Note from Jason Forrest: You Are a Follower (Yes, You)

Business Meeting-Leading-Coaching-Believing-Jason Forrest-Forrest Performance GroupSales Pros:

When my wife and I find a babysitter, get all dressed up, and go to a swanky restaurant; we expect an experience. We’re not talking about a drive-thru burger joint with the kids or a quick meal to fill our bellies before moving on to the next thing, we’re looking for an evening out to enjoy each other’s company over a divine meal.

So when I recently asked for a recommendation at a fancy downtown eatery and heard, “It’s all good,” I was more than a little annoyed. I thought about the training courses my server had taken about steak preparation and which wines complement which flavors, and about the fact that she was required to taste every item on the menu before waiting on her first table; and I was seriously disappointed by her lack of leadership.

I was dropping big bucks and wanted to know the one item that would blow my socks off or the meal that my server would order if she were sitting down to dinner herself. She had the training and knew the menu best. I wanted her to lead me to a fine dining experience. But she refused.

As a sales coach, I often see sales professionals who are timid about sharing what they know or more concerned about being a client’s friend than leading them to a solution.

You are a follower. That’s right—I’m talking about you. When you approach tax accountants, financial advisers, and any other area you’re unfamiliar with, you want to follow someone with confidence and expertise. You want an expert. Your prospects do too.

Here’s to earning what you’re worth!



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JASON FORREST (named one of 2012’s Top Young Trainers for Training magazine–a national, industry-wide publication) is an expert at creating high-performance sales cultures through complete training programs. He incorporates experiential learning (rather than theory) to increase sales, implement cultural accountability, and transform companies into sales organizations. A sales professional at heart, Forrest is the author of two previous books. Forrest’s competitive distinction is his behavior-modification approach (which focuses on people, process, and presentation) and his focus on culture change.




Forrest Performance Group specializes in culture change and creating urgency within sales teams and management. Forrest PG’s competitive distinction is its behavior modification approach as applied to a variety of programs, education, seminars and sales coach training offerings all aimed at dramatically improving sales force success.

7 thoughts on “Note from Jason Forrest: You Are a Follower (Yes, You)

  1. Alicia

    That’s a great cartoon. I definitely would not feel confident following someone who knows nothing about the subject, but would be happy to provide his/her “expert” opinion.

    I like the idea of becoming an expert and then confidently leading.

  2. jasonforrest

    Your turn: Have you had a similar experience at a restaurant or otherwise?

    When have you looked for guidance from an expert who is reluctant to lead you to a solution?

  3. Leonora

    Interestingly, most restaurants train the servers so they can “sell” items on the menu. When replying to Jason’s example with a few questions on preferences, from that point they can take the diner on a culinary adventure of appetizers, entrees, wines and dessert. In doing so, not only do they provide a great experience, they increase the total bill and their “tip” as well.

  4. Paul Gortzig

    You are so correct. As a manager, part of my training consist of video shopping. I break down the film to identify areas of improvement and area which we “hit it out of the park”. One time a sales person complained about how her prospect was “all over the board” with questions. She thought the video shop was unfair. I explained to her that her prospect was asking questions because we didn’t take the lead and bring her prospect through her planned presentation. This is where you lead and take control of the visit. You are your communities expert. If salespeople don’t assume the lead, then the prospect will and then your presentation becomes random. Then, your results are random.


    1. Jason Forrest


      I LOVE video and audio shopping as a tool for improvement. Some sales professionals are intimidated by the thought and think it’s a way to get them in trouble. In fact, it’s the opposite. As you said, it’s a way to identify strong areas as well as those you need to improve so that your income can improve as well.
      I’m glad you were able to use the video shop to train your sales professional how to lead the process instead of being led by it. That’s exactly what it’s for.

      Your success is linear–a great sales professional takes the lead through their questions, enthusiasm, confidence, and belief!!


      I like the idea of asking the diner more questions. The server could say, “We have a few very popular dishes. Do you prefer steak or seafood?” The point is to lead the diner to a satisfying experience. They’ll be happier and, as you said, they’ll tip better. They’ll also be more likely to send others your way.

      Thanks for sharing your experiences, Paul and Leonora!

  5. Jenny

    Right on Jason!! I also want them to tell me a little about the history of the restaurant or the chef’s background, or SOMETHING to make me feel that I made the right choice in dining there that evening. I always tip GENEROUSLY when I get the full treatment. It’s amazing how people don’t realize how much they can influence THEIR bottom line, just by giving me something I can mention later to friends when sharing about what I did for dinner last night. I don’t mind paying extra for it, in fact, it makes me feel like I was at a dinner theatre or something when there is a lot of interesting interaction with the server…I will pay big bucks for that stuff any day!!

    Keep up the good work!!

    1. jasonforrest


      Restaurants could use a little culture change as well so they see themselves as sales organizations that serve food rather than restaurants that tolerate wait staff. As part of the culture change, servers should see themselves as sales professionals and be unafraid to lead people to an experience worth talking about.

      Do you (or anyone) have an especially memorable dining experience to share here?

      Thanks for the comment!



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