By Will Kloefkorn, Sales Manager, EcSELL Institute
When it comes to performance of individuals, especially in sales, we get too caught up in our product and industry knowledge and not our people. Often times when I am visiting with sales leaders I hear the phrase, “you have to understand, our industry is very unique.” And while I don’t want to seem insensitive towards organizational individuality, the reality is that being an effective mentor or coach is very similar whether you are in Agriculture or Aviation or Ice Cream or Insurance. Across the board, being a great mentor requires trust, a strong developmental bias, and a burning desire to create positive change.
I was reminded of this simple, yet overlooked fact last Wednesday evening. Last week at ESPN's Espy Awards show, Pat Summit received the Arthur Ashe Award for courage. Admittedly I did not know much about Pat Summit aside from the fact that her women’s basketball team at the University of Tennessee was wildly successful; nor did I take the time to learn until I watched this inspirational video clip. What I learned, which I already knew, is that every person needs a mentor. Even Peyton Manning, one of the highest performing and successful Quarterbacks in NFL history needs a mentor, in fact he has many. It would be easy to assume, given their different athletic backgrounds and sports that Pat Summit and Peyton Manning would not spend much time together, but that assumption would be very wrong. Great coaches want to coach the best and great producers want to be coached by the best.
The best sales leaders seek mentors as well, and they should. A recent study by the ASTD showed that managerial productivity increased by 88% when mentoring was involved, versus only a 24% increase with training alone. It makes absolute sense that productivity of systems, tools, and processes would increase when the personal relationship is enhanced. Every single one of Pat Summit’s players graduated and a great deal of them are vocal about the effect she had on their personal and professional lives. Are the members of your team saying similar things about you?