend, it looks like we're all going to be either complaining or rejoicing in the 15" of snow.  Glass half full, half empty? 

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Tags: sales productivity, Sales Optimization, sales, sales management effectiveness, sales management coach, sales effectiveness, sales enablement, sales planning, improved sales management, sales management training, closing sales, sales plans, how to close sales

Reunions, Trust …and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Tue, Sep 18, 2012

This past weekend was spent at my high school reunion.  With an open house reception at the town library Friday night extending to a Town Day parade, receptions and a town hall party on Saturday and finally to a “See-Ya-in-5-Years” brunch on Sunday morning, the town of Arlington welcomed back its returning artists and dancers, pilots and soldiers, nurses and docs, professors and teachers, business leaders and tow truck drivers with open arms.  

With high school yearbook pictures hung around our necks, each of us bravely entered the uncertainty of greeting friends and lovers who we may not have seen since graduation decades ago or at least since the last reunion.  And what did each of us learn and take away from those three days of sharing stories and pictures, laughs and tears and absorbing an overall superb experience?   I think that it is that real friendships never go away.  No question, you can go home again, take a trip back into nostalgia and history and then jump ahead to the fullness of exploring that newly kindled relationship one more time.  Why?  Because it’s part of the DNA that exists in our head and is baked into who we are and not what we are.

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Tags: sales productivity, sales coaching, Sales Optimization, sales, sales management, sales management effectiveness, sales plan process, sales coach, sales management coach, sales effectiveness, sales enablement, sales planning, sales tools, selling, sales management training, selling skills, closing sales, Sales quota, sales training, sales jobs

I am the TrashMan...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Thu, Aug 30, 2012

It’s been a superb summer!  Simply…superb…no better word.

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Tags: sales productivity, Sales Optimization, sales, sales management, sales management effectiveness, sales plan process, sales effectiveness, sales enablement, sales planning, sales tools, selling, improved sales management, sales management training, selling skills, closing sales, Sales quota, sales training, sales plans