culture Archives - The Sales Evangelist

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Company Culture, Purpose, Josh Levine

TSE 1186 Write Your Company’s Obituary: Identify or Rediscover Your Company’s Purpose

Having to write your company’s obituary sounds a bit morbid but there’s a good reason why doing this is important. One result is that doing so will help you identify and rediscover your company’s purpose. 

Josh Levine is a culture company strategist and works with technology, social enterprise organizations, and firms to help them improve their work. His goal is to make the employees love what they’re doing by building strong relationships, higher trust, and deeper engagement. 

Josh published a book called Great Mondays: How to Design a Company Culture That Employees Love. It talks about all his learnings for the past 10 years in advancing the idea of company culture as a strategic advantage. It defined what culture is and gives people the tools that they need to improve the culture. 

Write your company’s obituary 

This was a tool that Josh’s mentor used and many clients would react negatively upon hearing it. There is more to sales than just putting the product out there and selling it. It’s more than just the numbers. Doing business isn’t only about the money; it’s also about understanding what you are trying to do with your company and with your life. 

This is also about knowing your own purpose and helping the organization discover its  ‘why?’ 

Imagine that your business closes its doors after 30 years. Don’t think of the reason why it shut down. Your goal is to write down two or three short paragraphs about why your company will be remembered and will be most missed. This will give you the opportunity to see what you achieved that made the difference. 

Josh’s team works with a board executive team and leadership peers together. They make teams write because what matters isn’t just the end result. They also consider the kind of language, the words, and the phrases used together. 

Obituary exercise

Don’t stop short of the fantastic. When you start writing your company obituary, you need to go beyond how far you think you can make it. 

The point of the exercise is to come up with your achievements and look for the possible ways that you’re going to achieve those. 

Josh had a client who said that they would solve poverty. It’s a far-fetched goal and impossible to do but it didn’t keep them from aiming to do so. When the discussion happened, the team thought of how to make it work and figured out that their technology connects communities together. The community that works together will solve poverty. With that, their previously written achievement of solving poverty now sounds plausible. 

Define your purpose

Next, you have to define your purpose. The company’s values are the hows and the company’s purpose are the whys. Businesses and companies need to figure out the why behind what they’re doing. You won’t be able to find your purpose if you’re thinking about this quarter’s return or this quarter’s sales number. 

As a sales leader, you can help define the purpose by shaping the culture of your company according to the company’s vision. You can help strengthen the team and find the values and purpose of the company over time. 

Components of a company’s culture 

There are six components mentioned in the book Great Mondays. The first three are as follows: 

  • Purpose
  • Values
  • Behaviors

The first two define the company’s purpose and values. The third component is the behaviors. Behavior is the center point of culture and is what you are trying to adjust to help people make better business decisions. 

The next three are the following: 

  • Recognition
  • Rituals
  • Cues

Recognition and rewards have been used in businesses. These are effective strategies in aligning behaviors to build and strengthen the synapses of culture. Your goal is to spread your culture and share the behaviors. 

Keep reminding your peers why they’re in the business and getting the people back to the top of the pyramid. Love what you and find something that you believe in to make everything worthwhile. 

“Write Your Company’s Obituary” episode resources

Great Mondays: How to Design a Company Culture That Employees Love is available on Amazon. The purpose of the Write your company’s obituary exercise is laid out in the book. 

You can download the supporting materials for free at free@greatmondays.com. You can also sign up for newsletters, one minute Monday, and case studies.  We will e-mail you all the necessary information for building cultures that matter. 

Connect  with Josh Levine via Twitter and LinkedIn. 

This episode is brought to you in-part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a helpful guide for sales reps and sales leaders to improve their pitches and presentations. It has 12 courses and you can get the first two modules for free! 

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If you’re a sales rep looking to hone your craft and learn from the top 1% of sellers, make plans to attend the Sales Success Summit in Austin, Tx, October 14-15. Scheduled on a Monday and Tuesday to limit the impact to the sales week, the Sales Success Summit connects sellers with top-level performers who have appeared on the podcast. Visit Top1Summit.com to learn more and register! 

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Sales From The Street, Donald C. Kelly, Top Seller, Contracts

TSE 1159: Sales From The Street – “The Unicorn Seller”

Jen is the unicorn seller and everyone is enchanted by her rainbow-colored sales skills. She has lots of techniques and strategies which help her close deals. You want Jen, but she’s from the competing company and just in time, you heard that Jen wants to jump ship. This is your dream come true! 

You think of Jen and you automatically think of all the clients she’s bringing along. It’s a whole list of clients and deals closed left and right. Your company will be making money and you’re going to hire more people due to expansion. Jen is the answer! 

As a top-performing sales rep, I was once Jen, too. I’ve had my fair share of being lured by other companies. I know how it feels to be offered something and to be on the receiving end of the decision whether to hire the top-performing sales rep or not. 

Before making that decision, here are some things that you need to consider.  

Why are they leaving?

We make decisions out of desperation sometimes, especially if money is included in the picture. When your sales aren’t doing too well and you need the pipeline, you want people who can bring the money in. Even if you’re snagging them from the competitor. 

You present them with a good 401k plan, you say all the nice things to convince them to jump to your company, and you tell them how fantastic your company’s culture is. 

You need to assess the situation seriously before making a hiring decision. These are some of the questions that you can ask yourself: 

  • Why are they leaving the company?
  • Are they a problem in disguise? Are you willing to take that risk?
  • Why would they come to your company when they’re already making tons of money in their current company?

The answers to these questions will help you understand their reasons and see if they’re a fit for your company’s values. 

What did they do for the competitor?

In Mark Weinberg’s book, The Sales Management Simplified, he pointed out the need for sales leaders to consider what the salesperson did for the previous company. You need to consider whether they sold at their last company. 

It is important to know the system of how their previous company worked. Find out whether they were tasked to find their opportunities or the opportunities were given to them. You need to be specific about the things they do well. 

What if the person you hire hates prospecting? After three months of work, you see no progress because that salesperson never had to prospect before and now she is having a difficult time. This situation is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle that doesn’t fit. It will never work.

Be upfront 

Many sales leaders and managers are lured into this kind of situation because they focus on the number of opportunities they will generate or the business they can get from their competitors once they’ve hired the top-earning sales rep. 

But this isn’t always the case. You must remember that contracts are of two kinds: the long-term and short-term contracts. Jen, the unicorn seller, might be able to sweet-talk some of her clients into coming with her to the new company, but clients with long-term contracts will be staying in the previous company until their contract ends. When it does, you’ll need to coax them into coming to sign with your company. It’s a long process and it takes patience. 

If that’s the case, you need to be upfront and figure out how much business Jen can bring over. Ask her how much business she is bringing along. 

Talk about the numbers and figure out how you can convince the clients to jump from their current company to yours. Think of the agreement structure and find the solution. Figure out if there’s a non-compete.

All of these things must be considered before you bring Jen along. 

Take Tom, for example. I worked with Tom before and wherever he went, his clients tagged along with him. But that isn’t always the case for some clients who are in long-term agreements. People love Tom and he would often bring a couple of businesses with him to the current company. He is a great salesperson, but even at his best, he still can’t bring all of his clients along with him. 

Culture 

The fourth thing to consider is the culture of the company. Will the salesperson fit with the culture of your company? Will your sales team like the new person you’re bringing along? Is there bad blood between them in the past, perhaps like client stealing? It is challenging to fit in and adjust to the ways your company works right away. 

The new salesperson you’re hiring must be willing to follow the culture.

Have the adult talk and orient the salesperson to the ways of your company and how things work. Give her some time to adjust and if it still doesn’t work, then be ready to cut losses and move on. 

Do not toss money on something that doesn’t work. 

Contingency plan

Have a contingency plan laid out in the event that Jen, or whoever you are hiring, doesn’t work out. You can think of some other way of increasing your sales by bringing somebody else. Maybe instead of the top seller, you hire the most experienced one. 

A person with experience may not bring tons of businesses along but they come with an understanding of how to operate the business successfully. Perhaps you can hire someone who may not be Jen but who fits right in the culture of your company with proper coaching. 

Interview properly 

The last tip is to interview the prospects before hiring them. Grill them to make sure that they can do a great job. Do not cut corners and skip over the interview process. You must listen to the team and to the other executives before making the big decision. 

Going back to Jen, even if you really want to hire her, try to disqualify her just as much as you want her. If you see her desire to work for you, that’s when you know that she’s a perfect fit. That’s when you know that you found your unicorn. 

In my experience, the unicorn rarely exists. If it does, consider the tips I mentioned above. 

“The Unicorn Seller” episode resources

This episode is brought to you in part by Sales Success Summit. 

If you’re a sales rep looking to hone your craft and learn from the top 1% of sellers, make plans to attend the Sales Success Summit in Austin, Tx, October 14-15. Scheduled on a Monday and Tuesday to limit the impact to the sales week, the Sales Success Summit connects sellers with top-level performers who have appeared on the podcast. Visit Top1Summit.com to learn more and register! 

The episode is also brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program, a helpful tool for sales leaders and sales reps to find the right customers, ask the right questions, and close powerful deals. The program has twelve courses with two courses for free! 

Visit Audible as well and explore this huge online library with thousands of books. Register now to get a free book and a 30-day free trial. 

August is my birth month and it would be amazing if you share this podcast to your friends as a birthday gift! Drop us your comments and reviews on Apple podcast. We are also on Google Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

The Sales Evangelist, Leadership

TSE 1150: How To Show Your Team You Care!

The Sales Evangelist, LeadershipSome sales teams complain about everything from marketing to CRM and comps, but if you develop the ability to show your team you care, you’ll overcome the negativity and establish a great work environment.

I’ve worked as a sales rep, as a sales leader, and as a consultant, so I understand that complaints are a normal part of the sales process. In some organizations, though, the sellers don’t complain as much because they believe their managers care about them.  

Imperfect selling scenario

It’s tempting to believe that sellers who don’t complain work in better environments. Even if they don’t get great leads, and if they don’t have the best CRM, or if their facility looks outdated, some sales reps enjoy what they do and they enjoy the people they do it with. Because the management cares about their welfare, the sellers are able to enjoy their work.

Although your CRM and your environment are important, culture plays a vital role in helping sellers thrive. In a subpar culture, typically the focus remains on numbers alone. 

Sales leaders

During the month of August, we’ll focus on sales leadership and the principles that will help sales leaders succeed so their teams can succeed. Of all the things you could possibly do to encourage your team, investing time in them ranks the highest. 

Just like a relationship with your husband or wife, the relationship probably won’t survive unless you spend time together. Nice gifts and other symbols of affection won’t overcome a lack of time together. The same is true for your kids.

Don’t base your relationships with your sellers on shiny new CRM or an awesome facility. Instead, demonstrate that you care about their success by dedicating time to help them improve their performance.  

One-on-one

Prioritize one-on-one meetings with your sales reps. Although sales leaders get bogged down by countless things that demand their time, you must invest time in the things that truly matter. Log it on your calendar so it won’t get pushed aside. 

In my own sales journey, when my own leaders prioritized one-on-one time, they were able to help me overcome challenges that were hindering my success. It also made my sales leaders seem human and it helped me see them as something other than a boss. I see her as a trusted friend and someone I can respect. Leaders who jump into the trenches with you have the authority to guide you. 

When my sales leader stopped investing in one-on-one time with me, my sales performance declined, not because I wasn’t doing my part, but because I was able to draw motivation from her experience and example. 

Share priorities

Be aware of your team members’ priorities and make sure that the things that matter to them matter to you, too. If my sales rep is engaged to be married, I need to be aware of her priority. I can support her priorities by making sure that she’s earning enough money to pay for an amazing wedding. I must make sure that, during our one-on-ones, I’m helping her figure out how to accomplish her goals. 

Better yet, if I know of someone who owns a wedding venue, I can consider connecting the two of them. As a leader, I can provide guidance and resources to help her achieve her goals. 

If my leader is willing to prioritize the things I value, I’ll do the same in return: whatever is important to her will become important to me. Whatever she needs me to do in order to be successful, I’ll be willing to do it. 

This kind of relationship isn’t intended to be manipulative or controlling. Instead, it’s a natural by-product of the leader’s care for the seller.

Go on-site

Once a month, or on a recurring basis, free your schedule to do site visits with your reps. Don’t go with the intention of taking over the meeting. Evaluate her progress and ask her afterward what she did well and what she might have done better. Help her improve as a seller. Demonstrate to your sellers that you value them enough to share your time. 

Give them room to make mistakes and room to grow. 

In Jamaica, families frequently send their 10-year-olds to the grocery store to shop for the family. That doesn’t happen often in this country. The opportunity helps children learn from their mistakes and gain valuable experience.

Give room for failure

Don’t jump down their throats when they make a mistake in the midst of a deal or when an opportunity flops. Guide them. Let them know you care. Talk to them and coach them. Then give them an opportunity to try again. 

Acknowledge improvement and give your team members room to lead and coach others when they find success. Show them how to become trusted individuals. 

“Show Your Team You Care” episode resources

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester. You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group.

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561) 578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

As a savvy seller, you’ll want to continue learning, and you can take advantage of a free 30-day trial, complete with a free audiobook, on Audible. They have thousands of books to choose from and you can begin your free trial today. 

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