This passage reminds me of a great quote from the serial innovator Derek Sivers in “Anything You Want.”  He said, “No idea survives first contact with customers.”

Things change.

All people are different

Your most dangerous competitors are adapting, learning…….and maybe lying.

You are the boss because your know the most right?   RIGHT?!!!!

Here’s the question:   How often are you sitting down with your sales people to ask “What do you need help with – to sell better?   What are you seeing, and hearing, that you are getting stuck with?”

But here’s the thing.   You don’t have to have the answers.  You just have to be a smart facilitator.

If you make it an open and safe forum, the people on your team who ARE selling will help find these answers.  Leverage the things that ARE working.   As long as you encourage and thank the top people for helping, it will bring everyone up.

Maybe bring in breakfast or lunch every other Wednesday.   Get everyone in one room.  Preferably without their phones.   And ask “What are you running into out there?  How can I help?”

Make a list.   Then ask “How do we get over these?”    Brain storm with the salespeople who AREN’T hitting that particular obstacle.  And the ones who are avoiding the obstacle all togehter.   This way you create a forum where your best people are contributing the good ideas systematically.

This will create a culture of HELP on your sales floor between meetings.

I’m sure there are a certain number of you reading this who are thinking:  But if I do that, they are going to say XX or YY problem.

True.  To that I say, Grow up.

They are going to say THAT if you do this or not.   If you don’t address XX and YY, they are going to sit in their cubes and bitch about XX and YY – with or without you.  They are going who whine and moan and get a bad attitude about it.  Then your sales will suck.

So just take a couple of minutes to think of a constructive, non-defensive, and forward looking explanation.  Be smarter.  Plus, you have people who ARE selling around XX and YY.   This gives you an opportunity to have their peers assume them “nah, that’s not a problem if you do this.”

Plus, in this context, a little forethought gives you’re the opportunity to handle most of these problems in a constructive way.   As long are you aren’t defensive.  Constructive – not defensive.

Are you worried they are going to say “Our pricing sucks”?    Dust off your Feel/Felt/Found.    Prepare your version of “Yeah, I know what you are saying.  The internet is making everything such a commodity on price.   The thing is, there is only 1 company with the BEST price at any time.  Yet here are tons of other companies doing plenty of business.   What are your suggestions for how we steal business from the others?   Hey <topSalesPerson> how are you selling around best price? ”

Then remind them that, in almost every business, the customer price is just some %% calculation of cost.   As in, if it costs $A to make it, we need to charge (B X $A) to show a profit. And most of the time, that cost some %% calculation of production.    So maybe close with “I hope you all understand that the price is just math.   If we can get production up, the cost of running this place is a smaller percentage of each loan, so we can improve price.”

Worried that they are going to bitch about support “We are definitely working with them to make that better.   More production gives us leverage to get better/more people/resources/systems.   I hope you believe me when I say that I WANT to do that.  Please help me.”

Then, and possibly the most important part:  THANK THE PEOPLE WHO CONTRIBUTE.   Not a bullet point list.   Not a fucking email.   Climb down off your high horse and walk over and say thank you with your mouth while looking the in the eyes.   If you have enough humility to be a great leader, maybe you even remember that Tony Robbins said “a good thank you includes the word ‘because’.  A great one uses the word ‘and’.”

Thank you very much for reading and thinking about what I had to say today.  It means a lot to me because I think this is great information and I know you will be wealthier and happier if your actually do these things.