What is the commonality of a fighter pilot neurosurgeon or navy SEAL trial lawyer and marine? These are considered by many as elite occupations with significant barriers to acceptance and retention. Despite these obstacles, they remain a magnet for candidates every year who want to overcome those barriers. Would it be interesting to use the same strategies and strategies employed in the creation of elite careers to creating top sales teams? There’s no need to make a whole new concept. Simply use some of the wheels that already exist for these professions.
Strategy #1: Lift the bar to allow entry and retention.
An attorney and a neurosurgeon attend between six and 16 years of high school. A Navy SEAL has to go through hell week, and a marine has to pass the boot camp. Do you find it challenging to obtain an appointment on your sales team, or is it the matter of giving a few interviews and establishing trust? Are you unable to stay with the sales staff? People who are sharp and competitive do not want to be part of a team that allows any person to join and then wait. They would like to belong to an elite group with everyone knowing that fees for membership are expensive and demanding.
The word “middle-class” doesn’t attract excellence. This is why top performers are drawn to teams in which the entry barrier is exceptionally high, not low. James Murphy, CEO of AfterBurner, is the owner of an organization that trains fighter pilots. AfterBurner teaches companies to use the same methods that are used to develop fighter pilots to improve the processes within their company. In a recent discussion, James shared that the most challenging aspect of working with companies is to get them to improve their standard of excellence. The companies fear that by raising their bar, they’ll lose their employees, and they are correct. They will lose ….average individuals. This could lead to creating a “top gun’ culture that attracts…you know what, top guns.’
Strategy #2: Teach your employees to make them the most effective.
Dan Carrison and Rod Walsh are the authors of “Semper Fi,” A business book built on principles that they learned when both men were enlisted into the Marine Corps. It is said that the Marine Corps is a highly trained fighting unit, and they are typically the first ones to go into combat. They want you to think like a marine, and they can’t afford a soldier who is unable to react under the fire. They train their values, mission, and tactics to new recruits every day. In boot camp, a sergeant will interrupt an individual for a brief discussion and request them to repeat in front of them one of the hundred words that are required to be memorized from the Marine Guide book. Sales companies can take lessons from marines. How can many sales executives approach the members on their team of sales and request them to explain the values that define the company or their value offering?
Take this “sales marine” quiz for your company:
Private, send me your 30-second commercial.
Private, discard the most frequent complaint in our organization and then the correct response.
What are the fundamental values of the company?
Private What are your top ten goals for this year?
Private Which are your top 10 clients, and how are you serving them?
“Sales soldiers” are deployed every day without having the correct equipment or education. This results in that turnover rises and sales decrease, and motivation is reduced.
Strategy #3: Recognize and raise.
When a person is deemed eligible to join an elite company an organization, it continues to push the boundaries of excellence and acknowledge those who remain at the top of their game. The top sales companies create this atmosphere through:
Create special clubs that offer more than meeting a sales goal. The entry into the club may be a result of reaching the sales target and cross-selling for a different division and customer satisfaction scores and retention rates for customers. The “top gun” salesperson may be attracted to memberships in clubs that exclude the average customer and reward the top.
The importance of public recognition for building sales teams that are elite. A lot of men don’t like jewelry, but it’s likely that the majority of men would be willing to wear a Super Bowl ring. Awards jackets, pendants, and calls are but some of the symbols of recognition. The object isn’t so important as the recognition that the sign symbolizes. That symbol must indicate that the person belongs to an elite club.
In closing, Do not confuse elitism with pretense or snobbery. The elite are usually well-educated and confident. They acquire these qualities because they have succeeded in areas that are difficult to achieve.
Colleen Stanley serves as the president and founder of SalesLeadership, Inc., the sales strategy company that generates revenue by looking at all aspects of sales to identify poor sales targets and slowing growth. She developed her own EI Selling System, a unique and highly effective sales system that combines emotional intelligence and consultative sales abilities. SalesLeadership’s expert team focuses on mid-sized to small businesses that need to boost sales and also want to reduce the game-playing and gimmicks that are often used in the selling process.
Colleen is a regular columnist for the national Business Journals, co-author of “Motivational Selling, and the author of Growing strong sales teams: Learnings From the Cornfield.’ Colleen was the keynote presenter on sales during the New York Times Small Business Summit. Prior to launching SalesLeadership, Colleen was vice director of marketing and sales for Varsity Spirit Corporation. In the ten years she was at Varsity, sales grew from 8 million to 90 million.
Services offered for training and consultation include:
The Benchmarking, Selection, and Hiring of top sales talent
Consultative Sales Training
Training in Leadership for Sales Managers
Sales Presentation Skills
Major Account Sales
Recruitment and Referral Training
Customer Relationship Management
Professional Behavior Analyst
Professional Values Analyst
Professional TriMetrix Analyst
An Emotional Intelligence Quotient Analyst from BarOn
Sales Analysts who call reluctance