Monday, January 4, 2010

2010: The Year of RESOLVE!

Last year I wrote that I dropped the habit of writing New Year's Resolutions and instead, traded that habit for RESOLVE.

I mentioned that:
A resolution, as defined by Princeton, is a decision to do something or to behave in a certain manner.

Resolve on the other hand, is determination, will power, single-mindedness.

Let me define resolve this way: A determined focus.

That's what I had in 2009. A determined focus to achieve all I can, a determined focus to grow and experience growing pains, and a determined focus to try again when I fail.

Last year, RESOLVE pushed me to focus on my Training company (Training To Go) which led to unparalleled success, ending the year way beyond projections!

Now it's 2010. Resolutions are a thing of the past and I'm making 2010 The Year of RESOLVE, x2!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Closing a Sale is a Natural Action!

Sales is the natural conclusion to a normal conversation between people. Period. When we are selling ourselves, our products, our services...we are most successful having normal (natural) conversations with other people who have a need fulfilled by our: self, product, service, etc.

Sales done improperly results in an unnatural conclusion (this is what some would call a "closing technique") due to an abnormal conversation (you could think of this as a lopsided conversation) between people. And an unnatural conclusion is usually a "NO."

Selling can be easy if you a) be yourself, b) think about the customer instead of yourself, and c) don't lose sight of a&b as they are critical to your sales.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Change the Game in Corporate Training

I want to change the game in training.

Over the past decade I have trained literally thousands of different people (approaching 10,000) and what I consistently hear shocks me. To the core. I've received hundreds and hundreds of comments just like these:
"I have never paid attention to a training class like I did yours - you made it so interesting."

"You are the best trainer I have ever had!"

"Truly amazing, I have no feedback for how you can improve."

"Normally, training class is something we all dread but we all were coming in early and staying after asking questions in your class."

"You are the Tiger Woods of Training!"
Forget the comments -- did you catch what I said prior? I said it shocks me to the core to hear comments like those. You'd think it would make me feel special, but I'm not that special...I'm just in an industry that as a whole needs a radical change.

It seems the general approach to training is apathy, not a good approach when the United States of America has fallen WAY behind in the workplace. Why do so many companies -- myriads of companies -- accept mediocrity from employees? I'm confident we can right the ship but it will take a complete do-over. It is time for instructors and learners alike to get on board with a new plan for corporate training.

Our first step: Stop rushing. Start over.

Forget everything we thought we knew and focus on only one thing -- the learner. It's not about the trainer. It's not even about the company! It is about the learner.

It's time we change the game in training -- we need to do it for the salesperson, the customer service rep, the managers and other leaders, in other words...the learner.

I plan to change the game by:
1 - focusing on Training 2.0 as a supplementary means of learning, in addition to and outside the traditional handcuffs of a classroom, a computer, 3-ring binders...
2 - making training REAL, abandoning simulations
3 - training in parallel with Sales efforts -- ALL YEAR LONG, EVERY YEAR
4 - sharing what I know about training and learning with Sales Managers, equipping THEM to drive the success of training
5 - showing ridiculous passion in my blog, podcasts, tweets ... and all other realms where I can impact Corporate Training.

It is time to Change the Game in Corporate Training! I'm starting my efforts on Twitter and this blog. Please join me in the conversation, then join me in the transformation!

Friday, January 2, 2009

2009: No Resolutions, only Resolve!

This year, I dropped the habit of writing New Year's Resolutions. Instead, I'm trading that habit for a new experience. This year, no more resolutions! Only...Resolve.

A resolution, as defined by Princeton, is a decision to do something or to behave in a certain manner.

Resolve on the other hand, is determination, will power, single-mindedness.

Let me define resolve this way: A determined focus.

A determined focus to achieve all I can in 2009.
A determined focus to grow and experience growing pains in 2009.
A determined focus to try again when I fail.

Make 2009 a year of Resolve, not just resolutions.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Do NOT Be Tempted!

Don't be tempted to skip the Training Needs Analysis. It's easy to claim we are busy or overworked or other. It is critical -- REQUIRED -- that a Training Needs Analysis must be conducted for all new training requests.

Too often (in my industry almost always) there is such a push for training salespeople when revenues are down, but executives don't believe there is any time to wait for proper planning and development to meet the need.

Let me assure you -- if you skip the Training Needs Analysis stage, your training will miss the mark and your training organization will rightly become an excuse for poor performance. There is no "winging it" with training.

As Julie Andrews said: start at the very beginning, it's a very good place to start. Let me rephrase that for our industry: start at the very beginning, with a Training Needs Analysis.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Abandon the Powerpoint

This year (2008) my team and I have been measuring our training successes with and without the use of Powerpoint visuals.

We measured several key statistical areas: Content, Instructor, Environment, and an Overall category.

When foregoing the Powerpoint visual, our Content scores are up 18%, Instructor scores are up just over 20%, Environment scores are up 9%, and the Overall category scores are up 17%.

In each case, the instructor(s) remained the same for both versions of training. No matter the instructor, each time we measured results, the scores were higher in all categories! We attribute the improvements due to an increased connection between the instructor and the trainees.

If you have conducted similar research, please let me know. Until then, get back in touch with your students -- Abandon the Powerpoint!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How dumb are your sales reps?

Wake up! Your sales reps are not dumb.

The question really is, "Why do so many sales execs treat them as if they are?"

Recently, I had the pleasure of working with some brilliant Fortune 50 salespeople in the Boston area. Almost to a person, they had this comment, "why are we being asked to sell the cool new cutting-edge services but are both: a) being paid better to sell the older services, and b) required to sell 80% of our quota on the older services before even making one penny on sales of the newer ones?"

Wow! Unfortunately, this disconnect exists in way too many sales organizations in our country. I see it with each organization I come in contact with and there is no excuse. Wall Street is kind for a day or less ... but will your company make the really tough decisions early enough to be around for that day?

Your sales reps will sell: a) what you pay them to, and b) what you tell them to -- so quit treating them as if they are dumb, they aren't. Set your incentives to drive the behaviors you want, then focus marketing and support efforts around THOSE behaviors.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sell YOU

What a great idea - !! This morning I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Executives in/around the Boston area, thru a great tool called BlitzTime. Our guest speaker covered the 3 C's of Social Marketing. She did a great job, but in her introduction, she mentioned hating salespeople. I thought, WHAT?? Aren't we all in sales???? The question is rhetorical, the answer is yes.

Two of my all-time favorites on "Selling YOU!" are:

You, Inc, by Harry Beckwith and Christine Clifford Beckwith, and
Selling for Dummies, by Tom Hopkins

We are always selling ourselves whether we know it...or not.

Recently I joined the Basho Community, what a great site providing poignant information directed to the sales professional. A blog covering CEO M. Jeffrey Hoffman's recent interview with SellingPower Magazine provided advice to the new sales manager. Hoffman is a sales sage and I appreciate what he's doing for our industry. I must, however, disagree in principle with the approach he recommends for new sales managers.

Instead, espouse the "Sell YOU!" mentality. Many sales managers find themselves in their managerial role due to a promotion received as a highly successful salesperson. Guess what - that doesn't mean they are qualified, YET.

Take ownership of your new role by focusing on your strengths, sell YOU to your new team, lift them up to your standards, and help ALL of them succeed.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

"I'm in Marketing."

People "in Marketing" aren't necessarily Marketers. In fact, most of the time people "in Marketing" don't seem to get Marketing, at all.

Several years ago when I worked for MCI, our meeting with our VP was in full swing when I realized the sadness of our situation. In the room, of all the VP's direct reports, only I had been in the field with actual salespeople and customers in, get this ... 3 years. No wonder we had meetings all the time to constantly REACT to what was happening around us. We didn't even know what being proactive meant.

Guess what ... this happens everywhere and it is self-evident when talking to salespeople as they are unequipped to do their jobs in large part due to the people "in Marketing" whose responsibility it is to determine the market approach.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Cross-over Training

Creating Marketing and Training materials/collateral/etc. gives us an opportunity to brand, or stay within our brand... but that's a given. What about the opportunity to make our materials cross-over into the domains of both Marketing and Training?

As my team builds Training material for a large midwestern company, it occurs to me we could take the tone from our Training docs and mimic in our Marketing collateral.

Doing so creates a set of materials that are much easier to understand and eliminates the need to create a sales rep (internal) version and also a customer (external) version.

We're calling them "Solutions@Work" and they launch for my customer in May 2008. I'll let you know in a later blog if the Cross-over approach is as successful as I predict!