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Given A Good Book Report Lately?

Posted on June 25, 2018 under Sales Management 101.

Sales Management 101

“Given A Good Book Report Lately?”

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 Almost 60 years ago, at Egypt Lake Elementary School in Tampa, Florida, Mrs. Margaret Arce assigned me my first oral book report.

THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE by Stephen Crane

I remember it like it was yesterday.

I remember the stress and anxiety I felt leading up to the ‘big’ day and my inability to sleep the night before.

See the source image

I remember my Dad insisting that I write out my report – word for word – and memorize my presentation.  I must have given my report to my Dad a dozen times (which when I think about it today seems a little over the top; oh well, that’s a story for another day).  Maybe that’s where I was first introduced to the 5 P’s:  PERFECT PRACTICE PREVENTS POOR PERFORMANCE.

I remember my best friends Ronnie Ryals and Drew Castillo making faces at me as they tried to make me laugh.

I remember Mrs. Arce standing in the back of the room encouraging me to stand up straight, look at her if I was nervous, and just do my best.

Book reports are obviously important projects for elementary and middle school language classes.  Why?  Because book reports teach kids how to read, write, and most importantly organize their thoughts and share those thoughts with a group of their peers.

Hmmmmmmmmm………………………

 

Do you think sales people would benefit from developing and honing those same skills?  Do you think your sales team could benefit from actually doing a book report?  I do, and here a just a couple of reasons why:

  • just like there is a value to making your kids eat their vegetables, there is a value to encouraging  your sales team to read something – anything!  As Confucius said: “no matter how busy you think you are, you must find time for reading or surrender yourself to self chosen ignorance.”

 

  • Nothing is more difficult than presenting to a group of your peers; regardless of how much experience your sales team has, they can always improve their presentation skills.  They need to remember to smile – people look more trustworthy, confident and friendly when they smile; they should repeat the points they want people to remember and they should talk directly to each person in the room.  PERFECT PRACTICE PREVENTS POOR PERFORMANCE.

 

  • Last but not least, remember, in everyday life we are continually learning from one another. We all draw on the knowledge, skills, and experiences of our friends and colleagues.   We trust their perspectives. 

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I just finished reading William Manchester’s THE LAST LION about Churchill.  You think those speeches he gave, that some say may have saved the world, were spontaneous – think again.

For the record, a quick update on the last book report I gave (Attention all sales managers:  ‘if you’re going to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk).  Do you happen to know how many times “Sam-I-Am” (Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham) asked for the order before he got it?

Peer-to-Peer learning is a great way to make sure you don’t allow your sales team to decline into mediocrity.  Mediocrity avoidance mandates that you deploy and implement new management tools that motivate, excite, and challenge your sales team – ‘rookies’ and ‘veterans’ alike.  Adding reading a book and giving a book report to your team’s next ‘to do’ list will do just that.

See the source image

Have a great rest of the week!

Craig McConnell, President, PrintGrowPro/SalesGrowPro

www.printgrowpro.com

“Great selling is a process artfully done.”

 


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Closing The Gate

Posted on April 7, 2017 under Sales Management 101.

 

CLOSING THE GATE

 

 

Sooner or later, tribes begin to exclude interested but unaffiliated newcomers.

It happens to religious sects, to surfers and to online communities as well. Nascent groups with open arms become mature groups too set in their ways to evangelize and grow their membership, too stuck to engage, change and thrive.

So much easier to turn someone away than it is to patiently engage with them, the way you were welcomed when you were in their shoes.

There are two reasons for this:

  1. It’s tiresome and boring to keep breaking in newbies. Eternal September, the never-ending stream of repetitive questions and mistakes can wear out even the most committed host. Your IT person wasn’t born grouchy–it just happens.
  2. It’s threatening to the existing power structure. New voices want new procedures and fresh leadership.

And so, Wikipedia has transformed itself into a club that’s not particularly interested in welcoming new editors.

And the social club down the street has a membership with an average age of 77.

And companies that used to grow by absorbing talent via acquisitions, cease to do so.

This cycle isn’t inevitable, but it takes ever more effort to overcome our inertia.

Even if it happens gradually, the choice to not fight this inertia is still a choice. And while closing the gate can ensure stability and the status quo (for now), it rarely leads to growth, and ultimately leads to decline.

[Some questions to ponder...]

Do outsiders get the benefit of the doubt?

Do we make it easy for outsiders to become insiders?

Is there a clear and well-lit path to do so?

When we tell someone new, “that not how we do things around here,” do we also encourage them to learn the other way and to try again?

Are we even capable of explaining the status quo, or is the way we do things set merely because we forgot that we could do it better?

Is a day without emotional or organizational growth a good day?

 

 

Craig McConnell, President,

PrintGrowPro/SalesGrowPro

RETIREMENT REIMAGINED  -  ENTERING ADULTHOOD 2.0

www.printgrowpro.com

“Great selling is a process artfully done.” 

Follow me on Twitter – http://twitter.com/printgrowpro 

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Go Figure? Praising Employees Is A Good Thing To Do?

Posted on November 8, 2015 under Sales Management 101.

Latest Research Says Praising Employees Boosts Productivity After All

The concept behind this piece by Stephen Anderson of Forbes was so counter intuitive to me that I couldn’t help wanting to share it.

 ”Remember when praising was considered a good thing? No more. It’s become almost fashionable these days to think that praise is bad.

It’s bad for toddlers. It’s bad for older children. Maybe even children of any age. And is it bad for employees? If you listen to some experts, it’s almost certainly terrible for them. In fact, employees should beware of bosses who praise them.

But a new study from Harvard Business School suggests that — at least in regard to employees — we have it all wrong.

Telling your employees that they are doing a good job will lead to less stress, higher creativity and better problem solving.
Telling your employees that they are doing a good job might lead to them having less stress, higher creativity and better problem solving skills.

Perhaps the anti-praise movement arose as a backlash to excessive concern for developing “self-esteem” in children. Many feel that the result of instilling lots of self-esteem is not entirely healthy, especially when it is not supported by actual accomplishments. There is a long tradition of thought holding that self-esteem ought to be balanced, if not governed, by humility.

The promptings to humility that derive from the Protestant work ethic are deeply ingrained in the American psyche. The Book of Proverbs says, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” And folk wisdom encourages us not to make much of our deeds so that we don’t succumb to the vice of excessive pride. Think of all the famous literary characters who were undone, or nearly undone, by hubris — Oedipus, Macbeth and Mr. Darcy come quickly to mind, to name just a few.”

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Craig J McConnell

“Entering Adulthood II”
 
(Continuing to) Make Sales People Memorable
(striving to) Re-imagine Retirement

314-753-2802

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People Don’t Care How Much You Know Until They Know How Much You Care

Posted on July 2, 2015 under Sales Management 101.

Management 101:  How To Make Yourself Care

http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2015/07/02/how-to-make-yourself-care/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Daily Digest Horizon&utm_campaign=Daily Digest Send Test 2015-07-02

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Craig J McConnell

“Entering Adulthood II”
 
(Continuing to) Make Sales People Memorable
(striving to) Re-imagine Retirement

314-753-2802
 

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Can Small Businesses Afford To Adopt Sir Richard Branson’s Approach To Employee Benefits?

Posted on June 11, 2015 under Sales Management 101.

From Chris Myers, a contributor to Forbes.

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Yesterday, the Huffington Post reported on Sir Richard Branson’s bold decision to extend a full year of paid parental leave for new moms and dads working at Virgin Management. This wasn’t the first time that Branson unveiled an extravagant benefit for employees at Virgin.  Back in September of 2014, he announced that he would be adopting Netflix’s policy of unlimited vacation for salaried employees. Pronouncements such as these tend to get a lot of attention because they question long-held beliefs about the nature of the employer/employee relationship and give us hope for a brighter future workplace. However, not every organization is as large and progressive as Virgin. In fact, over 99.7% of all employees in the U.S. work for small or mid-sized businesses. This begs the question. Can small businesses afford to offer these types of extravagant benefits, or do you have to be a giant corporation to pull it off?

It all comes down to culture.

It is important to look past the specifics of what Branson announced and instead focus on the ethos he’s trying to cultivate.  On many occasions, Branson has stated, “If you take care of your employees they will take care of your business.”  Virgin has a long history of putting its employees first, dating back to the launch of Student magazine back in 1968.  Throughout his life as an entrepreneur, Branson has made an effort to connect with employees on a personal level.  The scope and scale of that effort have grown alongside Virgin, resulting in the grand gestures we see today. The key is that the employee focus has been front and center for Branson since day one.  Once you realize that, announcements like what we saw yesterday seem like less of a revolution and more of a natural evolution for a company that has built its foundation on employee success for over forty years.

It’s incredibly easy for small and mid-sized businesses to dismiss the idea of extraordinary employee benefits on the grounds of cost or logistics.  However, I believe that if they’re viewing it as a cost issue, they’ve already missed the point.  Obviously, most small businesses with only a handful of employees can’t afford to give their team members a full year of paid parental leave. That isn’t the issue.  Rather, the real issue is whether or not that small business can afford to not take exceptional care of their employees and put them first. It doesn’t matter if you’re a company of ten or ten thousand; it is up to the leader to decide what kind of organization they want to run. 

It isn’t about the money.

Nothing frustrates me more than leaders who blame their decision to neglect their team on a lack of funds or authority.  At the end of the day, money and authority have little to do with how you support your employees.   It comes down to having a genuine interest in their lives and wellbeing.  If that interest exists, you’ll see it manifest in the daily actions of the leader and the company.  Perhaps it’s a personal note to congratulate a teammate on a job well done, or taking a few minutes out of your day to counsel a coworker who is going through difficulties in their personal lives. Remember, if a leader is caring and engaged when it comes to the small things, you can rest assured that they’ll do the same thing when it comes to the big things.

 

You can (and should) scale your benefits as you grow.

At my company, BodeTree, we aren’t in a position to offer a full year of paid parental leave, but that doesn’t stop us from doing everything we can for our employees.  We subscribe to Virgin’s idea of unlimited vacation time and go out of our way to treat each other as family.  When a team member has a new child, everyone pitches in to help out.  Sometimes that means that a spouse or co-worker will babysit for the day so the new parent can have a break.  Other times, it’s a matter of handing out “no-strings” vacation days or bonuses when someone is feeling overwhelmed.  When people encounter struggles in their personal lives, our team is there, ready to help.  We care deeply about our employees, and they know it.

We aren’t perfect, but we strive to make our company a place where people feel like they’re part of a family.  As we continue to grow, the specifics of how we show that feeling of family will have to evolve.  However, the foundation that we’ve established will live on even when we’re ten times the size we are today.  At that time, I hope to be able to offer as robust benefits as Sir Richard.  After all, like Virgin, BodeTree will have created a foundation that makes such benefits seem right at home.

When it comes to the question of whether or not you have to be a big company to offer extraordinary benefits to your employees, the answer is yes and no.  Not every company can offer the same benefits popularized by Sir Richard Branson.  However, every company can and should take exceptional care of their employees.  It’s a matter of culture, not money or size.  Even the smallest company can create an environment where their employees feel that they are trusted, respected, and admired. Once that foundation is in place, you can scale your benefits as your company grows.  Maybe one day you too can generate headlines just like Sir Richard.

Craig J McConnell

“Entering Adulthood II”
 
(Continuing to) Make Sales People Memorable
(striving to) Re-imagine Retirement

314-753-2802
 

 


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My Retirement Ramblings (cont.); Sales Managment 101; Thought For The Week

Day 44

Sunday night (actually 12:05AM Monday) I got a solid reminder about what is really important – welcomed a healthy 7 pound 11 ounce ‘baby woman’  into the family – feeling very lucky, very blessed!

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Sales Management 101: Retaining & Motivating Your Sales ‘Stars’

Retaining & Motivating Your Top Sales People -  Is there a secret? Not really  -  my thoughts are below:

It’s far from ‘brain surgery’ or ‘rocket science’ and it really isn’t a ‘secret’:  If you get the right people in the right places doing the right things, your sales results can be amazing.

But how do you find and keep the ‘right’ sales superstars?

And more importantly, how do you guide the ‘right’ superstars toward success at your company?

For starters you have to hire smarter.  The era of ‘hire and hope’ is gone and (as I jump back on my ‘importance of testing soap box’ again) every sales organization needs to know exactly what the success profile for their top producers looks like.  As a part of the interview process, you need to evaluate what drives and motivates a candidate and then compare their behavioral assessment to those of the top performers (success profiles) on your team.  An analysis of the behavioral assessment should not be the only determinate, but if a candidate’s levels of assertiveness, imagination, social need, competitiveness, and sensitivity (as determined by the assessment) don’t compare favorably with your top producers, you should probably move on to your next candidate.

In most cases, top sales people are pretty well compensated (or they should be).  But are they looking for more than a paycheck? Absolutely!

They are looking to be managed!

They want a clearly defined career path meaning that, like their non-sales brethren, they are entitled to quarterly performance reviews that are based upon more than whether or not they made their numbers.

Like professional athletes, they want ongoing coaching and will continually want to be exposed to new ways to learn and to grow.  If you don’t have a sales manager who is willing and able to coach, mentor and motivate,  the sales superstars will always be looking elsewhere.

Sales : 3D Sales Revenue Crossword on white background Stock PhotoSales : Three man team of sales people stand in front of a business profit growth success chartSales : simple business chart

What are some other things you have to do to keep your superstars?

1)     Give them autonomy

Top sales people want and expect a degree of freedom. Your most successful sales people are going to be self starters; let ‘em run.

2)     Give them recognition

Although they will seldom admit it, most top sales people thrive on recognition; give it privately and publicly.

3)     Reward them

In sales, “What gets measured gets done.” And ‘You get your reward.”  Be creative when considering special perks for your top producers.

Sales : sales trend Stock PhotoSales : Disabled businessman smiling in office Stock PhotoSales : teamworks to make success in business Stock Photo

 

4)   Give them negotiating authority

And customers prefer working with sales people who have the authority to make decisions on the spot.

5)     Give them cutting edge sales technology

Top sales people recognize that selling is an art and a science; give them the sales aids they need: PDAs, contact management software, etc.

6)   They need to have pride in the company

Top sales people want to work for and be part of a winning team; success in sales is tied to believing in the company, manage accordingly.

7)   Hold them accountable

Top performing salespeople expect to be held accountable. Make sure you set clear standards and expectations.

8)    Listen to them

Many top salespeople leave their jobs because they feel they are not listened to. Become an active listener; solicit their opinions.

9)    Treat them with respect

Top salespeople work smarter and harder than average producers. Treat them well and when dealing with your sales team remember: Everyone needs to be treated fairly, not necessarily the same.

10)               Make sure they know you appreciate their efforts

Periodically, send your top producers a handwritten thank you note (to their home where the spouse or significant other will also see it) letting them know how much you appreciate their efforts (an email will work also, but will not be as impactful).  Don’t be afraid to consistently verbalize how much you appreciate their hard work.

Sales : Confident businesswoman giving a presentationSales : Men shaking hands as a sign of friendship and agreementSales : High resolution graphic of hands holding the word success.Sales : handshake isolated on white background

Here’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about.

One of my clients, recently changed jobs.  She received an unsolicited call from a head hunter (don’t fool yourself, your top people receive the same kind of calls weekly) and without compromising her existing commitment to her current employer, went through an extensive interview process, and ultimately received a solid offer.

When she notified her currently employer of her intention to leave, guess what they did?    They fell all over themselves (for the first time), telling her how important she was to their long term objectives; she was personally contacted by every top executive in the firm (for the first time);   she was publicly and privately praised for her contributions and efforts on their behalf (for the first time);  they committed to giving her additional support staff to help manage her existing business;  and they matched the competitive offer (actually ‘sweetened’ it a little with a ‘stay’  bonus).

But you know what?  It was too little, too late; she was already on her way ‘out the door’.

The bottom line:  Your top producers know they’re top producers and will do whatever it takes to stay that way.  They expect opportunities to develop their sales skills and will demand smart coaching, strong guidance, and solid mentoring.  They are lifelong learners and will always prioritize perpetual improvement.  Career development will always be a top priority for them and they will demand a defined training curriculum.  The question is:

Are you prepared to provide it?

 

Thought for the Week

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed………………………….Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows that it must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle…………………………..When the sun comes up, you better be running.

 Make it a great week!

 

Craig J. McConnell
President
PrintGrowPro/SalesGrowPro, Inc.
314-753-2802
craigmcconnell49@gmail.com

“Making Sales People Memorable”


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The Importance Of Emotion

Posted on April 21, 2014 under Sales Management 101, Thoughts for the Week.

Sales Management 101*

“Great leaders move us. They ignite our passion and inspire the best in us. When we try to explain why they are so effective, we speak of strategy, vision or perhaps powerful ideas. But the reality is much more primal: Great leadership works through the emotions.”

Hire people with emotion.

Promote people with emotion.

Evaluate people based upon their emotion.

Acknowledge emotion.

Lead with emotion.

Sell with emotion.

Craig McConnell, President, PrintGrowPro/SalesGrowPro

www.printgrowpro.com

www.yolophotographystudio.com

“Great selling is a process artfully done.”

*from the blog of Daniel Goldman


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Sales Management 101: When To Speak Up

Posted on September 28, 2013 under Sales Management 101.

 

From Seth Godin’s blog:

“This plane is headed to Dallas. If Dallas isn’t your destination, this would be a great time to deplane.”

After a decision is taken and the organization is moving forward, it’s fun and easy to be the critic, the rogue and the skeptic. Easy because the chances that you will have to actually take responsibility for your alternative view of the future are slim indeed–the plane is already headed somewhere, it can’t go both places and you missed (or bungled) your chance to change the decision.

No, the time to speak up is before the decision is made, when not only do you have a chance to change where the organization is going, but you have the responsibility to deliver on your vision.

We don’t have time to revisit every decision our organization makes. We merely have the time to do the best we can to execute on what we’ve already committed to do.

Rooting for your team to fail is as bad as it sounds. Even if you said early and often that this path was a stupid one, that this destination makes no sense–if you’re on the plane, if you’re in the meeting, if you decided to play the game–then once the journey starts, your job is to get us there, safe and sound.

And then come to the next meeting with a better plan about the next decision.

Enjoy the weekend……………

 

Craig McConnell, President, PrintGrowPro/SalesGrowPro

www.printgrowpro.com

www.yolophotographystudio.com

 

Follow me on Twitter – http://twitter.com/printgrowpro and http://twitter.com/yolophotography

 

 


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Sales Management 101: “Given A Good Book Report Lately?”

Posted on September 18, 2013 under Sales Management 101.

Sales Management 101

“Given A Good Book Report Lately?”

 

Almost 55 years ago, at Egypt Lake Elementary School in Tampa, Florida, Mrs. Margaret Arce assigned me my first oral book report.

THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE by Stephen Crane

I remember it like it was yesterday.

I remember the stress and anxiety I felt leading up to the ‘big’ day and my inability to sleep the night before.

I remember my Dad insisting that I write out my report – word for word – and memorize my presentation.  I must have given my report to my Dad a dozen times (which when I think about it today seems a little over the top; oh well, that’s a story for another day).  Maybe that’s where I was first introduced to the 5 P’s:  PERFECT PRACTICE PREVENTS POOR PERFORMANCE.

I remember my best friends Ronnie Ryals and Drew Castillo making faces at me as they tried to make me laugh.

I remember Mrs. Arce standing in the back of the room encouraging me to stand up straight, look at her if I was nervous, and just do my best.

Book reports are obviously important projects for elementary and middle school language classes.  Why?  Because book reports teach kids how to read, write, and most importantly organize their thoughts and share those thoughts with a group of their peers.

Hmmmmmmmmm………………………

Do you think sales people would benefit from developing and honing those same skills?  Do you think your sales team could benefit from actually doing a book report?  I do, and here a just a couple of reasons why:

  • just like there is a value to making your kids eat their vegetables, there is a value to encouraging  your sales team to read something – anything!  As Confucius said: “no matter how busy you think you are, you must find time for reading or surrender yourself to self chosen ignorance.”

 

  • Nothing is more difficult than presenting to a group of your peers; regardless of how much experience your sales team has, they can always improve their presentation skills.  They need to remember to smile – people look more trustworthy, confident and friendly when they smile; they should repeat the points they want people to remember and they should talk directly to each person in the room.  PERFECT PRACTICE PREVENTS POOR PERFORMANCE.

 

  • Last but not least, remember, in everyday life we are continually learning from one another. We all draw on the knowledge, skills, and experiences of our friends and colleagues.   We trust their perspectives. 

Some examples of book reports and key ‘takeaways’ that have stayed with me over the years:

Tom Peters:  Good To Great – You’ve got to get the right people on (and off) the bus.

Stephen Covey: 7 Habits – Remember to ‘sharpen your saw’ daily

Malolm Gladwell:  The Outliers – it takes 10,000 hours to achieve mastery

 

For the record, I gave a book report myself a few weeks ago (Attention all sales managers:  ‘if you’re going to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk).  Do you happen to know how many times “Sam-I-Am” (Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham) asked for the order before he got it?

Peer-to-Peer learning is a great way to make sure you don’t allow your sales team to decline into mediocrity.  Mediocrity avoidance mandates that you deploy and implement new management tools that motivate, excite, and challenge your sales team – ‘rookies’ and ‘veterans’ alike.  Adding reading a book and giving a book report to your team’s next ‘to do’ list will do just that.

Have a great rest of the week!

Craig McConnell, President, PrintGrowPro/SalesGrowPro

www.printgrowpro.com

www.yolophotographystudio.com

“Great selling is a process artfully done.”

Follow me on Twitter – http://twitter.com/printgrowpro and http://twitter.com/yolophotography

 

 


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Sales Management 101

Posted on August 14, 2013 under Sales Management 101.
“Put Me In Coach. I’m Ready To Sell!”

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I’m aging myself by taking such liberties with the lyrics from Centerfield (the John Fogarty hit from 1985), but let there be no doubt, selling is a contact sport and, sadly, too many people enter the game unprepared and for the wrong reasons.

 

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Owners and Sales Managers, a question:  On a day-in, day-out basis, how productive is your sales force (really)?  How much contact do they really have with your customers, current and potential?

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All too often, senior management (across all segments of corporate America) has an inflated, unrealistic opinion of the competency of their sales team – with potentially disastrous long-term results. The perpetuation of sales force mediocrity can be tied to many things (bad hires, no written goals, a lack of accountability, refusal to make the hard decisions), but one thing is certain: for small and mid-sized companies, the risk of allowing your sales team to morph into mediocrity and become the most underutilized resource in your company will create a culture that nurtures underperformance – across all departments.

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With pricing continuing to ‘make no sense’ and margins being tougher and tougher to maintain, owners and sales managers are spread so  thin that effective, hands-on sales management is virtually  non-existent.  There is no one with the time to coach, to train, to mentor, and to hold people accountable.

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In too many cases, the creation of a true sales career path with consistent coaching is an afterthought or a tool that is provided only to the ‘newbies’ and under performers.

If senior management is not using coaching to support your sales team, you’re preventing them from:

*reaching their potential (personally and professionally)

* creating new solutions to old problems,

*and most importantly, from driving positive corporate change as leaders of your organization.

If you aren’t asking them the hard questions, making them do the things they don’t enjoy, and forcing them to improve the areas where they are weak, you are at risk of falling into the trap of sales mediocrity.

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I would proffer that  were you  to put 100  sales men and women in a room (this includes anyone who has any of these following job titles on their business card:  Account Executive, Sales Professional, Sales Rep, Sales Executive, Results Manager, Customer Specialist, Business Development Officer, Sales Engineer, Solutions Analyst, Sales Consultant, Ninja Selling Pro, New Business Development Specialist, etc, etc, etc.), the actual breakdown relative to skill sets would be as follows:

*SALES PROFESSIONALS: only 10% will be true sales professionals i.e. they know how to develop new business, grow revenue with existing clients, and maximize margins (they live to sell vs. just selling to live)

*WANNABEES: 30% will have no business being in sales at all – period.

*SALES/CUSTOMER SERVICE: 35% are ‘place holders’.  They will usually cover their draw, are going to provide excellent service to their existing clients, will follow up on a lead if it’s sent their way, but are way out of their comfort zones when it comes to developing new business.

*DEVELOPMENT TEAM:  the final 25% are solid performers who, with the right motivation, a break or two, and ongoing training will become “PROS”.  They are the future of your company!

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Did you ever stop and think about how many hours professional athletes have practiced in their lifetimes.  Ever wonder why Michael Phelps has a coach to help him with his breaststroke? Or why Dirk Nowitski has a jump shot coach? Or Rafael Nadel a back hand coach? It is certainly not because they are under-performers or WANNABEES. It is to support exceptional performance in the quest for constant improvement.

There is a fascinating book that I would encourage everyone to add to their sales library: Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell (the author of Blink).

Early on Gladwell quotes neurologist Dr. Daniel Levitin: “ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world class expert – in anything.” “In study after study of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, chess players, composers, concert pianist, master criminals, and what have you, this number comes up again and again.”

Gladwell goes on to give other examples: the Beatles, Bill Gates,Steve Jobs and shares this observation from John Lennon: “it was fascinating, the more we practiced, the better we got.”

How many hours of practice do you think the average printing sales person has committed to his or her craft?  How many hours of coaching have they received?

 Are any of us even close to approaching 10,000 hours?

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Do you  know what makes your sales team successful?

Do you have an inventory of their strengths and weaknesses?

Do you have a “custom success profile” of your top producers to use as a barometer for future hires and as a developmental road map for the rest of your team?

Do you know how the SALES PROFESSIONALS on your team actually compare to your WANNABEES (every sales team has some) when it comes to organizational skills, recognition needs, imagination, sensitivity, social need, competitiveness, assertiveness, probing levels, tension, and flexibility?

You should!  The short and long term financial health of your company depends on it!

PS:  In case you don’t recognize the center fielders I’ve pictured (and who I consider the best of the best) , I’ll list the names when with next week’s Thoughts for the Week.  As always, thanks for being here.

Craig McConnell, President 

PrintGrowPro/SalesGrowPro

www.printgrowpro.com

Follow me on Twitter – http://twitter.com/printgrowpro


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