by Corey McKizzie
Could you imagine the legacy of boxing greats like Muhammad Ali – or the fictional Rocky Balboa – if they simply failed to show up for their bouts?
It’s a truism that extends to business: You can’t win the fight if you don’t get into the ring. Though this may seem like a fundamental statement, many sales professionals, in the era of COVID-19, are finding themselves suffering from pre-fight jitters.
Months of reduced selling activity and a self-imposed exile to the small-screen of Zoom can have an impact on anyone’s self-starting ability – but nowhere does this seem to be more rampant than among sales professionals.
In a recent conversation with sales leaders and their teams, I discovered the depths of this malaise. Though it was evident that these pros had the desire and skill to succeed, they found that their drive and discipline has taken a sabbatical.
So, why has their self-starting fire has been reduced to a flicker?
According to Psychology Today, any crisis, such as the coronavirus pandemic, can test resiliency. But when you combine temporary setbacks in resiliency with diminished self-starting ability, we can begin to see why top talent can turn into something unrecognizable. Your top closers and steady performers may be struggling right now figuring out how to pivot, and having difficulty navigating professional social distancing.
Though sales executives – much like boxing trainers -- have a role in motivating their middleweight champions, it’s the ability for sales pros to find the strength within that will ultimately win the battle. This self-starting ability to initiate and sustain momentum without external stimulation is a must. The internal discipline to get up and go is the hallmark of the self-starter – and the reason you hired them to begin with. Winning clients in the “next normal” created by COVID-19 will require the ability to take initiative, work without supervision, and begin projects independently.
So how do we get our sales leaders and teams trained for the bout of their lives, and to again become motivated, confident, ambitious, and resilient? Consider the following:
Has the pandemic affected your ability to self-start? Let us know how, and what you are doing about it in the comments below.
If you would like assistance in overcoming self-starting malaise within your sales organization, I’m happy to help. Reach out today to schedule a meeting with Catouri Sales Consulting Group.
You’re “riding high in April, and shot down in May” … ah, the wonderful world of sales. The structure of sales environments that couple risk and reward encourage commitment to a craft that can wear you down. Thus, we are often faced with a quandary. If I use my vacation hours, what happens to my pipeline? If I take that 2-week cruise, that’s 2-weeks of commissions out the window! Or, I’m on a roll and I’m not willing to take a break while I have the Midas touch.
The upside to risk and reward compensation structures can be huge! The downside…burnout, a condition not easily recovered from.
Most of us don’t live in a world where pension plans and gold watches are the norm. It is much more, “what have you done for me lately?” So why is this important? If you burnout, you are of no use to your company and their tolerance for lack of production and effectiveness will be minimal.
Taking care of your self and planning for down time is critical.
Below are a few recommendations:
Let’s create a self-care and maintenance list in the comments below. How do you recharge your battery?
Last week I attended a basketball tournament showcasing local talent in the area. There was one team that I was excited to see in action, and to my dismay they fell 0-2. Granted any given team can lose on any given day but this loss sparked some curiosity. To diagnose the situation, I can attest to the fact that the team has good to average talent. However, they seem to be missing a leader, a dynamic player that has that intangible. From my history of watching local sports and specifically this team I noticed there was a player missing. For this discussion let’s call this player Mr. X-Factor aka Mr. X. This player is talented and an all-around good kid. But, where was he? Where was this star player? After a few conversations, I discovered a member of the coaching staff had called Mr. X’s mother, but the call was never returned. Consequently, the players position on the team and therefore at this tournament was never solidified.
How many times in business have you persistently called a client, or a prospect and they did not respond? Undoubtedly many of you have tried various techniques or tricks such as having your assistant make the call, blocking your number to see if it is you personally they are trying to avoid, or calling from your cell phone instead of your office number…etc.
But what if I told you, this parent…. or your client was never going to return your phone call? Never. Why? Some people simply do not answer their phones. It is not personal, it’s just not how they communicate. Whether it be because of time, forgetfulness, a generation gap, or preference. In this case the parent, or client simply does not return phone calls or check voicemail. She is a texter and prefers this method of communication. The lesson here is one size rarely fits all. We are experiencing a time where we have multiple options to convey information and we must deal with preference, opportunity, and the impact of multiple generations in the workplace. Many sales professionals have adapted, while others use methods from 20 years ago. If you are dealing with a client such as the parent of Mr. X, it is probable that dialing for dollars will never work. In that case, send a text an email, or compose a note via social media. Better yet, why not utilize all the aforementioned methods of communication? You never know what the magic formula will be.
Tell me in the comments below, how do you communicate? What is your preference?
To learn more about improving your communication skills and sales techniques contact the author at www.catouri.com.
Oh the places you will go, and you can go further than you think!
In almost every career you will eventually find yourself at a crossroads. A point where either you're bored, burned out, lacking inspiration, maxed out or perhaps you are simply on the wrong path. While the future may look bleak, this is a great place to be. We are not truly tested until we face adversity, change and evolution happen in a pressure cooker. It is what we do in these moments that define who we are and allow us to compose a new chapter in our book. You may be thinking, what I have said is all well in good, but when you are in a slump how do you dig yourself out of a hole? “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” (Dr. Seuss) Allow yourself to be in the moment and relish in the discomfort. Imagination and creativity are SKILLS, and sadly they are skills that we stop developing and allow to atrophy in adulthood. Find a mentor, a trusted friend or confidant and constructively DREAM. Dream with a purpose with no limits in mind. The next step is to get up and act, its as simple as that. “And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)” (Dr. Seuss)