Why the “A” in The CAP Equation is the Trickiest Part of the Puzzle!


I have been on the road and on the phone a lot as of late. I’ve been busy speaking, training and coaching on The CAP Equation© program. The CAP Equation© is a foolproof formula for financial success in commission sales, (and leadership) one that I’ve refined over the last few years. IF a person will work out this equation—follow it—it will preclude failure. But, following it faithfully, making the painful changes necessary, is the tougher part of The Equation.

Allow me to breakdown The Equation. The “C” stands for Competencies, the “A” denotes Attitudes, and the “P” represents Pipeline management. Competencies are your hard-wired skill sets like product knowledge, making the first approach, presenting, closing, etc. Attitudes are all of the critical thought processes and belief systems that have to be taken into battle. Pipeline is obvious, we need to keep it full of targeted prospects and make sure we are practiced at pushing enough ‘wins’ out of the small end of the funnel.

The Equation suggests that if you add an adequate practice of Cs to solidly formed As and then multiply those integers by a well-managed Pipeline, you cannot fail to produce a flow of commissions—you simply cannot fail! The reason being that a mathematical equation always produces the same result—2 + 2 always equals 4. This is what we’ve done creating The CAP Equation©. We have turned an enigma, (how the heck do I make it over the hump in commission sales?) into a simple math problem, one that can be easily solved once you understand the parts.

We have broken the code and handed it all to you!

As I completed my speaking and coaching sessions these last two weeks, and readied myself for the long holiday weekend, I couldn’t help but reflect on what I have taken away from the people I’ve worked with on this Equation so far. It hit me again last night as I was reviewing surveyed input on the recent sessions and workshops. By far, the most difficult part, (integer) of this equation for people is the “A”…the Attitudes. (At least that’s what my students and clients are trying to articulate to me) In various ways, using different phraseology, so many of the people I’m working with have asked…

Why is the “A” so hard?

I noticed this pattern and had to think on it a little bit. I believe forming the right attitudes and thought processes, (and being faithful to them) is difficult for salespeople because it requires substantial change to a person’s core belief system. Many of us have simply been scripted to think, feel and respond a certain way to things. That, in and of itself, isn’t a bad thing. It can be a good thing if the thoughts, feelings, responses and corresponding behavioral patterns support our intended objectives. However, in far too many cases, our attitudes do not support the outcome we say we want.

Take the example of how we think, feel and respond to REJECTION. An amateur sales person, (the bottom 80%) will THINK of the “NO” as a failure, label it as such, then begin to FEEL less self-assured. Then, once these devastating “NO”s pile up on them, like a ton of bricks, their feelings translate into a RESPONSE. The classic reaction becomes call reluctance. They STOP prospecting! Obviously, this practice is absolutely counterproductive for them and their career in every way imaginable.

Now let’s look at the way a professional salesperson, (the top 20%) view rejection. When a prospect says “NO” they register it—THINK of it—as a metric result—a necessary product on the path to their next “YES”. They may analyze the “NO” later to see if there was anything that they could learn from it, but it’s an unemotional experience. A “NO” actually makes them FEEL like they are closer to a “YES”. They RESPOND by prospecting more.

How we THINK, FEEL and RESPOND is in our total control and will determine what our behavioral patterns and ATTITUDES become!

But, I know…changing long-standing core beliefs is painful—we know this—but it’s also very necessary if those views are not conducive to high-level performance and production. Change is vital if we want to survive and thrive. In commission sales, our very financial lives are at stake as this is usually no safety net.

In comparison to Attitudes the other two parts of The Equation seem painless and simple. For example, Competencies—learning a new presentation or a new close—isn’t painful. It can be fun and interesting. Pipeline—adding and tracking leads, managing your sales funnel—isn’t excruciating. This habit doesn’t require soul searching or core change, it’s simply a task, a flat-line repetition that can be learned.

I can tell you that I’ve seen my share of salespeople with good, solid attitudes that struggled with learning competencies and their pipeline management skills; however, those were exceptions to the rule. These two areas are more easily transferable. It’s usually poor attitudes and corresponding destructive behavior that will kill a potentially great sales career.

I’m not sure that the old adage; attitude is everything, is completely correct. But it is a HUGE piece of The Equation and it sure helps when you have a solid mindset. I’ve walked into my sales offices on various Monday mornings with bad attitudes. I’ve also walked into the office with good, positive attitudes. One thing I can tell you; when I have a good attitude about the day, I get a lot more done, have better interactions with my coworkers and am more enthused—which always lead to more production.

What I’d like to remind you is that YOU are ultimately in control of your attitude—every minute of your workday. Things happen around you and to you, but you have the power to decide how you’ll respond to all of it. This is really the true meaning of freedom; the freedom to choose how you react to the world. Nobody can give that to you or take it away.

Let me suggest a simple exercise that will help you run more level and begin to give you more control of your thought processes, feelings and behaviors.

I want you to practice this!

Before you get out of your car in front of the office, or pick up the phone, (if you’re working from home), stop and do something that puts you in an awesome state of mind. You will be a happier, healthier and a more productive sales person, which is good for you and everyone with whom you come into contact. What I do believe to be correct is the old adage; a good attitude is contagious. Start spreading yours…it’s really not that hard after all!

Homework – List three things you do or enjoy that will always make you feel good and will always improve your attitude. Be specific. Then, practice them every day. Here are some examples; listening to music that touches your soul, reading spiritual books, exercising, playing a musical instrument, writing. Now list yours:

1. ___________________________________________________

2. ___________________________________________________

3. ___________________________________________________

Sales Leaders – While it is not your job to be a therapist, it is your job to make sure your team is firing on all cylinders. Review the list above with your sales people and think about how you can support those activities. It will pay financial dividends to you.

P.S. Don’t forget about yourself.

Reading List Suggestion – Read, Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Vicktor Frankl was a holocaust prisoner who survived by controlling his attitude.