- October 1, 2012
- Posted by: Dave Kurlan
- Category: Understanding the Sales Force
We recently attended the funeral for a friend, Kevin Dully, who was only 53 years old. He was diagnosed with Leukemia 20 years ago and had been fighting for his life for most of them. He lived 19 years longer than he was expected to, but his best days were probably more like our worst days ever, in constant pain, discomfort, and with an inability to do many things which we take for granted. Through all his suffering, he had a family, worked full-time, drove, and NEVER complained. As a matter of fact, he had a lot in common with John Robinson. Whenever he saw anyone, regardless of how he was feeling, he greeted everyone with a great big smile. And when he was asked how he was doing or how it was going, he always said, “It’s all good. I’m here!”
Kevin was a model of inspiration and it certainly wouldn’t hurt for salespeople to embrace the characteristics which made him so special:
- He was always fighting. He didn’t quit until his organs quit.
- He had the most positive attitude of anyone I’ve ever known. “It’s all good!”
- He was extremely likable. Great big smile.
- He was a great listener and asked lots of questions.
- He cared more about those around him than himself. “How are you doing?”
Immediately following the funeral, I was the guest presenter on a Sales & Marketing Management magazine webinar (What’s Preventing Your Sales Force From Over-Achieving) and I was acutely aware of how sad I was feeling. I found it unusually challenging to alter my state of mind and the webinar was delivered without my usual dynamic. It just reinforced my belief that when you have salespeople who aren’t positive or kind, who complain or make excuses, or who lower your energy level or that of others, it is crucial that you replace them. It is addition by subtraction and you must be more concerned with the energy level than with replacing the production of those who are terminated. Trust me. The increase in energy and improved production of others will quickly erase any temporary gap in revenue and then cause your revenue to surge.
I’m talking about “Outlook”, one of the Sales Core Competencies OMG measures when evaluating salespeople. It’s quite normal for sales candidates to have poor “Outlook”. After all, they are in-between jobs and uncertain about their future. However, when we evaluate a sales team and find that an entire team has an “Outlook” problem (a reflection on their sales manager) or worse, most of a sales force has one (a reflection on the company), the issues go far beyond those of any individuals (work problem or personal problem?).
“Outlook” supports “Bravery”. Even if a salesperson was previously unaffected by “Rejection”, a poor “Outlook” will leave them with the inability to fend off and quickly recover from “Rejection” and that brings us to coaching. The key to coaching is knowing that you are working on the root of the problem, not the symptom. Always make sure that you fix the “Outlook” problem first!