No One Is a Ten

By Tom Reilly

In the 1979 movie 10, the Dudley Moore character falls hopelessly under the spell of the Bo Derek character. His struggle is the quest for this beauty. In the end, he discovers the reality that no one is a 10 and wishes to return to his prior life.

Years ago, while rifling through the seminar evaluations from a good three days with a group, I was getting drunk on the number of 10’s (on a 10-point scale) that I received from the group. They were confirming my observations that this was a good week. Until, I got to the evaluation from the most engaged participant in the group and the strongest advocate of Value-Added Selling. I expected a 12 on this 10-point scale. He gave me a 9 and a sobering lesson. He commented on the evaluation, “No one gets a 10.” I was humbled and rightly so.

No one is a 10. If you think you are a 10, you are really an 8. One point deducted for lack of insight and another to make room for growth. Thinking you are a 10 is either arrogance or complacency. The former says, “I am good enough as is—take it or leave it.” The latter says, “I’m okay where I am and don’t want to push myself to get better.” Both premises are false.

If you accept the thesis that no one is a 10, look for areas in your life where you can improve. For example, your company’s customer experience cannot be a 10 because it means it cannot get better. Don’t get drunk on your own good press. Ask instead, “Where can we improve?” Customers mislead us in customer satisfaction surveys when they give us the highest rating. It feeds our arrogance and starves our motivation to improve.

Where can you get better in your job: selling skills, product knowledge, relationship skills, attitude, organizational skills, customer knowledge, technology, or internal selling skills? You are not a 10. I am not a 10. We can all get better at what we do. Join us in May for a two-day Value-Added Selling learning experience. We can help you gain some traction on your quest to grow.

Are You a Three Percenter?

By Tom Reilly

“He’s a three-percenter.”

“What’s that,” I asked the sales manager.

“Every year, he invests three percent of his time and income in personal development. That’s what it takes to be the top salesperson in a salesforce of 500 salespeople.”

Are you a three-percenter? How much time and money do you invest in the brand over which you have the most control? I’m talking about Brand You. What are you waiting for?

In 2014, U.S. companies invested 2.8% of their top lines in product research and development. They invested .42% in training and development. People represent the single unique dimension of value, but companies invest 6-7 times more money developing products versus people.

Let’s face it. Your company is not going to invest three percent of its top line on you and your peers. This means you must take charge. Brand You is your responsibility. You might as well own it.

You must read, study, and train five hours every week. This is three percent of your time or one hour for each day of the workweek. If you don’t have time for this, study time management. Invest $3,000 every year of your $100,000 income in your professional development. If you’re not making that kind of money, are you investing in yourself to reach that level? This is your responsibility. Most companies will not invest that much time and money in your brand. Own it.

There are few guarantees in this world. I cannot guarantee you will be number-one in a salesforce of 500 people if you make this investment. However, I can guarantee you will not be number-one if you fail to invest in Brand You.



Humility in Business

By Tom Reilly, author of The Humility Paradox

Strong, stable businesses have embraced humility as a cultural virtue. Humility is the most powerful paradox in business. What masquerades as meekness is really strength. The perceived weakness of this foundational virtue is the source of its power. That’s why it is a paradox. Humility is a necessary requirement for much of what makes your business strong. For your business to be strong you need synergy, innovation, serving attitude, and empathy.

There is strength in numbers. This strength is synergy. Synergy happens only when pieces come together. In business, this means that teams and team members must work together. This collective strength is synergy. Synergy cannot happen when teams or team members battle each other. It is impossible to be a good team member when someone is more focused on creating a job for oneself than value for the team. Teamwork demands that members subordinate their egos for the greater good of the team. Humility makes this possible. This makes humility the necessary requisite of synergy.

Growth and development are born in the realization that something or someone can improve. Nothing can improve without admitting that there is room to improve. This realization and acknowledgement begins with humility. Humility recognizes limitations, weaknesses, and imperfections. This makes humility the necessary requisite of growth.

Serving others requires a selflessness that comes only from humility. Serving is an act of subjugation, which is humility. It is a statement that one places a premium on satisfying the needs of others. Setting aside one’s personal interests in the service of others is an act of humility. This makes humility the necessary requisite of serving.

Seeing another’s point of view requires that people suspend judgement in an attempt to understand others. There is great power in this understanding. Sellers who practice this act of humility are customer-focused. To see another’s point of view requires a selflessness that comes from humility. This makes humility the necessary requisite of understanding others.

Humility is a solid foundation upon which to build your go-to-market strategy.

Visit to read more about The Humility Paradox