Is success limited by bad breaks, lack of ability, or competitors with superior resources? It can appear that there are so many reasons why we can't achieve our goals. Do these thoughts need to become our reality or do we just need to change our perspective?
I was not the best student in elementary and high school. While my grades were slightly above average, I struggled significantly with reading, spelling, grammar, and even math. I was embarrassed to read aloud, struggled to pass spelling tests, and read very few books cover to cover before graduating from high school.
Fast forward to today, what in my life has changed? I have read two books per month for the past 10 years. I even force myself to write on a regular basis and put my work on display on my blog. If you told me in high school that I would someday post what I write for anybody to read, I would have told you that you were crazy.
I believe that a certain amount of skepticism is valuable when dealing with potential buyers. This is because sellers are predisposed to have "happy ears" when trying to understand if their customers want to do business with their company. Another challenge for sellers is that potential buyers do not like to give bad news to sellers and thus may wait until the last possible moment to deliver that news. My belief in the value of healthy skepticism in sales is supported by the work of some of my favorite authors on the topic of sales, such as Tom Freese, Brent Adamson, Marcus Sheridan and Ian Altman.
Has your sales team said to you that they need more referrals and better references? If you have heard this from your team, this is the article for you. The reference selling model was something I developed at NetApp and was a key part of my onboarding process and well as our team's regular selling motion. In 2008 our team represented 1/58 of the sales force and about 20% of the case studies. In fact, one customer enjoyed this process so much they gave us an award. The benefits of this model include:
The complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business. - Zig Ziglar
In my career, I have found that this statement is absolutely true. I have spent most of my career selling technology to large enterprises or government organizations. To drive big outcomes with those customers, it is important to have executive level relationships. If your does not have those relationships, how can your team develop them?
This week I heard a Podcast where Clay Scroggins was interviewed about his new book entitled How to Lead When You Are Not In Charge. The book is the personal story of the leadership lessons learned by Clay starting from an intern to a Church Pastor. Don't discount the leadership advice from a pastor! If you have ever had the opportunity to lead in a nonprofit, you know that this is the hardest leadership job available.
How do you know if you are developing leaders? If you are working your tail off, and others are standing around, you are not doing a great job developing leaders. If your leaders are developing leaders, you know you are succeeding at leadership development. As a leader of a growing organization your main job is to develop leaders that will take over what you are doing now so you can focus on what is next.