Sales tips, leadership communication skills insight and more from Steve Giglio, sales training professional for more than 25 years.

Give It to Them Straight

Throughout my career as a leadership development professional, I’ve learned much about myself and others. One of the essential competencies I’ve developed is to be straight with people, especially as a coach. Here’s an example of it in practice…

Resistance to the Truth

Several years ago, I coached an executive in charge of the mergers and acquisitions of a large organization. As we reviewed his 360 Feedback Report, the executive remarked that it was the job that produced this bad report, not him.

Being straight with him, I proposed a bet where we go to an ATM and both withdraw $800 and have my assistant hold it until the bet was over. I proffered that he would quit this job and encounter the same problem six months from now at his new company. To which my client paused and said, “Let me think about this.” I gave him a week, adding “We also don’t have to work together. We can quit now if you’d like.”

Two days later, he emailed me saying he’d like to work together. I asked why. He said, “Because there are some issues I need to fix.” That acknowledgment was fine by me, we canceled the bet and got to work.

Commitment to the Truth

My point here is that I was immediately placed at a crossroads when my prospective client said it was the job, not him, that created the results and situation. As you might imagine, this was not the first time I had encountered such resistance to the truth from a client. So, I had to be straight with him, even if it cost me a client (and $800!). I knew that I had learned enough about him to counsel him about his actions. But I also knew he had to see those actions as detrimental first before any positive change was going to take place. So, I was straight with him, allowing him to make the next move. Had I danced around the issue, which was that he was responsible for the negative report, he might not have been so ready to concede. Straight talk got his attention, his trust, and his determination to move forward.

The lessons for you, as a leader, to take away from this are:

  1. Never sugarcoat the truth about someone’s incorrect behavior or comportment. All it does is perpetuate the behavior you want to transform.
  2. Remain committed/resolute to the person’s transformation of the behavior you’ve acknowledged. It’s only through your tenacity that the direct report realizes the requirement of their change.

As you go forward as a leader, be straight with direct reports. If you don’t trust them, or believe in them, or feel they’re not up to the job, share this with them. Then, probe them to determine what’s important to them from your empathetic candor. It will create a groundwork of transformation that starts from an honest, direct place which, in my experience, is always the best place to begin.

Two Leadership Tips for 2024

And that’s a wrap on 2023! What a year, right? My work saw clients struggle with and overcome many obstacles. But the work is not done! As we look to 2024, I want to give you two key recommendations from my many observations and development engagements this year.

Don’t Focus on Nice and Polite

Stop initiating and cultivating relationships by being polite and nice. Usually what this translates to is saying YES to everything. I’d rather see you start a relationship by being fair and objective. I’m not saying you should avoid being polite or friendly. But you must be realistic and expect that they will be, too. Are their goals out of line with their budget? Does the scope of the work exceed your team’s capabilities? Approach relationships objectively and fairly to determine what matters most to your client’s business AS WELL AS YOUR BUSINESS. Hey, you are not a non-profit…you are in business to drive revenue just like they are.

Therefore, in the New Year, finding what is most important to your client/team and the impact of not achieving it is critical. Then, and only then, can you be fair, objective, and urgent with your solutions.

Here is a tactical tip to make sure that when you are speaking with a client (current or potential), you are keeping them focused on their main goals. When responding to them, start with “As you said…” and then remind them about what they said was critical. You can then base your recommendation on that. You’ll keep their attention, let them know you’ve been paying attention, and structure the conversation about the most important issues they are facing rather than getting into the weeds with every little problem.

Trust Yet Verify

Trust yet verify what clients say. Trusting a client is okay, provided they’ve earned that trust. Often, they’re evasive and peripheral. You must discover why and move them to a place of discomfort. Yes, you read that right…discomfort. This is an art. An art I enjoy teaching. It’s not like a lawyer cross-examining, but it is a heartfelt interest in defining a client’s CORE problems. And many times, they want to hide those core issues, not wanting to admit they exist.

Example: Your client might say “Our last agency didn’t get the work done we needed. They spent way too much time on small projects that didn’t move the needle.” To which you might say, “Who was giving them instructions on what to do? Oh…I see. Everyone had access and could direct them. Do you see that they were only doing what they were told? The lack of leadership on your team seems to have created an ‘every man for himself’ environment. Is that what you wanted?”

Sure, that’s an uncomfortable thing to say to a client. But it gets to the truth. From there, you can have an honest conversation about real issues from which you can make a well-informed recommendation.

In 2024, I’m looking forward to more and more people experimenting with the above from my coaching and facilitation, along with being more commercially candid. As long as you prove you care, you can lead people and sell anything.

Thank you for all your trust and followership this year. It means the world to me. Happy New Year!

‘Tis the Season of Juggling!

Managing the holiday season, both professionally and personally, can be challenging and stressful. Here’s something I read recently that hit home…

You CAN do it all, but first, you must decide what “all” includes.

Over the past decade, much attention has been directed toward helping people create a work/life balance. Perhaps no time during the year is this more relevant than the holiday season. It can be daunting between family, holiday events, business time management, and getting 2024 business plans approved. There is always a lot of “all” to get done!

The best way to remain sane and productive is to manage your energy accordingly and avoid over-committing. Prioritizing your workstreams is important. To do it “all,” this prioritization will be a good exercise in defining what “all” really is. You may be surprised that you have less to do between now and the end of the year when some goals are tabled for later.

Prioritize Your “To-Do” List

Here is the way I organize my workload. It has helped ensure I get the most important, time-critical tasks done while allowing me to re-categorize others for later completion. Incredibly helpful is to include personal tasks/objectives in this process.

Essential To-Do’s

You have a lot to do. But is everything mission critical? Probably not…at least, not today. Each day, factor in the time you have, meetings you must attend, and then prioritize your To-Do List so that what you have to get done today is at the top. For your business tasks, follow the money. Determine what is most accretive to you and your work. These are tasks you will be disappointed you did not address by dinner time. You will likely have To-Do’s that don’t merit being on the essential list. That’s OK. We’ll deal with in a bit.

Actioning process

Saying you have to get things done is one thing. Actually doing them is another. Create an action list for each essential task today. What are the physical efforts you have to put forth to accomplish each one. This sounds basic but it’s given me a critical lens into how my day is ordered.

Set Deadlines

So important! You must set deadlines for each task. And what you might find is that, once you allocate time for each task, you don’t have enough time to get everything done! You can either lessen the time on certain tasks…but be realistic. If you can’t get something done in 30 minutes versus an hour, don’t change it. Instead, repeat the first two steps I’ve listed, re-ordering the priority list and then creating action steps. The expression “There are only so many hours in a day” applies here so, something might have to be moved to a different day.

Manage Desired Tasks

Remember those tasks that you are not going to get done today? Put them on a Desired list. First, it will ensure you don’t forget about them. Second, if you’ve managed your time exceedingly well, you may have time to get to a few of these (make sure you prioritize this list, too!). Third, you will be set up for the next day when you start this process again, using the Desired List as a starting point for creating your Essential To-Do List.

Be Honest…and Watch Out for Murphy

You must make a distinction between essential and desired endeavors. You also have to be straight with yourself relative to accomplishing your list. Realize that Murphy’s Law comes into play here. Meaning if something can go wrong/derail, it probably will. Therefore, factor in a time buffer so you’re not squeezed into completing an endeavor when more time is required.

And, Oh, yes…Ask For Help when You Need To! Being vulnerable is okay in business. It shows that you’re human, that you know your limitations, and that you’re open to having others make a difference by partnering with you.

My best to you as you close out 2023 and begin your action endeavors for 2024!

This Thanksgiving…Be Grateful, Then Insightful

This is a wonderful time of year! It’s a time for family, fun, cuisine, and insightfulness…if you allow it.

Each year at this time, I like to take stock of what is important to me. I look at three different areas and note what stands out:

What I enjoyed
Seeing clients shine during their annual investor/stakeholder meetings by being articulate, conversational, and approachable

What I created
Specific, tailored recommendations that addressed behavioral hindrances and then seeing clients’ succeed based on the work we did

What I am grateful for
My clients’ followership and the enjoyment we share on our development journey together

Looking back is a fine and worthy endeavor. But now is also the time for insightfulness as you consider the upcoming year. When working with clients, I ask them, “What do you want to be known for next year?” and “How do you want to manifest that so that it happens?”

Here’s an example:

This year, I had a client whose direct report was not sufficiently participating in the team’s success. She respected him and valued him on the team. However, she wanted him to realize on his own that he needed to up his game. She was frustrated that he did not seem inclined to have that self-awareness.

We wanted to allow him time to address what she saw as essential commercial challenges that he was not addressing. We created a series of questions that had the potential to have him understand that his participation was unacceptable. His responses illustrated his resignation to the marketplace and jadedness to it. After the second round of questions and insufficient responses, he asked her if she had lost faith in him. She said yes. Interestingly, he admitted he had lost faith in himself. As a result, she recommended a lesser role in which she believed he could succeed in 2024. He willingly agreed and everyone was satisfied that he was setup for success in the coming year.

My purpose in relating this situation is that now is the time to impart YOUR insightfulness to your team, acknowledge them for this year’s contributions, and establish a future with each person to create a fast start in 2024 that you both own.

And as you do that, take some time for introspection. What did you enjoy this year? What did you create? And for what are you grateful? Write your answers down and look at them from time to time as you plan for the coming year.

As always, I wish you much success. In addition, may your family, friends, co-workers, and you enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving!

They Just Aren’t That Into You

There are only two months left in 2023. I know…I can’t believe that either! Many of you will be developing and delivering year-end presentations to clients/customers. STOP! Read this right now and you’ll save a lot of time:

They aren’t as interested as you think they are.

Too often, I see people delivering presentations that assume their audience is as knowledgeable and interested in their topic as they are. But think about it…I bet it won’t take long for you to recall a time when YOU were the audience and the speaker just simply lost you. They spoke with far too much detail about areas of the business that didn’t directly concern you. Remember that time? Good!

As you prepare for your client presentations, you must focus on what’s dear to them, what keeps them up at night, and what you’ve done (and are going to do) to make their lives easier.

They Care…Just Not That Much

Clients hired you for a reason and it’s that reason they care about. But do you know what it is? With my private equity clients, I often find that they’ve forgotten. As a result, their presentations try to cover every aspect of their business to prove how in touch and busy they are. However, if they focused on one simple question in the mind of their client, “Is my money safe?” they would deliver far more powerful messaging.

I had PE client say to me once, “Steve, I don’t need to hear the top executive expound upon every piece of knowledge he has…trying to prove he’s the smartest guy in the room. I only care about if they are doing a good job with my investments.”

Seems simple, right? But so many get it wrong.

Another executive said to me, “They fly me down to some island, put me up in a luxury hotel, put on an elaborate dog-and-pony show, and for what? All I wanted to know is what they could have told me in about 20 minutes in a meeting room.”

Your clients DO care about what you’re doing. But they are specific in what they care about. So, make sure you tell them what they want and need to hear.

They Don’t Live and Breath This Stuff

You are hyper-focused on your industry, your tasks, and your outcomes. However, your clients are not. They have their own enterprise issues that concern them 24/7. The way I see it, most clients have about 20 percent of the knowledge that their agencies/representatives do. Again, using some of my private equity clients as an example…they error by making assumptions about knowledge that their clients don’t actually have.

For example, I once had someone say about their PE representative, “I was so glad that he explained derivatives because I had never really understood how they worked.” I can only imagine how shocked the person delivering the presentation was to learn that his client wasn’t living and breathing derivatives all day!

Understand that your audience is there for a basic understanding of the work you do that is backed by the results you get. How you got those results is of far less interest than the fact that you got them.

Keep It Simple

When developing any presentation, but especially one at year’s end, it’s important you start by knowing what your audience wants to hear and then delivering easy-to-digest messaging that addresses those desires. I recommend my clients start by asking a few questions that will help them pare down their presentations to the few basic, but important, points they want to make:

  • Is this essential information that will inspire confidence from my audience?
  • Am I inspired to deliver this information?
  • Is it clear to me?
  • Have I preempted their logical questions?
  • How do I want them to feel after the presentation?
  • Is my audience smarter and more confident in my firm once I’m done?

Ask yourself these questions before you start your annual presentation development. As you do, you’ll start to put yourself in the shoes of your audience. I bet you will realize that much of what you might have said is not relevant and could risk turning off your client. Pretty much the opposite of what you want to inspire, right?

Take a lesson from the actor Joe Pesci. After winning an Oscar for “Goodfellas” in 1991, he diverted from usual acceptance speeches in which winners thank people whom most of the general public don’t know and he simply said:

“It’s my privilege. Thank you.”

It is widely considered one of the best acceptance speeches of all time!

Watch the video for this post:

 

The Joy of Coaching

That’s right. I said it. There is joy in coaching your employees!

I find it in coaching my clients. There is something magically rewarding to see someone break through a barrier and realize more of their potential. I truly hope you know what I mean. If you don’t, this post is aimed at helping you.

Three Coaching Questions to Ask Yourself

In my experience, I’ve found that I need to ask myself three questions before I start coaching someone:

Do I believe in them?

You can’t fake coaching. It has to come from a real belief that you think this person has the potential to be a star in your organization. It is at the very core of why you hired them in the first place. If you don’t believe in them, your coaching will likely come across as insincere or rote.

Do I see bankable potential?

It’s one thing to believe someone is a good person, a solid worker, and a positive influence in the office. But will they make it rain? All the personality in the world doesn’t matter if they don’t close the deal. So when you look at your direct report, do you see revenue-making potential? It’s fine if they are struggling with a few things right now…that can be coached. But if you don’t see them ever really getting to A-level status on your team, it may be time to assess if/where they will fit in the long term.

How would I feel if they improved?

If the person you are about to coach realized modest-to-amazing progress after your coaching, how would you feel? If your answer is anything but “good,” then you have another issue with this person. You’ll need to figure that out before you can coach them. Because if not for improving their skills and increasing their bankable potential, then why coach them?

Show Employees How to Improve

It’s one thing to tell an employee that he/she needs to improve. Guess what? They probably knew that already. It’s far more important to let them know you are going to help them learn to improve. That’s the level of caring for which they will move mountains! The three questions above have let YOU know that you believe in them, see bankable potential, and will get satisfaction if they improve. Imparting that to your employees will have them take you coaching to heart. They will know that you are in their corner and the coaching is for their benefit as a professional.

And the joy you will get from seeing them improve!

An example…recently, I completed an assignment with a lawyer who wanted to know how to procure more business. At the completion of our work, I asked her how she felt about our process. What she said, made my day, “You made it possible and easy for me.” Did that make me feel good and that our time had been well spent? You bet it did!

Each time I complete a coaching session, I’m on cloud nine! It’s fulfilling and heartening, and it makes a difference. So if you have been putting off coaching your team for any reason, know that you are delaying some joyful satisfaction that you can get from the process. Believing that everyone on your team is able and powerful is essential. You must maintain this belief to foster their ownership of their development. Essentially you are helping people discover how to be better. And you get sustained performance from it!

Watch the video for this blog:

Building a Sales Team: Part 3 – Managing “C” Players

In the first post of this series, I stressed the importance of assessing and analyzing your sales team. Through that process, you should emerge knowing who your A, B, and C-level players are. Completing the ABC ranking exercise is often quite enlightening. You see what it takes to become an A Player and the inconsistencies you can coach in your B Players.

The further value of this exercise is realizing who your C Players are and what needs to occur for the growth of your entire team. C Players, if left unchecked and unchanged, will erode your team’s ability to reach the goals you’ve worked so hard to distill, operationalize, and achieve.

Therefore, it’s your responsibility to call them out professionally, objectively, and relationally. Doing this respects your entire team’s efforts while staying true to your overall mission.

Alert Them to the Issues

The first step is to let them know that issues exist. Begin this conversation by stating you’ve observed behaviors preventing them from succeeding in their role. Then, cite the inappropriate behaviors with specific examples along with the impact these behaviors have had on them, the business, and their colleagues.

Observe their reaction. Notice how your direct report listens and processes your development direction. Give them time to present their side of things. Some may agree that the issues are present and will show a willingness to improve, even if they are unsure how to proceed. That’s ok…agreeing that there are issues is a good starting point. However, often you’ll hear their resignation to their sub-par behavior or, in contrast, they will get defensive, providing excuses and laying blame. This is a red flag and is when you should consider moving to the jettison stage (see below).

Plan for Change and Success

Once there is agreement on the issues and their causes, create a plan that gets them back on track. Map out a 90-day development plan that addresses these unacceptable behaviors. This should be very specific with measurable goals, a feedback mechanism from peers, and regular check-ins/coaching by you. They should understand that this 90 days is not just to correct issues but for them to demonstrate their willingness to “do whatever it takes” to remain on the team. With your attention, coaching, and support, you are setting them up for success. Ultimately, though, it is up to them whether they take advantage of it or not.

Jettisoning C-level Players

At some point, it is important you ask these C-level players if they are happy in their current role. If they say yes, then reinforce what you require from them to maintain their position and successfully complete their 90-day plan. But if they say they are not happy, you should mutually and relationally move to an exit plan. It’s been my experience that this step is the one managers are most reluctant to activate. So often I see C-level players who are kept on the team even when it’s clear they are not making positive contributions. Worse, they have a virus-like tendency to try to bring others along with them. While it’s your job to mentor your team members, it’s also your job to have the best team you can assemble and sometimes that means jettisoning C-level players for the good of the team.

I understand this is a hard step and you may be filled with anxiety and trepidation. So, what I tell my clients is this:

Most C Players are not losing sleep over their actions, only you are.

Lastly, C-level players can command a lot of your attention, making it harder to focus on your other team members. Don’t let this happen. Make sure you are acknowledging the accomplishments your more successful direct reports are achieving. As a manager, it’s important you maintain this balance and keep driving all your team members towards their goals.

Building a Sales Team: Part 2 – Be Positive About Feedback

When you hear “feedback,” do you automatically think of it as a negative? Do your employees?

It’s time for a change of attitude. You can and should enjoy delivering feedback. The secret to it is how you hold it.

Be Positive About Feedback

It’s natural to hold feedback as a critical act. It’s not! It’s a contribution to someone’s life and their future. Therefore, you need to change your frame of reference to it. Coaching contributes to someone who can’t develop without you or your wisdom.

Do you think employees don’t want feedback? That’s where you’re wrong. According to a recent PwC study, 60 percent of respondents said they want feedback daily or weekly. That number jumps to more than 70 percent for people under 30. And yet, the same study found that less than 30 percent say they get regular feedback. As you can see, there is an opportunity here for you as a leader.

But just knowing that your team wants feedback is just part of taking a positive attitude toward it. You also have to know why you’re giving it, how to deliver it, and perhaps most importantly, who you are giving it to.

Why Give Feedback

The answer to that, as noted above, is easy…because they want it! But there are underlying motivations for you to provide feedback. First, you are showing you care. Does that matter to employees? Well, ask yourself, does it matter to you whether your supervisor cares? Of course it does. Secondly, you are getting as much as you are giving. Listen to what your employees say. Ask probing questions. Be open to their feedback as much as you want them to be open to yours. Learning what your employees need to succeed is critically important and you can gain that information with feedback sessions. And lastly, you can nip things in the bud if they start going off the rails. People make mistakes. They misinterpret directions. They have a bad day/week. Whatever the reason, when you are regularly delivering (and getting) feedback, you’ll be able to address issues as they arise and not find out about them at the end of the quarter/year.

And speaking of giving feedback regularly…

How to Give Feedback Effectively

There are a LOT of resources you can find that will help improve your feedback skills. But what I’ve found to be most important is that you give it regularly. It is not enough to simply give quarterly reviews where you go over sales goals, tactics, and results. That’s reporting, not feedback.

Start with weekly check-ins. These short one-on-one meetings/calls are an opportunity to learn more about your team members, the challenges they are facing, and what you can do to help. These sessions should very much be a back-and-forth conversation. It’s during these times you will really demonstrate a level of caring that they will appreciate. That appreciation should lead to a degree of loyalty you may not have experienced previously. Stick to these weekly meetings…don’t let them lapse! And if you have to miss one, reschedule it. Don’t just put it off to next week. Again, this shows how important your direct report is to you.

You should still do quarterly meetings with your team. However, there shouldn’t be any surprises since you’ve met weekly. Now you can really dive into their annual goals, their professional desires, and your insight into how they can achieve both. Take these seriously and prepare for them like you would a client meeting. They are that important!

Again, the point is that you are meeting with them on a regular basis as a priority. That will go far toward improving your team’s overall performance and job satisfaction.

Who Is Getting the Feedback

In sales, knowing your audience is critical when delivering your recommendations. The same is true for delivering feedback to your team. My surgeon father always said, “never treat one patient the same as the next. Every person has their own DNA and their own unique protocol to cure.” Apply this to your behavior.

You are dealing with a human life here. A person whose lifeline to growth is in your hands. Get to know your employees so that you can relate to them wherever they are in their lives. Outside pressures can have a big impact on how they conduct themselves at work. Find out what’s going on and how they are handling it.

Direct reports, especially Gen X through Z, want to understand how they can get better. Knowing how each of them “ticks” and what type of feedback will resonate best with them is important. You will determine that over time via the weekly check-ins. Some will want a direct approach…just tell them where they are excelling and where they can improve. Others may want a softer touch. And so many other varieties in between. Keep in mind…it is your job to deliver the feedback so that they receive and respond to it. Be as specific as you can so that the feedback is relatable. Stories/specific examples teach people what their developmental behavior is. From this acknowledgment, you can mutually create a new scorecard of development you and your direct can use constructively going forward.

Can you be positive about feedback? Yes…and so can your team, eventually. As you continue moving your team towards transformational salespeople, transform your attitude about feedback and see what happens!

Building a Sales Team: Part 1 – Assess and Analyze

Have patience with all things but first of all, with yourself

-Francis De Sales

In this new series, we will focus on building an effective sales team over time as we look towards 2024. And there is the key word: time. Like most things in life, you must exhibit patience to see results. To transform your team as their leader, you will need to fully understand the skill, experience, and ability to learn each member has. And that’s a good starting point for this three-part blog series.

Assess Your Sales Team

Take stock of your current team. I recommend starting with two essential measurements as you rank each of your sales team members: revenue generation and attributes/behavior. And the ranking system is as simple as ABC! Group your associates into A, B, and C players based on the two aforementioned measurements. Here is some help to determine rankings:

A Players: consistently exceed their revenue goals and are highly mature, motivated, and commercially grounded. You generally don’t need to give them much feedback but when you do, they eagerly accept it as a way to grow professionally.

B Players: have had some success but are generally inconsistent, requiring more of your guidance. However, they are eager to learn and have potential to become A Players.

C Players: often are entitled, inconsistent earners, and resist feedback. They are your lowest performers and can also be toxic to building a strong sales team.

Analyze Foundational Behaviors

Once you’ve done a stack ranking, it’s time to look at what behaviors are consistent with your A Players. These are the foundational behaviors you will use as your baseline for developing your team for a fast start in 2024.

Here’s where you will need some patience. Most of your B Players and likely all of your C Players will not exhibit these behaviors. So, you will need to help develop them. This won’t be easy because, well, if they had the inclination or inherent ability to develop these foundational behaviors, they would have already.

Take your time with each sales team member, creating a development plan in which they have some authorship and agree to follow. Pay attention here! Your C Players are the most likely to resist any effort to change how they do things. It may be time to have an honest, frank and direct conversation about their future. If they cannot commit to adapting to how your team is developing, it may be time to have them move on. One thing is certain…the time to address these issues is now, not in December.

Address the Changed World…And Then Move Forward

One last thing as you assess, rank, and develop your team. Remember our changed world. Things have been anything but normal for the last five years. As a leader, you need to acknowledge that but not dwell too long on it. Yes, COVID fallout is real and it impacted how business development has been done. Your team may have struggled. But now is the time to move forward and develop a strong sales team that can learn from those experiences as they improve their foundational behaviors. Wary should you be of those in your care who are still using COVID as a reason for not moving forward.

As mentioned in this post, determining how well your team accepts and reacts to feedback is an important assessment. In Part Two of this series, we’ll focus on communicating and delivering positive feedback to inspire them to develop. It could be that HOW you are delivering feedback is the reason they aren’t reacting well to it!

Sales Training Solutions 2023: Part 5

Actioning Sales Leadership

In the first four posts of this series, we looked at how these times demand that sales leaders help teams develop into transformational salespeople rather than transactional ones. I provided reasons for why this is important now and how to motivate your teams to develop new habits.

And in this final post, it’s time to put our attention towards you, the leader, and what actions you should take so that your team will end 2023 strong and look toward a bright 2024.

Questions for Sales Leaders

Let’s start by asking yourself a few questions. Here are my suggestions:

What is your leadership purpose now?

Things have not just changed for your teams…they’ve changed for you as well. How has that affected your leadership purpose? If you are working to have your team become transformational salespeople, that should mean you are in a coaching/counseling role more and less in a “count the sales” one. Changing habits and mindsets starts with leadership and that should be your main purpose moving forward,

What is your reskilling process?

The above says easy but does hard. Changing YOUR habits isn’t any easier than your team changing theirs. What new skills do you need now? Where will you learn them? What will be your process for keeping skills sharp and always improving? And how will your new skills impact your team?

What are your 2024 sales expectations?

Transformational selling is a tricky thing. On one hand, it’s about developing long-term relationships during which your team members become trusted advisors and excel at “staying in the pain” with clients. On the other hand, your team still needs to produce! How will their new habits affect your quarterly and annual numbers? Have you set expectations with company management? How will you manage the time during which your team is shifting to a different way of doing things but also responsible for results? And what will your 2024 look like?

These questions are fundamental to sales leadership transformation.

Now is the time to build intimate, developmental relationships with each person on your team such that they begin to think like you. Give it three months. Once you see effective changes, that will be objective evidence that you’ve influenced them toward greater success. And heck, isn’t that why you became a sales leader in the first place?

Essential Sales Leadership Actions to Take Now

Now is the time for you to take action. Here are my suggested steps:

  • Observe how your salespeople are spending their time. Contrast this to the ideal commercial activities in which they should be engaging
  • Role model/Mentor best-in-class sales techniques
  • Redefine your ideal customer/client for your teams
  • Express how their habits need to change and how you are going to help develop them
  • Know each salesperson’s ability to manage through a volatile situation and remain commercially grounded
  • Systematize your 2024 go-to-market process
  • Understand who your A, B, and C-level salespeople are so you can create appropriate development plans for each
  • Craft a sales training program that addresses the above actions

And so completes my 5-part series, “Sales Training Solutions for 2023.”  The year is half over already so, it’s time now to implement the strategies and steps I’ve outlined. It’s not too late! And I can help…just drop me a line and let’s get started.