Episode #180 – Deb Calvert

The Impact of Critical Thinking Skills on a Sales Professional’s Productivity

Deb Calvert


Deb Calvert

Deb Calvert is the bestselling author of DISCOVER QuestionsStop Selling & Start Leading, and 4 new eBooks for managers. Deb is also the founder of the Sales Experts Channel and president of People First Productivity Solutions. Deb works in both the sales and leadership development domains and has been named by Treeline as one of the 65 most influential women in business.

Critical thinking skills are an imperative attribute if you want to become a productive and successful salesperson. Why are they important? What does a productive salesperson look like? Today’s guest, Deb Calvert, answers these questions—and more—in this episode of Sales Reinvented.

Deb has been in the sales industry for 15 years and is the President of People First Productivity Solutions. Their goal is to build organizational strength by putting people first. She is a certified executive coach, author, and one of the most influential women in the world of business. Listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented for her unique insight and knowledge of the industry!

Critical thinking skills are imperative to a sales professional’s productivity. To learn why, listen to this episode of @SalesReinvented with special guest @PeopleFirstPS. #SalesReinvented #Sales #ProblemSolving #ThinkClick To Tweet


Outline of This Episode

  • [0:20] Deb Calvert joins Paul in this episode!
  • [1:03] What is productivity?
  • [2:00] Why aren’t salespeople productive?
  • [3:15] How to improve day-to-day effectiveness
  • [4:35] Attributes that make a productive salesperson
  • [6:05] Tools and strategies to increase productivity
  • [8:40] Top 3 Do’s and top 3 don’ts
  • [11:00] Deb’s favorite productivity story

E = O (Effort equals Opportunity)

Productivity is about the ability to generate, create, and complete goals and it must lead to revenue production. Being a productive salesperson also means producing new ideas and creating relationships. If you aren’t able to produce the desired results, then you are not reaching your potential as a salesperson.

Being productive isn’t just being busy—it’s about being effective and driving a result.

Deb’s #1 rule of selling is E = O, in other words: “the amount of effort you put into any activity should be directly proportionate to the opportunity associated with that activity.” She points out that the “big fish” should get more of your attention than the minnow. Deb notes that you need to be mindful of what you spend your time on and be sure it’s proportional to the effort you put in.

According to @PeopleFirstPS, Effort = Opportunity. What does that mean? Why is it important? Find out in this episode of @SalesReinvented! #SalesReinvented #Sales #ProblemSolving #ThinkClick To Tweet


Delegate and automate whatever isn’t essential

Deb iterates that you must change your mindset. You can’t be stuck in the dark ages and refuse to use the technology available to you. Likewise, you must delegate whatever is not essential to the act of selling. Don’t fall trap to the mentality that only you can do something right—train others to take over non-essential responsibilities.

Be willing to set up software and applications that liberate your time. Save that precious time and utilize it only for activities that produce sales. For example, Deb embraces ‘Calendly’ to manage her schedule. She opens up time in a schedule that she has blocked for appointments, and allows her prospects to schedule at a time convenient to them. This saves her the hassle of emailing back and forth to nail down a time.

Why critical thinking skills are essential

The #1 attribute that Deb believes a productive salesperson must have is critical thinking. You have to be able to make smart and calculated decisions about where to spend your time and energy. The ability to think critically gives you the power to cut through the noise and distractions. It allows you to be more discerning.

Deb is always looking for more effective ways to carry out tasks. If you have the necessary critical thinking skills required you’ll be able to discern what moves you need to take. Listen to the whole episode—Deb suggests some resources to hone your critical thinking skills that you won’t want to miss!

Deb’s top productivity tips

Deb has some favorite tools and strategies that she was kind enough to share:

  • Crystal Knows: this is a personality profiling assessment tool that you can use to look at someone’s LinkedIn and other social media profiles (anything available on the internet) and gives you a snapshot of their personality. This can help you gauge whether or not to be more direct with someone, how to communicate, and so forth.
  • Stop multitasking & start time-blocking: Deb points out that less than 3% of people can do quality work shifting between tasks. Instead, block similar activities or tasks together and focus on them until they’re completed.
  • Work on what you don’t like: a little bit of front-end preparation and knocking out the hard things first allows you to focus on the goals that you’re reaching.
  • Experiment and find what works for you: there are so many strategies out there. Deb notes that you can’t be afraid to play around with different suggestions and find what works best for you—then stick with it.

To hear Deb’s favorite productivity story and other resources she shares, listen to this episode now!

Find out @PeopleFirstPS top productivity tips for sales professionals in this episode of the @SalesReinvented podcast. #SalesReinvented #Sales #ProblemSolving #ThinkClick To Tweet


Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Deb Calvert

Connect With Paul Watts


Audio Production and Show notes by

More About Deb Calvert

What was the last book you read?
Paradise by Toni Morrison and Succeed without Selling by Diane Helbig 

Who / What inspires you?
I’m inspired every day by people who work hard and take risks to leave things better than they found them. There are so many people making a difference in small but profound ways.

Are there any aspects of your own productivity skills that you are working on improving at the moment?
I’m always on the lookout for new time-saving hacks. But they have to be easy — I like to set it and forget it.

Hobbies, Interests?
Straw-bale gardening. Last year, I grew 57 different crops in straw bales. I also love to travel and experience local cultures. And I’m an avid reader of historical fiction and non-fiction related to leadership and sales.

How can our listeners connect with you?
Find me on LinkedIn or email directly to deb.calvert(at)peoplefirstps.com.