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Thinking Like a Coach: Jack Daly’s Essential Sales Tactics

Why sports teams are run better than most businesses

As far as sales trainer, speaker and entrepreneur Jack Daly sees it, today’s sports teams are run better than most businesses, a dark reality he’s witnessed over the course of his thirty year career. Sports teams use clear processes, systems and techniques, practice until muscle memory takes over, and don’t let poor performers impact the success of the group. 

Moreover, the best of them are led by a proficient coach, encouraging and empowering each player to surpass targets and reach their potential. 

In anticipation of this upcoming Australian workshop series and with lessons taken from his famous book, Hyper Sales Growth, we’ve compiled a list of Jack Daly’s essential sales tactics, inspired by the way successful coaches and teams succeed.

Problem 1: You’re Not Dealing with Joe 

In Hyper Sales Growth, Jack shares the story of an employee he calls Joe. Joe was underperforming and making only $40,000 per annum in a market that had the potential to bring in 50% more revenue at a minimum. As a result, Joe’s territory was halved and shared with another salesperson.

What was surprising to some but part of a valuable lesson for Jack, was that with this smaller market he still made the exact same amount of money. The explanation?

I could have sliced Joe’s territory into quarters. I could have sliced it into eighths. It wouldn’t have mattered what size territory I gave Joe; he still would have made $40,000. That’s the way it was with Joe: He woke up one day long ago and said, “It takes $40,000 to pay for what I want and need in life,” and he adjusted his behavior [sic] to hit his number. 

Every business has a Joe, and as Daly puts it, Joe has got to go.

The Solution: 

Work in the spirit of transparency, meeting with your team monthly to share a ranking report of the sales team. This enables the group to learn from the top performers and weed out any Joes in the process. 

Problem 2: You’re Treating All Players the Same 

While equality and equal opportunity may seem like noble goals, not all sales people should be treated equally. In this scenario, you’re treating every member of the sales team as if they’re selling at the same level. This means that either no individual standards have been determined, or that the same standard is expected of everyone, which is too high for the bottom-quartile performers and too low for the top sellers. You’re playing to the middle. 

Daly goes on: 

Minimum standards of performance need to be negotiated with each individual on the salesperson. We should not give everybody the same minimum standard. Customers should not be treated equally. Most people understand that. But it’s also true that salespeople should not be treated equally. Some should be held to a higher standard than others. 

The Solution: 

It’s essential that personalised goals are set for each employee, and that they take ownership of the goals they set. 

People will fight for the goals they set. It is absolutely essential that the salespeople feel ownership in their numbers. 

Problem 3: You’re Spending too Much Time on Under-performers

It’s the instinct of many to put time into the underperformers, in an effort to bring up their numbers and encourage better results. According to Daly however, most companies spend far too much time with their bottom-quartile employees, who tend to be experts at making excuses, sucking energy out of their environment and complaining. He goes on to describe them as such:

They’re the wrong people for the job. They are a disaster when it comes to building a winning culture. When you visit a company for the first time, you can sense the culture right away. You can smell it. If you don’t deal with the bottom performers, if you don’t take the garbage out, your culture will stink.

The Solution:

First, recognise that it’s okay to have high staff turnover of your poor performing staff. Not only do they put the business at risk, their presence makes its difficult to recruit the best players. 

Second, systems must be in place to measure low performance, and regular meetings and open communication are non-negotiable.

Finally, hire for largely commission-based positions.

I don’t mind salespeople making a lot of money. In fact, I’ve had salespeople at my organizations [sic] with seven-figure incomes, but they ate what they killed. They were 100 percent commission-only salespeople. 

Problem 4: You’re Not Managing Recruitment

For many companies, recruitment starts when a resignation is tendered, instead of being part of an ongoing process that is constantly in action. Rather than going after the big players and touching base with them regularly, they’re passively and patiently waiting for them to make the first move.  

The Solution: 

Communicate with potential candidates on a regular basis, keep an eye on industry changes and recruit like you’re coaching a major league team. 

Hire Slowly, Fire Quickly

Finally, Jack Daly admits that while his book has all of the strategies, tactics, lessons and details on how to exceed sales targets and build a winning culture, there’s one thing it can’t do, which makes the recruitment process and the adage, hire slowly, fire quickly, particularly poignant: 

What I can’t teach you is to get up in the morning wanting to chew raw meat off the bone. I know if I hire a guy who has that in him, I can teach him everything else he needs to know. 

Summary Points: 

  • Stop wasting time on non-performers

  • Don’t treat all players equally

  • Track, report and meet regularly

  • Recruit for skills, hire for attitude


The final tickets for Winning Sales Strategies, Jack Daly’s energetic sales workshop essential for all sales teams, are now available. Secure one of the final seats here.