Groundhog Day is a popular movie about Phil, a grumpy weather forecaster. He finds himself trapped in a time loop while covering a story around the ritual of Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The movie centers around Phil’s need to change his behaviors or events will keep repeating themselves.
This is a good time of the year to evaluate all aspects of your sales organization and figure out which events you don’t want to repeat in 2018. Here are a few behaviors to consider next year.
#1: Sales Managers: Stop hiring salespeople that can’t or won’t prospect. The ideal situation is to have an inside sales team or marketing department generate ALL the leads. But the reality is a lot of salespeople still need to generate some of their own opportunities. Apply the EQ skill of delayed gratification and slow down to speed up.
Re-vamp your hiring process and quickly weed out salespeople that lack the will or skill to prospect.
Salespeople, stop with the Groundhog Day excuses. Your behavior is forcing your sales manager to focus on managing excuses, instead of coaching for results. Eliminate weak explanations for missed quotas:
- There’s just not enough time in the day. (Exactly what time did you start your day if your sales pipeline isn’t full?)
- No one is answering their phone or responding to outreaches. (Apply the EQ skill of emotional self-awareness. Would you respond to you?) How customized and compelling are your prospecting outreaches?
#2: Salespeople – Use Your CRM System: Do you really need to hear another Groundhog Day lecture from your boss on the importance of inputting your conversations and meetings with prospects and customers? Does your company really need to run you over with a bus so you finally understand the value of others knowing what you are saying and doing with a prospect?
Be part of the solution, not another Groundhog Day coaching conversation. Instead of hoping your manager will give up, make suggestions and recommendations for improvement — or ask for additional training in better utilizing your CRM system.
Sales managers, toughen up and put in consequences for those that don’t enter information into your CRM system. You probably are tired of giving this Groundhog Day lecture, so change your behavior. For example, if there is no activity logged into an account, put that opportunity up for auction and reassign it to another salesperson — one that is using the CRM system.
#3: Sales Managers, Eliminate Groundhog Day Sales Meetings. Sadly, sales meetings are a classic case of Groundhog Day behavior. The team members come in with their sales pipeline reports. Roll call begins, followed by denial, excuses and boredom.
Make your sales meetings development meetings. Your No. 1 goal is to have your salespeople leaving the meetings thinking, “That was a great use of my time.” We constantly preach to salespeople the importance of pre-call planning before conducting appointments. Pre-call planning is equally important in effective sales meetings.
Salespeople, Apply the EQ Skill of Reality Testing and Remove Unqualified Opportunities From Your Pipeline. Stop saying things such as, “I think ABC company is going to do something this month.” (How would you like to be the CFO at your company, trying to handle cash flow with the “I think” strategy?) Do yourself a favor: Scrub your sales pipeline, get rid of dead weight and focus only on the best opportunities in 2018.
#4: Salespeople – Get Smart. No one wants to meet with a dumb consultant or average salesperson. Prospects and customers are busy, and wasting time is not at the top of the priority list. Join a mastermind group. Seek out the best salespeople from noncompeting industries, and meet once a month to share and discuss best sales practices. Read books, listen to podcasts or enroll in a sales training course. Research shows that self-actualized salespeople, those on a journey of continuous learning and improvement, outperform their status-quo counterparts.
Sales Managers, Create a Learning Culture. Model what you expect. Start a book club and choose books for the team to listen to or read. Review key concepts and discuss how to apply new information to your specific business during sales meetings. Schedule a meeting with the company CFO so your sales team better understands the business of business. If your salespeople call on the economic buyer, they better understand the key performance metrics the CFO is measuring in order to make purchasing decisions. .
#5: Everyone: Just Do It. Apply the famous Nike quote and make a decision. Eliminate phrases such as, “I am going to try … probably will … think I will …” By using these phrases, you’ve just told your brain that you’re all talk, not action.
Are you serious about changing selling skills and behaviors to prevent a Groundhog Day year in sales? If you’re not, that’s OK, as long as you make another decision: no complaining about your Groundhog Day life and results.