Sales & Sales Management Expertise

Bill Walton Speaks to All Sales People and Sales Executives

Tags: sales management, Bill Walton, John Wooden, building sales teams, Back From The Dead

I read Dave Kurlan’s blog post about Bill Walton and Coach John Wooden.  In Dave’s blog, he talks about Walton’s view on success:  ‘The only difference between successful salespeople and the other 77% is that the successful sales people actually do the very things they don’t like doing.”  Dave uses role-playing as an example.  I see this all the time!  Ask someone to role-play in front of the group and they shut tight like a clam.  How can you possibly get better at pressure situations if you don’t practice under pressure? That’s a blog post for another day.

Bill has published and is now marketing his book, Back from the Dead.  I read a couple of lines from an interview with GQ and immediately went to my Amazon add-in and downloaded the book with my 1-click. billwaltoninterview.png

Wow, there’s a couple of blog posts regarding that inspiration and buying experience right there, but I’ll give you the bullets instead.

  • I read an article that got my attention.
  • I clicked on a button in my Firefox ribbon at the top of my page.
  • I searched Amazon for “Bill Walton”.
  • The book popped up.
  • I clicked on the little thing on the right side of the page that said “Buy Now using 1-click.”
  • I wanted the Kindle version so I could read it on the plane without carrying a big book, so when Amazon asked me if I wanted it downloaded to my iPhone, I clicked “yes.”
  • This all took less than a minute.
  • And that, my friends, is today’s sales cycle.

In your sales world, it might not take as many steps or it might be more, but don’t get hung up on the number of steps.  In your sales cycle, it probably takes more than a minute… maybe 30 days, maybe 120, maybe a year.

Bottom line: There is something that stimulates the buyer. The buyer gets the information they want and then… when they want to buy… they want to make the process easy and they want options.  If you are not doing those things (stimulating the buying response – providing information to make a buying decision – giving them options – making it easy), then you are going to lose the sale to those that do those things.  Not only will you lose occasionally, but sooner or later, it will become a permanent condition.

Now, my favorite Bill Walton and John Wooden story.

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Watch the video to get the whole story, but in short, the sales leader lesson is this:

  • You’ve been hired to do a job – drive sales growth/win basketball games
  • Part of that responsibility is to put the best team in the market/on the court
  • As the coach, you establish the culture for wining/you set the team rules
  • You can lead people but you cannot manage them – players have free will
  • If someone violates the rules, something has to be done – bend the rules, keep the rules
  • If a sales person wants to exert their independence, let them. But let them do it somewhere else.
  • They have to want to play for you and win more than compete against you and lose.

Additional Resources:

- Unless you have strong leadership, the money you spend on sales training is wasted. STOP wasting money.  In addition to great players, the key to a sales team built for growth is great sales management LEADERSHIP and MANAGEMENT. Read more about our Sales Management Certification.

- Make sure you get great players who are committed to winning for you – Hirebettersalespeople.com

- Get insight on the 9 Keys of Sales Management  - Booklet

How Do You Determine the Success of Your Sales Managed Environment®?

Tags: SME, sales management, improving sales results, how to manage salespeople, sales managed environment

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First, it makes sense to define a Sales Managed Environment® (SME™).  For the last 15 years, we’ve built, developed, refined and implemented the principles we associate with a sales environment that is “managed”.  The major components of SME™ are as follows:

  1. Setting standards and accountability
  2. Coaching for success
  3. Recruiting
  4. Motivating
  5. Upgrading the sales force

Using this as the basis for what the SME™ looks like, we next need to determine if, in fact, your environment has been built and is being executed for success.  So, how do you determine that?

  1. You have metrics for success that are consistent with company revenue and profit goals.
  2. You have standards for success that drive success rather than foster mediocrity.
  3. You have “smart” numbers to help you predict your progress towards meeting and exceeding your standards for your metrics.
  4. You inspect what you expect – activity, effectiveness and results.
  5. You pro-actively recruit – you have a candidate pipeline.
  6. You coach people to improve skills and change behavior.

But, ultimately, you determine success by:

  1. Achieving goals.
  2. Getting better individually as well as a team – more people carrying the load/higher percentage of producers hitting 100% of the goal.
  3. This year’s quintiles (sales team divided by production 1/5s) out-perform last year's.
  4. Sales activity/effort is where it needs to be to be successful.
  5. The data demonstrates that the team is more effective and efficient at executing the sales strategy and sales process.

So, the question(s) become(s) – is this happening?  If not, why not and, if so, why?

Not to focus on the negative, but let’s assume for a second that at least 3 of the 5 items determining success are not happening.  Where do you turn? What do you do?  The first thing is to determine why.  The answer to why is this – failure of sales management. 

As a leader, that is why you have a structure that includes sales management.  If you don’t, then part of the problem is that you don’t have a sales management structure or you don’t have sales management executing to the structure.

Unfortunately, if you are the sales manager, then this is a tough pill to swallow... but you have to anyway.  This is the job/responsibility you accepted when you said yes to the job, yes to the responsibility and yes to the compensation.  There is no avoiding this conclusion.  However, you can fix this and there are resources to help you. 

Certainly, as a company, we provide our unique set of solutions, but generally speaking, this is what you should be thinking:

  • What systems and processes do I need to have/build to support sales growth and a sales team built for growth?
  • What assessment tools exist to help me evaluate my skills and the skills/tendencies of my sales team?
  • What do I need to do differently in the area of recruiting to get more “A” and “a” players and stop hiring those that won’t succeed?
  • What is an effective coaching process I can implement so that I can be more intentional and impactful in my coaching? How do I change behavior and improve skill?

Resources for you to examine:

Assessments:  Cost of bad hires questionnaire

Sales Management Booklet – 9 Keys to Sales Management

Recruiting – How to find, attract, and recruit an all-star sales team – tool kit.

 

Understand this: I’d love the opportunity to help you build a sales team built for growth.  Contact me and we can look at the options. However, I know that you have access to lots of resources, so whatever you look for, start with these three – assessment, sales management and recruiting.

Book Review – You Gotta Have Balls – By Brandon Steiner

Tags: sales success, You Gotta Have Balls, Brandon Steiner

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I just heard Brandon speak at the recent Objective Management Group’s Annual International Sales Conference.  The sub-title to the book is:  How a Kid from Brooklyn Started from Scratch, Bought Yankee Stadium, and Created a Sports Empire.

A couple of things before I get into the book:

  • If you are in a position to hire someone to speak to your sales team or organization, Brandon is a very good hire. His soft-spoken, easy going manner will not irritate anyone in the meeting by coming across as a brash, aggressive sales guy from New York.  I think that’s a plus.
  • His close is really good.
  • His story about Michael Jordan is very entertaining.
  • There are some great life and business lessons don’t hit you over the head but are really good.
  • I like that he loves and credits his Mom with so much of his success.

Some of my noted captions in the book:

Getting into Syracuse University

  • Brandon had applied to Syracuse and he was getting ready to go into the interview to meet with the admission counselor. He states, “As I went into it, I thought, ‘I don’t want this to be the last time I see this place.’
    • I think this is important because it’s similar to pre-call planning. The first step is to identify the objective of the call.
    • It helped him craft the conversation he needed to have in order to tip the scales in his favor to meet the objective.
  • Here is how he states he started the conversation: “I don’t have any money, my SAT scores are kind of low and my grades are pass/fail.  I’ve been working full-time since I started high school; I’ve contributed to every student club I could fit into my schedule; I’ve been involved in so many activities I can barely remember them all, and if you give me an opportunity, I promise you I will use every inch of this school.  You will never regret letting me in.”
  • How good is that as an opening statement that doesn’t look, act and sound like every other applicant?

Getting the job at Hard Rock Café in NYC

  • Negotiate your first raise before you even get started
    • He was turned down the first time he applied.
    • He went back and suggested they hire him as a consultant.
    • They wanted to hire him for $22,500.00 to be the manager.
    • He declined the offer and countered with:
      • What you need is someone to come in and take charge.
      • Hire me as the assistant general manager at $36,000.
      • Give me a two-month trial period and, if it works out, I want my salary to be $41,000.
      • If it doesn’t work out after three months, you get rid of me.
    • Great advice for hiring the high-priced sales person that is asking for premium dollars to move to your organization.

Not overselling is an underrated part of selling.

Play the game, not the score

  • When you have players on the team that are playing the game and not the score:
    • You cannot tell if they are at quota, above or below. They just keep doing the things they are supposed to do.
    • On Derek Jeter, captain of the NY Yankees: “Watching Jeter at the end of the season you couldn’t tell if they were headed to the playoffs or in last place in the division.”
  • A valuable employee – one playing the game and not the score – will look like a valuable employee no matter the situation or circumstances. Consistency over time equals credibility.
  • This is important when evaluating current a new talent. When someone comes to you with a grievance or suggestion is that the someone that day in and day out performs as an all-star… or one that rides the wave when things are good and complains when things are bad? Pay attention to the source of complaints or suggestions – are they credible?

Selling when you are selling

  • When you make a big sale, keep going and make the second big sale.
  • Don’t worry about celebrating the win or mourning the loss.
  • Shoot your way out of a slump.
  • In his presentation, Brandon told a story about calling a prospective influencer 99 times in two days. Playing the game and not the score!
  • Before you try and sell someone something, make sure you know where their heart is and what makes them tick. That information is at least as valuable as whatever sales statistics you can offer up.

Steinisms:

  • In negotiating, a big part of getting what you want is helping other people get what they want.
  • Your true value is determined by how much you give in value rather than how much you receive in payment.
  • Dig the well before you are thirsty.
  • It’s risky to not take risks.
  • If you use your head, you don’t have to use your feet.

Interesting Answers to the Question You’ve Been Asking...

Tags: failing salespeople, hiring salespeople, managing salespeople

Why Do So Many of My Salespeople Fail to Perform as Expected?

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If you are a sales manager or sales VP, you look at your numbers and the people producing those numbers and you scratch your head or chin in confusion over why you are looking at what you are looking at!  Certainly, you didn’t hire these people to be in the middle of the pack or at the tail end of the conga line, but that is right where they are.  I know you don’t believe you hired them that way, but it’s either that… or you made them that way. Don’t get upset with me or write me nasty comments; the reality is that your team’s performance is a result of what you’ve hired or what you’ve done.

So, in general, that answers the question – Why do so many sales people fail to perform? However, I have detailed answers to that question that you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else besides right here or here.  (Click this link you will find out how I know what you probably don’t know but what you need to know!)  Now, here are the detailed answers to that question:

  • Underperformers have 80% of the desire of top performers. *Note – not all performers have off-the-chart desire – that is about 7% of all top sales people.
  • Those that underperform have about 44% of the commitment to succeed in selling that top performers do.
  • These two factors combine to measure motivational level. Underperformers have about 60% of the motivation of your top people.

SUMMARY – Underperformers just are not as motivated to succeed

SOLUTION – STOP hiring people that are not motivated to succeed at the highest level of performance!

Using the Objective Management Sales Evaluation, there are over 100 data points to measure the opportunity for sales growth of a sales team/organization.  Additionally, this data helps us to predict the likelihood of success of new sales people and managers.  No way can I discuss all that data in this post, but here are some interesting findings based on the raw data I have from assessing salespeople (as well as firsthand knowledge of some of the people in the study).

  • Top performers are trainable and coachable
  • Top performers have a high figure-it-out factor
  • Top performers have a low need for approval and…
  • Top performers score an average of 86.8 (higher score is better) and underperformers score 39.6 for handling rejection!
  • Top performers are hunters, consultative sellers and closers (average score for skills is 55% of required skills while underperformers average 39.6% of required skills)

SUMMARY – Salespeople – regardless of tenure or previous success - need training and coaching. Also top performers handle rejection extremely well and move on.

SOLUTION – Do not hire based on past performance. (It’s like investing in a mutual fund – past performance is not a guarantee of future returns.)  During the interview process, reject the heck out of the candidate – the strong ones will recover and attempt to close you over and over again!

The following data indicates that sales strengths are better indicators of success rather than sales skills:

  • Underperformers have 85% of the sales skills of top performers but have…
  • Only 71% of the sales strengths that support execution of sales skills and…
  • The severity of their sales weaknesses are 52% higher than that of top performers

SUMMARY – The skills are about the same, but those with strong desire, commitment, outlook and responsibility win.

SOLTUTION – Make sure your pre-hire assessment process looks for strengths and “will sell” rather than just skills, personality and behavioral traits.

SUMMARY of the answer(s) to the question, “Why do so many of my salespeople fail to perform as expected?”:

  • Poor diagnosis of the right contributing factors for success
  • Candidates eliminated due to weaknesses rather than hiring for sales strengths
  • Too much credit given to sales skills exhibited during interview process
  • Lack of solid training and development on the root causes of poor performance

NOT DISCUSSED today, but will in the next post:

  • Poor or weak sales management:
    • Not executing a strong strategy for performance management because the system doesn't exist or they lack performance management skills. (Research indicates that this is the strongest skill set in managers but still only 25% of managers have 65% of the required skills.)
    • Failure to coach or failure to coach effectively – less than 10% of managers have the required coaching skills.

Now that you have the answer(s) to the question, what will you do about it?

Additional Resources:

Fishing/Selling – It’s an Exact Science… Kinda

Tags: sales success, selling skills, fishing

I went fishing with a very good friend of mine from First Citizens Bank in NC and he took me to his favorite fishing hole - Lake James.  Keith claims it is the most beautiful fishing lake in the country.  I don’t know if it is - I’ve not seen them all, but this is one beautiful lake!

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Equipment - You gotta have equipment.  According to my guide, Keith Walker, there is no such thing as too much equipment.  I didn’t count everything, but I’m guessing we had 12 fishing rods and rigs, well over 100 different types of lures, and enough different types of hooks for another 25 different types of plastic lures.

Electronic Technology - Two radar screens to determine depth of water, temperature of water, structure underneath the water and visuals to determine schools of baitfish and predator fish.

Boat - A boat well-equipped to handle two people, rod holders, bait well, and a 40 hp four-stroke Suzuki engine to get us to various spots on the vast lake where the fish might be feeding or nesting. And a trolling motor at the bow of the boat so that we could quietly and slowly approach fishing areas.

Intelligence - Most importantly, we had human intelligence.  (That's a bit of a stretch with Keith… but I’ll give him credit for intelligence in fishing, North Carolina basketball J and managing a team of investment advisors.  Any other intelligences attributed to Keith is questionable as it is with all former coaches of any kind as they never fail to let the facts spoil a good story.) All the fishing enablement tools are needed but, without the human intelligence to put the pieces together to develop a strategy to find the fish, lure the fish, and catch the fish, the equipment and technology is, well, just equipment and technology.

As an example, the first place we fished is a place known as the rock pile.  It a rather shallow place in the lake with very clear water and, about 7 feet down, you can see rocks, lots of rocks.  Without the human intelligence, I would have not known to go there first thing in the morning, but that is exactly where we were at 6:30 AM on Saturday where we landed 3 fish and hooked another 3.  Then we moved on… because, after about an hour after sunrise, the fish move on.  Human Intelligence.

The same is true in selling.  You can leverage all the technology available to you, but at the end of the day, the technology cannot do what Dan Sullivan described many years ago in his great book - Selling for the 21st Century Agent.

Technology cannot replace what human intelligence and skill can do:

  • Development mutually beneficial relationships
  • Provide creative solutions to people’s problems
  • Get people to take action

If you find yourself not doing those three things on a consistent basis, then you will find yourself in a boat, in a lake and wonder why you aren’t catching any fish.

How to Grade the Performance of Salespeople

Tags: sales performance, sales results, evaluating salespeople, managing salespeople

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The obvious metric to use to measure performance is the sales results of the individual. If they hit or exceed goal, all is good.  So, that takes care of about 10 to 15% of your sales force.  But, how about the rest of them?  Sure, the numbers tell you they are not performing but, as an effective sales manager, you need to find out why.  The only way to do that is to look at additional data points.

Data points that are “a must observe” to measure performance:

  • Critical ratios in the success formula
    • Are they doing the right effort?
    • How effective are they? What do the critical ratios tell you?
  • Observation
    • Joint calls – Are they executing the company sales steps/process?
    • Joint calls – Are they executing the fundamental sales skills:
      • Asking enough questions
      • Asking the right questions
      • Using stories, analogies and metaphors to weave a story and be conversational
      • Effectively listening
      • Inquiring for further information to clearly understand the impact of problems described by the client
    • Role-playing
      • Do they understand the fundamentals of your sales steps/process?
      • Do they intellectually understand what you mean by consultative selling, challenger selling, and client-focused interviewing?
      • Do they demonstrate in the classroom what you expect them do to in the field?
    • Additional data
      • Pipeline data – Is the volume increasing? Is it becoming more reliable?
      • Stack ranking - Are the various quintiles in your organization performing better this quarter/year than last quarter/year?
      • Sales activity – Are they doing enough effort to give them enough at bats to be successful?

In particular, for this article, I want to share a thought on observing your people perform.  Either in role-play or in live selling situations, you immediately get a reaction when you observe your people perform.  My guess is that your reaction could fall into 1 of 4 categories:

  1. I would not buy from this person ever; in fact, I would love to compete against them.
  2. I’m on the fence post with them; I need more information or more time to make up my mind.
  3. I would not buy from them right now based on what I just saw/heard.
  4. I would buy from this person; they were compelling, they got me engaged, made me discover some things that bother me that I need to fix and got me to a point where I was will to undo any current relationships, add a new relationship and spend money that I didn’t think I needed to spend.

I have a client that just had a sales meeting that included about an hour of role-play covering a very specific step in their sales process. One of the product line specialists/experts commented the following: “With the exception of 2 people that I observed, I don’t believe I would buy from anyone else that I saw in that one hour.”

Wow, what a courageous, honest assessment.

My comment or suggestion to the team is to go back and review all the video or audio recordings of the role-plays and grade them using the standards I suggested above.  Sounds easy enough.  But, it’s not.

Performance management requires the following:

  • Supportive beliefs about what it takes to coach people and get them to perform. If you believe you can manage people better if they like you, then you’re in trouble.
  • Recovering from rejection – If you cannot recover from rejection or fear of rejection, then you probably won’t tell one of the salespeople you work with that you wouldn’t buy from them.
  • Knowledge of desire and commitment - If you believe that all of your people are trainable and coachable, then you will spend a great deal of time with the same people covering the same sales execution problems.
  • Data nutcase - If you don’t look at data, then you won’t be able to have any intentional coaching sessions.
  • Time allocation - If you don’t take time to do ride-a-longs or role-plays, then you are missing two important/non-negotiable data points.

These are just a few of the requirements of effective sales management, leadership and coaching.  The key point in the message though is to do an honest assessment of your talent and then have discussions with them about how you honestly feel about their performance.  Yes, it will be difficult.  Yes, you might lose somebody over this.  And, yes, you might actually get people to work harder at their craft.

Resources to help you improve performance management and intentional coaching:

Sales Management Certification Program:  Link to SME

Why is Sales Management so #$%& Hard:  Articles

Tracking sales activity to get real time sales data:  Whitepaper article

National Webinar series for sales and sales management: Inquire about distance learning call me or text me directly 513.226.3913

How to Win Business in Any Market at Any Time!

Tags: sales results, sales prospecting, saes competition, client focus

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Selling in Any Market is one of my favorite keynote/workshops to deliver. When addressing a group of sales people or sales managers, I always create a stir when I loudly pronounce that the way to sell in any market is to “STOP making excuses and JUST SELL.”

When there are disruptions/economic conditions in your industry that cause you to get out of your normal flow in business, sometimes you end up spending more time playing defense than you do playing offense. 

In our primary markets – insurance brokerages, banking and investment services - disruptions have become a quarterly occurrence.  In my 20+ years in this business, I have asked audiences across the country if they have ever gone through a three-year period in their business when there wasn’t some sort of the disruption in the “normal” flow of business.  In short, their answer was no. In fact, disruptions in flow of business have become the norm.

In a recent discussion with one of our current client’s brokers, they described that the market is a hard market right now meaning that some prices are stable and some are going down.  As a result, some of the markets/carriers were lowering prices to grab market share.  When this happens, a broker’s own clients sometimes decide that it’s time to go for better premiums with the same coverage.  So, when this happens, brokers (like my client) have to play some defense to protect their turf.  And when that happens, brokers have a tendency to take their eyes off of prospecting – they stop playing offense.

I have several clients in the bank-owned investment brokerage business.  Last week, the Department of Labor passed new fiduciary regulations that have caused and will continue to cause a MAJOR disruption in that business.  Studies indicate that companies will literally spend billions of dollars to make sure they are compliant with the new regulations.  Not only will this require an investment of an enormous amount of money, but it will also take millions of hours invested by many for compliance training.  None of these activities are offensive in nature and so, in the end, will actually cost millions, maybe billions, more in lost productivity.

This is not necessary!  Here are just a couple of things to keep in mind as you attempt to manage performance during difficult periods:

  • Unlike 2008 (when a substantial piece of the market DID shrink), the current situation is not the same.
    1. Businesses are not going out of business because insurance premiums are going down.
    2. The amount of money in play in retirement and personal savings has not shrunk. If it’s a multi-billion/trillion dollar pile of money today, it will still be a multi-trillion pile of money once the Department of Labor regulations are fully implemented (January 1, 2018)
  • If your clients have a tendency to want to shop in a tough market, so do the clients of your competitors. Companies are in play, but you have to take the phone “off of the hook” and call them.
  • People that have invested their money with advisors that have not treated them in a way that is consistent with the new regulations (client focused/fiduciary responsibility) will be in the market to find an investment advisor/representative who will.
  • If you find that it is your smaller clients that want to shop – let them. My guess is that, if you let the bottom 20% of your insurance clients go, it will represent less than 5% of your total revenue.  One new client that looks more like your top 20% will replace at least 10 of your bottom clients.
  • If you are a financial advisor – DITTO. Frequently, my friend, Kevin Mummau from CUSO Financial, and I discuss the segmenting of books of business. Time and again, the 80/20 rule applies. Actually, based on his business intelligence, that industry looks more like 30/70.  But, still let the smaller accounts work with licensed bank reps or bring in an associate that can grow by growing with smaller accounts.

The bottom line is this: as a sales leader in an organization, you have the responsibility to keep your people focused on what it takes to win in any market, any environment.  Regardless of the score of the game, you have to…

Just like in a sport of any kind, stuff happens.  A team gets a big lead, catches a break, the wind shifts and the kick goes wide.  It doesn’t matter!  You cannot win just playing defense.

Sooner or later, you have to score more points than the opponent. That is offense!

Who is Your Superstar?

Tags: sales results, hire better salespeople, sales superstar

Kobe Bryant will be retired from NBA basketball when the final buzzer sounds in tonight’s game against the Utah Jazz.  If you are not a basketball fan or sports fan, this may mean nothing to you.  My intent is to frame a very important discussion about performance around a living legend of the LA Lakers and NBA.

As I listened to ESPN Radio Mike and Mike in The Morning, I heard commentary from former teammates, coaches and opposing players. There was a common theme in there discussion about Kobe Bryant and elite performers in athletics.  To be clear, I don’t believe the common theme is limited to athletic top performers.

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As I started this article, I sent a question to my niece, Laura Wehrmeyer Fuentes.  Laura is an elite performer and vocalist who performs in the greater DC/Baltimore area.  I asked her if she ever bailed on a performance because she felt a little off or hadn’t prepared properly.  Her response:  “No way!  I’ve sung through bronchitis and pneumonia hopped up on steroids when I had to.  The show must go on!”

Elite performers prepare and perform at the highest capabilities regardless of the situation, the score, the environment or circumstances.

Some comments made about Kobe made me think about the content and theme of this article.  Here is just a sampling of what was said about Kobe and other top performers:

  • They demanded the best of others. When others were not performing at their best, giving it their all in practice or in a game, they call them out.
  • When it’s game time, nothing else matters. When Kobe’s family came to LA to watch him play, they stayed at a hotel instead of his spacious home.  He focused on the task at hand.
  • Regardless of the score of any game, if you watched Kobe play, you would swear that the Lakers must be down by 20. His intensity for playing the game rather than playing the score made him elite.
  • When comparing Kobe to Magic Johnson, the comment was made about Magic after they lost the championship to the Lakers. “You couldn’t find Magic in LA.  Here is a guy that likes to be out, is normally seen out and is everywhere where the lights are.  After the loss you could only find him in one place – the gym.”
  • Elite players make other players better. They recognize that they are a big piece of the puzzle, but still only one piece.  They elevate the game of others in order to win the team
  • Elite players have a tendency to rub others the wrong way. Not because they are arrogant individuals, but they have an arrogance about how they view the game and how it should be played and how one should be prepared to play.  They are haters – haters of losing and those un-willing to pay the price to win.

I could go on, but this makes the point and takes me to the question in the title of this article – Who are your elite players and are they doing the things that superstar/hall of fame players do? 

  • Are they elevating others?
  • Are they demanding of others?
  • Are they team-objective focused or focused on their own stats?
  • Do they do everything possible to win individually and get others to win as a team?
  • Are they your go-to people in a crisis?
  • Do they grind and grind to get it done?
  • Do they work relentlessly on their skills?
  • Do they focus on the details of the game so as to eliminate repeated errors or mistakes?
  • Do they call others out?

*Data on approximately 100,000 sales managers

  • Have, on average 43% of the Sales Coaching Competency 
  • Only 39% have at least 50% of the Sales Coaching Competency.  
  • Only 7% have more than 75% of the Sales Coaching Competency and
  • Only 3% spend at least 50% of their time coaching their salespeople
  • Only 7% of sales people assessed fall into the elite status based on performance, sales DNA and 21 core sales competencies.

As a CEO, president, national sales manager, vice president of sales or sales manager, the responsibility you have is to drive revenue.  When that seems difficult or impossible there needs to be more to the solution than work harder, see more people, increase the marketing budget, do more social networking, expand the sales force, etc.  Just like you would look into the numbers (expenses) to figure out how to improve profit, you need to look at the root problems impacting revenue.

It isn’t the latest sales enablement technology that improves sales results.  It is the human technology that drives sales today and will drive sales tomorrow.

Helpful Links/Resources:

Objective Management Group – White Paper on Talent Selection

Anthony Cole Training Group – Link to Sales Management Certification Program

Hirebettersalespeople.com – Self-explanatory link

Burning platform issue – You have a problem now, You want it fixed now – call me directly:  Office: 513.605.1301 or call/text  Mobile 513.226.3913.

 

Picture of Kobe – link to YouTube

What to Keep Doing, Part 3 of 3

Tags: sales skills, key to sales success, keep, start and stop

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I continue to learn from my clients and the training director of a large national bank once said to me, “This is what we would like to keep doing. This is what we would like to start doing. And this is what we would like to stop doing.” Of course, all of this was framed up with lists of actions and initiatives because we were meeting to discuss coming years of training content, focus and delivery. However, this simple take-away can be applied to nearly any complex situation.

Some thoughts on What to Keep Doing:

Keep Learning 
As human beings, we continue to age and evolve. In order to thrive and survive, we must keep learning. Imagine if a child stopped learning—say your son turned 12 and stagnated and did not move forward mentally. Of course, you would find this odd and abnormal and you would go to great lengths to uncover issues so that you could fix this.

Unfortunately, adults sometimes do this and salespeople often feel like they know enough about selling. While a sales person may know that he must learn about new products, he often does not continue education in his craft of selling. Yet, to compete well in an ever evolving environment, one must know as much as possible and be well-rehearsed—after all “Perfect practice makes perfect performance.”

Play Like this is Your First or Last Game or Performance 
In the final season of Hall of Famer George Brett’s career, he was asked what he would like his last at-bat to be like—a signature double to right center field? A rocket single to left field? Brett said “No, I want to hit a hard ground ball to the second baseman and run as hard as I can to first base so that every young guy on our team will know that that’s how the game is supposed to be played.”

Prepare as though You’ve Never Done this Before 
It is an unfortunate fact of life that we tend to get sloppy over time. We think we know what we are doing. We think we don’t need practice or preparation.

Captain Edward John Smith had been commanding vessels for over 25 years. In 1012, he took command of an unsinkable cruise ship- The RMS Titanic. We all know what happened. While the stakes in selling do not usually involve hundreds of human lives, we cannot lose sight of the need for preparation. After all, “Perfect performance is a result of perfect practice.” (Am I repeating myself?)

Continue to Risk
Sailing in calm waters doesn’t teach.”  I don’t know the origin of that expression, but it defines this particular Keep Doing.  I majored in physical education while at University of Connecticut. In physiology, I learned the SAID principle, which I believe in and continue to preach.  SAID stands for Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand.  In other words, your muscles don’t grow unless you put them under strain – put them in a position that exceeds their ability. 

I believe our brain power and our emotional stamina work the same way-- In order for us to grow, to learn, to become better, stronger, sharper, we must take on risks, including the risk of failing.  Get outside of comfortable. 

Continue to Fall Down & Get Up 
As we get older and have more experiences, we learn that life is up and down. One day is great successes and the next brings difficulty and defeat. This is particularly true in sales, since rejection and loss of a prospect/proposal/sale is a common occurrence. So, I imagine you have a long history of falling, dusting yourself off and getting up.  

Unfortunately, as we get more tenured in our professional career and accumulate a revenue stream, we can get knocked down and decide to be comfortable with what we have amassed over the years. We can get comfortable because we don’t have the drive and motivation that we once had. SO--

Set Higher and Bigger Goals 
Identify the goals that inspire you to do all the Keep Doing activities above.

  • Set goals that require learning something new or different
  • Set goals that excite you
  • Set goals that risk failure because they are a stretch

 

Is it an Expense or an Investment?

Tags: time management, setting priorities, investing in future, developing sales skills

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I just returned from the 2016 Bank Insurance and Securities Association annual convention. As always, it is a great event where competitors come together to discuss processes and strategies to deal with the challenges of growing financial institution-owned investment (broker) programs.

I believe this is actually my 7th conference: the first one being 2009.  As you can imagine, that year was quite a conference as banks and investment firms/companies were in the throws of a financially disastrous economic downturn.  This year, there is a new challenge on the horizon - the impending DOL (Department of Labor) legislation regulating fiduciary responsibility of advisors when discussing, presenting and offering solutions to retirement funds.  Although there was way too much information to get it all a single post, the topic did leave me with much I would like to share with my readers.

So, this is my thought for today - investing in success.

This is going to sound self-serving.  However, I assure you, it is not.  As a company, we have probably invested $40,000.00 in real dollars to learn about the industry the BISA represents as well as learn more about the problems and challenges facing those that are responsible for leading and managing sales teams to meet the investment program goals.  This year alone, and I just finished tallying just my expenses for the trip, we will have invested very close to $20,000.00 so that we can better understand AND service our target market. 

Understand that when I say "our company" I really mean my wife, Linda, and me.  It is our company.  It is our money.  So, every dollar we spend in and for our company that is a dollar that we don’t invest in our own family and future.  It really is our money. The point is that we look at it as an investment and not just an expense.  It's an investment that will return future dollars to the company.

As I was flying back yesterday, I was thinking about that and thinking about those that attended and those individual salespeople (thousands of them) represented by the firms/companies in attendance and I realized a couple of things:

  *  There are people there just like me that are taking money out of their pocket and investing in a future.

  * There are people there that are using company dollars BUT they are using personal time away from their family and investing that time to invest in their future.

  * The investment, either way, is substantial.

  * The investment of time alone is close to three 14-hour days.

My point and suggestion today is this - in order to become all that you can be, you need to personally invest time, money and effort to learn.  It’s more than an investment of the 40 to 50 hours a week working in the business.  It is an additional investment of time working on your business necessary for future success.