Archive for the ‘Leadership Management’ Category

What Separates Ave Firms from High Performing Firms?

May 24th, 2017

What Separates Average Organizations from High Performing Organizations? 

Yesterday I was interviewed by Keith Lubner from ChannelEQ (www.Channeleq.co) on his Pod Cast Channel, while the theme of our conversation was focused on the IT Channel and Partner community as well as the Vendor environment, one of Keith’s insightful questions was: What separates the average or failing organizations from the high performing firms?.

While pondering my answer two words came to mind:  Brilliant Execution.

I want on to explain the following issue, leadership of the organization must be focused on creating a vision and philosophy of brilliant execution-at all levels.  If you are in an administration role, a product/service delivery role and certainly a sales role, every aspect of your daily responsibilities needs to be focused on this message.  High performing organizations simply seem to run better, with higher revenues/employee and lower costs of sales.

From a Sales Management perspective it means you focus on discipline, accountability and control (see past blogs for insights), but specifically Brilliant Execution means that you have a:

  • Quarterly sales training plan and you follow through with it
  • Quality interviewing and recruiting plan and you follow it
  • Detailed pipeline management and dashboard metrics analysis that you update
  • Focused quarterly Salesperson Development Plans designed to improve professionalism
  • Accurate and detailed sales process mapped out and you make sure your sales team follows it (Inspect what you expect!)

Those are just a few samples, for a list of the top 40 Actions Sales Managers must do to achieve predictable revenue download this white paper.

In my blog on Building the Emotional Formula for Sales Success I wrote about the need to pay attention to the details as one aspect of keeping everything working properly.  High performance leaders understand that salespeople need to feel leadership’s high energy level, their belief in the company/products/services and the need to share a positive vision.  Share it often and make sure you are on top of the details.

HINT: every sales team and organization need a yearly theme, if your organization does not have one, you might consider Brilliant Execution as a theme you can focus on during the coming months.  If you have another theme, I would enjoy hearing about it, please share with everyone on this blog.

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 19 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

Ken was recently ranked for the fourth year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers. His blog has been rated in the sales blogs in the world!

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services, boot camps and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

 

No Challenge, No Change

May 1st, 2017

No Challenge, No Change

After spending a day working with a client and their sales team, we normally set up three follow up web based sessions to ensure our recommendations are acted upon and their sales team actually changes.    After the second web based training it is my opinion that the organization most likely will not change. Not because our program and recommendation were inappropriate but Sales Management is failing to coach and challenge their team.

In one of our recent 8 online interactive SLAMMED! Sales Management course discussions, a common topic was How do I get the salespeople to ….update CRM, improve the sales process, prospect….or in reality, how do I effect change.

Working with an experienced sales team or a mix of experience along with younger less experienced salespeople certainly is a challenge for any sales leader but this is where real leadership enters the picture. I see this in many organizations where the sales manager fails to understand how to use various leadership styles to influence their teams or individual members.  They fail to challenge.  I am not suggesting the sales manager becomes a bully i.e. Alec Baldwin in Glengarry, Glen Ross, (if you are unsure of what I am suggesting-it’s worth the time to watch the YouTube.com version.)

What I am suggesting is leadership must be focused on setting the vision, planning the course of action and management must implement and work to achieve the objectives.  Too effectively to cause change individuals must understand the why. Why there is a need to change based upon an organization or industry impact and then why is it important to the individual salesperson.  Sales Managers must seek understand what motivates each individual and where they are on whatever level of experience, ego, maturity, etc.   Leadership theory discusses 5 styles of leadership, knowing which style to use and when is important to understand but becoming the leader is one of the biggest challenges sales managers face.

There are many arguments whether leaders are born or made, I am not addressing that issue in this blog, but knowing what leadership is and what it is responsible for will help the person in a management position to improve their level of professionalism.

If one does not challenge their team to move forward, to improve their skill levels, to work more effectively, 90% of salespeople won’t. The top 10% either don’t need the change or the challenge, they will continue to automatically enhance their professionalism.

To consistency drive higher levels of performance the sales leader must work emotionally to challenge their teams.  This is why in SLAMMED! we start the training on the soft skills of sales leadership, sales management and culture building before moving to the more tactical aspects of sales management. Learning how to emotionally lead will drive your levels of personal success to the next level.

My challenge to you is to identify 3-5 issues that need to be changed, fixed or improved in your organization, determine how you will challenge your team to cause change and then do it!

 

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 19 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

Ken was recently ranked for the fourth year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers. His blog has been rated in the sales blogs in the world!

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

3 Secrets to Success from John Wooden

October 3rd, 2016

Three Secrets to Success from John Wooden

 

Last week I was in Chicago keynoting an international association’s sales conference, in preparation I had been making notes and clipping interesting ideas from a variety of sources, one of them was Success magazine.  The specific article covered a young coach, Dale Brown meeting with John Wooden, the Hall of Fame UCLA basketball.

After a full day of discussing a wide variety of topics around becoming a major college head basketball coach John Wooden said at the very end of day that Dale could have saved LSU a lot of money in travel expenses because there are just only three secrets. John went on; the three things that I am going to tell you are fairly simple if you want to be successful. Anyone that has read any articles or books by John Wooden, as I have, would have to read the balance of the article as his ideas are golden.

As a Sales Leader or Executive these 3 secrets will also help propel your sales organization to the next level.  In Chicago I took each bullet and discussed the specific actions sales management must implement to execute on each element.

First: make certain you always have better players than anybody you play. This is pretty obvious to readers of this blog or have purchased my book “Recruiting High Performance Sales Teams”. One of my recommendations is to analyze each of your salespeople, are they Deadwood, Learners, Good for Now, High Achievers.  Decide who to keep, who not to and build a recruiting process that ensures higher quality people. HINT: for every one person you hire, you need to interview five.

Second: make certain those better players put the team above themselves. This was the majority of my program that I called the Effect of Emotional Leadership, Sales Leaders must build a culture of team, of belief in the company/products/services and a focus on team accountability.  This action can start with sales games, hearing customer success stories, sales compensation plans as well as genuine conversations.  Top performing sales managers have the ability to communicate with positive vision, personal awareness and openness.

Third: don’t be a coaching genus, don’t give your players too much information, always practice simplicity with constant repetition. This secret I thought was very interesting as most sales managers either don’t train enough or train very poorly on sales skills, sales operations or product/industry information. The balance of Sales Managers probably train too much early in the salesperson’s life and then fail to reinforce effectively. What I stressed in Chicago is what I think Mr. Wooden meant-figure out what needs to be done during the sales process/sales call, effectively map it, describe it as to why it should be done and how it should be done and then focus your training on those actions and then practice often.

Just this weekend the University of Tennessee won a football game against the University of Georgia during the last 4 seconds of the game with a Hail Mary play. (A Hail Mary play is when you have 3 receivers run to one spot in the end zone and the Quarterback throws the ball hoping someone catches it, this week it was for 43 yards!) Tennessee’s coach Butch Jones was quoted after the game that they have practiced that play every week for three years and this was the first time he has used it! It worked when then needed it.

John Wooden is a legend in basketball, he was a master teacher and mentor to many. If you have not read his book I highly recommend it.

Build your sales organization around these rules and perhaps you will become a legend as well. If you have further questions or want to discuss other concepts from the Chicago presentation please reach out.  Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

 

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 19 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the fourth year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015. His blog has been rated in the sales blogs in the world!

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

 

Why Product Managers & Salespeople Should be Friends

May 31st, 2016

Why product managers and salespeople should be friends

In most companies, the product/service managers have limited interaction with the sale’s team except for the introduction of a new offering or at an annual customer summit. At Acumen Management, we believe that is unfortunate as there a great opportunity being missed.

Generally, the product/service manager (PM) is responsible for determining what the future offering should have from a feature/function capability . They will gather customer feedback, listen to the market thought leaders, consider competitor products and try to foresee future needs. The missed opportunity is the sales team’s immediate understanding of the current market and what prospects are seeking.

Typically the sales organization is concerned about the now – what is missing from your company’s offering versus the competition. That is why any organization relying on sales as the primary input to the product/service development cycle either wants to be a market follower or will be one.

However, the distinctive value sales can provide the PM can be:

(1)  Insight to how the marketplace reacts to the competitor’s alleged differentiators

(2)  What might be a better capability than that offering

(3)  Testing receptivity to new capabilities your company is considering

(4)  Soliciting from prospects what all vendors are currently missing

(5)  Access to certain customers and their insights

Certainly an effective PM is striving to gain this insight through other means (surveys, interviews, industry pundits) but what an active sales cycle provides is a snap shot of the current state of the market.

For example, Competitor A has been touting a service no one else offers and it seems very compelling. What the PM may learn through the sales team is for the customer to really benefit, they must purchase another offering as well – and that is a turnoff. The opportunity may be to create an all-inclusive offering and although it may not be as complete, it is good enough and easier to acquire. As another example, sales may discover that the prospect investigated the new offering and found it is not as effective as touted. In this case, creating a comparable capability will not be enough – it will need to be demonstrably effective. Herein lies the opportunity.

As a PM, the challenge is to find the right people on the sales team to become friendly. These will be the most experienced, top sales people. Not the most experienced or the top sales people – it is the combination. These salespeople are very knowledgeable about what their prospects want and what they need. They can act as both a sounding board and a source of current market and competitive insight.

What’s next?

As a PM, you can do three things:

  1. Make it easy. Don’t wait for sales to contact you – reach out to your key sales contacts periodically, say monthly, with a simple request for any insights.
  2. Formalize.  With sales management approval, schedule a quarterly meeting of less than an hour with the key sales contacts. It is also an opportunity for sales feedback on future the plans and schemes as well. A dinner meeting on you outside of selling time may work best
  3. Acknowledge. You should know by now that sales people love recognition – give it when the product/service has been announced.

As the Sales leader consider:

  1. Status. Selecting the sales people for this role can be looked upon as a burden or a recognition of status. Celebrate the latter and you will have another way to praise.
  2. Your role. As a key manager, this is an opportunity to help the company and your team. Better product/services released quicker helps everyone.
  3. Customers. Engaging key customers as part of the process is both a chance to sell and to appreciate your key customers.

If you wish to explore further, we always welcome opportunities to speak about your specific situation.

 

John Moroney is an energetic operations and sales management consultant with over 30 years of experience in high technology products and services with a particular passion for sales process design, deployment and improvement. Increasing productivity, driving revenues with a focus on execution, John brings his clients practical and creative solutions that are designed to impact. He is an Associate Partner with Acumen Management Group, a business and strategic sales management consulting firm focused on a world-wide audience.

 

You can reach him at JohnM@AcumenMgmt.com or LinkedIn: John J Moroney     651-402-4342

www.AcumenManagement.com

 

 

Sales Management: What is your goal–today?

March 14th, 2016

Sales Management: What is your goal—today?

 

Sales leadership is a constant focus on many various facets of business-it’s one of the reasons sales management is a one of the most difficult jobs in any business.  The person responsible for driving revenues has to focus on their sales team; its activity levels, their sales opportunities, morale/emotion, training, customers, perhaps marketing as well as other departmental interactions. It is because of these numerous aspects that many sales managers get distracted or lose focus.

In my list of the Top 40 Actions To Build Predicable Revenue  I have attempted to build a check list with a purpose description in order to assist any sales leader in building their methodology. Download it and compare it your list.

Obviously no one can focus on 40 actions or even 20 steps everyday-just juggling the various items that can come flying in or at the sales manager at any time is hard enough. What I like to do with our clients is to help them build a mentality of execution-getting something done!  I will frequently send a quick email to a variety of past and current clients asking them What is your Sales Management Goal-Today?  The purpose is simply to reinforce the aspect of thinking about what “I” need to do today to achieve a higher level of performance from my team.

As you will see from the free download, there could be a variety of actions that might be required today!  It may be as simple as checking CRM for quality/updates or developing the quarterly sales training program or making sales calls not to attempt to close an opportunity but to evaluate the ability of a salesperson and coach them to a higher level.

Take this opportunity to daily position yourself to do it better or think and act on improving your team.  Sounds easy but many times its Friday morning and many Sales Managers realize they have not “moved the ball” forward on several critical aspects of their job.

How about you? What is your sales management goal-today?

 

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 18 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015.

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

Creating Intensity

March 3rd, 2016

Creating Intensity

The Job of Sales Management
A Series of Tactical Actions to Drive Success

During the balance of the year I will outline 40 steps a sales leader can take to achieve predictable revenue. They are not listed in any priority- as every sales organization is at differing levels of maturity and needs. If you run a channels organization these ideas will be pertinent to your team as well as your dealers/resellers/partners.

Every player does not give 110% every day, it’s the coach’s job to increase their intensity and the effort they give”….. This quote came from Butch Jones, head coach at the University of TN.

This is part of what I call the emotional job of sales leadership, it is one thing to analyze data and create sales programs and systems, and it’s another to create the right culture. Last week my keynote at a sales conference was titled: Building a Culture of High Performance, during the program I discussed this side of leadership and the need for both personal and professional actions one can take to raise the bar of excellence.
In a turnaround situation this emotional aspect of sales leadership is critical, if you are building a new team it is a necessity. What does the emotional Sales Leader need to do?
1. Stay focused on energy-yours and your team’s
2. Pay attention to their plans, their daily/weekly execution and their intensity…
3. Be on top of everything…. Pay attention to the details to ensure EVERYTHING works.
4. If you expect them to work at 100%, your focus, your energy must be 120%.
5. Always be more aware than the team… of all aspect of the sales/marketing focus
6. As a leader in any organization recognize that your focus/intensity/enthusiasm must be above the ones your lead.

Your team wants to feel the energy and belief, as a Sales Leader work on this emotional transfer. Being a leader and having vision and communicating emotional is a Critical Success Factor in Sales Leadership. In my book on Leading High Performance Sales Teams I cover the tactical steps build this belief.

Notice, in this blog I used the word Sales Leadership not Sales Management, there are two different aspects to building a high performance sales team, leadership and management- you must know the difference and you must be both!
When I spoke with Josh Dobbs, Quarterback of the Univ. of TN this summer (at the airport) his biggest comment was that Butch was a motivator, not a coach, not a buddy, but a motivator.
What are you doing to increase the intensity of your team?

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 18 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.
He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015.
Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance. Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.
Ken@AcumenMgmt.com www.AcumenManagement.com
Blog: www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

2015 Sales Predictions

November 3rd, 2015

2015 Sales Predictions

KEN: I wrote this magazine column last November (2014), I thought it might be fun to hear your thoughts on my predictions.

We believe in 2015 the focal points will be on velocity and execution; increasing the speed of the sales cycle and number of orders received. Becoming “brilliant in sales execution” during each stage is critical. This has to do with the customers need to quickly take action, their existing knowledge and margin/COS pressures.

Depending upon the specific industry you serve, various trends may differ; for example my primary focus is in the technology sector and there have been major disruptors introduced that have caused implications on the sales side. However as I consider the general area of sales we see several trends.

  1. Prospective clients have done their homework as to their issues and potential solutions via the internet or other relationship. This has caused the salesperson to alter their traditional sales approach. We have found the salespeople who have not adapted to this change are struggling, as they have been use to “telling” their story vs “selling” themselves and their solutions.   The idea that magical mental stimulation must occur in selling is more important than ever before, knowing people, understanding the 5 business challenges business people face and connecting the dots between the person, the problem and your solution is a critical success factor. New technical tools will be developed to assist the average salesperson in this area.
  2. Sales training is moving to a mobility mode. As salespeople face new selling environments, they will have access to instant insights designed to improve their sales skills and strategic information. This is a new trend that will evolve quickly in 2015-16.
  3. Moving the sales role inside maybe a new change for many, but one that is increasing in nature and is certainly a trend. Reducing COS, increasing touch points and use of technology will drive the outside/inside sales organization restructuring. This will continue as sales leaders look for new formulas to drive relationships, revenues and increased levels of activities.
  4. Power Networking. The use of LinkedIn and other online databases has allowed salespeople to evaluate their top best clients and determine who they are linked to, what association’s they are involved in and who they know within their personal connected networks. Once your best clients are mapped, you can then work them to connect with key net new prospects. This methodology is certainly being used by top performers and we certainly see it as a continuing trend.

Next, while there has always been talk about “trusted business advisor”, or now Challenger Selling, we believe you can achieve this status through Business Guidance selling.  This is a phrase we use to describe not a new sales methodology but a concept that can be implemented within any sales framework.  Generally speaking with any sales offering a salesperson either is increasing productivity, reducing costs or providing a certain benefit.

Business Guidance selling occurs while the salesperson is delivering proposal or at a closing stage. As they are selling their solution and the associated benefits, the salesperson must link those benefits to a dollar value and then make a Business Guidance recommendation to the prospect. The salesperson recommends they use those benefits/savings to impact a specific perceived need within the prospects company. These Business Guidance recommendations could range from: improving the web site, providing adding customer service training, etc… None of these recommendations are related to additional products/services from the salesperson’s firm.

HINT: This increases the need for a quality Discovery Stage within your sales process.

By acting in this way and providing this kind of insight you can separate yourself from your competition and not be perceived as simply another salesperson. In 2015 and beyond clients are expecting more from their vendor relationships.

Enjoy and may 2015 be your best year ever.

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 17 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015.

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog: www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

Structure vs Creativity & Flexibilty

June 15th, 2015

Structure vs Creativity and Flexibility

 

Recently I wrote a popular blog that was picked up by a variety of other publications/web site: Sales Management: The Need for Creativity,  it covered why sales managers must develop their levels of creativity to solve the multitude of problems they face and the need to assist their  salespeople in developing better sales strategies.  In the blog I also laid out the 10 actions one can take to improve their personal creativity.  In other blogs I have also discussed the need for a variety of formal structured systems that are reviewed and executed on a regular cadence. i.e.  Account Plans, Training Schedules and Salesperson Business Planning, etc.

Structure vs creativity/flexibility?

This topic hit me over the weekend.  I am reading a terrific book: The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman.  It is about the first month of WW One, a topic I had no real interest in but the book came highly recommended by a friend and it is a great read!  So what does WWI have in common with Sales Leadership?

In the book the author describes how both the German’s and French began planning for WWI in 1870. Both countries had extensive strategies and tactics planned down to minute details; from troop movement, road maps, train schedules and specific plans on day to day operations.  These plans were ready to be executed based upon the right spark!  Both countries expected the war to last just a few months and both were lead by strong minded generals who were focused on executing “their plans”.

The result?  The first month everyone was focused on the wrong objectives or not focused on the right objectives. A war that lasted a very long time that was highly costly to every country in Europe and the USA. Why?  In the beginning the generals stuck to their structured plans vs using creativity and not adapting to a change in tactics by either side.

In the world of sales management we are tossed challenges on a daily basis and it is easy to be distracted and it is easy to lack the time or maintain a focus on achieving the planned activities.

As Sales Managers we must have plans and tools for growing our organizations and achieving our goals but we must adapt to our changing environments; we lose a salesperson unexpectedly, a major opportunity starts to slide or marketing fails to achieve its lead generation objectives. All of these or other disruptions could cause a sales manager in a fixed mode to lose the battle!

It is critical we remain flexible and creative in our approach, but having a foundation, systems or structure can help leverage the busy life of a sales manager.  Don’t get locked in and but use the necessary tools to maintain direction and focus.

One of the reason our Sales Manager on Tool Kit is popular is the 40+ tools can provide the structure that is needed but because they are in a format where they can be modified or changed by the user to fit the changing environments. Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project.

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 17 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2014.

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

Sales Management: The need for creativity

April 29th, 2015

 

Sales Management: The need for creativity!

This past week I had opportunity to work with a great client at their worldwide sales conference in Miami. During the two days, I spent several hours with their sales management team and four hours with their salespeople, they have a great sales culture and you could feel the attitude in the room.  In the post meeting evaluations several reactions to the programs came out:  1) The importance of understanding the various personality styles, 2) The need to be “greedy with your time/Time Management and 3) the fact that an individual’s creativity can be learned or enhanced.  Past blogs and our monthly newsletters have covered personality styles and time management so this week I thought I would address creativity.

There is no question about it, top performers are more creative that your average salespeople. They seem to come up with unique ideas to prospect, find ways to enhance client relationships and they close more effectively. Sales leadership requires creativity as well, sales managers that are exceeding sales quotas, hiring and developing their teams and building a sales culture require huge levels of a creativity quotient.

The good news? You can enhance your creativity by “working on it”…In my Keynote, No Regret’s, the Do Over Factor, I share three tenets for personal and professional success, creativity is one of those three foundations.  I have listed nine actions you can work on to develop mind patterns that will enhance your creativity power.

  • Track your ideas: keep a notebook and write down all your ideas-about anything, it is amazing what happens when you build an active list.
  • Inquiring minds want to know: be inquisitive, ask questions, increase your levels of interest
  • Learn about different things: study a language, read a book, take a course, get active
  • Avoid set patterns: break your habits, floss your teeth differently, brush your teeth in different sequences, drive to work on a new route
  • Be open: listen to others, try to accept new ideas
  • Be patient in observations: take the time to watch a bird fly, look at the woods more closely, look for new patterns, watch the river flow
  • Engage in hobbies: your mind must dis-engage from normal business stress,
  • Improve sense of humor: learn to laugh, even at yourself
  • Be a risk taker: try something different, the adrenalin will cause a positive impact on your brain.
  • I would like your comments and thoughts about how you enhance your creativity. What was the most creative sales tactic you have used? What were the results?

 

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 17 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2014.

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

If It Isn’t Fun, It isn’t Selling!!!

March 16th, 2015

If It Isn’t Fun, It isn’t Selling!!!

Last week I was in Arizona speaking at a conference, during my program I used the phrase: If it isn’t fun, it isn’t selling!, and the reaction I received was interesting.  Most of the comments seemed surprised or somewhat taken aback as I discussed the topic, others were curious as to how to have fun during the sales cycle.

I have to confess,  I have somewhat borrowed  that phrase from Sam Hagerman, Camp Director at my old Boy Scout camp, Camp Decorah; his mantra was: “if it isn’t fun, it isn’t scouting”. I did tell Sam I changed his statement to fit my audiences.

My message last week was more about emotion, selling, managing and building an environment of high performance.  There were two aspects around this topic that are important to understand in creating great culture.  First, in every organization that I have been with or have consulted in that had great cultures, those sales teams not only worked hard, were professional in their approach they also had a culture of fun.  Sales Managers that created a culture of high performance always made sure they   brought an approach to managing that included accountability and high expectations, but also one where the team had fun together.   A few ideas to focus on:

  • Build Belief: make sure your sales teams believe in your company, products/services and each other. This is the emotional work for sales leadership.
  •  Make sure your sales contests are sales games!  They need to be fun, with exciting themes and creative. An annual sales trip for spouses/sales teams is a must, these kinds of sales incentives build camaraderie, memories and teamwork.
  •  Create opportunities to socialize with your team; organize pizza nights to breakfast meetings. These kinds of events allow everyone to talk, laugh and build respect between team mates.

The second aspect of creating fun and selling is with prospects and clients during the sales process.  In my program I stressed that I don’t mean you need to be a jokester during the sales process or less of a professional, but a more relaxed approach can separate you from your competition.   Many years ago someone told me there are 3 rules in selling:  Emotion, Emotion and Emotion. You must have it, you must transfer it to your prospect and they must take action based upon emotion.

As a friend of mine Jeb Blount, the founder of Sales Gravy likes to suggest to his training clients, ask yourself about your prospects: Do they like you? Are they listening to you? Are you listening to them?  What kind of sales environment are your creating?

As a salesperson your interaction with your clients or prospects will always create an emotion-positive or negative. Focusing on a positive, fun and interactive approach will lead to a connection with that person(s).  That connection is critical to building the trust and confidence you need to win the opportunity. Several idea’s to improve the power of connecting:

  • Identify the Personality Style of the person you are speaking with, based upon their style, work with them on their communication mode. But bring your personality.
  •  During any meeting, bring a lighter touch to your conversations, while having an agenda for your meeting, being prepared with a Pre-Call Strategy tool is great, make sure you add a sparkle in your eye and smile on your face to your approach.  It’s ok to be yourself!
  •  Make the experience memorable. This is the power of creativity, ask yourself: “What can I do break through the traditional sales process and make the relationship unique?”   If you use social activities in your sales process, can I align an activity that fits your prospect; i.e. a wine tasting? Sports events?  Or if you are selling in a formal sales process can you bring something else to the table during a sales call; a best-selling book autographed by the author, or an invitation to your Rotary Club meeting?

 

Having fun and taking a lighter personal approach can separate you from your competition and that pays off with greater commissions.  You will also enjoy the sales process and that emotion and approach will be felt by your prospects.  What are your ideas around having fun and selling more?
Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 17 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2014.

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com