Not only is she young, Claire has little professional sales experience and as a result lacks some skills. Her science based profile shows her as having all the talents to sell effectively, and having worked with her I would say she has the ability to be a top five percent producer.
She also has the “it” factor, items that cannot be measured through testing—a strong work ethic, moxie and hutzpah. Claire is a learner, always seeks feedback and advice, soaking up recommendations like a sponge.
I received a call from her today asking how to approach certain prospects, respond to objections, and specifically she wants in an account that has not yet granted access to anyone from her company. We discussed strategy, I asked her questions about the prospects and the due diligence she had already done on them. We discussed tactics and skills which is what she needed today. Tomorrow she will need less skills coaching and more mental coaching.
Claire is a 21 year old intern working with a young fashion designer in Los Angeles—and also my daughter. Our conversation this morning reminded me of my first role in sales management. I smiled as she intensely asked her questions, as if we were creating a plan to defeat Ohio State in the conference championship (wanted to insert Wisconsin here, but didn't want to upset one of our newest members).
Without a manager who knows how to coach, or better yet a coach who knows how to manage, she will still succeed, for all the reasons mentioned above. But, she will never reach the highest levels without someone who sees something in her she doesn’t yet see herself. Great coaches always have this developmental bias—they not only understand what has not yet been uncovered, they find ways to stretch the skill and mental capacity of each member of their team. This then becomes cultural, seeking high performance is woven into the fabric of their team environment.
Of course I’m biased, it’s my daughter—not the point of this blog. But, if you are reading this you are likely in a role to impact others, to make a difference in their life. Have you found in each of those on your team, what they have not yet discovered? Do they see you as just a good guy/gal or someone who is challenging, demanding, one who insists on improvement and growth?
Let’s hear from you. How do you go about getting those on your team to the highest levels of performance?