Tough Love, Tough Feedback

Most of us are not fans of criticism, constructive or otherwise. When Apple employees are reviewed, they are taught to hear the negative as coming from someone who’s intention is to improve, not to strike down or punish.

Would it be of value to you to know your three weakest attributes?

What if, in the eyes of another (key: someone that you respect), you are made aware of three areas or selling skills or characteristics/traits in need of improvement? Could you hear them and take them in the spirit in which they are intended?

Here is my sales challenge to you…

Ask your boss, manager, or employee peer to give you such feedback. Have him or her tell you three things that either need improvement (easy), you are lacking as a salesperson and need in order to be more effective (harder), or (hardest) he/she finds annoying about you.

Your job is to listen and not react, other than to thank them.

Next, sit and mull over the comments. Assuming you have chosen wisely, it is likely to be accurate and valuable feedback, even if it is somewhat difficult to hear. How will you make improvements? What are your resources? Where can you go for help?

I have great admiration for salespeople who continue to grow and challenge themselves to be better, both personally and professionally. One of the many secrets to their success is that they are willing to ask the tough questions. Questions like, “Where you think I need improvement?”

It takes a lack of ego, the absence of defensiveness, open ears and an open mind but if the outcome is improvement, it’s worth the blow to your/our pride.

Bill Farquharson can drive your sales momentum. Contact him at or (781) 934-7036 to learn more.

As a 30 year sales veteran, Bill has the perspective of a been-there, done-that sales rep in the commercial print arena. Following sales fundamentals and giving unapologetically "old school" advice, he writes and speaks in an entertaining fashion to make his points to sales people and owners who sell. "Bill Farquharson will drive your sales momentum."
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  • Melissa Sienicki

    A brilliant post, Bill, and I think much needed by all in order to learn and grow. I’m definitely going to do it. Thank you!