Today I want to focus on the difference between having believers on your team (not just buy-in from staff) to succeed.
In a recent prep call with a client for an upcoming keynote, we were discussing the need for belief over buy-in as a leader. I’ve written at length about this in my latest book, Serve Up Coach Down. During chit-chat, this leader identified the need for employees and leaders in the middle (LIMs) to believe in tasks that they perform on a daily basis. Why? He needed them to have a true desire to serve the organization’s customers … Read the rest
I want to address something I frequently observe when I give sales workshops or sales-related keynotes. Too often sales professionals focus on telling clients about their products/services instead of putting the effort in to find out their actual needs and then working to meet them. These days especially, we’ve got to go the extra mile to maintain and attract our clientele. There is no room for inefficiencies, so let’s chat about the right sales strategies to employ, shall we?
Here’s Why Your Sales Strategy of Solely Telling Clients About Your Offerings Is Ineffective
Recently, I had the honor of being … Read the rest
I love watching sports — my oh my, do I love it; there’s rarely a dull moment on TV. I was recently watching an international track and field meet where countries from all around the world compete. I got particularly drawn into the sprint relay. While watching it, I noticed the firm parallel between dropping the baton and making the worst sales mistake ever.
Allow me to explain.
The Mantra for the Worst Sales Mistake
Picture this, you’re racing down the track, baton in hand, your team member’s arms are outstretched waiting; the crowd is screaming your name. Then it … Read the rest
If you’ve read past articles I’ve written, you know I cannot tolerate laziness from staff or leaders. Nope, nah, nada! Well recently I was told that low sales performance on the job is okay for new team members.
Huh? Let me just start off by saying being new is not an excuse for lazy sales performance! Let’s unpack why newness should never ever be tied to lowering your ability to make sales. Grab your coffee mug, I promise, my case story is a whopper.
The Event That Led to the Excuse
Once upon a time, in a recent sales session, … Read the rest
Let’s fix that.
In this article, I’m getting straight to the meat of the matter. Too often I’ve observed both small and large business leaders say they use some type of quarterly or yearly business plan, when in fact they don’t. Usually, I’ve observed that it stays tucked in their bottom desk drawer or in the farthest corner of a bookshelf (or digital bookshelf) until the financial year comes to an end. In many cases, these quarterly business plans are items that they help create, but in the chaos of an average business day often get forgotten. I want us … Read the rest
Hello, hello! Football season is just about over and only the Super Bowl left on the schedule. If you’ve been reading my books and following my blogs for a while, you’ll realize I’m a big fan of the game. I find that a lot of its principles and strategic techniques translate well in the corporate world, especially in sales.
One strategic tool is scrimmaging. Now I see a few of you already going, “Nathan, huh?” But I promise you, if you’re stuck in a tough spot as a leader, the best answer is to scrimmage! Let’s chat about what that … Read the rest
I’ve always reveled in the energy I felt out on the sales floor when I worked corporate. It always felt as though we were constantly training for the next big game, you know? But, just as with football, not all players on your team will be created equal. We’ve spoken about what to do about employees with bad performances, it’s now time we focus on your first string, your top salespeople. Why? Well, they’re the ones that win the games, they’re your Tom Brady, Jerry Rice. You need the best of the best to inspire and lead your team to … Read the rest
I was recently reviewing some old client files and stumbled across a case where a senior leader in the middle was not coaching down to his management team.
You see my client, let’s call him Tom, was focused on protecting down. Meaning, he didn’t want to break the status quo by following the recommended changes made by the head of the company to reorganize his team.
Eventually, Tom removed his kid gloves, stopped protecting down and instead coached down. Things turned around and his story took a different route. Today, I want us to play a little game about the … Read the rest
The other day I was catching up with one of my freelancers who seemed on the down and outs. After getting her to talk, she explained that in one of her other jobs, the boss was not holding the entire team accountable.
It was well known, even within their HR, that the boss heavily practiced selective accountability; they were partial to only one person on the team. Of course, it just so happened to be the smallest contributor to the workload and the least technically qualified or experienced. This meant that their work was frequently reallocated to other persons with … Read the rest
Recently, I was consulting with a sales professional, and we were discussing his success, or lack thereof, with attracting new clients.
He had a serious challenge with landing new prospects: they would often avoid meetings with him or were simply unresponsive. Understandably, he was pretty broken up about it and quite demotivated. A career in sales is not for the weary, and his sentiments are often felt at some point by most sales professionals. However, in our oversaturated world, differentiation beyond product or price is key. In this article I’ll break down why and how you and your personality is … Read the rest
We cannot exist in a vacuum, whether we would like to or not. At work, it is essential to successfully collaborate with our colleagues and other leaders in the middle to get the job done right. Now, while I acknowledge the resistance to collaborate between groups may at times not necessarily stem from us, we still have to be accountable by doing the right thing. This is why serving those beside you is important — it’s about being mindful about your actions and those of the people you coach.
In my book, Serve Up, Coach Down, I write quite … Read the rest
Today I’m going to stir the pot a bit.
I want to talk to you about the 80/20 rule and why it doesn’t work. Yep, there, I said it, it does not work. Wait, wait, wait — just give me a minute to explain here. We’ve been conditioned to think that if we achieve our overall sales targets, despite how and who got us there, we can celebrate it as a win. But I’m here to tell you that tolerating mediocrity in a sales team is an empty victory. You still with me? Ok, great, let’s get into the why, … Read the rest
More and more, I find myself repeating the same advice to my clients daily, “It’s never the right time to make a hard decision.” While this is applicable to several situations, I want to describe a particular one — and that is making the hard decision about poor-performing employees.
Nowadays, you’ve probably been affected by many businesses operating on limited hours and/or services due to a lack of employees. We are still experiencing what HBR Blog and Forbes have dubbed the year of the great resignation. For managers and leaders, this shortage of staff has meant tolerating behaviors that run … Read the rest
Recruiting good hires to any organization has been a persistent challenge for years. Furthermore, in what has seemingly been dubbed “the great resignation,” 2022 continues to be particularly difficult for leaders to recruit and retain staff. But there is a workaround, and it starts with hiring the best person, not the best resume for a job. In this article, I’m going to break down how we can turn this challenge into a major competitive advantage.
A (Scary) New Dawn
These days it is not an unfamiliar sight to see businesses with newly chained doors or experience poor customer service due … Read the rest
“Coaches focus on the routines, while observers focus on the results.”
I recently delivered a keynote presentation for a client whose 2020 year was a record setting best, and 2021 was heading toward being even bigger. I asked the leader what he was looking for in my keynote and he said, “Nathan, I am concerned because the demand is so high for our product and my sales guys are making more sales than ever by just answering the calls, that they will get out of the practice of prospecting and doing the important activities of growing their business.”
He continued, … Read the rest
Ahh — being right vs. doing right, the millennia-year-old conundrum. As a corporate leader, especially middle management, you can often find yourself in the position to shift blame when things go wrong or take credit for being a capable leader when things go right.
But in a worst-case scenario, does that rationale resolve the issue or exacerbate it? In this article I’ll lay out the debate for why it is important to focus on being more proactive, by doing right, in your leadership role. Let’s dive in!
Being Right, Never Wrong
In a recent coaching session with one of my … Read the rest
Understanding corporate culture builds the necessary framework to create a thriving organization. It defines the attitudes and shared values needed for all employees to meet the company’s goals and vision. Without a firm grasp of your company’s corporate culture; well, your employees would operate like a football team without the season’s playbook.
Let’s take a look at the four types of corporate cultures that can positively shape your company.
What Is Corporate Culture and Why Is It Important?
First, let’s take a moment to define what culture is in the corporate setting. According to an article in the Harvard Business … Read the rest
Avoid these four worst leadership styles that can sink a company.
There is a popular saying, “People don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses.” Let’s face it, with 40 hours a week dedicated just to work, no one wants to willingly show up to a place that is emotionally and mentally exhausting.
A good leader has to keep their head in the game at all times, otherwise, they can stifle creativity, lower productivity, yield poor employee retention and contribute to poor quality of work. In this post we’ll examine the four worst leadership styles to avoid when leading your … Read the rest
At first glance “Hire fast, fire faster” might sound harsh, but it is the exact opposite. It is about being clear and transparent to those we hire and those we currently lead. As leaders we make bad hires more often than most of us would like to admit. I believe that a bad hire does not mean they are a bad person, it means it’s just not the right fit for the person or the team.
One of the most common reasons leaders keep a person that is not a good fit is we would rather keep the bad hire … Read the rest
When we try to not sound “salesy,” we are more “salesy” than ever. Being genuine is the most important part of being a great salesperson.
We Don’t Want Our People to Sound “Salesy”
Unfortunately, I have this conversation more than I would like in my current career. This request is made by many organizations who believe “sales” is a bad word or something dishonest. Recently I had a potential client call me and ask me if I would do a keynote for them. They said they loved my energy and message about sales and sales practice. Then they asked, “Can … Read the rest
“Sandbagging kills our momentum and our belief in ourself and our future success!”
Momentum Is Power
If you watch any sports, you can see the effects of momentum. How many games have you watched where a team is losing, and one play changes the momentum so much so that the losing team comes back and wins the game? The only thing that changed was the momentum of the game. This is also true for us in business and sales. The key is to learn how to generate and keep the momentum.
So often in sales we have good intentions, but … Read the rest
Making all meetings less boring and more engaging.
Why are most meetings not productive?
Have you ever attended a boring meeting with your boss or organization? Or worse — have you yourself hosted your own boring meeting? If you said yes, don’t sweat it, you’re not alone — in fact most leaders have, though not all of us recognize it. The most common contributor for this is the infamous “going around the horn” for updates. Going around the horn can be a good activity during a meeting, but when used for peer updates it leads to a meeting “for two” … Read the rest
As leaders we have a responsibility to make our employees better, not just more knowledgeable or experienced (by the way this is imperative for leaders of leaders as well).
One of the most common mistakes made by leaders is the focus on “correction” instead of “preparation.” To give direction is to share clear expectations on what we the leaders expect from our people, not just job descriptions and sales goals or results. Preparation is about helping our employees understand how we expect them to think, prepare and execute. This mistake looks like this: leaders spend more time correcting their employees … Read the rest
Every day, and every new opportunity or change in direction, we must choose faith over fear. What does this really mean, and how do we put this into real action or something truly tangible?
Fear is what causes us leaders to question our bosses, worry about what could happen, or worse, keep us from moving forward with conviction. Having faith isn’t necessarily a religious belief (though it can be) — in business it is a positive sense of self and a positive, strong mindset. Choosing faith is about moving forward with conviction because you believe in yourself and are not … Read the rest
Have you noticed, that with all of the communications tools we have today, communication is still a top issue for many organizations?
One of the main reasons is that great communication is not about the tools themselves, rather it is about how effectively we leaders use the communication tools we have. The biggest example of this is expectations.
Expectations are how leaders help team members understand what their boss expects on a job — ideally as detailed as possible including what it looks like if expectations are not met. Expectations are about behaviors and activities specially, not job descriptions or … Read the rest
For several years now, thousands of professionals have been working from home, so you would think that today’s environment of “stay at home” would be no big deal for those that are already used to working from home.
However, in many ways it is a big deal, because although many worked from home, they still met clients and employees at offices, had meetings outside the home office as well as business lunches (or heck, just any lunch outside the home). Yet now they never leave unless it is essential, such as a grocery run. Then we have the thousands of … Read the rest
An illness we all can catch.
Victimitis is very contagious. It can be thought of as more contagious than the flu, and more devastating than an infectious disease. It can figuratively (and literally) destroy a person’s career, relationships and life. Yes, it is a made-up word; though rest assured the “disease” is real. It is real and it is dangerous. Like most contagious illnesses anyone is susceptible to contracting the victimitis disease. The key is to know how to avoid catching it and if you do catch it,
how to cure it quickly.
There are three key aspects of protecting … Read the rest
“The most successful people never stop learning.”
During a recent book signing a woman was checking out at the Austin airport store where my most recent book, The Leadership Playbook, was being promoted. The cashier asked her if she would be interested in buying a copy. She responded, “Nope, I work too much as it is, so I read only fun books.” A conversation ensued on what she did for a living. She answered, “I am a management consultant.” She was then asked if she thought that leadership or business books would benefit clients or herself. She responded, “Nope, I … Read the rest
One of the greatest misunderstandings in leadership and coaching is the term “micromanaging.”
Most leaders never want to be thought of as a micro manager. In fact, it could be considered an insult or weakness of any manager. When micromanaging is used as a coaching or leadership style it will most likely deliver bad results, stifle creativity, limit employees’ self‑worth and — without a doubt — limit productivity. On the other hand, when a coach or leader must deal with a bad performer it is imperative to help the employee either become a better performer or help them find a … Read the rest
There is an old but true saying, “the best candidate doesn’t always get the job.”
If you have ever made a bad hiring decision, don’t worry, you are in good company. All leaders and managers select bad hires even if they don’t know it. The difference is, really great leaders recognize their mistake and fire faster. All hiring managers are sure to make bad hiring decisions because they made a decision based on situational questions, content on a resume and mostly by their emotions or more notably referred to as “their gut feeling.” Selecting a bad hire is understandable; but … Read the rest