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What to Keep Doing, Start Doing, and Stop Doing in 2024

Posted by Tony Cole on Tue, Jan 02, 2024

As we begin the New Year of 2024, with volatile world events all around us, it is a perfect time to think about and focus on what you can affect and act on, in your personal and professional life to improve your relationships and results. This idea of reviewing what you should keep doing, start doing, and stop doing is borrowed from a past client of ours so we must give them credit. The process is worthy of your time to consider so please read on…

Keep Doing
An important distinction in the financial advisory world is that when you “sell” something to your clients, you are, in fact, helping them reach their financial goals and financial security. This is a motivating and positive mindset that helps advisors do the necessary sales activities on a consistent basis, and in turn, helps them grow their business. But we need to make sure our salespeople stay on top of their priorities and activities. This is not always easy, and it sometimes takes courage.  To execute as sales managers, we must be keep having fierce conversations with our reps when activities aren't being performed. We must continue to manage our own activities and yet be strong and flexible enough to function as a team. We must keep encouraging each other when we have fallen behind. We must have the endurance to do this day in and day out. 

It’s easy to get discouraged and frustrated when sales activities don't lead to results immediately.  But, if your business plan is solid, your sales activity success formula is based on real data, and you review and manage these sales behaviors regularly, these good business practices will lead to the accomplishment of your goals. Keep doing them!

Start Doing
As a sales manager, you need to help your people start doing what they must do to be more successful at selling. Here are some activities that can lead to success in selling and to which you should start doing if you are not already:

  • Determine specific goals and include personal as well as professional goals. Start with 100 goals, boil that down to the top 10 and then filter out the top 3 non-negotiable goals.  Remember, people achieve sales goals to reach personal aims, not company targets. Download our 100 Personal Goals Worksheet Here
  • Advisors should have a specific plan to reach their goals. If they don’t have a plan, help them create one. The plan should include specific activities required for success and set “standards” for each of these activities and you must keep them accountable to those standards.
  • Have a process of reporting activities and results; we suggest a weekly sales huddle as the venue. There is nothing as powerful as being part of a group. Peer pressure is hugely motivating.
  • Be a life-long learner. Being in the business 20 years is not good enough. You and your advisors have to be better and more knowledgeable today than you were last year.
  • Adjust to the marketplace. This goes beyond dealing with the volatile economic climate.  Today technology has changed how many people receive information and buy. There was a time when consumers relied on the salesperson to provide virtually all the information to make a decision. Now, most of the information (as well as the ability to make a purchase) is available online. Today’s manager role is to help clients identify their financial goals, make the right choices to reach them, and then implement the appropriate steps.

If you take the time to help your advisors analyze their business practices to identify what they need to do in order to be successful, you will have taken an important step toward accomplishing your goals.  So, start now. 

Stop Doing
Several years ago, I heard Verne Harnish, author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, speak. As part of his presentation on the “1-Page Business Plan”, he challenged the crowd with the following question: “What will you stop doing?” Typically, when companies (or individuals) create a business plan, they focus on the things they are going to start doing when what they really need is to focus on what they will stop doing. 

I know that you can relate to this. We have worked with thousands of sales managers over the last 30 years, and the number one reason given for not spending sufficient time coaching their people is time. Their time is eaten up with other priorities, such as operations, paperwork, or meetings.  However, you have to rise above this. You must determine what you will stop doing.

To help you get started, here are some potential “stop doing” activities you should consider:

  • Stop allowing your salespeople to make excuses for their lack of activity. Discontinue those lengthy conversations and refocus them on getting the activity done.
  • Stop getting so immersed in operations and finance. Find the right people in your organization with the perspective to understand what they must do and what you must do to get the whole job done.
  • Stop dropping and doing everything for your salespeople. Schedule a specific time for discussions with your reps and avoid those interruptive drop-ins. By doing that, you will help them to solve many of their own issues. Your door cannot always be open.

It’s your turn now to determine what you need to “Keep Doing, Start Doing and Stop Doing” in 2024!


Need Help?  Check Out Our Sales Growth  Coaching Program for Managers!



Topics: Sales Training, motivating sales people, achieving sales success, banking sales training, sales training tips, sales coaching best practices

Sales Success in the C-Suite

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Thu, Dec 21, 2023

I am enjoying reading the book Selling to the C-Suite by Nicholas A.C. Read and Stephen J. Bistritz. The book is an excellent summary of how selling to C-Suite executives is so dramatically different from selling in the lower levels of a company. As always, I hope you have developed the habit of reading as it allows you to share fellowship with great minds.

One of the more interesting principles upon which the book is based is the idea that when the economy is down, decisions go up. This means that decisions that were made at lower levels of the company in a good economy are now likely to be made at more senior levels of the company when the economy is challenging. No doubt that risk aversion plays a role in this trend.  And have you checked out the economy lately? It is not very good.

Objective Management Group has a considerable amount of data that shows the importance of sales skills as compared to the difficulty of the sales assignment.  In short, your skills do not matter nearly as much if you are selling a product that people are coming to you to buy as opposed to a conceptual sales context where you are selling a service to a person you had to go find.  Here is a sports analogy – you might be an excellent basketball player in high school in Small Town USA…but what happens when you are faced with the increase in competition at UCLA, Duke, Kentucky, or Kansas?

It is no different in selling. If you want to venture in the C-Suite, you will want to remember the following keys.

4 Keys to Selling to the C-Suite

  1. You better get referred or better yet introduced by someone in the senior executive’s network. Several studies have shown that senior level executives do not engage with salespeople that have not been referred to them.  One study went as far to conclude that only 1 in 5 senior executives will even talk to a salesperson they don’t know.
  2. You better get there early. By that I mean early in the sales process.  If you get there late and the ship has already sailed, you will likely find your path to the C-Suite blocked by lower-level executives who are not interested in returning the boat to the dock so you can board.
  3. You better think like senior executives think. They think big picture and they think about opportunities for growth, and they think about the threats that could interfere with that growth.
  4. And finally, you better have your sales game in order. You must be confident, and you must be consultative.  If you act like a traditional salesperson, you have no chance.

Ask yourself one question – if you were a senior level executive, and you called on yourself…would you take the call? As Socrates once said, the unexamined life is not worth living.


Need Help?  Check Out Our Sales Growth  Coaching Program for Managers!



Topics: Sales Training, motivating sales people, achieving sales success, banking sales training, sales training tips, sales coaching best practices

Are Your Salespeople Committed to Sales Success?

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Dec 14, 2023

Achieving commitment towards sales goals and success is crucial for cultivating a successful sales team. It requires a concentrated effort and the growth of each team member. Dave Kurlan, the founder of Objective Management Group, defines commitment to sales success as “The willingness to do whatever is required to succeed in sales, at reaching quota, achieving goals and closing a particular deal or account- whatever it takes (ethically).”  It's important to note that It’s not whatever it takes as long as it’s comfortable or as long as it’s not too difficult.

How many of your people are really committed to sales success as it is defined above? Commitment requires strong personal desire to achieve personal goals. Companies continue to set sales goals for producers without ever knowing if these people are motivated to reach their own personal goals. This is a big mistake.

We must get commitment from salespeople, even top producers, to execute at the high levels necessary. And more importantly, we must get each individual’s commitment to perform the activities required to reach his/her specific personal goals. Without this customized goal plan, your company sales goals are destined to fall short.

Salespeople commit to what is important to them.  While they may understand the benefit of shareholder value increasing, this is not what will drive them to do the activities. What will motivate a salesperson is his/her own set of nonnegotiable personal objectives, goals and ambitions. As a sales coach, your job is to help each individual uncover these personal goals and help him/her understand that, if committed, how he/she will reach these goals.  

Next, we must help each salesperson discover his/her “current state,” or where they stand relative to these goals. When there is a gap, as when the personal income forecast from current sales pipeline and closing ratio will not be sufficient to buy the dream house, we must help the salesperson discover the pain and disappointment that will occur if he/she does not achieve this goal.

To do this, we must use a series of probing questions, questions that will illuminate what his/her future looks like based upon current production. This process is an important part of helping a salesperson stay committed to sales success and achieving their goals.

Once we have gone through this initial discovery and questioning process, we arrive at the salesperson’s ultimate desired outcome. In the case of a salesperson who is underperforming or failing to execute effort or skills, we must get him/her to agree, voluntarily, that failure to achieve the desired outcome is not an acceptable option. 

It is important that the salesperson desires and verbalizes this. It is not effective for him/her to answer a leading question that you might pose such as “You don’t want that to happen, do you?”  Instead, you must ask “Is that a problem? Are you sure that’s a problem? And is it compelling enough for you to make changes?”  Only after the salesperson verbally acknowledges that he/she wants to change and needs to change, can we move to the next step. Only then can we get the salesperson to agree to some form of disciplined structure around the necessary sales activity.

Once we have a salesperson’s commitment to fix a problem, we must get them to commit - to agree to do everything possible to succeed. At this point, we can implement a sales development program that will help him/her move toward their goals.

A disciplined sales development program will probably be harder on you than it is on the salesperson because you will need to inspect along the way. Example: If the disciplined program for filling the pipeline includes making phone calls every Thursday morning at ten o’clock, you will need to be there to hold the salesperson accountable. Or if you expect the individual to ask for introductions daily, you must inspect these reports at the end of each day. That is your commitment to their sales success.  

Do not ask for a salesperson’s commitment and fail to do your part. If you are to be an effective sales coach, helping your people to achieve their goals, you must make your own commitment to do whatever is necessary. A lack of consistent performance in sales coaching and management on your part will translate into a lack of commitment in your salespeople.


Need Help?  Check Out Our Sales Growth  Coaching Program for Managers!



Topics: Sales Training, motivating sales people, achieving sales success, banking sales training, sales training tips, sales coaching best practices

Achieving Sales Team Excellence: The Impact of Supportive Beliefs

Posted by Jeni Wehrmeyer on Fri, Dec 08, 2023

This is what it takes to be successful at building and achieving sales team excellence: You must love coaching and the game of selling. You must thrive on developing others to be the best versions of themselves. It must be about helping others gain the spotlight, success and financial rewards or a job well done.  It requires sacrificing ego and the need to be right for the other person to discover their path, develop their skills and become the expert.

There are assessments in the marketplace to help people identify if they have what it takes. We use Objective Management Group’s (OMG) Sales Manager Evaluation. Three key findings are identified and scored:

  1. The Will to be Successful specifically in the role of manager or sales leader
  2. The Sales Manager DNA
  3. The Sales Manager Competencies

In this series, we will break down several of these 3 findings to help sales managers zero in on what might be preventing you from achieving sales team excellence.

The Impact of Supportive Beliefs

OMG's research has found that high self-awareness is especially important for sales managers. Self-awareness helps you better understand the belief systems that you are consciously or unconsciously bringing into interactions with your salespeople or any customers you directly interface with. It also helps you understand how you might interpret a salesperson or client's response to you. Below we've listed 7 Self-Limiting Beliefs that could be preventing you from achieving sales team success, along with the corresponding Supportive Beliefs that you can develop with training and coaching.

Self-Limiting Belief: I don't need to manage my salespeople's daily activity
Supportive Belief: It is my job to manage my salespeople's daily activity

Self-Limiting Belief: I don't need to know what motivates my salespeople
Supportive Belief:  It is important to understand my salespeople's personal goals and financial needs

Self-Limiting Belief: I don't need to upgrade the sales force
Supportive Belief: It is important to regularly recruit new salespeople

Self-Limiting Belief: Raising my people's self-esteem is not a high priority
Supportive Belief: I must encourage my salespeople to get the most from them

Self-Limiting Belief: Prospects that need time to think before making a decision will eventually buy from us
Supportive Belief: Prospects that need time to think before making a decision will not end up doing business with us

Self-Limiting Belief: My salespeople need to make presentations
Supportive Belief: My salespeople should make presentations to fully qualified prospects and only when necessary

Self-Limiting Belief: I don't need a strong relationship with my prospects in order to sell them
Supportive Belief: I am able to quickly develop strong rapport with prospects

As you review and reflect on these 7 beliefs, how do you score on each?  What can you and will you do differently to change your coaching behavior and skill levels?  In our world today with the many digital and AI-programmed interactions, we have entered into a new reality when it comes to achieving sales team success. In order to stay ahead of the competition, companies need sales managers or coaches with supportive belief systems who can track each individual’s sales activities, coach, and hold them accountable to behaviors that will sustain and grow revenue.

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Topics: Sales Training, motivating sales people, banking sales training, sales training tips, sales team motivation, sales coaching best practices, how coaching drives sales growth

Motivating Your Sales Team: A Guide for Sales Leaders

Posted by Jeni Wehrmeyer on Fri, Dec 01, 2023

There are two sides to this topic of motivation. One side is how are your salespeople motivated and what motivates them.  The second side is how effective are you as a sales leader at motivating your sales team? Both must be addressed to fully understand this topic of motivation and the impact on sales results.

Qualities of a Motivational Sales Leader

Certainly, understanding who you are hiring from the start is essential in having a team that is motivated to reach their sales goals. As a part of the hiring process, leaders must consistently use an assessment, preferably a sales-specific assessment, to identify if candidates are motivated, can sell, and will sell. We all understand that motivation is primarily an internal quality driven by personal factors of having goals, the desire to achieve, compete, and excel. However, there are also certain qualities that leaders must have to uncover and ignite the flame of those they motivate.

Drawing from Objective Management Group’s sales manager assessment, our partner and the pioneer of the sales assessment industry, we know that these are the characteristics of leaders who are effective motivators:

  • Know what motivates people
  • Have a strong self image
  • Give recognition
  • Do not accept mediocrity

Orange Cycle Diagram

Sales Leaders Must Know What Motivates Their People

When we first started evaluating sales teams 25 years ago – the findings told us that people were externally motivated. Motivation was money and the things money can provide. The current findings tell us that sales teams are highly motivated to succeed, but the source of motivation is internal rather than external. They are more motivated by a job well done, taking care of, and being a guide for their clients. They want to be recognized for success and they are motivated by achieving their own personal standards for success and achievement. As a sales leader, it is your job to find out what motivates your people and then you can have the appropriate discussions to keep them on track.

Sales Leaders Must Have a Strong Self Image

Much like salespeople, leaders must be internally motivated to develop and help others. This is often a problem when a leader is promoted from a sales position due to their success at driving sales and revenue into a sales leadership role in which the focus is achieving success through others. Some can make that transition and others do not. Leaders with a strong self image will spend time developing their own skills through the many resources available today from training and online as well as books and podcasts.

Another way to improve self-image and success as a leader motivating a sales team is to implement management practices that allow you to understand the activities and behaviors for potential coaching opportunities. A strong sales leader will hold regular sales huddles focused on the most critical activities that drive success, such as appointments and proposals.  They will have regular monthly sales meetings to help their team sharpen their saw, improve and learn from each other. Probably most importantly, sales leaders will implement a process to uncover personal and professional goals of their sales team so they can understand what motivates them. Implementing these activities helps sales leader become more effective in their role as a sales motivator and will improve their self-image and success.

Motivating Your Team with Regular Recognition (and Feedback to Improve)

Many, but not all salespeople thrive on winning, positive feedback, and recognition, so this is a given for effective sales leaders. Find opportunities to recognize the efforts, behaviors, and success of your team members, whether it is one-on-one or in a group setting. Leader boards, celebrating wins, and giving rewards are all motivating factors.

But what about the other end of the stick?  An effective sales leader must be focused on motivating a salesperson who is going off track, not doing the behaviors needed or agreed upon for reaching their sales goals. To motivate a sales team, leaders must have practices and processes in place to catch lagging behaviors quickly before they become a real problem. Coaching and motivating are very closely related. If a sales leader can help identify what is getting in the way of a salesperson attaining more appointments and can coach them to improvement, that can be very motivating for a salesperson.

Strong Sales Leaders Do Not Accept Mediocrity

Most leaders will tell you that they do not accept mediocrity however if you review their stack ranking, they have and keep low performers. Every company has a lowest performer. But what can a sales leader do to improve performance overall so that each year, that lowest performer is better than before?

We coach organizations and leaders to Set the Bar for Success by:

  • Clearly establishing and communicating what it means to be successful in the organization.
  • Have systems and processes in place to catch failure before failure happens rather than when it actually happens. Failure never happens all at once.
  • Track the improvement of performance quintiles year over year. When you take the snapshot next year, the numbers for each quintile have to be better than the previous year.
  • Establish a culture and commitment to set the bar higher for success and then hold people accountable to actually doing the behaviors required to be successful.

Motivating a sales team to success is no easy achievement. It takes consistent and persistent behaviors. Strong sales managers do not worry about being liked by their salespeople. They achieve success when their salespeople become more effective and successful.

Need Help?  Check Out Our Sales Growth  Coaching Program for Managers!



Topics: Sales Training, motivating sales people, banking sales training, sales training tips, sales team motivation, sales coaching best practices, how coaching drives sales growth


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    Anthony Cole Training Group has been working with financial firms for close to 30 years helping them become more effective in their markets and closing their sales opportunity gap.  ACTG has mastered the art of using science-based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss our weekly sales management blog insights from our team of expert contributors.


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