Change in Sales Organizations Starts with Me

Question: What do the following have in common?

- I spend a lot of time spinning my wheels and not getting very much done.

- I am continually frustrated with the performance of my sales team.

- Why can't my sales team be more independent thinkers? They come to me with EVERYTHING!

Answer: These statements reflect people who are continually frustrated with the same problem. They are stuck and their problems can probably be traced back to making Big Assumptions.

Making assumptions about yourself or others, without checking them out, can diminish your effectiveness.

Now, there are assumptions . . . and then there are Big Assumptions. A Big Assumption is an assumption about ourselves that masquerades as the truth. We don't even know we hold them, yet they inform how we make decisions, and then how we act based on those decisions.

Note: our Big Assumptions always have dire consequences attached if we don't live up to them. They're nasty.

A Big Assumption in the 'spinning my wheels' example could be that this sales manager can't say no to requests. She assumes that if she does, she won't be seen as a strong leader, people won't like her and she'll be shunned.

Here are some common Big Assumption that I see many sales people and sales managers hold:

They assume that the have to do everything themselves, do it well, and do it today. If they don't, they assume they will be seen as weak, ineffective, or a loser.

Many sales managers constantly solve other people's problems. The Big Assumption could be that if the salesperson solved the problem themselves in a less than perfect way (i.e. the sales manager's way), the sales manager would be seen as a failure. Or, that the sales manager's service would no longer be needed. Who needs a manager when people can solve their own problems?

The list is endless. I have noticed that my own Big Assumptions are bigger when I am in a bad mood and begin to disappear when I am feeling good. My definition of a bad mood is feeling lonely or overwhelmed.

I can (usually) interrupt the downward spiral of a Big Assumption by looking at my moods. When I feel overwhelmed and/or lonely, I look for my Big Assumption and I question it.

My moods remind me to challenge my Big Assumptions by doing something different. First, I have to notice and admit I am caught in the Big Assumption spiral (the hardest part.) I keep a list on my desk of the Big Assumption to challenge, and note what is going on to make me feel this way. Then, I intentionally take a walk, notice things that make me smile, give myself permission to be imperfect, and make a date to see a colleague who I know will give me feedback, advice or energy.

What are your Big Assumptions, and how are they keeping you stuck?

BUSTING ASSUMPTIONS CHALLENGE

1. Observe how your Big Assumptions show up in your thoughts and behaviours. This month, look at your moods and see if they reflect a Big Assumption playing itself out. Don't try to change anything; just notice (and maybe write down) where and how Big Assumptions show up and what happens as a result.

2. Once you firmly understand your Big Assumptions, actively look for proof that casts doubt on them. In the case of solving other's problems, hold off giving advice, let people run with their ideas, and see what happens. Did you get fired? Do people really see you as a failure? Or, did something else happen?

Have fun with it! You'll be taking steps toward becoming a more effective sales manager, inspiring success in your sales team, and connecting more deeply and authentically with others.

---

This article may be reprinted in its entirety with express written permission from Nicki Weiss. The reprint must include the section "About the Author".

About the Author

Nicki Weiss is an internationally recognized Certified Professional Sales Management Coach, Master Trainer, and workshop leader. Since 1992, Nicki has trained, certified, and/or coached more than 6,000 business executives, sales managers and salespeople.

Nicki guarantees increased sales performance when sales managers become better sales coaches. Sign up for her FREE monthly e-zine, Something for NothingTM, which has powerful tips and techniques for sales managers who are ready to make this transformation. Sign up at http://www.saleswise.ca You can email her at nicki@saleswise.ca or call 416-778-4145.

In The News:


pen paper and inkwell


cat break through


Keeping Your Sales Team Motivated

Sales managers frequently approach me for advice on how to... Read More

Train a Winning Sales Team: Rounding Third and Heading for Home

Although I never met the man, I imagine Lou Boudreau... Read More

SEZ WHO? Tips About Recommendations, Sales Cycles, and Trade Shows

Here's the scene. You're at the trade show, having a... Read More

Increase Your Sales Accept Credit Cards, Part 2

In part two we will discuss overcoming objections, which credit... Read More

The Get Dangerous Quickly Approach to Product/Service Training

In 2000 a computer distributor hired me to help them... Read More

100% Commission Equals Zero Percent Control

The temptation to use straight (100%) commission plans never goes... Read More

How To Build A Worldwide Distributor Network

When your product is market ready and has a good... Read More

All Small Businesses Need to Gather Community Intel

How well do you know your community? As business owners... Read More

The Hidden Competition: Avoiding the 2 Most Common Competitors

There are really only two types of competitor:1. Obvious2. HiddenThe... Read More

What Is A Proposal? And Why Do You Need One?

Do you know anyone who regularly wins bids? Or can... Read More

Shorten Sales Cycles in Complex Sales Environments

Help buyers discover the answers they need to understand and... Read More

Moving a Business Relationship from Free to Fee: Turning Strangers to Friends with Power of Freebies

In the last issue I shared with you a technique... Read More

Determining Sales Fit; the Key Growth Process for Your Business

Help your organization grow by assessing the right indicators in... Read More

3 Ways to Increase Your Sales

Last week I got a call from Jose, who was... Read More

4 Tips for the Summer Slowdown - How To Pick Up Sales

You may have heard about the "summer slowdown". You may... Read More

The Surest Way to Boost Sales

If you have a small business and you are looking... Read More

Want to Increase the Amount of Business that Your Firm is Getting?

Business development is important for every business and refers to... Read More

How to Develop a Proactive, New-Business Sales Team!

I don't know about your business but in my experience... Read More

Book of Lists Marketing for Pressure Washing Companies

The American Business Journals produces a Book of Lists each... Read More

Back-to-School List - 10 Tips for Trade Shows

There's a new year beginning now - the school year.... Read More

Effective Sales Territory Management

How you prioritize your sales territory management activities depends upon... Read More

Free to Succeed: Effective Sales Leadership Using A Coach Approach

About 2 years ago, I participated in a training program... Read More

10 Things to Help Your Business When Sales Are Slow During the Holidays

Twiddling your thumbs and waiting for some business to come... Read More

It?s Time For A Sales Management Revolution

Are you dog tired because of the way you manage... Read More

8 Procedures to Take Control of Sales and Marketing

The Cash to Cash Cycle Part Three of SeriesWe're sprinting... Read More

Transforming Your Sales Force by Creating Specific Expectations

I just finished a phone call with a potential client... Read More

How To Become A Better Sales Manager

YIPPEE! Kendra won, or should I say, "She was hired,"... Read More

Outsourcing the Sales Function

Small to medium companies that want to increase sales or... Read More

Raise Your Fees Overnight!

Do you want to make more money?Yes, I guess that... Read More

Sales Coaching... Fact or Fiction?

The old adage in selling has always been, "Find out... Read More

The Sales Carpenter

I remember moving my family to Argentina as Vice President... Read More

When Its DUH? Time at Trade Show - 3 Little Words Save the Day

TIME, MONEY, HASSLE - You can make a sale on... Read More

Make Time, Not Excuses

There are four primary activities that successful salespeople engage in... Read More