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These conversations allow you to get an accurate understanding of the current state of your sales force while mentoring and coaching your sales managers. To get the answers you need, you have to ask the right questions at the right time. Here is our time-saving list of questions that every leader should ask of their sales managers at the specified intervals; by week, month, and quarter.

Seven Weekly Questions

As a business leader, you must have, at a minimum, one conversation per week with each of your sales managers. This weekly meeting should allow you to feel in control of your sales force and let you know whether more frequent monitoring is required. For example, if there is a newly-appointed sales manager, it is best to increase the frequency initially, so that you are touching base with them daily. Seven questions to ask your sales managers at least once a week:

  1. What has changed since our conversation last week?
  2. What is the status of our sales pipeline?
  3. What might prevent us from achieving our goals?
  4. In the team, which salesperson works best, and why? What might we reproduce with others?
  5. In the team, which salesperson works less well, and why? What is the action plan designed to help improve their performance?
  6. What are you coaching on this week and in what aspect?
  7. Who will you accompany on calls this week?

 

With these questions, sales managers will understand what actions they need to take each week to be able to provide satisfactory answers to you during your meeting the following week.

The wording of these questions intentionally leaves the door open to many types of answers. Sales managers who are well-prepared for the meeting should be able to respond accurately to broader issues. Indeed, a vague answer is often an indication of a problem.

For example, to the question about the status of the sales pipeline, a vague answer can mean the deliberate omission of problematic elements, or it may reveal a lack of competence. A sales manager who can interpret the pipeline will meet it with precision, following with a plan of concrete actions, not with excuses.

Six monthly questions:

Once a month, the conversation between the CEO and the sales managers must focus on emerging trends. These questions should include:

  1. Are we still confident of achieving our sales goals?
  2. Has there been enough activity during the month for us to reach our goals?
  3. Are the goals realistic? If not, they were set too high or too low?
  4. Are there still enough good salespeople on the team to do the work?
  5. Can you tell me some of the best selling lessons that your salespeople have given you over the past few weeks?
  6. Are there things that we have not seen in past months, that we see this month?

To identify other trends to be addressed, it is sufficient to analyze the responses to questions posed in the previous weeks. For example, if the weekly conversations during the past months have all focused on the same salesperson who is having difficulty, you should ask your sales manager about it. Ask her questions like:

  • Where are you with the recruitment of a new representative?
  • How do you expect to perform if the salesperson is not replaced in the coming weeks?

Four quarterly questions

Each quarter, the CEO must have a conversation centered on the medium-term planning with sales managers.

These questions include:

  1. What is your action plan for the next three months?
  2. What topics will you be communicating about with the sales team?
  3. What aspects of the sales process will you be coaching on, and why?
  4. How will you coach your team on these particular elements?

The questions will vary depending on the quarter. For example, the first months of the year are less busy, and representatives often fail to get appointments with potential new customers. Early in this quarter, the conversation will, therefore, focus on actions to get meetings with new clients. At the end of Q2, we will discuss the importance of building a larger pipeline, in anticipation of the slowdown caused by the approach of the summer holidays. And so on.

The One Essential Question for Every Meeting

Finally, in each of the three types of conversations described, every business leader should always ask the following question of their sales managers:

How is it that I can help you in accomplishing your work?

As CEO, it is important that you demonstrate your support to your sales managers for the difficulties they raise during the meeting, as well as your willingness to help them.

Try these out and let us know how it goes!

 

About the Author

Frédéric Lucas, Prima Ressource

Frederic_LucasEntrepreneur, business owner, speaker, trainer, coach, adviser, blogger and expert about sales force performance and business growth… I’m all of it and none of it at the same time. Want to know why? I take an integrated approach to know where your company needs help to get from where it is right now to where you wanted to be. My clients know me for telling them what they need to hear, instead of what they want to hear. They value the depth of my expertise, the science behind my framework and the predictability of my insights. While most try to fix salespeople by working on factors that influence sales, I concentrate first on the scientific causes of underachievement and overachievement of sales organizations. I build profitable sales culture by working on the essential components that increase an organizations probability of generating profitable sales.

 

 

 

Re- Blogged From:- Integrity Solutions

Source:- https://www.membrain.com/blog/18-critical-questions-ceos-need-to-ask-their-sales-managers
18 CRITICAL QUESTIONS CEOS NEED TO ASK THEIR SALES MANAGERS

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Our research shows that the salespeople who consistently outperform the rest are those who release and expand their inner achievement drive. So the big question for sales training and management professionals is: How can you help every salesperson do that?

As Mike Fisher noted in a previous blog post, start by making sure they have a clear goal that’s personally motivating. But there’s another, even more powerful factor to take into account: “self-talk.”

This refers to the conversations salespeople are continually having with themselves about themselves. A salesperson may know intellectually what they need to do (“I think” statements), but their behavior is also driven by emotional “I feel” statements. In a contest between the two, their conscious willpower is no match for their powerful emotions. The “I feel” statements always win. That’s how they end up in a dynamic that goes something like this:

I know I need to call my prospect list to build up new business, but I’m going to check in again with my favorite clients.

There’s a third dimension of self-talk at play here, too: “I am” statements. Every salesperson unconsciously answers these questions:

What does it take to be successful?

Do I have what it takes to be successful?

In other words, do I believe I can do it?

A salesperson’s “I think” statements can set goals, but if their “I am” silently screams, “You’re not capable of doing that,” doubt and anxiety will creep in and eventually sabotage their ability to sell.

These “I am” statements are like the internal programming that regulates a person’s sales, income or rewards. You can’t release more achievement drive and improve performance until you break through these limiting self-beliefs.

A 5-Step Process for Expanding Sales Success Boundaries

The important thing to realize is that salespeople can break through their current levels of self-beliefs. What follows is a five-step process to get them started. As this process demonstrates, sales training and coaching that help people uncover and develop strategies for integrating new self-beliefs is a critical piece of the puzzle.

  1. Become aware of your current behaviors. Pay attention to the conscious choices you make or actions you take, or results you expect.
  2. Notice the attitudes or feelings that seem to influence those behaviors. Ask yourself, “What’s driving me to do this action or behavior? Is it driven by confidence or fear? By the need to avoid stress, or the desire to succeed?”
  3. Attempt to connect these feelings and behaviors with the unconscious beliefs that might be driving them. It’s likely that little will “pop out” to your consciousness at first. Just keep examining and looking for answers. Soon your “I am” will send answers to your “I think.”
  4. Select new beliefs that you’d like to have embedded in your “I am.” Through self-suggestion, you can begin to send those messages down inside yourself.
  5. Have the courage to go through the change, conflict and ambiguity that come as you grow and develop new beliefs. You’ll always go through these seemingly disruptive times until new beliefs have the time to establish themselves deep within you.

Each salesperson’s current level of self-belief “programming” has been developed largely by the self-suggestions they’ve programmed into it. That’s good news, because it means that they can change it the same way. It takes consistent attention and intention on the part of the salesperson, and it requires sales coaches who understand these dynamics and can support the transformation at every step.

Re- Blogged From – Integrity Solutions

Sales training

Originally contributed as a guest blog on SellingPower.com

By Mike Esterday

If you’re like most sales leaders, you’re constantly hunting for the “secret sauce” of sales success. You’re convinced that, once found, that secret sauce will put your organization over the top – and into the rarefied group of consistently top-performing companies.

Look no further. Chances are good that you already have all the ingredients you need. You’ve just added them to the sauce in the wrong proportions.

We recently conducted a research study in partnership with the Sales Management Association to find out what top-performing companies focus on that’s different from the others. The answers were revealing and, in some cases, surprising.

We surveyed leaders at more than 200 sales organizations. We asked them to rate how a salesperson’s achievement drive – that is, their attitudes, beliefs, and passions – affects their performance. Likewise, we asked the same of them about how a salesperson’s product knowledge and selling skills affect performance.

Here’s what may surprise you: More than 80 percent of the respondents rated achievement drive as being of equal or greater value than product knowledge and selling skills in terms of positively impacting sales performance. However, only a quarter of the respondents said they were very effective in delivering sales training that focuses around achievement drive.

That is a tremendous gap between importance and effectiveness on what is potentially the most important driver of sales success.

Here’s the kicker: Those who said they were effective at focusing sales training on achievement drive reported 20 percent stronger results than everyone else.

What about you? Does your sales training emphasize achievement drive and ignite motivation?

What’s Causing the Gap?

If so many executives recognize the value of achievement drive, then why don’t more companies address it in training?

Well, ostensibly, it’s just plain easier to provide salespeople with product information and techniques on what to say and when – and then manage numbers and activities.

But relative ease is only part of the story. In fact, there are plenty of ways leaders rationalize focusing on skill and product training – even when they agree that attitudes and achievement drive play a bigger role in performance.

Based on our study, here are the top four reasons sales leaders ignore attitude and achievement drive in sales training:

  1. Skills and product training are just easier to deliver and measure.
  2. We expect people to have this already when they’re hired.
  3. The subject matter is too personal for corporate training or coaching.
  4. We’ve never done this type of development in our organization.

This isn’t to say that training on product knowledge and selling skills isn’t important. But it will only take your team (and your organization) so far.

When training goes beyond product knowledge and techniques – when it gets to the motivating attitudes that increase achievement drive – that’s where your competitive edge lies.

Top Performers Focus on These Three Critical Conversations

So, what advice can we take away from the lessons of the top-performing companies in our study?

We learned there are three critical conversations every salesperson must focus on for the organization to consistently realize its growth goals:

  1. The conversation I have with my customers – How will I interact in ways that are seen as valuable by customers? This is where training around selling skills/methodology, account strategy, and product knowledge falls.
  2. The conversation I have with myself – Those moments of reflection, inner belief, and personal values are sometimes seen as “intangibles,” but the impact on performance is quite real. This is where training focused around achievement drive comes into play.
  3. The conversation I have with my coach – One of the key determining factors for growth is coaching. However, when and if sales coaching actually happens, it’s nearly always focused on how to improve the first conversation – a salesperson’s ability to interact effectively with the customer. It rarely addresses the other critical conversation, the one that salespeople are having all the time – with themselves.

This holistic approach to development requires ongoing commitment from the top and alignment throughout the organization. But, as our research shows, it can be the turbocharger for your success.

When you think about it, it’s not all that surprising. After all, who among us hasn’t felt the undeniable power of self-belief and self-drive? And who wouldn’t want to work for a company that is committed to developing people in a way that unleashes their inner drive and potential? And, just as important, who wouldn’t want to do business with a company that values each salesperson as a whole person – not just a selling machine?

Take a closer look at your sales training approach. Are you missing any of the key conversations that could be the “secret sauce” of your sales success?

 

Re-blogged from Integrity Solutions.

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By Bruce Wedderburn

As a sales leader, you’re there to make a difference—a difference in team performance. You’ve looked at the range of experience on your team and seen multiple opportunities for growth, so you immediately implemented the latest sales and marketing thinking to pave the way for double-digit gains over the next 12 to 24 months. It’s the kind of vision and take-charge leadership that has impressed organizational leadership.

The only problem is, the expected sales gains from your initiatives have been slow to materialize. As the months have progressed, others in the organization have begun expressing doubts about your strategy. Worse still, you’re beginning to have your own doubts.

This isn’t unusual. As organizations look for organic growth in increasingly competitive markets, leaders are searching for the latest technology, the next app, that one competitive strategy that will elevate them above their peers. But despite all of the new advances and approaches, the reality remains: Your salespeople still have to have conversations with customers.

Another sobering reality? More than any other factor, the quantity and quality of those conversations will determine whether or not your organization reaches its sales goals this year.

We recently conducted a research study in partnership with the Sales Management Association, and the findings were illuminating. We learned that there’s not one but three critical conversations every salesperson must focus on for the organization to consistently realize its growth goals. Improving any one of these will increase your team’s productivity. Improve all three and you’re on your way to a breakout year.

Here’s what those conversations are:

  1. The conversation that salespeople have with their customers. Customers have more access to more information than ever before, and that’s driving increased commoditization in your industry. As a result, your customers’ perception of “value” has shifted from what you’re selling to how you’re selling. In other words, your salespeople’s interactions are where the real value is today—the value that will differentiate you from the competition. It’s in these critical conversations that salespeople can move the discussion away from price and begin building the elusive “Trusted Advisor” status in the customer’s mind. Succeeding with this conversation is mostly about your salespeople’s skillset.
  1. The conversation that salespeople have with themselves. These are the conversations that all of us have dozens, if not hundreds, of times each day. We each have a set of inner beliefs about who we are and the level of success we deserve to enjoy. Countless external influences over the course of our lives—parents, friends, relatives, teachers, co-workers, clients, spouses, good experiences, negative ones, highs, lows—have contributed to these beliefs and shaped who we are, our level of confidence and what we say to ourselves about ourselves. For salespeople, this inner talk affects what level of buyer they will call on, how many customer meetings they will have, how they feel about prospecting, how they respond to being coached, their vision for their career, how they handle rejection, how they handle success, whether or not they will improve, and the hundreds of experiences that make up a sales or management career. This all affects a person’s attitude and confidence. Succeeding with this conversation is mostly about the salesperson’s mindset.
  1. The conversation that salespeople have with their coach. Coaching is a key determining factor for growth and one of the great buzzwords of our times. However, when and if sales coaching actually happens, it’s nearly always focused on how to improve the first conversation—a salesperson’s ability to interact effectively with the customer. It rarely addresses the other critical conversation, the one that both salespeople and managers are having all the time—with themselves.

What the Pros Know About Success

Professional athletes know that the three S’s— stamina, strength and stretching—are essential for success, and so they constantly work at training and developing all three. Most recreational athletes, on the other hand, work at improving only one or occasionally two of these critical fitness qualities.

In the same way, all three success conversations can and should be constantly developed. Your salespeople’s skillset and mindset can both be improved through training and coaching. And when their skillset and mindset are working together, supported by effective coaching of both, your sales organization will be on the way to new levels of success and satisfaction.

Too many organizations look to external factors such as new technologies and the latest fads for the answers to growth. That’s like a professional tennis player who looks to the latest advances in racquet string technology, cloud-based ball tracking systems and energy-rebounding shoe design while overlooking the importance of improving foot-speed, confidence and fitness.

Without mastering what’s most important, the rest doesn’t matter.

What conversations are your salespeople having?

 

Re-blogged from Integrity Solutions

 

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There isn’t a sales person alive today who doesn’t know that they shouldn’t be selling product, but instead should be selling to help meet the needs of their customers.  The problem is that, despite this, customers are still reporting a very low level of value from time spent with sales people. Why the disconnect?

As customers, we’ve all been on the receiving end of one or more of the common selling strategies. Here are a few you’ve probably seen:

  • A product focus is when salespeople spend most of their time showing and talking about their product or service, its features, advantages and benefits. Objective: Help people understand their product or service so that they’ll want to buy it.
  • A transaction focus is used by salespeople whose main goal is to “get people to the yes”-in other words, to agree to buy whatever they’re selling. Objective: Make the sale, whatever it takes.
  • A customer-needs focus is when salespeople go through a discovery process to determine if customers have needs, wants, problems or objectives they want filled, satisfied or solved. Objective: Establish a need before initiating any selling activity.

Thinking back to your experiences as a customer, how did you feel in these different scenarios? Were you bored? On the defensive? Did you learn something about your needs or discover a pressing challenge that you hadn’t even realized existed before? Or did you just want to get off the phone or run for the nearest exit as fast as you could?

With both product- and transaction-focused selling approaches, the salesperson is essentially trying to convince you that this product or this “deal” is so great that you simply must have it. Their success comes down to how effective they are at persuading you to believe their position.

In fact, many salespeople will say they take a customer-needs-focused approach, but their actions say otherwise. You can tell because they’re still falling back on this idea that they need to sway you or influence you to do something (the implication being that it’s something you don’t really want to do). No wonder customers often feel like they need to push back in these situations. It’s basically a battle of wills, one that’s being fought on a simmering ground of doubt and distrust.

With a true customer-needs approach, on the other hand, the salesperson is focused on helping you get a clearer picture of your own situation so that, together, you can identify what the requirements are and how they can best be satisfied. Their success comes down to how effective they are at bringing your true needs to the surface and the overall value they deliver in filling those needs.

Instead of trying to convince you to buy something, these salespeople spend most of their time finding out if you have needs that they can address. No solutions are even offered until your wants or needs have been admitted.

Here’s the kicker: Our research shows that when people sell this way, they can experience a 15 to 30 percent increase in their sales.

To understand why, we have to look at what we know about the art of persuasion: The more we attempt to persuade people, the more they tend to resist us. But the more we attempt to understand them and create value for them, the more they tend to persuade themselves.

What is your focus?

If you’re in sales, one easy way to identify your own central sales focus is to think about how you spend your time when talking to customers.

Do you spend most of your time in the first half of your contact talking about your product or service? Or do you spend most of your time asking questions that focus on the customer’s needs?

In the interview stage of an effective customer-needs-focused selling process, you should be spending at least 80% of the time listening. And when you do talk, it should be mostly in the form of questions and paraphrasing back to customers what they tell you to make sure you understand them. You explore, ask questions and get feedback, and you make no attempt to sell anything until the customer:

  1. admits needs, wants, problems or objectives they want filled, satisfied or solved.
  2. agrees that not only do they have needs but that they are open to solutions.
  3. agrees to talk to you about a solution.
  4. confirms that they can make purchase decisions.

Generally, if they don’t agree to all four of these steps, you probably don’t have a good prospect. Or they aren’t the real decision makers. Or they don’t have a compelling reason to take action. Or they aren’t favorably disposed to buying from you.

Take a closer look at your own approach to make sure you’re truly focused on creating value for your customers rather than wearing them down to buy from you. One of the most important questions you can start with is this:

In your typical selling situations, who does most of the talking?

If it’s you, chances are, your focus is more product-oriented or transactional, and it’s likely keeping you from reaching your full sales potential.

Re-blogged from Integrity Solutions.

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You hire two people with the same qualifications and skills. One succeeds; the other fails miserably.

Why?

Part one of Optimizing Performance for Strong Results, a two-part podcast interview with Integrity Solutions’ Mike Esterday, takes an in-depth look at this phenomenon and explores specific strategies you can take to unleash a stronger drive to achieve within your entire workforce.

As Mike explains, rapid change-in politics, government and businesses across every industry-along with increased competition, pricing pressures and product parity have raised the stakes on performance. At the same time, many managers are struggling with how to coach, recruit and work with the growing population of Millennials in the workforce. As a whole, this group has a stronger desire to find purpose in their work, and if they don’t find it, they’re willing to leave. And that means retention has become a pressing concern as well.

The good news is, the issues are connected: If we can light that fire within our people, they’ll not only be more likely to succeed, they’ll be more likely to stay.

Why So Many Training Strategies Miss the Mark

How many people have plateaued in your organization? How many do you believe can move off that plateau and perform at a higher level?

In the podcast, Mike shares that when he asks that second question, the answer he typically gets is about half. But what many managers don’t realize is that lack of belief in their people has a direct and negative impact. People pick up on it, and so they perform to the level that they think their managers expect of them.

“All growth, whether personal or corporate, begins with expanding mental paradigms,” Mike says.

Most people perform at the level they believe they should be performing at, he explains. In other words, our actions, behaviors and even our abilities are bounded by our comfort zones. To improve performance then, training and coaching need to focus on stretching that “area of the possible.”

But most don’t, at least not effectively. Mike explains the simple reason why:

“That soft stuff is hard! It’s a lot easier to teach people product specs, selling techniques, managing numbers and activities. It’s tougher to get at attitudes, beliefs and achievement drive.”

But those factors are the “turbo chargers” for most people’s success.

The other key? A learning process that gets people to learn and practice skills long enough that they become part of their natural behavior.

The Importance of Purpose

Purpose is also a major factor in growing performance, Mike says. Organizations that focus on purpose tend to light that internal fire more. In the podcast, he explores three components to this focus:

  • Purpose of the organization: Communicating clearly why we’re in business
  • Purpose of the job or team: Lighting the “personal why” by clarifying the purpose of the individual’s or team’s role and how it links to the organization’s purpose
  • How that purpose creates value for the customer: Understanding the impact on the customer

This last point is critical. Customers can tell what our intentions are when we interact with them. Are your employees thinking, “How can I get this transaction done?” or “How can I fulfill their needs?”

When people shift their view from believing the purpose of their job is to sell products to believing the purpose of their job is to improve lives, they’ll release more achievement drive, and that will increase the activities they need to do to succeed.

And that, Mike says, is how you create meaningful work.

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Re-blogged from Integrity Solutions.

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“Baseball is 90% mental. The other half is physical.” -Yogi Berra

I love that quote. It fits so well into the world of sales, where salespeople are regularly expected to give more than 100%. And while it’s certainly true that half of sales success can be attributed to skills, it’s also true that there is a strong mental component to being “at the top of your game.” In both professions, coaches have to focus on more than just the player’s tactical skills. They need to focus on the whole person: body and mind.

What good coaching looks like?

At CSO insights, we define coaching as “a process which uses structured conversations to help salespeople develop their performance in the short and long term.” I like that definition for several reasons:

  • It focuses on the dialogue that needs to happen between salesperson and manager. Coaching is not about performing the role for the salesperson—a trap many first-time sales managers fall into. Coaching is not about telling what to do. Instead, it’s about asking the right questions to help the salesperson develop adaptive selling skills that allow them to reach ever-higher levels of performance and self-sufficiency in a dynamic selling environment.
  • These conversations are structured, following a proven approach for improving performance in sales and service roles, tailored along the entire customer’s journey. They are not drive-by criticisms that leave the struggling person more demoralized than motivated. Nor are they “atta-boy” comments about good performance that do nothing to turn around problem areas.
  • The focus is on both the short- and long-term performance goals. Coaching that focuses only on the short term will never create sustainable performance improvements.

Our work also emphasizes the need for front-line managers to focus both on managing the activities and coaching the related behaviors that lead to results and can be managed directly. That last component is vitally important. Many new managers make the mistake of focusing on end results, e.g., quota attainment, but not enough on how to get there. In their defense, it’s often not their fault. This is the way they were managed, and they are just modeling the non-coaching behavior of their previous bosses.

The problem is that you can’t really “manage” a quota or revenue. You can only manage the activities and the related behaviors—pre-call prep, adherence to proven sales methodologies, tailoring the value messages, collaborative selling techniques, etc.—that lead to this desired outcome.

The conference on the mound

Baseball isn’t nearly as popular in Europe as it is in the U.S., but given how much traveling I do in America, I’ve watched a game or two. I can’t say that I’ve grasped all the nuances yet, but one aspect of the game fascinates me: the conference on the mound. To me, this is coaching put to the test.

This conference seems to happen most often when a pitcher is struggling. The coach, followed by the catcher, trots out to the mound for a short, private confab with the pitcher. I’m not sure what gets said, but I doubt the coach is instructing the pitcher on the finer points of throwing a curve ball. The time for that has passed. Nor do I think the coach is threatening the pitcher: Strike this guy out or you’re finished! That would hardly be helpful in an already stressful setting.

More than likely, the coach is sharing some perspective on the game that the pitcher doesn’t see because he’s under so much mental stress. It also seems likely that he’s offering a few words of encouragement, maybe even asking the pitcher how he’s feeling, e.g., How’s your shoulder holding out? He wants to make sure the pitcher still feels confident in his ability to perform. It’s the ultimate moment of truth for coaching because there isn’t much time for the discussion, and everyone, including the coach, is under pressure.

Sound familiar?

A typical sales or service coaching session is no less pressure-filled for all involved. And the same strategies that work so well on the mound apply here, too. That’s why Integrity Solutions’ laser-like focus on the mental side of the frontline manager’s coaching responsibilities is so important—and so effective. Their % drivers of high achievment sets a pitch-perfect tone for a productive coaching session by encouraging the coach to create a supportive environment focused on how the person can succeed rather than dwelling on what’s going wrong. Not only does this approach help the person improve their performance, it helps keep their attitude positive and their head in the game.

No matter who the players are, that’s a winning formula.

Tamara-Blue-5-213x220Guest blog contribution
By Tamara Schenk
Research Director, CSO Insights

Reblogged from Integrity Solutions.

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There are two types of leaders:

First, is the leader who builds the entire organization directly under them. They are the captain. When they are around, the team thrives–and when they’re not, the team is aimless and misdirected (because that’s the dynamic they have built). They are still great, effective leaders, but the success of the team is entirely dependent upon their involvement.

The second is a leader who builds an organization around skill sets, habits, disciplines and best practices. They are involved, and everyone knows they are at the helm, but the success of the team is not entirely dependent upon them–because they have built something much different. They built a culture, not a hierarchy.

The best bosses are culture creators. They are far less interested in being “seen” as the high-and-mighty leader, and much more focused on creating an environment that allows others to thrive, take on responsibility, and ultimately grow organically.

How do they do that?

1. Routine

Effective offices have routines, just like effective people have routines. There is a Monday morning meeting. There is a Friday closing meeting. There is a mid-week standup. Whatever your routine is, as long as it creates both a sense of community and accountability, it will be effective. The purpose of routine is to remove the question of, “What do we do?” Once that is resolved, all team members can focus on more important tasks.

2. Accountability

If you have an office full of finger-pointers, no one will ever learn and grow. This starts at the top. If a leader cannot take accountability, then their managers don’t learn how to take accountability, and so on. This has to be part of your culture–and great bosses know this. It’s a matter of showing, not “talking,” and they teach the rest by first taking accountability themselves.

3. Listening

So much of teamwork comes down to listening. People will go through hell for you if they feel heard along the way. Great bosses don’t just tell people what to do. They listen. They take time along the way to address issues, concerns, feelings of unrest, etc. And in doing so, they teach others (again, through their actions) to do the same. This creates a culture that makes people feel empowered and safe to share what they think and feel, which ultimately is great for the organization as a whole.

4. Trust

There are few things as toxic as a distrustful work environment. Where people talk poorly about each other behind closed doors or in passing. In order to be an effective team, people have to feel that they can trust each other. A great boss sets this standard from the beginning. They guard that trust, and take extreme caution in upholding that standard across the board. Nobody does great work in an environment where they don’t feel emotionally safe.

5. Work Ethic

“All talk” organizations do a fantastic job at dancing around and proclaiming all the wonderful things they do, but lack the discipline to sit down and actually move the needle. A great boss does not believe his or her own hype. They know the value of staying humble and focused, and place far more energy and focus on setting the pace for quality work ethic in the office. Your work ethic is everything. Otherwise, you’re nothing but a headline in a fleeting press release.

6. Positive Feedback

There is a difference between a boss that picks work (or you, personally) apart just for the sake of it, and that same exercise being done in a constructive, helpful manner. Great bosses do this masterfully. They can provide feedback, push you, be tough on you, know just how far to test you without breaking you. And that’s crucial in order to get the best out of people. A great boss is like a great coach. There are times when you will feel extremely frustrated, even emotional, and you will feel like they are being tough on you for no reason. But down the line, you will pick your head up and you will realize the lesson they were trying to teach you. And if they have done so right, you will appreciate them for it.

7. Family

You spend more time with the people you work with than you do your own family. Great bosses don’t exploit this–they find ways to make that time investment worthwhile. They see you as family. They treat you like family. They create a culture for the organization as a whole where people look forward to seeing one another. It’s not just “an office.” It’s a workspace with people you are proud to call your “family.” The best work environments share this in common. They say, “I love the people I work with!” Because everyone feels like family.
Soure :- http://www.inc.com/nicolas-cole/7-things-all-great-bosses-implement-into-the-workplace.html

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Author and sales expert Dave Kurlan doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the state of sales: “Ineffective salespeople—weak and poor performers—make up a whopping 62% of the sales population.” It’s common that many sales managers feel the daily weight of this statistic.

What contributes to it? We know there is no shortage of books and trainings trying to fix the problem, so why are so many sales professionals struggling?

To answer that question, I asked Alan Allard, founder and CEO of Genius Dynamics, Inc. He is an expert in human behavior and performance improvement for sales professionals and sales leaders and specializes in performance management in organizations.

In my interview, I wanted an answer to this overriding, troublesome dilemma in the sales community, and so posed this question: “Despite all the money invested in training salespeople to sell more, there is still a substantial deficit in the number of effective salespeople. What’s your take on that?”

Alan provided 4 key reasons, which can be used in any area of talent development:

1. Training alone won’t solve our sales challenges – follow-up coaching is essential.

Training is the main go-to resource for increasing sales, but it does not truly facilitate behavior change. Coaching is ideally suited to meet that need. Training can raise awareness, impart important information but it falls short in changing behavior. So, as an example, if a salesperson isn’t consistently asking for referrals, a workshop telling him or her effective language to use is necessary—but not sufficient.

In my experience, this is the challenge with any skill training initiative – talking about a skill, does not a skill make.

2. We’re not asking the right questions.

Alan suggests there are two primary questions sales professionals must be able to sufficiently answer if they want to increase their sales and income.

The first is: “What behaviors or action must I consistently engage in to sell more, to sell faster, or to sell bigger?” The answer would probably entail prospecting for new business, asking for referrals, following an effective sales model, selling on value and not price, providing great service, and so on.

The second question is “How can I get myself to execute the things I already know to do?” Alan went on to share a very important insight that can help sales managers utilize their training budgets much more successfully.

Sales professionals (even new ones) know “what” they need to do. It’s getting themselves to do what they know, and to do it consistently. Every salesperson knows they need to prospect for new clients. But few do it day in and day out. We can learn all the how-tos from sales managers, workshops, books, podcasts and blog posts. The challenge isn’t the knowing—it’s the doing.

3. Sales professionals aren’t adequately dealing with very common performance blockers – guilt and shame.

The ongoing “what” messages they hear without successful change generates guilt and shame. All the continuous training or input from a manager encourages and reiterates the “what”: motivate yourself, be optimistic, and bounce back from your setbacks. But if it doesn’t occur, they feel guilty about not doing what they know to do to reach the next level. That emotional weight then makes it harder for them to do what they must do to sell more effectively.

Sales professionals know guilt and shame slows them down but they don’t know how to stop it and ironically they are too embarrassed to discuss it and many sales managers don’t have the emotional intelligence and therefore insight to sufficiently addressed.

4. Generic sales training is not a one-size fit all – but is treated as such.

They are not customized for the unique needs of each salesperson and leave out “asking the how question”. It’s not that generic training can’t be helpful on some level, however, they do fall short because the how to apply the generic tactics will be very different for each salesperson. We all know motivation is as unique as each person is.

These four reasons really can be applied to any professional skill that needs to be developed from leadership to time management. They summarize the challenges organization have in approaching training, skill, and capability development from a generic, singular, one size fits all approach.

Strategies to Implement

So what’s the solution? Alan suggests and uses a high-impact solution to address the low percentage of successful sales persons. It is a two pronged use of coaching.

External Coaching: This can be done as a one-on-one format or as a facilitated peer group coaching. The first is faster but the second can be very effective. Coaching is ideal for finding specific answers that work for the person being coached. Coaching allows the coach to ask enough questions to dig deep enough to find answers to that “how” question for each sales person.

Internal Coaching: Alan teaches his clients how to utilize self-coaching to reach higher levels of sales success and has done so no matter what level of struggle. The best way to learn how to self-coach, Alan suggests, is to start with being coached by an expert coach. But even if that doesn’t happen, a salesperson can do so with a proficient self-coaching model and external support.

Alan calls his coaching model “GPS.” Here’s a simple introduction to it:

G = Goals (Identify your goals. Are they yours or your sales manager’s? Do you own them?)

P = Plan (What’s your action plan that will get and keep you going? This is where you consider what you’ve been doing so far—what’s worked well and what hasn’t worked so well? What obstacles to your plan have you run up against? What are your solutions?)

S = Support (This includes external and internal support. External support includes a number of things: Do you need more support from your company in some way? Do you need training on your CRM? What do you need from your manager or what do you need more of? Can a colleague help you in some way? Do you need to understand your sales model better—perhaps practice it with your manager or a colleague?)

Internal support means learning how to play the inner game better by self-management, including training psychological and emotional training, mental mastery, and emotional intelligence. This element is the foundation to the rest of the “GPS” model.

Alan’s suggestions teach us that taking a much more committed and strategic approach to sales training and development is absolutely necessary if we do not want our sales force to reside in the 66%. “if you want to learn more about how Alan helps increase sales, visit his website.

As a sales manager or individual sales professional, what next steps will you take to integrate the insight and advice that has been shared?

JoAnn Corley is a passionate champion of human potential with a focus on leadership and organizational success. She has the crazy belief that we can create our best leaders and businesses from the best of our human selves. Her overall mission is to help companies put the human back in human resource though holistic talent management. She leverages her knowledge of human behavior in marketing her boutique consulting firm across a variety of channels. She has been consistently recognized as one of the top 100 most social HR & management experts to follow on social media @joanncorley.

Source:- https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2016/09/biggest-reasons-sales-not-where-you-want.html

 

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You’ve finally found the perfect app. It’s become one of your most valuable business tools. So when you get a notification that there’s an update available, you immediately download it…only to discover that in the process of updating the app, the company has completely messed up one of its best features.

As a long-time, loyal customer, you decide to submit a ticket to get the issue fixed. (You would have called, but there’s no phone number to be found anywhere). A couple of weeks go by. No response. No visible action. And then one day, you get an email: The problem has been solved, and we’ve closed your ticket.

There’s no reference to the issue—in fact, no way to tell that they’re even referring to your specific issue. But assuming that they are, there’s no information about when the new update will be released, how it will solve the problem or what you should do in the meantime. All you know is that the ticket’s been closed, and only time will tell if the problem was truly resolved.

Well, there’s one other thing you know: As soon as a competitor comes out with another option, you’re going to be first in line to check them out.

While this scenario involves a seemingly automated email exchange, these kinds of problems happen just as frequently when there’s an identifiable human on the other end of the line. But is the service breakdown really the rep’s fault? Or did their company fail them by not equipping them to effectively meet customer needs?

It Takes More Than Words to Build a Customer Service Culture

We value you as a customer. Your business is important to us. Our customers come first.

These are lovely statements, but all too often, those values don’t show up in the everyday behavior of all employees. That doesn’t necessarily mean some people have bad intentions or don’t care about the customers. In many cases, it simply means they haven’t been given a clear process and framework to turn those words into action on a day-to-day and moment-to-moment basis.

While it’s clear that many organizations aren’t spending enough time and money on customer service training, even those that do focus on development for their reps often fail to get the desired impact in the daily work environment. It takes more than product knowledge and a script to help someone be customer-focused. Training, values and culture need to be aligned. A common language and process for how we treat people (whether internal or external customers) is the glue that brings them together.

Customer Service Training and the Value of Process

For customer service training to make a lasting impact both inside and outside the organization, it needs to be grounded in process. Here’s how an effective customer service process will serve the needs of your learners, your culture and your customers:

1- Allows people to bring out their best, day in and day out: The best problem-solving process both enhances what people already do best and enables them to do it more consistently and effectively, because they have that anchor to go back to when they start to veer off course. By helping people align their attitudes and beliefs with the cultural expectations, it also provides a clear path to follow, one that makes the values tangible and actionable.
2- Changes mindsets about problem-solving: A script or product FAQ only skims the surface of a problem. To fully solve the problem and build stronger customer loyalty, you have to go deeper. An effective problem-solving process helps people engage with the customer so they can discover not just the problem but also the true cause of the problem—as well as all the viable options for solving it. And it reminds them to follow up to make sure the solution really worked.
3- Establishes a neutral baseline for accountability: When you have a common framework and approach for how customer service values translate into daily behaviors, you can hire, coach, evaluate and train to it. It’s impossible to coach to everyone’s personality. A process gives you an objective standard and reference point.
4- Makes customer service a cultural requirement rather than a job requirement. At Gulf Power, customer service training isn’t relegated to a specific job title or department. Instead, the company launches with as many divisions and roles as possible—together—to build empathy and create consistent expectations across the board. They know that without buy-in and role-modeling from the top, the culture won’t stick. The common process makes it that much easier for everyone to get on board and on the same page.
5- Creates opportunities to strengthen customer loyalty. While poor customer service can drive customers away, a good process can turn them into your biggest fans. After all, when you’ve solved a customer’s problem effectively and demonstrated through your behaviors and follow-up that you really care, there’s a good chance that customer will be more loyal than one who never had a problem to begin with.
We’re all individuals. We all have different motivations and personalities. And of course, we’re all human—we each have good days and bad days. A process is what keeps you anchored, consistent and aligned with the values the organization advertises to the world. Talking about a customer service culture is important, but a process is what helps create that culture.

Re- Blogged From:- 

Integrity Solutions

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