By Will Kloefkorn, Sales Manager, EcSELL Institute
Earlier this month I shared a very dynamic conversation with a VP of Sales who shall remain anonymous. He had a plethora of opinions, some not suited for this blog, but he had one very candid opinion that I disputed, to which he countered my dispute with the perfect analogy – and won me over. It was this VP of Sales contention that sales leaders are for the most part lazy; this is a crazy statement right? I mean I visit with sales leaders every day and the last thing I would ever accuse them of is being lazy. Sales leaders travel an inordinate amount, they wear multiple hats, they spend more time fighting fires than the crew at station 99, they monitor the metrics, go on ride-alongs, etc. Trust me “sales leaders are not lazy,” I said. This is when he started to win me over …
The point he was trying to make, is not that sales leaders aren’t busy, because they truly are, but what he was contending is that they are lazy, at least mentally. They are lazy because they don’t take the necessary time to coach and develop their teams in the way that they know they should and the ironic part is that they are busier as a result because their producers are not becoming self-directed and more skilled sales people. Think of it this way he said, “if you ask 100 Americans if they would be healthier and more productive if they exercised regularly and ate better what would they say” I responded that 100 of them would answer yes they would. He agreed, but followed up with the question, “then why is 2/3 of the adult population in our Country overweight?” Touché.
Americans are overweight because like sales leaders they are lazy – or for lack of a better excuse “too busy” to do the things they know are right and that will lead to more productivity. So how does this apply to sales leaders? Every day I ask sales leaders a similar question to the one above, “Do you believe that if you improved your ability to coach, lead, and manage that your team would drive more performance as a result?” And like clockwork every single sales leader says “yes.” Yet less than 20% of the sales leaders I talk to have a strategy that they execute against to improve in the above areas. Said another way – more than 80% of sales leaders are mentally overweight and their teams are suffering. They aren’t as productive as a result, they aren’t as engaged as a result, and most importantly they are busier as a result. I know it seems like a crazy contention, but my VP of Sales Colleague is correct. Sale leaders can be lazy – at least when it comes to their mental fitness.