Much has changed in the world of sales, and perhaps nothing has done more to affect sales effectiveness than changed buyer behavior and expectations. Stop Selling & Start Leading, a new book from authors Jim Kouzes, Barry Posner and Deb Calvert, combines proven buyer research with time-tested leadership strategies to help salespeople make extraordinary sales.
You might be thinking that there are thousands of books on sales and selling, so how is this book different? Good question. The answer is that unlike so many sales books that are based on either theory or focused on the tactics related to specific elements of selling (think prospecting), Stop Selling & Start Leading is a buyer-based behavioral blueprint of actionable steps that sellers can take to be far more successful throughout the entire sales process.
As you’ll learn from the buyer research we discuss during the interview, buyers have no interest in working with sellers who continue to pitch product features and insist on doing demos. Faced with increasing challenges to help their organizations remain relevant, competitive and innovative, buyers want to work with salespeople who can lead them to the right solution to their biggest problems.
When sellers stop pushing people to buy before they’re ready, and they start guiding buyers by transforming “values into actions, visions into realities, obstacles into innovations, separateness into solidarity and risks into rewards”, everybody wins.
As the title suggests, Stop Selling & Start Leading is a book about sales but it is also a book about leadership, which the authors say is not a “formal” position and is accessible to anyone. In the interview, you’ll hear why leading is so important in how we sell today.
As the authors conducted the buyer research for the book, they identified 5 preferences that confirmed that sellers would be far more successful if they dropped traditional selling behaviors (think stereotypical pushy, aggressive, pitchy, focused on themselves) and replaced those behaviors with the behaviors of top leaders. Learn what those preferences are.
Buyers were asked to name the one characteristic they felt was overwhelmingly lacking in sellers. In the interview, Deb talked about two of them. One of them was brought up frequently, and though it may be more well known to sellers, it continues to be a problem none the less. Buyers, frankly, are fed up with sellers who do not follow up or follow through on their commitments. This lack of follow-through leads to the inability to build the kind of trusting relationship necessary for success when selling products and services. Listen to the interview to hear about the second characteristic that buyers felt was lacking. What they said may surprise you.
Barry and Jim have conducted well known, highly respected leadership research in every industry and discipline, which resulted in the framework they call The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®. During the interview, learn more about the research behind these Five Practices.
To be more effective in working with buyers, learn how applying these Five Practices is the key.
In the final chapter, Jim, Barry, and Deb say that leadership is everyone’s business and that to be a leader is a choice. I asked each of them to tell me why it was important for them to close the book with this message.
Learn more about the book. Enjoy the interview!
About the Authors:
Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner have been working together for more than thirty years, studying leaders, researching leadership, conducting leadership development seminars, and serving as leaders themselves in various capacities. Their book, The Leadership Challenge, now in its sixth edition, has won numerous awards and sold more than 2.5 million copies worldwide and is available in twenty-two languages. Jim and Barry have also co-authored many other best-selling and award-winning leadership books.
Deb Calvert is the president and founder of People First Productivity Solutions, a consulting and training firm that builds organizational strength by putting people first. Deb's work includes leadership program design and facilitation, strategic planning with executive teams, team effectiveness work, and sales productivity solutions. Deb is a Certified Master of The Leadership Challenge® and is certified as an Executive Coach by the Center for Executive Coaching and the International Coaching Federation. Deb's first book, also based on buyer research, was the bestseller DISCOVER Questions® Get You Connected, named by HubSpot as one of the "Top 20 Most Highly-Rated Sales Books of All Time."
Connect with Deb on LinkedIn
Today’s episode topic focuses on Transforming Women Entrepreneurs (TWE) & Leveraging Millennials in the Workplace. I’ve been involved with Transforming Women Entrepreneurs for a few years now here in Atlanta, and I love the work that my guest is doing to help women business owners reach greater heights of success. My guest is also an expert in generations in the workplace and no topic is typically hotter than how companies need to think about millennial workers.
My guest is Nancy J. Lewis the founder and president of Progressive Techniques, Inc. where the theme of her organization is, "Developing a Better YOU!" Nancy has 25 years of experience in professional development, diversity and inclusion, leadership, and communication skills.
In the first few minutes of the interview, Nancy and I talked about how TWE got started as an organization. Celebrating 10 years this year, TWE was started to provide a forum for women business owners to provide them education, mentorship, support and so much more. I’ll be speaking at the March 8 event talking about how women can grow their businesses to the next level using social selling strategies.
Learn about other speakers during the interview too. If you are here in Atlanta, register for the event here http://www.twe.events/ You MUST register by March 1st due to the security constraints onsite at Coca-Cola where the event is going to be held.
Then we got into an insightful conversation about generations in the workplace, specifically the dynamics happening between millennials and boomers. We technically have 5 generations in this workspace says Nancy but the main generations are Boomers, Gen X and Millennials, which we discussed.
How do we bridge the relationships?
The biggest issue or war is between Boomers and Millennials. Gen X is often being excluded from the conversation due to their size being so much smaller.
Some key differences between Millennials and Boomers are:
Millennials have a reputation for coming into the workplace with an attitude of entitlement. Not everyone, of course. As Nancy reminds us, we should be careful about making sweeping generalizations. Certainly, these younger workers come in expecting to be promoted in a few months versus doing the job for a year or so as they develop the skills to progress when they are ready. It is also not uncommon for millennials to believe they already know it all and don’t need help. Of course, I’d say that’s probably true of every generation. I remember when I first entered the workforce. There is no doubt that I thought my way was better until I learned to listen, learn and be open to the fact that I’d not developed enough experience to “know it all”.
Boomers on the other hand can be resistant. They don’t trust these younger workers tethered to social media 24/7 who think they already know it all and resist any kind of feedback at all. What Nancy pointed out though is that Boomers created the Millennial generation and thus played a role in why their attitudes are what they are. Good point! These parents were providing positive feedback in all circumstances. And, by now, it is well documented that the Millennial generation is the first generation to get trophies just for participating. That certainly wasn’t case in my day. Winners earned the trophies. That’s life. We can’t all win and showing up is part of life. Still, Millennials find constructive feedback hard to hear.
What can be done?
It is important for Millennials to open themselves up to constructive criticism. Our experience and expertise develop over time. There is an opportunity for cross-mentoring of both Millennials and Boomers. Millennials can benefit from the experience, knowledge and social/people skills or Boomers. Boomers can benefit also by keeping an open mind about the ideas that Millennials bring to the table. That includes learning from Millennials how to leverage social media and embrace new approaches to do business.
Businesses can also adjust their onboarding process to be more customized to meet the needs of these younger workers. Setting expectations about what the job entails is important. As is putting someone in the position to resolve a particular issue if they believe they are now ready to move up if they’ve been on the job a short period of time. I loved that idea because it puts that employee into a position to practice and see that they may or may not be ready yet.
There is so much more in the interview, which I hope you enjoy.
Nancy J. Lewis is the founder and president of Progressive Techniques, Inc. where the theme of her organization is,
"Developing a Better YOU!" Nancy has 25 years of experience in professional development, diversity and inclusion, leadership, and communication skills. A former Dale Carnegie Instructor for thirteen years, and adjunct faculty instructor for Georgia State University, she is a seasoned professional leveraging practical skills to resolve complex workplace issues and conducts motivational keynotes.
As a facilitator and business/executive coach, Nancy has worked with many Fortune 100, Fortune 500, and government agencies. As a former Human Resources practitioner, Nancy brings the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding to her workshops. Nancy is certified in a variety of assessment tools, including DiSC, Strengths Deployment Inventory (SDI), and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).
Nancy has a quarterly event called Transforming Women Entrepreneurs (TWE) where she empowers, equips, and encourages women to be the very best they can be in an environment where true connections are made.
Nancy has an engaging and energizing style that creates an atmosphere where attendees are comfortable with sharing their struggles as creative ways of resolving the issues of work and life are provided.
In this episode, I talked with Jim Ninivaggi, Chief Readiness Officer at Brainshark. Our topic was about how first line sales managers can avoid extinction.
We started by talking about what the first line sales manager role entails. Jim said it was actually 5 roles:
Leader, Coach, Trainer, Recruiter, and Manager
Which of these roles do you see managers doing well today? Where are they lacking?
Most sales managers really play one role – manager of the forecast and pipeline. The aggregate and interpret the data that reps report to them, they massage the numbers before they push them up to the Chief Sales Officer or VP of Sales. While this is important, the missed opportunities are the coaching, training, recruiting and leading teams that the role also requires.
Even from a coaching point of view, many sales managers simply assume the role of “super rep” – they join calls not to coach – but to be the hero – which makes them just another rep. This remains a pervasive problem as reps are promoted into the role often with very little, if any, training to help them be successful in their new position. Lacking training in how to manage and lead their teams, they default to what they know - closing the deal.
Our title starts with the words “avoiding extinction” – how are managers at risk for extinction?
Artificial Intelligence certainly puts sales managers at risk. Think about it. If their primary role is to gather and communicate the forecast and pipeline information, with artificial intelligence the forecast will no longer come from the field but from data.
Without that need for “human interpretation”, that role of keeper of the forecast goes away. And if that is the only role that differentiates a manager from a rep – the role is no longer needed.
So how do managers avoid becoming extinct?
Expand their role and develop their skills as coach and trainer to their teams. What gets in the way of these things happening, according to Jim is that these things are not expected, not inspected and managers often lack the ability.
To address these managers need both strategic coaching and performance coaching to be effective in their role.
Since I'm a believer in "learn 2 earn", and I would suggest that if sales managers are not getting the training that they need to be successful, they should be accountable for investing in themselves.
Technology, including AI, can help in these roles with things like:
Leveraging video coaching technology to allow for asynchronous coaching.
Using AI to help guide managers to where they need to focus on coaching.
Using AI to create “sales simulators” in the same vein as “flight simulators” – allow a rep to simulate a call – and the rep and manager review their performance together.
Delivering “training in a box” digitally to help managers deliver learning to their reps during regular sales meetings.
There was a lot of meat in this discussion, so please enjoy the interview!
Jim Ninivaggi, Chief Readiness Officer at Brainshark. Formerly an analyst, Jim led the sales enablement research practice at SiriusDecisions – helping, in many ways, to define the space, and working at the research firm for 10 years, while publishing 200+ research reports and briefs. He has more than 30 years of experience driving sales productivity and great tips, anecdotes and best practices to share.
In this episode, I talk with Josh Miller, CEO of Deciding Edge and certainly the youngest CEO I have ever had the pleasure of interviewing. I have always been a believer that we should NOT box people in with our generational biases. I believe we can learn from anyone, anywhere and at any age.
During this segment, Josh and I discuss his Gen Z research in partnership with XYZ University. The study was conducted with over 1,000 Gen Z'ers, and the findings will likely surprise you, as they did me. And, like me, I think you will be inspired by Josh's passion and enthusiasm for the work that he does.
While Millennials remain a focus given the fact that they will make up 50% of the workforce by 2020, Gen Z is coming right up behind them and it is NOT too early to get ready.
I started by asking Josh what inspired him to become an entrepreneur at 16 years old.
Josh nails down the definition of Generation Z.
We discussed the research and studies Josh has been doing on the topic.
Josh shared some of the biggest insights that came out of his recently published white-paper. I found some of the research very surprising!
We talked about effective sales strategies to use for Gen Z members of your team.
Finally, I closed by asking Josh about his goals for 2018.
Download your copy of the research report here.
Connect on LinkedIn
Josh Miller is a 16-year-old student, entrepreneur, and thought leader on Gen Z. He currently serves as the CEO of Deciding Edge and Director of Gen Z Studies at XYZ University. He has spoken in front of some of the powerful leaders in the business world, been mentored by top executives, and discussed marketing strategy with Fortune 500 companies.
His work has been featured in prominent national publications. Equipped with a passion around leadership, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy, Miller founded Deciding Edge with the mission of creating a platform for organizations to better understand how to recruit, retain, and sell to Generation Z. As a regular 16-year-old, he enjoys playing basketball, tennis, and spending time with friends and family. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
In this episode, I talked with Ken Lundin. Ken is hosting the B2B Sales Summit, which we discussed in the interview. He was gracious enough to collect 28 of the top speakers to supercharge your sales activities by bringing you the whole experience free of charge. No pitches just pure content - it's an irresistible opportunity. Remember, learners are earners so take advantage of this incredible chance to jumpstart your B2B Sales Success. REGISTER NOW.
Here is what you will learn about in my interview with Ken.
For most listeners, their sales year has just kicked off, and for those listeners who are half-way through their sales year, Ken's nuggets of advice apply to you too.
Ken started off by sharing his actionable advice about the steps that salespeople both individual contributors and their managers do to set themselves up for success.
For anyone looking to fill their pipeline with more qualified sales opportunities, Ken shares his thoughts on the top priorities to focus on to get you there.
The sales cycle is often misunderstood, and Ken and I talked about the most misunderstood aspect of the selling process.
Learn what a salesperson or their sales manager can do today to improve their sales in the coming year.
Hear from Ken about why he decided to create The B2B Sales Summit kicking off on February 6, 2018.
Ken told me what surprised him most when interviewing some of the top sales influencers around the world.
Enjoy the interview AND REGISTER NOW for the B2B Sales Summit for FREE!!
Event Dates: February 6, 2018, to February 14, 2018
About Ken Lundin:
Ken made his sales bones by delivering $26,000,000 in contracts in under 9 months and being a part of a management team recognized as 1 of INC 500 Magazine’s fastest growing companies for 3 years in a row driving sales from under #2 million to $77 million in just 4 years. Today, he is a consultant for Span the Chasm, helping deliver sustainable sales growth for companies under $100 million in revenue and the Host of The B2B Sales Summit.
As 2018 kicks off, what is your process for achieving your sales goals? If you don't follow a process, you going to find it tough to meet your sales objectives. And, that's the topic for today's episode with Jim Brown of Salestuners.
Jim and I discussed:
If you don't have your process nailed down, do it now before you find yourself staring at an empty funnel.
Enjoy the interview!
Jim Brown has led two companies from $1 million to more than $10 million, and one from $1 million to $0. He now trains entrepreneurs who don’t realize they’re the VP of Sales and individual salespeople how to 10X their revenue using a step-by-step sales formula.
Previously, Jim’s sales performance led Slingshot SEO from $1.2 million to $11 million in revenue within two years. He was then recruited to Compendium to build and lead the sales function, which he took from $2 million in sales to an eight-figure acquisition by Oracle. After the Oracle acquisition, Jim left the well paying job and comfort of success that he’d known and raised $1 million for a B2C app startup. They had some initial traction but failed to execute the vision. This resulted in a 100% loss for himself and the investors.
Today, Jim hosts the SalesTuners podcast where he talks with world-class sales performers about the techniques, behaviors, and attitudes that listeners can use to close more deals and make more money.