Do you still believe you can close deals as you did in 2019? Are you waiting for things to get back to normal? Do you listen to excuses about Covid-19 from your sales team? The world of professional sales has changed and will never be the same. I am helping companies adapt to the next generation of buyers. I gave a video speech today with an audience in Spokane, Washington. A business leader told me the governor is mandating work-from-home until March 2021. Imagine a sales team in that region of the country that is incapable of closing deals remotely. What are they going to do?
The time has come to talk about something more significant than any of us as individuals. Exactly thirty years ago, I swore an oath (as required by federal law) to enlist in the United States Army. It was 1990, and I had just moved home from College Station, Texas. I decided to place my academic plans on hold to serve my country as a path toward earning funds to finish my undergraduate education. Listen to the words I swore that day.
Terminations suck. As humans, our social tendencies are to avoid conflict. We don't like it. In his book, Traction, Gino Wickman describes the thirty-six hours of pain that precede an employee termination.
As a leader, you must maintain a distant view. Some call it the ten thousand foot perspective. As a leader, you are responsible for everything. You own it all; good and not-so-good. Tolerating excuses keeps the monkey in your office. You have limited bandwidth as the leader, and you become ineffective when you are spread too thin. The skill to detach is essential to maximizing your contribution to the team as the leader.
People do not deserve a promotion to supervisor. Deserving a promotion is entitlement. Mary has been here the longest, so she deserves the promotion to supervisor. Hogwash! Front-line supervisors are THE MOST IMPORTANT ROLE in a business. They are the face of management to employees. Their interpretation of policies and values are what employees see and hear every day. Seventy-five percent of people quit a job because of their relationship with a direct supervisor. No team position is more critical for success, including the CEO in the big corner office. Never give the job to someone simply because of tenure!
I don’t mean some businesses. I mean all businesses. The pandemic is even good for the small hotel, suffering with low occupancy. From the struggling restaurant to the giant airline, all businesses should benefit from the economic decline associated with Covid-19. Just like a trip to the dentist; what we “need” might not be pleasurable, yet it is good for us in the long run. Stay with me if you disagree. This will make sense in the end.
As a lifelong student in the game of business, I am perpetually amazed at the power of simplicity. The ability to distill complicated ideas or concepts in to a simple idea, story, or metric is powerful. Albert Einstein taught us, “If you can’t explain something in the simplest of terms, you don’t understand it well enough.” Whether you agree or not, I stand by this premise. Simplicity is comprehension. Simplicity is enlightenment.
What is the collective talent score for your organization? Can you measure how strong or weak your team is today? Is there a way to mathematically know whether you are growing or contracting your collective talent? Most organizations don’t measure talent. Why? Some measure results or turnover but have no clue why these results occur. These same companies fail to measure the impact from gaining or losing talent collectively. They rely on systems and processes; however, they never quantify the collective talent that executes for the organization.
Stop being so nice all the time. It makes people want to puke; enough already! Like eating too much candy at one time, it just doesn’t sit well on the stomach. There is a difference in being nice and being kind. Clear is kind. Accountability is kind. Consistency is kind. Discipline is kind. Too many people confuse niceness with kindness. There is a vast difference between being kind to someone and the fakeness of being nice all the time.
For many years, I have read statistics that most sales people are not effectively trained. Why? There is presumption of simplicity with sales. Selling is easy. Anyone can sell. She is friendly; I bet she is in sales…Blah, blah, blah! Here is the honest truth; selling is difficult. Taking orders, on the other hand, is much easier. There is a blurry line between trues sales professionals and order-takers.
I have committed to stop giving a crap about too many things at one time. I am not saying this is easy. I am predisposed to worry so giving a crap is definitely in my “wheelhouse” as they say. I have learned we only have a certain amount of bandwidth for what matters in life. It is easy to dilute our present with too many things that just don’t matter in the long-run.
Today, many people feel muzzled at work. Opinions about anything controversial are no longer accepted. Conversations are mitigated to the point that everyone assumes most people think and believe the same way or the opposite way. This is dangerous. We need sincere dialogue with each other to understand other points of view.