One thing I love to do is conduct video interviews with a wide range of authors, experts, and industry practitioners. My friend Jim Cathcart, bestselling author and top industry speaker, shared with me that he recently created an extensive sales training library that's available at http://thrive15.com.
In particular, I love one interview (which Jim allowed me to add to my YouTube channel) in which he discusses call preparation. Before calling on any customer, make a list. The list should include what you need to know about:
- The customer and his/her company.
- The customer's decision-making process about purchases.
- Your competitors and their value proposition.
- How people "read" you and how you come across in meetings.
I wholeheartedly agree with each of these points. If you walk into a customer meeting without the proper awareness, your risk of walking out empty-handed is high. (If you have been in sales long enough, you have probably felt the pain of this already.)
In a blog post a few years ago, I featured a video interview with Jim on the topic of self-leadership. As he says during the conversation, "People who practice self-leadership don't wait for others to motivate them, they go out and make things happen."
How many people on your sales team practice self-leadership? If you believe in the 80/20 rule, you may say only 20%. If that's the case, it may be time to assess your own leadership style? If you are spending 80% of your time helping salespeople close business, then you are not providing an environment of self leadership. If you spend 80% of your time coaching salespeople, helping them build self-leadership, helping them build the necessary skills set for closing more business, then you'll create more self-leaders on your team.
For more insight, I encourage you to check out Jim's new library of insightful and entertaining videos at Thrive15.