Five years ago today I became a Sales Manager. Here are 3 things I’ve learned…

Love your people.

Always avoid taking yourself too seriously and never rely on your title for influence. Be yourself, let your guard down, and focus first on connecting with your people, even if it means being silly or putting work aside for a brief moment. It’s a simple truth that people don’t care how much you know – or that they might need to improve – until they know how much you care. Just like any important relationship, make sure to tell them as often as possible.

Choose your battles.

As much we might want control, we have to trust our people and allow space for their creativity to shine. Never believe your way is the only way to succeed just because it is how you succeeded. Gary V posted recently about not micro-managing and he is so spot on – at the end of the day, we don’t really know that something someone wants to try or how they want to approach a problem would or would not work. Another philosophy that has helped keep my ego in check is Marshall Goldsmith’s AIWATT acronym: Am I willing, at this time, to truly invest the time it will take to make a positive impact on this situation? Many times when I’ve stopped to ask this powerful question the answer is no. Holding back my immediate urge to fix or chime in has saved me countless times from damaging a relationship or losing credibility as a leader.

Keep holding yourself to a higher standard.

Finally, remember that as much as you may have an impact as a leader, coach, mentor, or manager, also remember you can always get better. Take a hard look at how many of your people are taking the time to send you thank you notes, emails, or texts about how much you’ve helped them. Strive to be so great and give so much of your all to every interaction that people feel compelled to let you know how much of an impact you’ve made. In the end, how great you are is based not on your opinion, or even your business results, but the inspiration you create in the people you lead to do more than they believed they could do.

Shane Ray Martin on Sales, Negotiation, and Leadership

What’s one quick tip or piece of advice you would recommend for someone looking to improve at sales?

Teach, Don’t Sell.

When we SELL, we break rapport. When we TEACH, we build rapport. With more rapport, there often is less resistance.

(From: The Ultimate Sales Machine, by Chet Holmes)

What’s one quick tip or piece of advice you would share with someone looking to improve at negotiation?

Practice infinite empathy.

Maximize your outcomes by doing these 3 things:

  • Let go of judgment – Step into your counterpart’s shoes.
  • Listen actively – Speak less, listen more.
  • Leave people better – Clear next steps to serve your counter-part.

What’s one quick tip or piece of advice you would share with someone looking to improve at leadership?

The more you give to others, the more you’ll get from them.

(From: The Go-Giver, Bob Berg)

For more on Shane Ray Martin please visit his website at

On LinkedIn at

Bob Iger’s Two Minute Master Class on Negotiation

Recently, Disney CEO Bob Iger was interviewed on the Tim Ferris podcast, going further in depth on the lessons and wisdom shared in his best-selling 2019 business memoir “The Ride of a Lifetime”.

While the interview touched on a number of interesting topics (So great to learn that Mr. Iger is a fellow Pizza connoisseur!), his two minute monologue on what makes a successful negotiator is especially noteworthy since one might consider him the greatest business negotiator of our time, having negotiated a number of billion-dollar brand acquisitions, ranging from Pixar, to Marvel, to Star Wars.

Though I highly recommend listening to the entire interview, I felt motivated to share his answer transcribed in full, as I believe it’s impressively insightful for an off the cuff response –


What in your mind separates the A players from the B players from a negotiation standpoint?


Well, I think first of all, the thing that sets a good negotiator apart from a bad negotiator is one that gets a deal done. It starts there, in a way that I think is satisfactory to both sides. I’ve always been a big believer, and this is sort of cliche, but you know, negotiation should work both ways, the buyer and the seller should come away both feeling good about it, or maybe both not feeling good about it, I’m not sure.

But I happen to believe that a good negotiation is one that is conducted efficiently and effectively. I don’t think it’s something that should be necessarily protracted, as it takes a lot of time and energy. It should be one where the value that is seen by the buyer is delivered by the transaction, which means that the price and the circumstances ought to in some form or another conform to the value proposition, that’s really important. 

I like being very honest. I like getting to the heart of negotiation fairly quickly. I like putting my cards on the table instead of keeping them completely close to one’s vest. There are times though in a negotiation where I’ve found you do have to get up and walk away from the table if the terms that you’re looking at just don’t make sense, and being willing to lose a deal if you can’t get the right terms. I’ve done that a number of times.

That’s I think just good honest negotiating. I don’t approach negotiations with the need to win, I approach them with a desire to close a deal. I guess winning, that certainly contributes to winning, closing a deal, but when I mean winning I mean winning on all points, on all terms, etc. It’s not that necessary to me.

The above is truly the tip of the iceberg in regards to the thoughts he shares on deal-making, leadership, emotional discipline, and much more.

Full interview can be found here –