As a Sales Leader or Executive these 3 secrets will help propel your sales organization to the next level. In preparation to speak to an international association conference I had been making notes and clipping interesting ideas from a variety of sources, one of them was from Success magazine.
One article was about a young coach, Dale Brown, and his first actions when he became for the first time a major college coach. He immediately scheduled a meeting with John Wooden, the Hall of Fame former UCLA basketball coach-known as the Wizard of Westwood.
After a full day of discussing a wide variety of topics around becoming a major college head basketball coach John Wooden said at the very end of day that Dale could have saved LSU a lot of money in travel expenses because there are just only three secrets. John went on; the three things that I am going to tell you are fairly simple if you want to be successful. Anyone that has read any articles or books by John Wooden, as I have, would have to read the balance of the article as his ideas are golden.
In Chicago I took each bullet and discussed the specific actions sales management must implement to execute on each element.
First: make certain you always have better players than anybody you play. This is pretty obvious to readers of this blog or have purchased my book “Recruiting High Performance Sales Teams”. One of my recommendations is to analyze each of your salespeople, are they Deadwood, Learners, Good for Now, High Achievers. Decide who to keep, who not to and build a recruiting process that ensures higher quality people. HINT: for every one person you hire, you need to interview five.
Second: make certain those better players put the team above themselves. This was the majority of my program that I called the Effect of Emotional Leadership, Sales Leaders must build a culture of team, of belief in the company/products/services and a focus on team accountability. This action can start with sales games, hearing customer success stories, sales compensation plans as well as genuine conversations. Top performing sales managers have the ability to communicate with positive vision, personal awareness and openness.
Third: don’t be a coaching genius, don’t give your players too much information, always practice simplicity with constant repetition. This secret I thought was very interesting as most sales managers either don’t train enough or train very poorly on sales skills, sales operations or product/industry information. The balance of Sales Managers probably train too much early in the salesperson’s life and then fail to reinforce effectively. What I stressed in Chicago is what I think Mr. Wooden meant-figure out what needs to be done during the sales process/sales call, effectively map it, describe it as to why it should be done and how it should be done and then focus your training on those actions and then practice often.
Just this weekend the University of Tennessee won a football game against the University of Georgia during the last 4 seconds of the game with a Hail Mary play. (A Hail Mary play is when you have 3 receivers run to one spot in the end zone and the Quarterback throws the ball hoping someone catches it, this week it was for 43 yards!) Tennessee’s coach Butch Jones was quoted after the game that they have practiced that play every week for three years and this was the first time he has used it! It worked when then needed it.
John Wooden is a legend in basketball, he was a master teacher and mentor to many. If you have not read his book I highly recommend it.
Build your sales organization around these rules and perhaps you will become a legend as well. If you have further questions or want to discuss other concepts from the Chicago presentation please reach out. Ken@AcumenMgmt.com