Be Your Sales Team’s Biggest Cheerleader

SalesHacker

Conferences are exciting experiences.

You’re with people who share a similar mindset, dynamic speakers are teaching you neat things, and the energy is impossible to contain! You take notes feverishly on your iPad, typing as fast as the flat-screen keyboard will let you, trying to capture every bit of information you can. You leave exhausted. Exhausted, but rejuvenated.

That’s exactly how I felt after attending SalesHacker Conference in Spring of 2015. I was pumped to get home and start selling services for the company I was working for at the time, SOUTH.

Not everything at SalesHacker was applicable to my job, but many things caught my attention. One of them went something like this:

“You have to be your sales team’s biggest cheerleader.”

I had previously managed sales teams and trained sales people so the idea of cheerleading for them wasn’t foreign. I understood that the sales manager/team leader needed to bring energy. I understood that sales people got down and that someone had to keep them positive. I understood it from a management standpoint. I understood all that on paper, at least.

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Instead of…

Instead of having time cards, incentive people to show up and be productive.

Instead of micromanaging, put in the effort up-front to set clear expectations.

Instead of doing it all yourself, delegate.

Instead of clutching onto information, share it.

Instead of motivating via intimidation, motivate by empowerment.

Of course that means you have to do the work of hiring good people. And even harder, setting a great example to make them want to stay.

Sell Out : Buy In

You have to sell out before you can buy in. You can’t buy into something if you’re already invested in something else. In order to fill a cup, it must first be empty. You cannot start with a full cup, then make it more fuller. It – being our time, focus, and attention – has finite capacity.

This might be in relationships – buying into one group of friends means selling out another. It could be in your career – there’s only so many hours in a day and you (with few exceptions) can’t work full time in two places. It could be a big commitment – selling out a lover to buy into another. Or it could be relatively minor – selling out a gym membership so you can commit to another.

Selling out isn’t a bad thing, it’s showing commitment. You can’t commit to one thing unless you de-commit from everything else. Wherever you’re thinking about buying in, remember that you’ll first have to sell out somewhere else. Selling out is a fundamental part of the process of buying in.

And nobody says you have to buy in immediately after you sell out. In fact, I’d argue that you shouldn’t. Just like it’s good to be single for a while to figure out who you are, sometimes we need to search for something to buy into. It makes us evaluate why, exactly, we want to buy in in the first place. And when you know your why, your commitment is made stronger.

 

30 Days of Less Recap

Writing wasn’t a priority in 2017: I posted two blogs. I could make a laundry list of excuses, but they’re just that, excuses. But, I’m making a small commitment, 15 minutes per day, to writing more. Starting with the the second part (first one, here) of this mini-series on an experiment with less.

This renewed commitment comes at the beginning of 2018. I’d hardly consider it a “resolution” because I don’t believe in those (here’s what I did, instead). I’ve noticed that I don’t think as clearly as I used to and I firmly believe that comes from my lack of writing and deep, intentional thought. So here I am, writing more… about less.

30 Days of Less was an experiment about me eliminating things (stuff, ideas, baggage, people, burdens, etc.) from my life. Anytime in life I’ve felt overwhelmed, I found respite through subtraction rather than addition. This post is a recap of me intentionally eliminating things from my life and the affects of this experiment on my life.

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30 Days of Less

30 days of less - minimalism

Backstory

I  haven’t written in a while. My life has been busy. Before you let me off the hook for a lame excuse, you should know that I hate the idea of “busy.” Since I made the move to Florida from South Carolina, I’ve been trying to figure life out. There have been many changes and not all of them for the better. Some aspects of life have been stressful.

I used to be forced to live minimally – I lived in a 900 square ft apartment with another person and I was freelancing just enough to pay my bills. I didn’t need much, life was simpler. Since I moved, I am making a steady income and I now have a larger place all to myself. By most accounts, I have more now than I did a year and a half ago.

But, I don’t want more. I want a life of less. One of my favorite quotes, a quote I try to live by, is by an industrial designer named Dieter Rams:

“Less but better.”

A few weeks ago I started realizing that I had too much: too much stuff, too many people, too many obligations, too many aspirations. I remembered my life of less and I became nostalgic for a life more simple.

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2016 Year In Review/Contributing in 2017

Every year I take some time to reflect on the previous 365 days’ events. The good, the bad, and the weird. 2016 was one for the books! I set personal records, I moved back to my hometown (for the time being), ended my strategically unemployed streak, and more.

It wasn’t all great, I had my dark moments. In fact, I had many depressing days and nights in 2016. I had to go back and revisit the photo album in my phone to remind myself of all that happened this year that was positive (priceless memories with friends/family, traveling to TONS of new cities, playing Pokemon, selling my house, speaking to a graduating class, and more).

Bottom line: it wasn’t all good and it wasn’t all bad. It was another year. Another year I wasn’t promised. Another year I didn’t waste. Another year I grew – though maybe not as much as I would have wished.

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2017 Reading List

It’s no secret that I love to read (and listen to) books. I do my best to gift books, especially to the children in my life, as often as possible. And since it’s that time of year when everyone is buying presents, I thought I’d share some potential gift ideas.

A number of my favorite authors have sent me lists like this and I thought you might like the same from me. I’ve compiled my highlights from 2017 with a few bonuses, most of which can still arrive before Christmas thanks to Amazon Prime.

My reading is slanted toward business/non-fiction books, but I’ve found myself getting into fiction as I get older and I’m not mad about it one bit. I’ll start there 🙂

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Retrospective Training: Start Taking Notes (now)

The company I work for has accomplished a ton since inception just shy of five years ago. This year we’ll eclipse $100M in revenue and we’re continuing to grow at a rapid pace. But our onboarding process, particularly in the sales department, is lacking. It’s what most would call a “sink or swim” environment.

This isn’t a problem, except that the hiring doesn’t always match the training program. Because of this, I’ve been thinking extensively about training programs. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb points out in his (excellent, thought-provoking) book Antifragile: training doesn’t precede success.

First, comes success. Then, comes a theory about how said success was achieved. Finally, a training program is built around these ideas. Again, not a problem, just how time works.

There is a problem with waiting years to analyze success though, you’re opened up to things that skew the facts such as survivorship bias and the halo effect. If no one is studying how prosperity was attained, than there is no blueprint from which to train new hires. Sometimes companies are moving too fast to take notes on what’s happening. They’re focused on the next sale, the next deal, the next merger, the next acquisition, the next milestone…

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