It Hurt To See Her Again

We said good-bye, I left for war,

We pledged too much to hump that far.

Come back the boy you are today.

I hope I can, all I could say.

Will you be here when I return?

I will be here, have no concern.


So much occurred while I was there,

Some good, some bad, a lot to bear.

My tour was done, after one year,

I came back home—there was no here.

No girl, no youth, innocence spent—

The price we paid when we were sent.


I see her face at night these days,

Through mem’ry’s eyes and dreamy haze.

They come and go, these dreams of mine,

Of days gone by and love’s sweet wine.

It hurt to see her face last night,

Familiar pain, familiar sight.


If I could choose my dreams this day,

I’d choose a youth that slipped away.

With eyes closed tight to hold my dreams,

I’d search for Innocence it seems.

I wake from dreams I wish would stay,

So great a price we had to pay.

Copyright 2016 Tom Reilly

The Perfectly Balanced Sales Pipeline


Imagine a steady flow of new business without peaks or valleys. Imagine the effect on your sales. Imagine the impact on your income.

Whether you call it territory management, pipeline management, or opportunity management, maintaining a steady flow of new business is challenging. For most salespeople, the sales calendar is a roller-coaster ride—up one month and down the next—of euphoria and disappointment. This makes sales forecasting an impossible task. The answer to this dilemma lies in the metrics by which salespeople live.

Closing sales is a productivity metric based on achievement. Calling is a performance metric based on activity. Structured properly, performance leads to productivity. This means that salespeople must schedule activities that lead to achievement. They perform to produce. This is more an organizational versus a selling-technique challenge.

A simple formula for guaranteeing a steady flow of business is 1-2-4. This means for every short-term opportunity, there must be two intermediate, and four long-term opportunities in the works. For example, for every piece of business that you will close in the next 30 days, you need two that will close in the next 90 days, and four that will close beyond this. You may work on shorter or longer lead times, but the ratio is always the same.

The 1-2-4 ratio is based on average closing ratios, and it has been documented as a success strategy for salespeople in all industries for decades. To get the most value from this idea, study your potential book of business and evaluate how your opportunities compare to the 1-2-4 ratio. Adjust as necessary, if your goal is to have a steady flow of business.

Tom Reilly is literally the guy who wrote the book on Value-Added Selling (McGraw-Hill). Visit us online at Cover 4-10

How Good Is Your Sales Follow-Up?

In the pre-technology days, salespeople relied on old-school methods to keep themselves and their territories organized. There were no cloud calendars, CRM, or sales force automation programs. There were no laptops, PDA’s, or smart phones. No electronic alerts.

Salespeople used paper calendars, account cards (index cards), and Rolodexes. A follow-up system meant a tickler file. This was generally an index-card file box or a set of dated file folders where salespeople would store follow-up information. The problem was that it often involved double record keeping. Salespeople needed one file (or card) for customer information and another for a follow-up reminder, the tickler. Things slipped through the cracks, and it was time-consuming. If salespeople were not organized, they often missed opportunities. Pipeline management generally meant keeping a list of pending sales opportunities and updating it daily. Managers would ask to see this list on demand.

Today, salespeople have incredible tools to keep themselves organized. Calendars that sync with laptops, company systems, and smart phones make information access immediate. There is no double entry. There are reminders and alerts that prompt salespeople hours in advance to make calls, send emails, or call customers. These electronic assistants are like having a personal support staff to keep salespeople organized.

There is no excuse for poor follow-up.

The result of these systems is that it is nearly impossible to have sloppy follow-up these days. In fact, today’s salespeople have to work as hard at being disorganized as old-schoolers had to work at being organized. Salespeople who fail to follow up on time and as promised do not deserve the success they desire.