Kill all Leads, Commissions and Sales Reps


I’m done with these three.

You should be too.  It’s tough because I worked them, fed my family with them and have been one for a lot of my life.

But I don’t believe anymore in what we call these three.

We need to change the names of these things.   It would do us wonders on so many levels.   Bad names can hurt what people think about you.  Bad names can hurt what you think about yourself.

And I’m done with that.


Leads.  Ugh.  Please, this is word is the worst offender.  “Give me the leads”.  “The leads stink”.  “I need more leads”.  The word “leads” just reeks of a faceless commodity. 

Change the word to “Needs”.  Every lead is really a person or people with a need.  And every Need has a solution or a way it can be filled.  A Need is customer focused.  A Need is something to rally around.  A Lead on the other hand, is blah.  A Lead is for us.  And “us” should not be the focus.

Think of what would change and how we might feel or do differently if:

Leadflow becomes Needflow. Lead Management becomes Need Management. Lead Generation becomes Need Generation.  Isn’t that better?

Commission. An ugly heinous word in sales don’t you think?  A word so commonly hated that many companies go out of their way to advertise that their sales pros are not paid on something so ghastly as to be called “commission”. 

Let the Commission Plan become a Mission Plan that “rewards” behaviors and results.  “Commission” the word, disappears and “Rewards” becomes the lead story.  “Rewards Pay” details not what portion of a sale price goes to a rep but what portion is added to the reps pay as a reward for behavior or results. Semantics?  Yes, my point exactly.

“Rewards” the word doesn’t sound like a “take” or “cut” or an “added cost” to a client ( or to the sales rep).   Rewards are awarded by the boss or the company for a mission accomplished well.

Think of what would change and how we might feel or do differently if:

Commission payout becomes Rewards payout. Higher Commissions become Higher Rewards. I work on Commission becomes I work on Rewards.  Client Commissions become Client Rewards.  Isn’t that better?

Sales Rep:  Ah….. the almighty fearful title.  For at least 60 years people have tried variations to hide or mask or those two words.  Nobody it seems wants to be called a Sales Rep.  No doubt you’ve heard or have been an “Account Executive” or a “Territory Manager” or a “Sr. Business Development Mgr” and on and on….. all the while being um…..well, a Sales Rep.

Truth is, the name “Sales Rep” sucks.  It has always sucked.

It’s not customer focused, it’s company focused.  It’s not broad sounding, it’s narrow sounding.  It’s got one of the most stereotyped images around of greed, neglect and selfishness.

The new name is simple. 

Help Rep.

Help.  It’s what any true sales rep really does anyway.  Help fill a need.  Help fix a problem.  Help make something better. Help you feel happy or organized or in control.  Help you grow your business. Help you run your business.  

Think of what would change and how we might feel or do differently if:

You walk into a Macy’s store and you talk to a Macy’s Help Rep, or walk on a car lot and talk to at Toyota Help Rep, or call Deluxe Corp and get a Deluxe Help Rep.

Maybe all the Help Reps fly in for a big Help Conference in Chicago called the Big Help.   Maybe there Help Contests for the Help Reps.  Maybe you get better and better at Helping vs. better and better at Selling. 


Pretty simple stuff these changes are to make.  And if we just do it I swear we could change a little bit of the world.

Till next time,

Grow The Business.


4 thoughts on “Kill all Leads, Commissions and Sales Reps

  1. Interesting comments Mark. I read quite a lot of lead generation material every day, and I can say for sure your comments are right on true (though blunt)…. It’s very true that people have gone way beyond their limits to exploit the term “leads”, be it on the buyer’s side or on the seller’s… These are *people* with *real needs*… once marketers start focusing on this aspect, lead generation will be far more fruitful!

    • Laura, I am so sorry it took so long to post your comment. Just returned home tonight and while I could see your comment and even had a tab to approve it on the blackberry while traveling in MN., it would not take. Thank you for your sage advice and commentary!

  2. Kevin

    Mark there are definitely perception issues around these “words”, however those issues come from the actions of some people who used those words. Maybe all that would happen is that the “new words” would become tainted.

    I think the real answer is to promote the continued professionalism of the sales role. The more clients experience positive interactions with professional salespeople the more credibility the profession will achieve. As a “profession” we have created the issue for ourselves and as a profession we should be able to “sell” ourselves better.

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