Are You Focusing Enough on Your Top Salespeople?

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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

True or False? Protecting Down Is Failed Leadership

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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

A Walking Nightmare: When Bosses Practice Selective Accountability

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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

What’s the Ultimate Sales Tool: Personality, Product or Price?

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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

Why You Need to Serve Those Beside You

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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

Why the 80/20 Rule Doesn’t Work

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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

Making the Hard Decision About Poor‑Performing Employees

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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

Why Hiring the Best Person Is a Major Competitive Advantage

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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

Routine vs. Results

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“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

Being Right vs. Doing Right

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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

Creating and Understanding a Corporate Culture

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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

The Worst Leadership Styles to Avoid

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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

Hire Fast, Fire Faster

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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

Sales Is a Noble Career

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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

Momentum Is Our Greatest Power in Sales

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“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

Stop Going Around the Horn!

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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

Preparation Over Correction: The Difference Between Coaching and Managing

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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

Faith or Fear

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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

Why Expectations Matter

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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

Working From Home or Confined to Your Home?

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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

Victimitis

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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

Don’t Be Blinded by Your Own Ego

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“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

Micromanaging vs. Coaching

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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

Hire Fast, Fire Faster: Keep the Right Players on Your Team

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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

Passion is Required for a Winning Culture

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Passion is one of those words that many people love to use, but very rarely do they actually demonstrate it themselves. It easily can be the reason for almost any person or organization’s success. Passion fuels everything good about a person or an organization, so why is it so hard to find people that are passionate about their jobs or the product or service they sell?

In most organizations, every leader can name a few of their great employees or bosses that have immense passion and will state 100% of the time they wish that all of their employees would … Read the rest

Stop Winging It and Start Bringing It: Closing More Sales Effectively

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Sales teams all over the country are looking for the “golden answer” on how to increase sales in today’s economic situation. Successful teams are finding out quickly that there is no “golden answer” or trick play that is going to make a sales team successful in today’s economy. To increase sales in today’s economic situation, first stop looking at today’s economy as an obstacle and start finding the advantages of today’s economy.

Some well-known phrases, such as “for every pro there is a con” or “for every no there is a yes” and a favorite, “one man’s trash is another … Read the rest

Technology In Business Use It, Don’t Rely On It

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Grab your Blackberry and check your appointments, while you’re at it, see if any of your clients have posted anything worthwhile on Facebook, tweet your new prospect, check your e-mail for any new appointment requests and then go grab lunch — what a day! More and more sales professionals are relying on technology to drive sales and increase market share; unfortunately that is the first step to staying mediocre.

Getting sales professionals to find vertical markets and make outbound prospecting calls as well as setting sales appointments with prospective buyers (in person!) is still the best way to increase sales … Read the rest

Knowledge Is Powerless Without Action: Boost Sales Today

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Talk is cheap. Without action and accountability, there is no way to manage great results from your sales team.

The biggest sales inhibitor now is the same as it has been for the past decade. Many salespeople know what to do, but are not willing to do it. How many times does a salesperson say he or she knows they should prospect from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., four days a week, but yet they don’t? Just like any other profession, there are always excuses for why we don’t do something that we know we should. This does not mean … Read the rest