The $5 Million Dollar Bet I Made Last Week

Last week I was in NYC for meetings. I met with a prospective client, and within 30 minutes, I bet him $5,000,000.

Not really, but hear me out.

There's a concept my college Shawn Veltman, and I dubbed as the $5M Cash Test, which we discussed on a previous episode of our podcast The Evergreen Show (coming back soon)…

Here's a little thought experiment.

Let's suppose you have a salesperson that you want to generate more business and close more sales. Not just more business. You want them to DOUBLE their business.

Could they do it?


Now let's suppose you sweeten the pot and offer them a $5M cash if they can generate a 100% increase in sales in under 30 days.

Could they do it?

Possible. Maybe. Probably.

So why did I make this bet?

I made the bet because while I was proposing the organization had some systemic issues that needed to be dealt with, he was adamant I give him a price to spend a few hours with the guys and do a sales training session.

And while I'd have loved to have taken my fee to do a 1-day training session, it would have been unethical to do so. 

Because practice rarely creates real value for sales teams. Instead, it's the first (and sometimes only) option management thinks of as a way to revive their sales departments.

Training isn't supposed to be used as a band-aid, but that's how it's often used.

Whenever somebody asks me about additional sales training (or any training for that matter), I always challenge them with the $5M Cash Test" first.

Ask your salespeople how they'd go about doubling up their sales. Once they're finished finding all the ways to game the system, I'll bet they'll talk to you about tactics. They'll tell you how many people they need to contact, they'll ask you about deals that the company can offer, they'll find the highest-priced products to sell and go on a blitz. 

What they won't tell you is "I'd need to take a 3-day intensive seminar on sales skills" or "I'd need to brush up on my product knowledge."  

95 times out of 100, they've already got that.

They recognize exactly the areas that they need to work on.

If you think your salespeople could win the $5M – what would they be doing differently with that kind of money on the line?

If it's just a matter of making more calls, polishing their pitches, being more diligent with follow-up, or anticipating and handling objections, then they could probably do it, and then retire comfortably.

In other words–if they could do it for an extra $5M, nothing is stopping them from doing it today.

But what if they didn't know what you were selling, and are only closing the (few) deals per month they currently do through sheer luck and numbers.

If they legitimately don't know how to position your product in a way that's appealing…

If they legitimately don't understand your ideal target audience and are just using a shotgun approach to biz dev.

If they legitimately don't follow-up on quotes (and you have no way to know if they did!)

If they don't know that you can't ask for the order before you demonstrate value…

Then there's no way that they're going to walk away with that sweet $5M in cash.

Now, I want to be clear here–I'm not suggesting that the only options are "Train them or tell them to stop being lazy and perform." 

Instead, I want you to consider the fact that 95 times out of 100 when a company believes they need more training (in sales, service, marketing, whatever, etc.) what they need are better ways to support their staff.

They need better processes, better structure, better tools, better coaching, and a better culture.

They need to find ways to get out of their salespeople's way, and let them sell.  

If your company hasn't addressed these issues first, then training is a waste of money. 

People may learn some fun new tactics, and there may be a temporary uptick in sales, but without addressing the root of the problem, there's no way to maintain higher sales numbers (Well, I suppose you could put $5M on the table every month?)

The flip side of that is that when you create a better sales environment by ensuring you have the right tools are in place, and there is a consistent selling culture and set of expectations, then your people will often do wonderfully even with no training.

And, of course, any training that they do get will be so much more effective because you will be able to ensure that it aligns with your values, culture, tools, and processes.

Your challenge for the week should be pretty obvious.

Do the "$5M Cash Test" or the equivalent for your business. Put some serious cash on the table and see if it's truly a training issue. This is obviously not limited to the sales department–you can ask this question of anybody whose performance you can measure objectively



P.S. Over the last few weeks, I've conducted a couple of my 1-Day Sales Process initiatives.

Mike from Speedway Motorsports recognized exactly what I'm talking about here.

Mike knows they had a great sales team, but where they really needed to focus was building out their sales process. These guys didn't need more training. Check out the great testimonial he provided here!

What are you waiting for? Instead of spending that money on more training, make a solid investment that will pay dividends for years to come. Book a call to discuss the 1-Day Sales Process in your organization now.