Sales or scale? Why growth requires answering this question first

If you want to grow the operation you're running and are ready to make some changes, there are a few questions worth asking yourself early in the change process. Among them are, “Do you want sales, or scale?

There is no right answer. 

Increasing sales today and establishing the foundation for aggressive, scalable growth in the future are both reasonable goals. But they are assuredly not the same goal

The promised land for both is growth, so in some respects the difference is timing and, well, scale. You are choosing between increasing sales by some amount today versus increasing sales by some larger amount in the future. 

“Sounds great, guy, let’s get started on both.”  - Fairly rational businessperson 

Have you ever trained for a triathlon and strong man competition at the same time. It’s not impossible, but the output of resources invested in one area negates the output of resources invested in the other. In other words, you’re either going to swim, bike, and run your muscle away, or you’re going to drown (read: sink) in the ocean. And even if you don’t, efforts aren’t being maximized. 

How does the output of resources invested into increasing sales today adversely affect scalability, or vice versa?

So glad you asked!

Let me give you a real life example mirroring that of most of the businesses we work with right now. 

Say one person (or activity) has been responsible for most of your business development. That may be a founder, an executive, or a unicorn-like salesperson. You’ve been happy with that effort, but you sense that you are nearing a plateau. 

If you want to increase sales immediately, chances are that getting more out of what you already have is a good place to start. That may include sales coaching, sales training, compensation plan modification, or any other number of ways to marginally increase that person’s capacity to sell. And if done correctly, it will work. When all is said and done, though, you’ve increased sales while also increasing the concentration of business development from that one person (or activity). That’s the opposite of scale. 

If, on the other hand, you want to establish the ability to scale future growth, the course of action is going to be very different. That may be in the form of analyzing the sales process to understand how leads are generated and followed-up on, how and where data is stored, and how the sales conversion process actually works. The objective is to create a system that can be replicated. And if done correctly, this, too, will work. But this process creates distraction for the top sales generator and reduces immediate production. That’s the opposite of increasing sales immediately. 

“Yeah, yeah. So, anyway... I want sales today and aggressive growth tomorrow. How do I do that?” - Fairly rational businessperson 

You can train for a triathlon and a strong man competition. Just not at the same time

Clarifying and prioritizing the goal is the first step in creating a realistic path forward. It also ensures you are aligned with all the stakeholders involved and use your resources efficiently, which is only important if you don’t have an infinite amount of time and money. 

So, do you want sales or scale? Do you want better sales techniques, tactics, training, and accountability? Or do you want a strategic, beginning-to-end sales system that can be scaled? 

The good news is, either answer is correct, which is why we offer solutions for both. Please visit for more information. 

My answer on Quora to, "What are some good ways to sell one's soul?"

Originally answered on Quora here.

What are some good ways to sell one’s soul?

I can’t say I’ve structured a system for a sale like this before, but fundamentally I think this not unlike any other sale.

We first need to define the value proposition. What exactly are you selling? What value does it have to the buyer? I understand the benefit to you in selling your soul - you get cash you get to use indiscriminately (because you have no soul). But what does the buyer get in return? If we can't define that, chances are we're going to have a tough time selling it or we're going to need to discount it steeply. And who wants to sell their soul at "Blue Light Special" rates? So, this comes first.

Once we've clearly defined what your value proposition is, I think we look at who our target market is. Who exactly wants to buy your soul? I don't know much about your soul right now, but the market for it varies depending on your life experience. The market for a soul that's been volunteering to help children in need is vastly different than the market for one that's been selling them illegal drugs. I won’t ask here where you are on this spectrum here, but may want to start taking inventory of the “features.”

Now we need to undergo an exercise to determine price. This is also why the first two steps are necessary. We can't get Ferrari prices with with a scooter product. With some more detail on value prop and our buyer, we can set a reasonable price range. Keep in mind, the price has nothing to do with your needs. Sure, you want to sell your soul to [pay off debt, pay off a bookie, pay off your sick mother's home], but the buyer doesn't care. Price follows value.

  • One side note on price, I'd recommend looking at some different models here. For example, there's no requirement to sell your soul outright. I'm a big fan of recurring revenue, so perhaps we can evaluate some monthly rates that, if canceled, allow you to get your soul back and keep the cash up to that point.

We'll determine that and now we're ready to market. Where do our buyer's hang out? Obviously, the exercises up this point will have a big impact here as well. One set of buyer demographics brings us to Neiman Marcus as a channel, the other to Pawn Stars. I don't know what kind of life you've lived up to this point, but we have plenty of latitude to find the right channel to create awareness. But this is where we start the lead generation process.

Then we'll get busy working these leads and convert to a sale. Converting this sale is unique because it's a one-off, so there isn't any need for scalability. With that in mind, I can offer up one of my sales superstars to broker the deal, but it won't be cheap. We're looking at 20-35% of the transaction value, but you don't want to trust this to just anyone.

Once the deal gets done, we'll have to assess logistics, namely delivery and support. I can’t help here - I’m not an “ops guy” but I do have people on my team that can. It's probably worth some time to assess what kind of assurance we are offering the buyer. Does this come with a 30 day money back guarantee? Do we have to support this with a warranty (also an up-sell opportunity)? And so on.

So, when it's all said and done, the sales system I use with other clients works pretty well here: define value prop, determine target market, establish price points, raise awareness with marketing, convert to customer, support & retain.

And if this is out of place, apologies in advance, but I'd actually offer to create this system for you pro bono. From my standpoint, if we can make this work, there's a pretty large market for me to get into. Hell, there may even be a side market for soul trading now that I think about it. (That may tell you about my soul.) If you're ready to pull the trigger, just let me know.

For more information please visit


Open for business

I started my professional journey as an entrepreneur and have maintained a passion for entrepreneurship throughout my career. For those that know me, it will not come as a surprise to learn that after a great deal of thought (and input), I am very excited to announce that the next professional step for me is to go into business for myself.

As of today, RJG Consulting, LLC is open for business, and I will serve as Ameliorator. 

Did you Google it? This title has a story, for another time. 

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to take on some pretty unique professional challenges. Fortunately this has allowed me to learn what I excel at and what I enjoy doing. As many of you that have worked with me know, this tends to be:

  • Innovating sales models and channels

  • Driving rapid organizational change

  • Designing productive cultures

  • Building bad-ass management and sales teams

This is where I do my best work and have the most fun. So, this will be what I focus on as a consultant. I will, of course, continue to leverage the incredible relationships I’ve built over the years to ensure clients get maximum value. This is why I have a page for partners on my site: Just some of the people I will undoubtedly call on for help.    

I’m excited about building something new (again) and I'm aware that all new ventures present risk. I appreciate all of you that have encouraged me to take that risk, which was not an easy decision, particularly given some of the great opportunities I've been presented with. 

As Tim Ferriss says, “Life punishes the vague wish and rewards the specific ask.” So, here are two specific asks: 

  1. If you lead an organization or company that is in need of:

    Sales model innovation 
    Rapid organizational change
    Higher performing management or sales teams
    Culture redesign or a morale boost

    Consider letting me take a look at the patient to offer a diagnosis. 

  2. Please sign up for the newsletter at the bottom of this page. I’ll be collaborating on some great content in coming months that I trust will be entertaining and helpful for any organization looking for amelioration. Oh, and ‘secret time’... it also helps me stay on your radar so that if you have a scenario from #1 arise, I’m right there in your inbox. 

I appreciate everyone that has helped me reach this conclusion and all the input many of you have offered as I assessed the various options that came my way. I'm very excited to set out and begin building something really great from the ground up alongside some great people.