My 2019 Jeff Shore Sales Leadership Summit Wrap-up

Each year, I’m excited to attend the Jeff Shore Sales Leadership Summit. Each year, I leave grateful for the relationships the industry has provided me, and excited about what the future holds.

This year’s summit delivered in a big way.

The Venue

I’ve come to expect a memorable venue experience for the summit. The Gaylord Rockies in Denver is a sparkling new resort and conference center with some spectacular views, including breathtaking sunsets.

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The Energy

The energy at the summit was big — really big. With nearly 400 sales professionals in attendance, this was the largest summit I can remember.

The Theme: Obsession

Never scared to introduce some comic relief, the summit opened with a perfume-esque commercial for “Obsession” — complete with the usual bizzaro-editing fragrance commercials are famous for.

While I encourage the future release of a fragrance named “Obsession by Jeff,” the message about obsession set the stage for two days of discussions about the topics on which sales leaders focus.

Note: I’m paraphrasing and very much over-simplifying what I heard at the Summit, so don’t take my words as a transcript. If you didn’t make it this year, you should be seriously budgeting for 2020 (It’s in ☀️ San Diego, btw).

If you divide your areas of focus into a pyramid of priorities, initiatives, and obsessions, what would it look like. Obsessions are at the top of the pyramid, so it’s the smallest part. There’s not room to be truly obsessed about a lot of things. Jeff, Amy, and Ryan went on to advocate for sales leaders to obsess about lead conversion — to obsess over coaching their sales teams for improved lead conversion and holding the sales team accountable in a way that demonstrates that obsession.

It’s been over a decade since I was a sales manager, but I couldn’t stop thinking (perhaps I was obsessing) about what others would say I’m obsessed about. That’ll be another blog post soon.

The People

We come to the summit to spend time with our friends; old, new, and soon-to-be. We gain so much great energy by talking, sharing, and catching-up over a drink. This year was everything I expected and more. At the summit I reconnected with Karen Nickell and Charlie Jenkins — two friends I hadn’t seen in twelve+ years!

Karen Nickell and I were sales managers at the same time (in different divisions), and am happy to report her heart is as big and bright as it ever was. I met Charlie Jenkins my second week in the building industry — January, 2000. Charlie was the trainer leading the F.I.R.E. (For Igniting Ryland Excellence) program and my week-long experience learning from him set the stage for so much of what came next for me. Being able to shake his hand again at the summit was incredible.

Charlie Jenkins with my wife and I at the Ryland Emerald Club Reception.
Summer 2003, Miami, Florida.

I’ve known for some time that I appreciate experiences more than things. These relationships mean the world to me.

The Roundtable

You’re probably familiar with Jeff Shore’s Sales Leadership Roundtable. I promise that the following is not a “sponsored segment” and no one asked me to share my thoughts, but I’ve never been one to wait for an invitation to share my opinion ;).

I’m a huge believer in the value of facilitated peer groups. I’ve been part of one for nine years and I can’t describe the impact it’s made on my thinking and my business. The advice and feedback I have received from others in my position has been transformational — again and again.

When I watch the summit attendees interact with one another, I can tell which of them are present or past roundtablers. I probably wouldn’t be 100% accurate in a real test, but I’d bet on myself.

What’s different? Roundtablers are more comfortable being vulnerable in front of their peers, and they are quick to provide affirmative supportive feedback to others. These are actions that are supported by clarity and confidence. Not an arrogant confidence, but a confidence that comes from knowing they have more to learn and being comfortable with that. They understand that vulnerability is a prerequisite of growth, so they lean into it. Roundtablers also show compassion freely. Maybe because they’ve felt the compassion of others, or maybe it’s because they have a heightened level of empathy as a result their experiences. Wherever it comes from, they possess the confidence to offer help to others.

I can see this professional maturity in lots of interactions, but it shines when I’m participating in the breakout discussions with the sales leaders at my table. In that environment, it’s easy to spot the rountabler.

The Finale

While the video below might look like it’s from a rave, it was actually part of the final act. There’s nothing like dance moves to get the blood pumping for a strong finish.

My Biggest Takeaway

As soon as Jeff asked the question, “What are you obsessed about?” I was thinking about my answer. In fact, I had a lot of answers. Agreeing that you can only be truly obsessed about a couple things, I knew I didn’t have the right answers.

Eventually, I decided on just two obsessions, but I’m not ready to share them. Instead, I’m going to ask the other members of the ONeil Interactive team what they feel my obsessions are. My answers are based on how I see myself. If my obsessions are a demonstration of what I value, it’s most important that I’m acting in a way that demonstrates those values to others.

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Hope to see you next year!

Dennis O'Neil

Dennis O'Neil


Dennis has spent over 22 years using the internet to sell and market new homes. He blogs about internet marketing for home builders here, wrote a book about technology's impact on the sales process, and is a respected speaker on advanced internet marketing and the online sales process.