Lifeguards...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Sun, Sep 09, 2012

Two Jacks resized 600Everyone needs a lifeguard!

Jack McAvoy and I have known one another for three summers now.  An accomplished marketing executive and consummate coach, Jack headed back to work at Parametric after yet another summer of lifeguarding on the weekends at our beach.  As I leave the beach myself and head back to Boston after a superb summer of "field research" and re-energizing, I'm comforted by the fact that one of my personal lifeguards and business coaches is only a click and a call away.  Even though I'm probably not actually going to see Jack until next Memorial Day, we will email and talk since I enjoy his persective on marketing, his objectivity on business and his cool, reasoned approach to business and life.  For me, a solid, meaningful coach!

As most of us this week stomp on the pedal and accelerate at warp speed back to the reality of the next four months, my personal experience is that it's critically important for sales managers especially (and for every senior executive) to have that small group of personal lifeguards around them for counsel, for mentoring and for their objectivity. 

So, what is a LifeGuard, a Coach?

  • These are the individuals who you can be the most open with. 
  • These are the managers who will be the most direct, the most objective and the most constructively critical with you. 
  • These are the leaders, in their own right, who are similar to you in their background, but probably different in the amount and diversity of their experience, that you can comfortably call at any time to gain their perspective as a confidential sounding board. 
  • These are the lifeguards who you can rely on for their available time and their unconditioned offering of advice and guidance. 

As you step back into the reality of the next four months of quota math, working on your 2013 business plans and executing your Q4 sales plan, think about who that person or two could be that would act as your lifeguard or your technical coach when there are difficult deals to be won or sensitive issues to be discussed.

Sales CoachOk, how would I do this? 

  • Write out in some level of detail the skills and the experience that you are looking for in such a person.
  • Start identifying potential people-most probably someone outside your company, but not necessarily so.
  • Define the objectives you would like to achieve from such a relationship.
  • Start identifying the potential people. The more experience that person has, the better.
  • Approach them directly, define what you're looking for, agree on the logistics and a means of communicating. I often have 30 minute blocks of telephone time cordoned off on my calendar that are open to friends and business associates.
  • Try it out and see how it feels...nothing more complicated than that.

Hope that you also had a great summer and I look forward to reconnecting.

Welcome to the fall...and Good Selling!

Head Coach
Linked In and Sales


Sales Management Boot CampIn our Sales Management Boot Campas part of our coaching process, we provide the opportunity to talk directly to other sales managers and learn about the dramatic changes in sales management as a profession while also providing you with specific, hands-on answers to the question: “What can I do to dramatically impact our revenue in Q4 and 2013?”.

For the details on this September 30th-October 2nd two and a half day Boot Camp and how we believe that you can attend for almost nothing, just click HERE, or email Jack directly at, and he will take you through the math.


Tags: sales coaching, Sales Optimization, sales, sales coach, sales management coach, sales enablment