A couple of months ago, I met one of my students who had climbed to the top of Mount Everest. Being a bit less of a climber, I was expecting him to go on regarding “reaching the summit,” “being motivated with the team,” and the like. To my surprise, he chose not to think about all of those things. Instead, he simply made the idea that climbing a huge mountain can be really difficult. It’s that difficult actually that you’re unable to complete it all in one go. A successful summit isn’t just a hike up the hill; it’s the final in the series of trips to the top and down.
One of the major themes that he spoke about was acclimatization. There’s a lot of medical science behind this concept; however, what it boils to is that our bodies aren’t made to work in the type of environments that exist at around 29,000 feet. To remain in such an environment, with its thin air for longer than three or two minutes and not die, takes an extensive amount of getting used to. The only way to become accustomed to it is to do it over and again, which is why you make treks across the top and the bottom of the mountain and hauling equipment back and back and forth. It may take months, and in a slow and methodical manner, that climber is pushed slightly beyond its comfortable area, descends to take a break, and then pushes up to a higher elevation.
What immediately struck me apart from the type of commitment required to go on one of these trips were the parallels which can be drawn between the process of acclimatization and the manner sales managers are expected to direct their salespeople. We, as supervisors, may occasionally be impatient. The desire of trying to “get people moving” can be so intense that we sometimes forget that some of our sales team are still adjusting to a new environment.
It’s not just the newbies. Selling is among the fields that can teach us much about human behavior and nature. Someone who is used to earning a comfortable and not too extravagant income will continue to work at the same level of productivity until they are motivated to change, either through an internal motivator or an external trigger. As a director of sales, it’s crucial to do your part to help ease your sales team towards higher, higher expectations.
Here are four tips for selling to help you start:
Take one step at one time. The process of planning a mountain trek isn’t easy because there are hundreds of small details that have to be taken into consideration. To help clear the confusion, guides and team leaders make tiny steps along the way. They know that there’s no need to be concerned about the journey to come next week. Learn from their experience and put your sales team in the right mindset. Make them focus on at a couple of months from now with a slightly more ambitious target than what they’ve had previously. They won’t get at a loss for something that seems too far away and can concentrate on the smaller tasks they’ll need to accomplish to reach larger objectives for the organization.
Help them to gain access to accounts: Just like you’re not able to climb a mountain hill in just a few hours, Executive level sales don’t happen in the first phone call or even the first order. The most efficient way for you and your team of salespeople to generate massive sales is to start by creating small ones and gradually working upwards on the ladder of the company.
Support the climb: While foreign mountaineers often get all the praise and attention but a seasoned adventurer will inform you that one of the keys to climbing a mountain successfully is a strong network of support. From Sherpas carrying equipment as well as logistical coordinators and corporate sponsor as well as travel agencies The people working behind the scenes that help put the stars in the position of pulling off the unimaginable. Your sales team isn’t likely to secure the most lucrative accounts in the absence of similar support from those in reception, accounting as well as product development and other departments. Assist other managers – and even your own sales team – to identify areas where coordination between internal departments can be improved, and then take action to make it happen. It’s not easy for an individual to break the sales record, yet a group working together will be able to do it repeatedly.
Begin by establishing a relationship with the correct people. It’s a tragic truth that many people don’t have the bodies that could reach the summit of a mountain, like Everest, regardless of how much training and acclimatizing we’ve gone through. A few of us do not have the capacity or the genetics to push ourselves to that extent. You know what? Certain women and men have the potential to be successful in sales, whereas other people will fail regardless of how they try. But, unlike our climbing buddies, it’s not necessary to plan an expedition to Nepal to discover which ones you’re winning with. A variety of accurate personality tests exist and could assist you in hiring a high-end sales team prior to spending on training.
The climb to the Himalayas may not be top of your list of priorities. But if you are able to learn from others who have and follow these four tips that you and your sales staff could climb to the top.