April 16, 2019

What Can Sales Managers Learn From the Two Secrets Behind Pep Guardiola’s Success?

Any soccer fans out there will likely recognise the name Pep Guardiola. He turned Barcelona into a soccer powerhouse before moving to Bayern Munich and doing the exact same thing.

Right now, he’s the manager of Manchester City. And he’s achieving just as much success there as he has elsewhere.

He’s an elite soccer manager who achieves success wherever he goes.

But what can a salesperson learn from him?

Here are two secrets to Guardiola’s success.

Secret #1 – He Adapts to Every Situation

Soccer is a fluid game. Every manager sets out their tactics before the match. And on occasion, an opposing manager gets the better of Guardiola’s team during the first half of a game.

Guardiola doesn’t just plough ahead with the strategy that isn’t working. Soccer star Dani Alves says that Guardiola will sit quietly in the dressing room and think for a moment. Then, he’ll spring into action and devise brand new tactics based on what he’s seen in the first half.

Salespeople can do the same thing. If you’re struggling, take a step back and assess the situation. Is there a common issue that’s stopping you? If so, how can you adapt to overcome that barrier?

Secret #2 – He Keeps it Simple

All too often, we overcomplicate what we’re doing as salespeople. Scripts get longer and more convoluted as we try to sell all manner of products.

Guardiola says that keeping things simple is key to his success:

“The basic concept…was that doing the simple things well gave you a 75% chance of winning.”

Keep your plan simple. Get all of the small steps right and you’ll increase your chances of selling more.
February 25, 2019

Donald Trump – Negotiator or Salesperson?


3 Secrets about Negotiation Skills You Probably Don’t Know (And The Difference Between Salespeople and Negotiators)

If there’s one consistent thing about Donald Trump, it’s that everybody has an opinion about him.

But love him or hate him, there’s one thing that you can’t deny. Trump has spent his life doing deals - financial, political and personal.

It appears that Trump enters every negotiation with an agenda. He knows what he wants to achieve and he has a plan to get it. In fact, he chases his agenda relentlessly until he finally gets what he wants.

He’s not looking to sell you anything. Instead, he’s negotiating to achieve his aims.

That’s something that many people don’t understand. Selling and negotiating are not the same thing. Here are the reasons why.

The Differences Between Selling and Negotiating

The differences between salespeople and negotiators come to the fore during a negotiation.

More often than not, the salesperson ends up on the losing end. That’s because they don’t understand the key differences between a negotiation and the setting they’re more familiar with.

Difference #1 – Negotiators Have Principles

A salesperson is usually only focused on achieving a sale. That means their discussions almost always come down to one thing – price.

The salesperson wants the sale and the customer wants the best price.
If the customer isn’t sold on the price, the discussion ends.

However, negotiations have principles. Each participant goes in understanding that they want to achieve something. That means they need to set the principles of what the deal needs to be.

A good negotiator sets principles and values that benefit both parties. They’re firm on their principles in terms of what they need from the deal. However, they also know that they need to create a deal that’s fair for both parties.

Difference #2 – Negotiators See Things From All Perspectives

Again, this comes back to the singular focus of a salesperson. They’re so focused on getting a sale that they’re not seeing the situation from all perspectives. That means they can’t think creatively in order to strike a deal.

This almost always leads to them just lowering the price to get a better deal.

Negotiators can see the deal from every possible perspective. They’re looking to satisfy the other party with more than just the product. For example, there’s an interesting phenomenon in negotiating. Often, the other party feels more satisfied if you ask for more from them. That’s because you’re asking for a deeper commitment, which makes them feel more valued.

A salesperson often asks for less, which makes both them and the deal they’re striking less valuable.

Difference #3 – Negotiators Understand All of the Issues

In sales, you only need to know two things:
* The other party has a pain point.
* The other party has the ability to buy.

Once a salesperson establishes those two things, they jump straight into trying to make a deal. They have something to sell and they’re trying to convince the other party that they can solve their problem.

As mentioned, negotiators see the deal from an array of angles. They understand they’re trying to get more out of it than a sale. And they also know that the other party may have several issues that they need to confront. This understanding allows them to come up with more creative solutions, even when price is a sticking point.

What Do Negotiators Do Differently?
An Expert Negotiator Knows Their Exit

The regular salesperson operates out of need.
They need to achieve the sale, which means they’re going to cling on even when things don’t turn out well for them.

An expert negotiator doesn’t enter a negotiation with that sense of need. At no point will they allow themselves to appear desperate. They know exactly what they’re bringing to the table and how they will create value for the other party.

As Trump puts it: “The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it. That makes the other guy smell blood, and then you're dead.”

The negotiator also knows exactly what they require of the other party if they’re to create value for them.

This means they have an exit point. If the other party won’t provide what they want out of the deal, an expert negotiator has the emotional strength to walk away.

This proves much more effective than the desperate acts of the salesperson. By walking away, the negotiator is telling the other party that they know just how much value they offer. They are also telling them that they know somebody else will give them what they want to get that value.

When they exit a deal, they often create a situation where the other party wants back in to the point where they offer what the negotiator wanted all along.

The Negotiator Negotiates on Multiple Issues

As mentioned, salespeople often zero in on price as the one area they’ll focus on in a negotiation. However, most people consider more than just the price when they’re looking to strike a deal.

The negotiator understands that, which is why you’ll rarely catch them negotiating on a single issue. That’s haggling instead of negotiating.

The negotiator knows that the other party will challenge them on multiple levels, from quality and performance through to the support they offer. If they experience push back in regards to price, they can immediately jump to one of these other levels to show that the value they offer is worth the price.

The Negotiator Can Handle the Choking Point
Eventually, the deal will hit a tipping point.

That’s when you’re most likely to choke. Your mind starts to panic as you look for a way to close the deal.

This is an emotion and you need to learn how to manage it before you can become a great negotiator.  Expert negotiators handle the choking point better than most people.  They are able to remain calm during negotiations, where others might panic.

The Final Word

Expert negotiators have the emotional resilience needed to handle the pressure of the situation.

They always set their principles before negotiating and know what they want, what they offer, and when they’ll walk away. They’re never desperate and are able to negotiate on multiple levels.
So do you think Donald Trump is a negotiator or a salesperson?

Either way, watching how high profile deal makers use, or don’t use, these  approaches can help  transform you from a salesperson into a negotiator.

Frontier Performance can help you. We’re offering complimentary training to selected prospects. Just head to our website to find out if you qualify.

April 11, 2016


How do you deal with highly emotional people who make all their decisions based on knee jerk reactions?

My answer: “it’s not easy”. For one thing, these people usually refuse to see it from any other viewpoint than theirs. They have to be right and they often make it a bigger problem than it is or even imagine that it’s a problem when none exists. The problem is they are a hostage to their emotions, so all their decision making gets filtered through this process. Imagine a sieve and the only things that can get through this sieve are negative thoughts, emotions and perceptions. What doesn’t get through are the positive outcomes or looking at a situation through a different viewpoint or a different lens. The chances of actually thinking about the situation from a different angle are limited, therefore so are the solutions.

So the key question is, what can you do with this type of person?

It does require patience from you and you have to be willing to look at what they have said and show them how else they could look at this situation. The chances of this working are, honestly speaking, very low. I don’t want to give you a rosy picture that you can turn this person around, because they often don’t want to listen to reason. In their mind they fabricate the worst situation and it becomes their reality. In addition, if they are in the company of others who share that same personality type, they can join forces and make it a ‘me-against-you’ type of scenario.

At the end of the day if this person cannot see it from your viewpoint the chances of them coming around and actually having an intelligent conversation with you are remote.

So, what can you do?

My suggestion is to walk away. They are not worth the effort. If you have done the right thing, in good faith, and have not harmed them in any way, walk away. If they don’t have the emotional maturity (or, as I call it, the emotional IQ) to deal with this rationally, there is not much you can do. Walk away. Have compassion in your heart for these people, maybe some sympathy and love if you can muster it. Often these people can be spiteful and talk behind your back, ignoring all the good things you have done for them. Don’t get angry with them; there is too much hate and anger in the world as it is. Just walk away.

The sad thing is many of these people are in positions of power and they abuse this position. From my experience, it is often because they don’t have the skills needed for that position. The social skills they have are sadly lacking in substance. You see, it takes a lot more to be a leader than reading numbers; it takes the ability to think and not over react. A knee jerk response is often an overreaction. Sometimes the overreaction hides something else going on in their lives, it accumulates and then they erupt. Often you will see these people calm on the outside but inside they are churning with anger because they don’t have the ability to address the underlying problem in the first place. They often display a passive aggressive personality.

At the end of the day it’s your choice to walk away; if they don’t want to return your calls or emails, be satisfied you have done all you can and move on. Read one of my previous articles on “When to Move on”.
April 07, 2016


Not an easy answer to come up with for many people.

How do you find out what you really want to do? What is the one thing you want to do that you enjoy the most, have fun doing and would perhaps do it even if you didn’t get paid for it?

Many people go through life without really figuring this out and they kind of accept that this is the way for most people. Therefore they usually live unfulfilled.

There are two main components to figuring out what you want to do:

  1. Does it make you happy when you do it?

  2. Are you consumed by it?

The key question is whose responsibility is it to figure this out?

Often the “THING” you love, finds you. I have seen this with many people. Does luck have anything to do with this? YES, absolutely. People who know exactly what they want, and find it, are truly blessed. You will often find such people at the forefront in their profession because they have been doing it for 15 to 20 years and now are masters. Think of the sports stars who have been practicing their sport since they were 4-7 years old or a musician who is a child prodigy.

As children we need guidance; children don’t actually know what they are good at. I know with my 14 year old son we tried several sports before he found his calling, all by accident. At the age of 7 he went to a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class and from there it became an obsession with him. There are significant benefits for children who find a sport that they love at an early stage. From discipline, to learning to take instruction, to developing a competitive spirit and problem solving. Whose responsibility is it to guide the child? The parents’!

So if your parents did not have the knowledge to help you or at that situation in life it was difficult, what can you do now?

I find the ideal way to think about this is to reflect and go back into your childhood and think about all the things you did that you liked and didn’t like and then ask the question "WHY?". Write the two sets of answers down and then reflect on them, visualise these memories. This is an exercise that you want to spend time on. After all, you are trying to find out what you really want to do, so give this the appropriate time to reflect and gather your thoughts. Some of you may get a quick answer while others may require more work on this. There is no easy answer to this question. The only suggestion I have for you is that you have to work on this and if you do this exercise honestly, it has the potential to change your life.

From my perspective, I had a burning desire to help sales people because of the pain I went through to get really good at what I do. I got tired of well-meaning sales managers sending me to sales courses that after a while were just spitting out the same message. They weren’t giving me the answers I needed to grow and improve and I was hungry for the knowledge, so I took it upon myself; it was a compulsion to find out what made me tick and what made others tick and how I could get people to say yes to me more often. I wanted answers.

Back to you - when you think about what you want to do and can be happy doing, you also want to examine the reality of your situation (I don’t know what stage in life you are at). Sometimes what we want to do is not possible to do immediately but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on it. It just means you have to make it happen gradually; Rome wasn’t built in a day. The reality of life is it is not always possible to change one’s situation quickly. You have to plan, keep on asking the key question – “will it make me happy if I did that?”

Think about how you build a house - one brick at a time. That is how you build the life you consider your ‘ideal’ life. From personal experience I know it is worthwhile to spend time on this, the benefits far outweigh the accepting, the status quo.
December 15, 2015


I know the title is a bit misleading but stay with me and read the article. I was coming back from a training session, not a sales training session this time but from a tennis training session with my son. I was on court with him getting him ready for a futures tennis event. Usually while walking back from his tennis we often engage in interesting conversations about life, tennis, success and whatever seems to be interesting at that moment. Every time when we walk back, on our way we see a black cat sitting on the footpath. It never seems to be in a hurry to get out of the way and tolerates people who pat it.

We spoke about the cat and how it doesn’t really give a hoot. I reflected on the conversation - all the cat ever does is eat and sleep, and my son said “Well, technically that’s what everyone else does as well”. And I thought to myself, yes that is true! The difference is that the cat doesn’t seem to have a care in the world; it just goes about its business as if nothing really matters in the world. A few years from now, will anyone actually be worried about what you have done today/this week/this month/this year?  Will anyone actually care? Why can’t we learn this lesson from this cat… the lesson is don’t take yourself too seriously, learn to move on, do what you have to do and be done with it without worrying about the effects and the end result.  Life is too short.

We create our own pressures, when in reality there is no need for these. How much better would we be if we learnt to not take ourselves too seriously, just got on with life, did what we have to, make a contribution? How much easier would we achieve our goals if we had the attitude that life is short, enjoy what you do, learn to move on from your mistakes, learn from them and JUST MOVE ON.

Having said that, no emotion is a bad emotion; just the way you let it affect you can be debilitating.  Unless used wisely, anxiety and worry are just wasted emotions.

November 22, 2015


I've often been asked by people how to be more successful in sales, get the results they see their peers or other successful people in their industry achieve. Invariably most of these people fail, some achieve short-term success and often they fall back into the usual results they achieved because they couldn’t operate like the person they wanted to copy.

So why does this happen? Why is it hard to copy how successful people do things and why can’t we simply implement what they do? I see many people including self-help gurus talk about modelling successful people, copying their blueprint for success and then they teach this blueprint for success. The problem is there are a number of reasons why it doesn't work. If it did work all the time, there would be successful people everywhere; everyone would be making money, driving fancy cars, living in big houses and going on fancy holidays. Numerous books have been written on the subject and numerous people sell a “quick-fix” idea. People are sold in the dream they want to believe; they want a quick answer to their problems. I am afraid quick fixes don't exist.

A very good example is the recent Rugby World Cup won by the All Blacks as they were expected to. Interestingly, most of the top nations have New Zealand coaches - Scotland, Ireland and Wales - in an effort to copy the All Blacks’ culture and how they play. In fact in a recent article Stuart Barnes was quoted saying that the English need to raid NZ to find coaches to help them get out of their problems. The reality is this has a limited chance of happening. Why is this not possible? Because the environment that people are brought up in has an incredible influence on who they become as people. How you behave and the actions you take, all of it influences and shapes you. When they get into playing rugby in NZ, the first thing boys see is a Rugby ball and the All Blacks on TV; it’s in their DNA. They don’t see a soccer ball, they don’t aspire to join Manchester United or Barcelona. Take this further, when a boy starts to play rugby in New Zealand, he gets used to playing in all kinds of conditions. In fact the conditions can change within half an hour from rain to hail to sunshine to extreme wind or even snow, the grounds they play on can be deep in mud. Contrast that to Australian conditions - the moment it starts to rain and the ground looks like it may get waterlogged, they cancel the game. This rarely happens in New Zealand where the young boy develops the ability to play and adapt in all types of weather conditions. The style of play that is encouraged in New Zealand is very much free expression; play the ball in front of you. The environment that shapes the individual, the heritage, the pride in the jersey, the role models… all play significant parts in shaping the identity of this child. This is one of the reasons why the Robbie Deans experiment did not work in Australia, where he was trying to instill this philosophy within the Wallabies.

The New Zealand coaches are attempting to teach this culture to other nations. NZ is a single sport nation, very much like Brazil. Think about some of the incredible talent coming out of South America. The boys coming out of the favelas in Brazil have amazing skills that the European clubs pay big dollars for. The other thing these clubs pay for is the desperation these players have to leave the tough conditions. Once again the environment has played a significant role.

Coming back to sales, when you look at successful individuals, think about their life; where they were growing up, how they have progressed to be at this stage where they are right now. How do you think the environment has shaped them? What was different about their environment compared to yours? For example, did they have parents who mentored them or have teachers who supported them? How do you think they handled adversity? We frequently hear stories about successful people but we only hear the good stuff.

However, the environment, if it was not helpful to you, does not need to define you. But you need to be aware of its influence and recognise that making change is challenging but not impossible. It requires a conscious effort to change and if you can find supportive managers or a mentor, it will help.

Start to learn to reflect on your life and start to look for the lessons: What could it mean? What could I do? What can I change?

A successful salesperson will not only apply these questions to him/herself, but also to his clients and prospects.

Speaking of the All Blacks, I would like to pay respects to one of the greatest All Black wingers, Jonah Lomu, who passed away recently. Not only was he a great sportsman but also a person whom the world admired for his ability and humility off the pitch. He will surely be missed around the world.
September 17, 2015

Panic/Anxiety Attack: Why do we suddenly “choke” or “freeze”?

Many people have asked me questions about why they suddenly freeze in front of a client or forget to ask an important question when they know it could have an impact on the whole deal. Let me share a secret with you … choking happens to everyone! It just happens less to the ones with better mind control and more frequently to others.

OK, so let’s look at a couple of examples of famous “chokes” in the professional sports area, recent and not so recent.

Just a few days ago Serena Williams had the opportunity to win her semi-final match against a player ranked 43 in the world and normally one she would not have any trouble beating. Now this tournament had a higher than normal significance for one main reason, it would give her the opportunity to win the Grand Slam of women’s tennis; last accomplished by Steffi Graf over 18 years ago! So how does a player who is clearly the best women’s player the world has probably ever seen, suddenly tighten up and make simple errors? Even her opponent said she could tell that Serena was nervous and anxious.

From another sport, Greg Norman had one of the most famous chokes in Golfing history to lose the Masters in 1997.

Another famous choke happened with John McEnroe during the French Open final in 1984 against Ivan Lendl. McEnroe was a few points away from winning the French when suddenly everything that he hit went haywire and he lost.

Let’s look at another example of choking so you can understand the underlying emotion you feel and what happens to your cognitive ability to remain calm, think your way out and do the things you have spent years training. I often tell this story in my classes so the sales people can experience the emotion.

Imagine you have been given a speeding ticket that takes you close to your demerit level. Now you become really careful not to speed, to check every sign, even the signs that you drive through every day. Your driving becomes too analytical and careful. In fact, now you actually become a dangerous driver! You grip the steering wheel tight; you look at the rear vision mirror too often, etc. Your decision making is not natural but too analytical. You have now engaged the prefrontal cortex when there is no need to engage this part of the brain in this way. Notice your emotions when you are driving this way, when you know that any mistake could cost you your licence. The level of anxiety is suddenly at another level, people who have driven for over 10-15 years suddenly become anxious.

Now, you are in a meeting and you realise if you close the deal it’s worth a lot of money to you, not to mention the recognition that you will get at the office. You suddenly start thinking about this and not what you have to do in the meeting, nor are you paying attention to the client. You have now become fixated on the result and not the process. Many of you have experienced this, the meeting is going well and suddenly you sense a change in the mood or feel something is amiss. You start thinking, “What should I do? How do I close the client?” and panic sets in. At this stage, it’s very difficult to change your thinking and before you know it, the meeting is over and you are sitting in your car in stunned silence, asking yourself “what happened?”. How can seasoned sales people make these types of mistakes?

When you want something really badly, anxiety will always tend to kick in. I have seen this with many people in various fields from professional sports to bankers, lawyers and sales people to name a few.

Is it possible to stop this anxiety kicking in when your emotions are running riot through your whole body - whether you are holding a golf club or thinking about the question you need the client to answer? From my observation, people at the top of their game have mastered this so it doesn’t happen too often, BUT it does happen. To the people who experience this frequently, I would say a great deal of training is required to master your emotional brain and get rational and calm.

In the next post I will provide some techniques that may help you to get a control over this anxiety or “choking” feeling.
September 11, 2015


After my previous post “When do you move on?” a number of people have responded and asked me "what do you do when you realise you have to move on?"

Once you are clear that the chances of anything happening with that person are next to zero, you should:

  • Step back

  • Get rational about the whole situation and

  • Think!

I can say, from personal experience, I often review the conversations and the meetings I have had and find that I can learn from them.

Having a clear understanding of your sales process specific to the industry is of prime importance. The central theme is, did you tell the client what the next step was going to be? If yes and then if the client did not commit to the next step, YOU have a problem! The one word Commit is worth its weight in gold and requires precision in preceding events.

If you know your sales process, what I call opportunity realisation occurs and it follows a logical progression culminating in getting the deal, beginning the relationship and delivering your service or product.

If the client does not commit to the next step, warning bells should sound in your head. It is then time to ask yourself and the client - Why Not?  Was it something that was missing in your selling process or was the issue at the client’s end?

In either case, at this stage you can decide to keep in touch with the client for future sales; if you find out why they are not interested in buying now, maybe that knowledge will help make a sale at a later stage.

If the problem was with your process, make a note and add to your mental sales checklist.  We all make mistakes; the trick is to learn from them.

If you would like to improve your sales results, download our FREE eBook "How to Increase Your Sales in 90 Days" by entering your details in the box below.

July 31, 2015


In NYC today I had the good fortune to meet Luke Rockhold the #1 ranked UFC fighter in the middleweight (185 lbs) division who is a contender for the title against the world champion Chris Weidman.

My 13 year old son is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter champion and boxer. I spoke with Luke about my son's aspirations to eventually compete in MMA, and my concerns about head trauma. He said something quite profound "there are two types of fighters - the Warrior or the Strategist".

The Warrior goes out there and although he/she fight with their heart, they are not concerned with applying strategy.

The Strategist on the other hand, fights using their head. He said to me, "I don't go into a fight to get hit; as you see in my fights, I hardly ever get hit".  Consequently, a strategist will more likely win against the warrior.

This made me think about the people I train in sales. Some people really think about what they are learning and the deep strategy behind it; they apply the knowledge and techniques whereas some others, although well meaning, are still selling like 'warriors'; they are still not evolving and unable to get to the next level. In life, whether it's fighting in the UFC for a world title or meeting your sales targets, it requires a continual focus on knowledge acquisition and application of it.

I was pleasantly surprised by how nice Luke was and forthcoming with his knowledge, his willingness to engage with my son and in fact spar with him. This has changed my mind about how fighters at the top think and behave. It's not just brute force, they are constantly thinking, changing, evolving.

Good luck to you in your future endeavours and we hope you win the title!