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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

How to Make Your Weaknesses Irrelevant

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Weaknesses. We all have them. But we all have strengths as well. Which do you focus on? 

Human nature leads us to naturally focus on our weaknesses, but it is a proven fact that we can be significantly more effective when we do the exact opposite! 

In sales coaching, you can get a 10x lift from a salesperson if you focus on their strengths. This is the most highly effective use of your coaching time when you consider that you will only be able to improve people in an area of weakness by about 10%.

Yes, easier said than done at times, so here are some suggestions on how to accomplish that.

Topics: sales performance Talent Sales

Sales Coaching: Why it's a Manager's Job to Give Tough Love

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After a workshop recently, the sales managers and I strategized the best way to help reinforce the learning and training with their sales team. This is something I often do because a workshop is not a training event that stands on its own—it's just the start to what should be continuous learning.

Topics: Management sales performance sales management Sales

Can Sales Ability Really Be Taught?

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Can sales ability really be taught? Or is it a natural talent that you are born with? I now know the answer after observing many real-life experiments in nature vs. nurture during our family’s tradition of participating in Lemonade Day.

Topics: developing strengths sales performance Talent Sales

Improve Your Millennials' Performance With Real-time Feedback

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We’ve been talking about the Millennial generation for years now. Discussing their behaviors, styles, and attitudes, we have debated how this group will likely affect our business moving forward and how we can best develop them to succeed.

This understanding is vital since they will soon fill half of our entire labor force, and Pew Research reports that 58% of them expect to leave their jobs in three years or less. That kind of turnover can be a killer to a sales organization, so we need to figure them out and connect with them in a meaningful way.

But how? It may not be as hard as you thought!

Topics: sales performance Talent coaching

The Key to Improving Sales Performance

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Which is more likely to drive strong sales performance: a focus on the numbers or great attention to the sales process?

I recently heard two people talking about the key to sales performance. One person started by saying that the key is to focus on sales process. Then a few minutes later, the other person described hearing a CEO of a very successful company saying he has learned that the key to driving top sales performance is to focus on the numbers. 

At first, this sounded like a conflict to me. But the more I listened, it turns out they were saying the same thing. It’s not either/or. The lesson is to focus on the numbers that are tied to the sales process. 

Topics: sales performance Sales salespeople

6 Steps to Stop that Leaking Sales Bucket

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We probably all agree that it is easier to fill a bucket when it’s not leaking from the bottom. Seems like a pretty good rule of thumb.

In the context of managing sales revenue and keeping that bucket completely full, things can become pretty difficult when you spring a leak! We need to spend more and more time dumping new business in just to keep a minimum level inside, and that is exhausting.

Although a certain amount of attrition in sales is to be expected, when it becomes problematic, even the best new business program in the world won't fix the problem. So, step one involves fixing the attrition problem that is causing you to miss your monthly, quarterly, and yearly budgets. Only after we have properly patched that leak in the bucket, will we have the opportunity to shift our attention to developing new business and filling that bucket up. 

Topics: Management sales strategy sales performance Sales

Feedback: Your Most Powerful Sales Development Tool

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Feedback. It’s powerful, right? The people who work for us crave it. You like to get it from your boss. Studies show that employees who receive regular feedback (as opposed to intermittent or no feedback) are TEN times more engaged. Yet most managers don’t provide consistent feedback to their direct reports about their skills and achievements. In fact, in most business scenarios feedback is mostly confined to infrequent, formal reviews or budget attainment numbers generated by a computer.

Topics: Management sales performance sales management Sales

A New Year’s Resolution That Will Increase Sales Performance

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Here’s a new year’s resolution I have: I am going to try to be more demanding in 2016! Demanding about the right stuff, that is.

We can all fall into the trap of being ok with good performance (from ourselves and others)—instead of demanding great performance. An example of this for our company is in the area of insights. Many of our clients count on us for insights related to specific categories of business or overall consumer trends that impact numerous business categories. Over the last few years, we've tried to do too much. As a result, we had a lot of average content in our business category insights. This year, we are going to narrow our scope and improve our content (and design). I am going to demand it from all of us.

Topics: sales performance Sales

The Importance of a Hot Button

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I recently had a coaching assignment with a highly ambitious salesperson. This person wasn’t prospecting for new business as often or as much as her manager would like. I’d had a few calls with her and given her a few assignments to complete between our calls in the prospecting part of the sales process. Her performance for me (and for her manager) continued to be lackluster. I've done a lot of individualized coaching over the years. Because of the talent interviews my company does, I am privy to the innate talents of everyone I coach. Often times my coaching assignments are to get people to do something they are not currently doing. Prospecting is often at the top of the list. 

Topics: sales performance Sales

Have You Noticed? Showing Appreciation Drives Performance

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An Accenture study, written about in Forbes, found that 43% of employees who are about to quit their jobs cite lack of recognition from supervisors as the reason they would leave. Every time I read that stat I feel convicted that I don’t always show as much appreciation as I should. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the individuals on my team, it’s just that I have so many things fighting for my attention. It’s easy to miss this key leadership responsibility. Many times managers don’t think about showing appreciation until it’s too late—until someone on their team leaves for another opportunity.  

Topics: sales performance sales culture salespeople