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by Dennis J. Bonagura

Certified Professional Business Coach

Bergen County, New Jersey

Death of a Salesman

Death of a Salesman is a 1949 play by Arthur Miller and is considered a classic of American theater.  Viewed by many as a caustic attack on the American Dream of achieving wealth and success without regard for principle, Death of a Salesman made both Arthur Miller and the character Willy Loman household names. The play is a characterization of the downfall of a great sales person, through flaws in his character and mistakes he made.

It was greeted with enthusiastic reviews, the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play in 1949, as well as the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play.  Death of a Salesman was the first play to win these three major awards, helping to establish Miller as an internationally known playwright.

The story begins when Willy Loman returns home exhausted from a failed business trip.  His wife, Linda, tries to persuade him to speak with his boss, Howard Wagner, to let him work in New York so that he won’t have to travel.  Willy agrees he will talk with Howard the next day.  Willy complains that

Biff, his older son who has come back home to visit, has yet to make something of himself.  Linda scolds Willy for being so critical. As the story unfolds one failure and one disappointment after another, it’s a downward spiral for poor Willy and you remember the ending.

Are there days in your Business when you wonder if you will ever make another sale?  Do you sometimes feel that the selling process is a mystery with no rhyme or reason to the process?  Are you and your sales team well liked and good at building relationships with your prospects?  As we have come to learn, the sales process doesn’t have to be hard and the results can be predicted when you have a system.  Imagine if Willy Loman had a Business Coach, someone who helped him be accountable for his actions.  It could have been a much different ending.

With that thought in mind I'd like to give you our "Top Ten" checklist where you can determine and rate the overall health of your sales effectiveness and performance.  Rate each item in the checklist on a scale of 1-10, where 10 is the highest score.

1.  We use scripts in all of our initial contacts with prospects (phone, face to face, walkins…)         Score ____

2.  We measure all of the variables of our sales process, including such things as the average number of appointments before the sale, the conversion rate (prospect to client), sales cycle etc.                   Score ____

3.  We have a proven, defined and written sales system.                                                                      Score ____

4.  We provide our sales team with effective tools to help them to convert prospects more effectively (demonstrations, samples, etc.)                                                                                                               Score ____

5.  Our sales staff has regular formal training on both product knowledge and sales skills.              Score ____

6.  We use the most current technology to track the sales team’s activity, such as appointments, prospect lists,etc.                                                                                                                                                      Score ____

7.  We motivate our sales team effectively using time tested motivational techniques.                    Score ____

8.  We follow up with prospects that didn’t buy from us to find out why.                                            Score ____

9.  We have regular sales meetings.                                                                                                        Score ____

10. Our sales team has a terrific relationship with all of the other departments.                                Score ____

So how did you do?  If you scored 80-100 points, you could be seriously considered as the new lead in the play called “The Life of a Salesman”, 60-79 points, you are in the running for the part, 40-59 points, you need to spend a little more time on your scripts and refining your process.  Less than 40 points, it's time to take some action steps with SMART Goals and change your sales model.  More importantly, it might be time to hire a Business

Coach to help you create or refine your sales process?  Build an Action Plan today, and don’t let tomorrow be a continuation of the same old story!

If you would like to setup a FREE Coaching session just call me at 201-425-8300 or email me at

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