My friend and colleague John Yeager asked me last month on his podcast: “…Professionalizing your sales team and process, what does that mean?”

I nearly went on a tangent comparing his question to the back and forth between Snoop Dogg and Lil Dicky in the song “Professional Rapper”.   (I think this song is genius, thanks kids for introducing it to me.)

I kept it professional.  Here’s my response (edited some for clarity). 

Well, a lot of people say, “Hey, I’m growing,” Your clients probably say the same thing, “I need to hire salespeople. I want to go out and hire a professional salesperson.” 

You’re thinking, “Great. Let’s go find some experienced professional salespeople.” 

Then you’re wondering, “What does that mean?” 

You may not admit that to your client or the client may not admit it to you that they really don’t understand what it means to be a professional sales person.

I like to think of the definition of a professional sales person or professional sales excellence, if you will, as the person who has the intersection of the following three things: 

  1. They understand what a sales process for what they sell looks like, from first initiation, whether it was inbound or outbound, all the way through qualification and closing. Qualification and closing could even be disqualification and parting as friends. 
  2. They also have an idea on what they’re going to say and do within each step of that process. Let’s call that messaging. Professional sales people have the messaging down – what they are actually saying and doing within any step of that sales process. As part of that messaging know-how they are going to recap what went on in that sales process step. They’ve got an understanding of process and they understand the messaging that actually goes with each step of that process.
  3. A third piece to it, a third leg, if you will, or a circle that intersects the other two is the disciplines that it takes to pull it all off. I’ve come up with a set of 10 disciplines that excellent salespeople use to combine the messaging that either they’ve come up with or that their organization has come up with to enable them to pull off their sales process.

So, it’s not just the person who shows up and throws up who consistently succeeds. We actually know a lot of people who have two of three. Two or three doesn’t get the job done. 

What happens when you don’t follow a process is you go up and down with no intentionality – no process. 

We know people who understand the process they should go through and understand the disciplines needed to pull it off, but throw in a new offering, capability, or differentiator, and they don’t know what to say – no messaging. 

We know people who know what to say all the time. They know their process, but they don’t have the disciplines around great listening skills, telling stories, asking the right questions, just shutting up when it’s appropriate and all these other disciplines it takes to consistently pull it off, so they’re not always as effective – No discipline.

To be a professional sales person you really need all three – Process, Messaging, Disciplines.

How about you?   Are you a professional sales person or looking for one? Could you pass Snoop’s interview like Lil Dicky? 

SalesReformSchool: Food for Thought

My clients often ask me about metrics or KPIs – Key Performance Indicators.  Believe it or not, this is a challenging area for me to embrace.  Sure, we work through it:  You can’t improve what you don’t measure, blah-blah-blah.  I’d rather focus on the work, quality over quantification.  This New Yorker piece does a great job explaining the perils of relying too heavily on numbers.  Please read and be careful about what you measure and what you reward. 

SalesReformSchool: Extracurricular

This Happy List has a lot of goodies.  Feel free to schedule some time with me to chat about which items we’ve enjoyed. 


Above, I described messaging as an element of the sales professionalism definition.  One Messaging item sales people should prepare and practice is the initial meaningful interaction. I’m going to discuss this concept in a free webinar later this month. 

Webinar:  From LinkedIn Connection to Meaningful Conversation

Who this is for:  Salespeople (and anyone who sells), heads of sales, sales enablement, and C-level executives who want to add more sales opportunities to their pipeline.

When: June 16, 2021 from 12:00-1:00 pm EDT

Who is presenting: Candyce Edelen will walk you through an exponentially more effective process for booking calls with viable leads.  Adam Shapiro will choreograph a meaningful conversation that converts them into qualified opportunities.

What you will learn:

  • Connect with key players on LinkedIn
  • Engage leads in meaningful dialogue
  • Book more initial sales meetings
  • Nail the first conversation

Here’s the link to register for the June 16 event. We will record, so if you’re not available at 1 PM Eastern, register to get a link to the recording.

Good Selling!