The Cowards Never Start And The Weak Die Along The Way

I realize that my personality and style will not appeal to many. In fact, I know that I will repel at least as many people as I will attract. That is done intentionally by design because I am looking for a certain type of psychographic profile as my audience. So, I don’t normally respond to emails that are whiny or complaining because I see no value in wasting my time with someone who will probably never become a client. Time is precious and must be ruthlessly protected.

That being said, I did get an email from a subscriber and thought that all of you would benefit from reading the email and most importantly my response to it.  The name has been changed to protect the misinformed.

Hi Steve,

Maybe your email newsletters were always the way they are now, but I’m finding it increasingly difficult to find the meaty content instead of the fluff to sell yourself and your products.  If it was truly a great blog I wouldn’t mind paying a small amount to receive it but instead it just seems like ads to sell your other stuff.  If you’re blog’s this focused on selling your other stuff, it is only reasonable to expect that your stuff, such as Prospecting to fill the Pipeline would be just as focused on trying to sell other stuff.  I’m hoping there’s a real person back there who is actually trying to help people become better sales people but I suspect it’s just another creation trying to turn a buck without supplying any real effort.

So I guess in answer to your question, yes, I will be relevant in the future but I’m not so sure about you.


My Response

Dear XXXX,

Thanks for taking the time to write and share your thoughts.

Since you have been so blunt in your comments I will do the same. Seems as though I struck a sensitive nerve with you – that’s good – at least I got you think – which is the purpose of my ezine.

As far as free “Prospecting to Fill the Pipeline” CD, I show no evidence of you having ever ordered it. So how can you make a judgment about the contents of a CD you have never listened to? You are guilty of committing Sin # 2 of the 10 Cardinal Sins of Selling – NO ASSUMPTIONS!!

You are right about the change in format of my ezine. It does contain content that is designed to sell my products and services AND at the same time offer my best content in the form of each week’s Featured Article. This is intentional and I make no apologies for it.

As far as my personal motives for conducting business you should refrain from making judgments about mine or anyone else’s values who happen to be different than yours.

Lastly and most importantly, you and I are in sales and our primary focus and objective should be to maximize profits for our companies. We can only do this by offering quality products and services to as many buyers as we can. Failure to do that in the competitive marketplace makes us irrelevant to our company. That’s just the way it is in a highly competitive global marketplace.

If, as a producer of profits for your company, you are put off by having to perform and justify your employment in sales by relentlessly and aggressively closing more sales perhaps you should seek a job in teaching or counseling or some other similar helping profession.

I have done both and will tell you, that while it may make you feel warm and toasty inside and satisfy your need to feel that you are making the world a better place, you won’t make the kind of money you will make in sales. You have to decide why you are in sales. If it is for any other reason than to make as much money as you can, while honestly and ethically providing products and services that enhance people’s lives, then perhaps you should do yourself, your company and your prospects a favor and go do something else.

If this sounds harsh that is because it is the reality of the business world. I didn’t create this economic reality and I would be a fool to ignore it or pretend it didn’t exist. We can lament and wring our hands about how horrible these Capitalistic, money grubbing pigs are as we sit around the campfire holding hands and singing Kumbaya like Joan Baez or we can roll up our sleeves and get with the program of closing more sales. The choice is ours and ours alone.

End of my Response

Bryan Strickler

Amen. It ain’t pretty out there so you better be able to rise above and attack with all resources (ethically) or you won’t have a tomorrow. It is even more important now than ever to always be selling. If you are away on vacation and you strike a conversation in an elevator, your new friend should know what company you work for and what you sell. Sales people should never have to apologize for selling all of the time, they should apologize if they don’t.

Chris Nelson

Steve…wow…he/she challenges you to make your blog more meaty and better at serving the common good of us sales people and you bury him/her in a pile of ‘if you don’t like it then get out of sales’. Maybe skip this kind of stuff on your weekly newsletter and come out with more on how to help us become better. Are you selling us or helping us sell. If you’re doing both then make sure that happens every week.

Brian Hagel


It sounds like this guy struck a nerve with you as well. I agree with your philosophy on selling; it is our job to keep the lights on and the greatest of us can do it ethically; the worst have to lie, cheat and steal to accomplish the same thing.
Not everyone will agree with you; that doesn’t mean you aren’t right.

All the best,

Ryan Sussman


I think your comments are a little harsh. Whereas I agree and understand that you are here ultimately to sell your service, your client’s feedback should probably not be used to beat them over the head.

Don’t you think you could have used this as an opportunity to sell, and possibly turn this person into a “raving fan?” Afterall, he has not received your CD….. Sounds like an opportunity to sell to me.


Ryan Sussman

Rutland Walker


I enjoy reading your stuff. I find it useful, employable, and verifiable, but I seem to have gotten caught in the middle of a pissing match here. I’ve read your work. I DO have a copy of Prospecting To Fill the Pipeline, and I conclude that you are better than this. This doesn’t edify you as the sales guru I know you to be (through your work). It makes you sound like a petty a-hole, though I know from my friend Scott Fraser that is not the case, and(to quote our mutual friend Roy Williams) “I mean that in the nicest possible way”.

Waldo Waldman


I think you were smart by asking for feedback from your readers as they are more likely to be brutally honest with you.

I have to say that your response to your reader bordered on near sales suicide and didn’t respond to what they wrote. They didn’t criticize your sales philosophies nor did they reveal any kind of attitude which for lack of a better phrase, you would define as a sales wimp. You response was defensive and didn’t address the issue at hand – you pushing your products too much while not providing value.

As a professional sales and peak performance speaker, I find your philosophy a bit too over the top and quite frankly, insulting. As a former sales manager and combat fighter pilot, I am all about not BSing yourself of your prospects when selling. But I also think that in this commoditized age of selling, if you don’t connect and build trust with your prospects as people first, you’ll never truly succeed in sales and will simply be a transactional sales professional.
Bottom line –
Your most important customers are the ones you currently have. Never lambast a customer who gives you feeback. Its a gift and as your other commenter stated, you could have turned them into a raging fan by taking action on improving what you offer.
They day you think you know it all is the day you’ll get your butt shot down.
Waldo the Wingman

Steve Clark


I am amazed about your comments since you are not a subscriber to this newsletter. How you found your way here is a mystery to me.

Anyway, after researching your background I can find no evidence that you have much “real down and dirty” sales experience. The only real business experience you seem to have is on the motivational speaking circuit.

Therefore, your comments are flacid and impotent.

Chet Strader

Steve, I liked your response on a couple of levels. First you followed a cardinal rule of maintaining credibility you did not B.S. your potential client or yourself about the purpose of your e-zine. What the hell did he think he was getting the secret of life? Second, you responded to the writer in the language he chose. In reality, straight talk is always preferable to BS.

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