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The "Never Play Favorites" Myth


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Many year's ago, while training at a branch of Dean Whitter (now Morgan Stanley), I learned an important management truth. The branch manager at this office was mandated by corporate to spend a minimum of 60 percent of his time working with and supporting the stock brokers who had been given offices (based on their top performance) surrounding the “bull pen, " where the vast majority of the brokers had cubicles. Those staff members in the cubicles were allocated 40 percent of the manager's time. The one exception to this rule were the new hires, who fell into the 60 percent time bracket.

When questioning the manager about this allocation of time, he told me that Dean Whitter wanted him to help the top producers maximize their performance, rather than spending valuable time and resources on the brokers who were failing. Brokers in the bull pen knew that they would have to earn an office and their manager's support. For a few of them, this reality gave them the incentive to dramatically improver their sales success and move up and out of the bull pen. .

Today, many managers have their priorities mixed up. Sometimes, it appears that they would rather be missionaries, than effectively manage the selling process in their organization. They spend most of their time trying “to save" or turn around those staff members who are failing, while practically ignoring the members of their sales staff who are succeeding. The lack of attention from their manager, often discourages top producers and sets a climate for failure for the entire selling team.

The Dean Whitter 60/40 split seems like a good rule of thumb for mangers to use in focusing on success and moving the selling process forward in their respective organizations. By helping the proven winners (the 20 percent) to win even more you are helping every sector of your company or organization to succeed.

VIRDEN THORNTON is the founder and President of The $elling Edge®, Inc. an Ohio consulting firm specializing in sales and sales management training, personal coaching, advisory services and publishing. Clients have included Sears Optical, Eastman Kodak, IBM, Service Linen Supply, Bank One, Jefferson Wells International, and Wal-Mart to name a few. Virden is the author of the “best selling" Building & Closing the Sale, Prospecting: The Key To Sales Success and Close That Sale, a video/audio tape series published by Crisp Publications a division of Thompson Learning. He has also authored a client acclaimed Self-Directed Learning series of sales, coaching, telemarketing, and personal productivity manuals. To obtain a substantial discount on two of Virden's latest books, 101 Sales Myths or Organizing For Sales Success, go to:

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