My overall purpose in life is to ‘bring out the best in others'.
I find myself explaining this to my friends and my clients on a regular basis. I really want people to know that I do my best to bring out the best in them.
This is the second in a series on how to bring out the best in others. I hope you enjoy the series and pick up some ideas on how you can bring out the best in your teams. These are mostly personal stories through the years. I also hope that these are entertaining for you :)
Bring out the best in others - Part 2
About 15 years ago...... this purpose (I also say it’s a ‘calling’) came to the surface in my life. It has been a recurring theme for many years.
I saw this theme in my direct sales roles
I saw this theme in my sales management roles
I saw this theme when I managed teams across cultures or traveled to new places
I saw this theme in my involvement in the local church
I saw this theme in my marriage and family
I saw this theme in the relationship with my son (who was adopted from Bulgaria at a young age
Sales Roles – Bringing out the best in others - Sales Management examples:
It was my first time managing a larger sales team. The group was diverse, opinionated, and had grown their business over the previous 3 years when most of them were hired. I was new to them and they didn’t initially trust me.
The first ‘break-through’ came when I was with a sales rep in the Southwestern part of the United States.
I rode with Bill (not his real name) to visit several customers. He was young and hungry to learn. He’d had some success in his territory, but no one had supported him much. He had an 'admin person' that had checked in to see if he was recording his sales calls....but he didn't have any significant support.
He asked for feedback, and I gave it. I told him I thought he was trying too hard to sell. That’s right. That’s what I told a sales rep. But..I had a reason for it. Bill was great on his technical knowledge and production knowledge. When he took the time to ask good questions and establish a connection with a customer….the customer would actually ask his advice for some technical and production-related issues. Once he did this, it really helped to build a foundation of trust for the rep to build a quality relationship with his customers. After that, they wouldn't feel 'pushed' by him into buying something...it just came naturally.
In a matter of a few weeks, Bill called me. He made a million-dollar sale to a large customer in California. His entire territory had been $400K the year before. I just took it to 1.4 million dollars with one customer. All he did was play to his strengths.
My second example is with managing a team of older sales reps. I knew I was in for a tough go of it when neither had used a CRM (Customer Resource Management Program) in the past. This was one of my key tasks when I came on board – given to me directly from the company President.
I’ll focus on Joe (not his real name). Joe had the strongest work ethic of any man his age I’d ever met. He’d wake at 3:30 am and catch up on all his emails and do his planning. Then, he’d hit the road by 7 am and would often be with customers past 8 pm at night. Then, he’d try to get organized in his hotel in the evening and start the whole routine over again at 3:30 am the next morning.
Joe was great. He was getting sales. But – he wasn’t focused. He put a lot of time into things. There were times he ran in circles. He had fallen for the lie of 'If I'm busy, I'm important!'
He was also a bit ‘technology adverse’, but not nearly as much as he thought he was. We worked on learning the basics of CRM. We put in customer information. We tracked key information about the customer's needs. We put in information about what the next steps with the customer were. We’d schedule a time in the software when we needed to follow up with the customer. After a short while, Bill was 'rocking and rolling' with his CRM!
The transformation seemed to come overnight for Joe. He got the hang of the CRM. He became more focused. He was still up at 3:30, but he was putting in information (on his own…not with my help!) into the program that helped him to be focused and efficient. Within 2 months, he landed a 6 million dollar piece of business. It was the 2nd largest piece of business in the company’s history.
The point here isn’t me. The point is Joe. I saw the drivenness in him. I saw the passion in him. I helped him ‘channel’ that a bit. But….those good traits in Joe were already there. He just needed someone to see and to help bring out the best in him.
The first step in bringing out the best in your team is to get to know their talents and strengths.
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