Next week in Dallas, Delta Point will hold our second, public, leadership seminar on how to more effectively coaching selling success in the field. We have named this strategically important leadership seminar, “Coaching Catalyst”, because we believe that great coaches need to be a true catalyst for their sales specialists’ selling success. The challenge becomes when we have insufficient expertise to be that catalyst.
One of my favorite things to do is to speak to sales leaders. Thankfully, it’s something I’ve had the opportunity to do many times over my career. In fact, just this week I had the opportunity to speak to a wonderful group of field leaders from one of our clients. Inevitably, the question comes up, “What can I do to become a better leader?”
Last week I was the keynote speaker at the Annual Meeting of the Medical Society of Virginia. One of my Virginia Military Institute (VMI) classmates is a past-president of that society and he is someone I greatly admire. He asked me to speak on dealing with change in turbulent times. The Healthcare industry, and physicians especially, are in the midst of true evolutionary change and many of them are seeing a pace of change unlike any they have seen before. One of my favorite “philosophers” is George Raveling, a Hall of Fame Basketball coach and a brilliant student of human behavior. He is quoted as saying, "People don't resist change. They resist being changed."
As you read the title of this blog you might be thinking that this would never happen but the fact is it happens thousands of times each and every day. More often than not it takes the form of, “I’d like to talk to you about Product X today. Do you have a minute?” Obviously, the average salesperson would never make a statement like the title of this blog; however, many do begin conversations with their customers using the example stated above. The question we must ask ourselves is how our customers interpret these statements. Or better yet, when you are approached by a salesperson using this line, what do you think? If you’re like me, you think to yourself, “Uh oh, here we go…”
It was an interesting situation posed by our prospective client - as proof of Delta Point’s abilities, would we be willing to spend some time with a struggling sales representative to see if enhancing their selling skills would change their performance? The answer was an unequivocal yes. In hindsight we should have probably better defined “struggling” as we soon discovered that the sales representative was deep into a Performance Improvement Program (PIP) and quite possibly heading towards termination for a lack of sales performance. Nevertheless, an agreement is an agreement and we love a challenge.
I remember my first day of 7th grade at Sherwood Junior High in Memphis, Tennessee like it was yesterday. That was the day I met Bud Garrett. Coach Garrett was the coach at Sherwood and he coached baseball, basketball and football. I remember walking past this tall, imposing man and him saying to me, “Boy, you need to go out for football. Be at practice after school today.”
Last week I once again watched Dr. Amy Cuddy's Ted Talk called, "Your Body Language Shapes Who you Are". I was prompted to watch it after reading two articles she recently wrote about how important warmth and competence are in order to truly connect with people. The last 5 minutes of her 21 minute Ted talk, which I believe is one of the most watched Ted talks ever, are simply riveting and I believe should be required viewing for anyone interested in achieving more.
The other morning as I was reading a terrific blog called, “Leadership Freak”, I was reminded how obstacles, failures and setbacks are actually huge opportunities for growth, development and future success. The blog espoused a 3 step system for dealing with failure and the questions they suggested we ask ourselves in these situations were powerful. I highly recommend the blog and it certainly endorsed the notion that failure can be a great teacher - IF WE LET IT BE!