Knowing vs Doing
I work with a variety of clients to help them grow their revenue and improve sales performance from ASX 200 companies to mid sized enterprises.
The most successful programs have shared a number of criteria that I’ve noticed is consistent, regardless of the industry, the economy, the level of competition, size of sales force or targets set by the company.
I recently returned from an interstate 2 day intensive coaching session with a client’s BDM. This man is incredibly experienced, well credentialed and until relatively recently was achieving target. However, it was felt that he was coasting. His results weren’t just plateauing, they were going backwards! It was up to me to discover the root cause as to why this was happening, and help the company to turn it around.
Alone, I’m not a silver bullet. I can’t bring magic to a failing sales pipeline. However, I know what works and what doesn’t, and after 25 years of working with salespeople I can easily detect patterns in behaviour.
I’m not interested in what salespeople tell me, I’m interested in the results their behaviour produces. That’s always where the answers lie.
Part of this is observation. There is no point in being a coach that only shows up to training – my role is to also be there on game day so I can see how well they execute their plan. And this is where I got most of what I needed with this man.
Not only was it not enough of the right action, but it was his belief that he was getting away with it. He was putting in as little as he could to still justify his role there, but not more than that.
And it had to stop. For everyone’s sake.
I called him on it, saying that his words and actions weren’t aligned. “Are you questioning my integrity?” he asked me indignantly. “That’s exactly what I’m questioning – there is no alignment. The problem is that you believe what you tell others; your behaviour is so consistent that it’s been a gradual slide to a habit that will take a lot of work to change. But it can be changed if you’re willing to own it, smash it and replace it with new action.”
Sales people rarely miss target because they lack the knowledge. They usually know what to do, and how to do it. They usually miss because they’re simply not doing it! And that’s when you need someone to find out what’s in the way. If it was just as simple as waving a wand, I might be out of business…but the truth is deeper than that. Action is the answer.
It’s early days but he owned it at the company sales meeting which in my opinion took incredible courage and humility. What happens now though, is up to him.
First I needed to work with him to change the way he saw himself and the way he thinks about his role using evidence to disrupt his pattern. Now it’s up to him. And it will be HARD.
But, ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE.