In 1975, I was Junior offensive lineman at UConn. On the team that year were a group of seniors that knew that their playing days were pretty much over. Younger players had been recruited and they were starting ahead of them. Those seniors formed a bit of a club – the Coast-to-Coast Club.
The thinking was this: “We are not going to see any action on game day but I have to keep playing to keep my scholarship though I don’t want to get a serious injury just practicing. So, I will coast from the beginning of practice to the end of practice."
Years later when I was developing our content for our Sales Managed Environment ® Certification Program, I included a segment on commitment. In this article, Dave Kurlan discusses the difference between motivation and commitment. It is a crucial difference. You can do some things to help people become motivated but when it comes to commitment, a sales manager can’t teach it, or coach it. Commitment to success in selling is something the sales person must bring to your organization. You can demonstrate it, explain it and expect it but you cannot make someone more committed to success than they want to be.
Over the years I’ve discovered there are three levels of commitment.
The first one is Coast-to-Coast commitment. These are the people that really do coast from the beginning of the day, week, month and year to the end of the time period. They show up and look busy but at the end of the day they didn’t break a sweat, didn’t do any harm, didn’t call anyone of significance and certainly didn’t move the sales needle. In other words, they’ve retired and just haven’t told anyone yet.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are the WITs – ‘whatever it takes’ commitment. Let me be clear- when discussing WIT, or, doing everything possible to success, we always mean doing everything while abiding by legal, ethical and moral standards.These are the people that do the work, take risk, fail, succeed, exceed goals, take on challenges, push the envelope, challenge the status quo and continue to reach higher and further. They make themselves do uncomfortable things and sometimes they make others uncomfortable by asking difficult questions and having fierce but effective conversations.
Then we have the Hawaiian group – The WITALAIITU. These are the people in the organization that look like WITS but really are closer to being coast-to-coast club members. They embrace new ideas but don’t execute. They are excited about training but never develop. Do a great job of pre and post-call strategy sessions and role- playing but fail to execute in front of a prospect. They will give you the thumbs up when you attempt to implement a strategy of getting introductions from clients but never ask because it will make them uncomfortable when their client resists and they have to ask why.
It's important that you understand the commitment levels of your sales team and coach them accordingly. That should be YOUR commitment.
If you’ve been in our training, you know what WITALAIITU means. If not, give it your best shot! Email me your guess at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll give you the answer. If you send me the correct answer, I will send you a gift.