The great poet Maya Angelou famously said: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude”. This phrase is so easy to intellectually understand but can be so darn tough to live by everyday life.
In his bookA Man’s Search For Meaning, Viktor Frankl articulates that the greatest power we have as human beings is our power to choose. Regardless of the environment we are living in, or the conditions we are facing, every human being has the conscious ability to choose: hope or despair, happiness or sorrow, empowerment or victim-hood. There are no legitimate reasons to complain. Frankl has earned the right to take this stance for two reasons:
The most successful leaders look themselves in the mirror and accept ultimate responsibility for success AND failure. To date, every bit of research has proved this powerful position to be right over time, especially for our clients. However, when Navy Seals Jacko Willink and Leif Babin push this message through their own words in their bookExtreme Ownership, it takes on an even more powerful meaning.
For reasons I can’t fully articulate, sometimes inspiration strikes and propels me to take on a challenge that I once would not have considered possible. Currently, a gentleman by the name Tom Bilyeu, and the work he and his team are conducting at Impact Theory, has become one of my catalysts for personal and professional growth.
Impact Theory’s stated mission is to free people from The Matrix. Said another way, they want to end the poverty of poor mindset. If you spend some time on their site, listen to Tom’s podcasts, entertain the life lessons shared by their guests and open your mind up to growth and learning, you will quickly become inspired and realize that our potential as human beings is merely scratching the surface.
EcSell Institute research shows that more than 50% of sales managers knowingly execute less than 48% of the high performance coaching activities that will drive the most sales. The result of this statistic is obvious; sales revenue is left on the table due to the sales manager’s lack of willingness to execute.
For perspective, how would a President, CSO, EVP Sales, etc. respond to the above stats if they were applied to sales people? What if they learned half of their sales reps were doing only half of the activities that led to the best outcome? It would be unacceptable, heads would roll, yet in the sales leadership profession this double standard is unknowingly accepted because coaching performance is not measured. How much more would be sold if sales leaders fully committed and behaved like high performance coaches? An additional $4.1 million per manager (read this whitepaper).
Just like when you treat a wound, sometimes the best thing you can do is apply pressure. The same is true in sales coaching. New findings from our research indicate that the most highly impactful sales managers are ones who gently push their sales teams in a way that elicits a positive reaction or growth.
First, let’s make sure we’re on the same page when we talk about this pressure or pushing. At EcSell, this is a part of a concept we call the Catalytic Factor, or the C-Factor. Sales managers who have the C-Factor create an environment on their team that propels people into higher performing zones and zones of growth through the introduction of challenges, new experiences, or strain. Here, we focus on two behaviors in this concept: encouraging reps to move outside their comfort zone and stretching a rep’s selling skills and abilities.
Another year almost in the books and another review of the past 12 months. At my age (which I’ve alluded to in other blogs, articles, etc.) it’s amazing how much I continue to learn. Yes, I say this every year, but I’m hopeful the journey continues.
So without further ado, below is a sampling of my 2016 thoughts, affirmations and lessons.
The blog essentially boils down to the one thing that sales reps want for Christmas: coaching. Sales reps want and crave coaching from their managers. It drives motivation and productivity and ultimately more sales.
In that "spirit", I though I’d share some of the responses we received from our recent survey asking managers what their manager/leader could improve on regarding his or her sales coaching skills.
In the spirit of fall and the football season, I would like to share a few common sense observations for everyone in a sales leadership (coaching) role. Side note: I am not a huge fan of the NFL or any professional franchised sport, but I adore college football. Having stated that, I am still enamored with coaching at all levels.
Let’s begin with the obvious question: How can there be such significant gaps in performance when so many programs have similar resources? They all have access to the same talent, the same technology, the same equipment, and while some may claim facilities as the differentiator I say “bunk”! If that was the case then Nebraska would have won more national titles since 1997 and Green Bay would not have claimed any Super Bowls. A while back I visited with a recently retired NFL player who shared a few things with me:
I really enjoy playing golf, but with two kids under the age of five my ability to get in 18 holes has been severely impacted. There is no more golf league in my life and it is rare for me to play a round unless it is part of some type of charity or philanthropic event. Fortunately, for me, when I play in these events I am still able to compete because at the amateur level, the game of golf offers a handicap score which is a numerical measure of a golfer’s potential ability. In its most simplistic form, what the handicap system does is it allows very average golfers (like me) to compete on a level playing field with much better golfers to make the game more competitive. As an under performing golfer, I am thankful for the handicap system because it gives me a chance to be relevant in a game where I am competing with much better players.
It is simply amazing to think of the effects coaching has on sales team performance. Some may roll their eyes when one uses the term “coaching” rather than “managing” but in all fairness, those are usually the types of archaic “leaders” who don’t believe that sales reps do what they are coached to do and not what they’re trained to do.
That is why EcSell chooses to only work with sales executives who know that their management team is the linchpin to their organization’s success. One of those forward thinkers agreed to partner with EcSell to implement the ONE-UP Sales Coaching Process back in 2014.