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The Only Way To Attract And Maintain High-Performing Salespeople: Understand How They Think.

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A recruiter approached me to do some business development work for a tech company as a side gig. I told him to setup a face-to-face meeting to discuss the opportunity with the Sales Director.

Oddly enough, the Sales Director told the recruiter that he didn’t like “My Kind Of People” and thought that people in Financial Services were weak salespeople.

I assertively went back to the recruiter and told him my background and skillset, and asked him to chat again with the Sales Director.

This time the Sales Director came back and asked for the following:

1. What companies had I worked with?
2. What end-to-end sales opportunities had I done myself?
3. What partnerships had I been involved with?

For someone running a sales business, I was surprised by the response.

“There’s no list of computer-generated questions that will attract a quality salesperson to a business”

Sales is about human interaction.

The only way you’ll ever know a candidate’s ability to influence is by meeting them in person. The moment you try and screen out quality candidates that come highly recommended, with genuine references, you’re screwed!

Fifteen minutes with a salesperson will tell you more than 6 hours of recruiter/internet research.

Don’t treat salespeople like revenue generating robots – otherwise, you’re F**KED.

The treatment I received from this company made me feel like a robot. It was if they were asking the following:

“Can you comply with blunt orders because our private equity firm needs to make money?”
Why are you challenging my emails? Just be a robot and follow orders.

The moment a salesperson gets a sniff that you only care about how much money they can make you, you’re up sh*t creek without a paddle as we like to say in Australia, mate.

Whether we like it or not salespeople want to be treated like human beings – just like everyone else. We’re searching for a human connection and too much focus on “NUMBERS, NUMBERS, NUMBERS” shows a lack of understanding when it comes to the science of achievement.

Obviously, salespeople care about making money, but just looking at spreadsheets all day with revenue numbers won’t tell you the whole story. Revenue is affected by:

– The culture
– The other sales members
– The product or service being sold
– Perception of the company from the outside
– Perception of the company on social media
– The way staff treat their customers
– The values of the organization
– How the company gives back to the community outside of just “PROFIT, PROFIT, PROFIT”

The simple fact is that if you don’t understand the non-revenue factors of a business like people, you shouldn’t be in sales – you should be counting widgets in a factory and filling out a card that says “Successfully shipped to customer, next order please.”

Discrimination is an ugly business – especially in sales.

What this Sales Director showed me was just how naive people can be when they discriminate. Your business could be missing out on amazing sales talent just because you’re using binary decision-making skills to find talent.

Quick story:

The best salesperson I ever hired worked for one of my companies. He came to the interview wearing a stained red jumper, old faded cargo pants, a pair of tradesman boots and a ciggie in his mouth. He was currently working for a charity cold-calling people and asking them for money.

He was homeless and living in his car – which I later found out. After four weeks working for us, he made zero sales. We went down to fire him one Friday afternoon and he’d gone home early. We decided to do it on Monday instead.

On Monday morning I went to the Snake Pit (the name of the sales room at the time) to find him. To my surprise, I interrupted him writing his sales on the whiteboard which he’d been saving until all the contracts were signed. In 4 weeks he’d outsold the entire sales team!!!

He went on to be the top-performer working only a few hours per day because of his incredible sales skill. Later on, I found out this man used to be worth more than $100M and he went on to be a friend, mentor, top salesperson and the best guy I’ve ever met in sales.

On face value, he looked like a bum and was unimpressive. My immaturity at the time (and youth) nearly made me miss the best candidate I was ever going to find.

Discrimination and pigeon-holing people is a nasty business. The cost of missed opportunity by being a total idiot and ignoring people based on surface level nonsense is a game you don’t want to play.

Algorithms and surveys can’t determine sales talent – people do that!

The bigger the ego, the bigger the problem later on.

I remember a sales guy I worked with who was nicknamed “The Maverick.”

He had the biggest ego you could ever imagine and at the start, it was a little funny. As time went on, his ego got even more out of control.

He was hitting on the female staff, upsetting the other salespeople, trying to steal sales, undermining management for his own selfish interests and doing anything he could to look good.

An out of control ego at the start should be a massive red flag. It only gets worse later on. Selfish pursuits of power and success always end in tears – even in sales. High-performing salespeople are leaders in the making and want to duplicate their qualities in the up and coming sales staff.

That doesn’t mean confidence should be ignored.

Yes, a heavily inflated ego is a problem in sales but lack of confidence is too. You want some level of confidence so that when you put a newly hired salesperson into the field, they have the guts, belief in themselves and determination to succeed.

You can’t spoon-feed a salesperson; they need the ability to have control of their destiny. Control takes confidence to wake up every day and execute on an outcome.

Order takers vs. salespeople.

I want to dispel a myth: there’s nothing wrong with order takers. The field of sales often put down people who work in big companies and take orders.

There’s a need for these people though in most businesses. These individuals can follow orders, sell off a script, are often cheaper to hire and can use the brand of the company to sell.

Salespeople, on the other hand, can use rapport and human interaction to make a potential customer feel something about a product or service. This feeling can then be translated into real business and a repeat customer down the line.

Neither the salesperson or the order taker are evil people; they just have different skills and perform a different function. I’ve even seen order takers be trained into salespeople later on if they have the growth mindset to believe they can crossover to the dark side.

A word on execution.

There’s plenty of great salespeople out there but what separates the good from the incredible (the same goes for entrepreneurs) is execution. We can all get a client excited for a few brief minutes but translating that into revenue for the business and an ongoing relationship is much harder.

Hiring for execution as well as sales ability is an important combination. When the skill of execution is lacking, you’ll often have salespeople that fall into the trap of making big promises and expecting “The Rest Of The Business” to deliver on these promises.

This lack of ownership creates lots of sales business and a poor customer experience which does more damage. The best way to find salespeople who can sell and execute is to understand how they manage their day – in other words, can they demonstrate the skill of productivity.

An easy hack I use is to take a look at their diary for the last few weeks. Just because they are back-to-back with meetings, does not mean they are productive. Most sales meetings are unproductive and don’t lead to any tangible business outcomes.

I look for blank space in diaries, and salespeople that time-box slots in their diary for thinking and empty space. These rare gems do less, have time to see shifts in the market and can see the broader vision of the business.

A gun salesperson can say NO.

Not all business is good business. Some sales opportunities cost more than they bring back to the company in value.

A high-performing salesperson can focus on good business and say no to business too. A weak salesperson says yes to every sales opportunity which ultimately means they’ll drown themselves in unproductive work later on.

No business can be all things, to all customers.

Avoid being deceived by looks.

Any salesperson can buy a nice suit, roll up in a luxury car, drink a cafe latte and talk a big game. Don’t let looks cloud your judgment.

“Looks can be faked; human nature and emotional intelligence cannot be. Phenomenal salespeople understand these two traits like the back of their hand”

Empathy and compassion wins every time in sales.

Understanding how a potential salesperson thinks is about getting inside their head. You can do this through the use of deliberate questions that focus on whether they can be empathetic and compassionate.

Given that salespeople all deal with humans, the ability to be aware of a person’s feelings will be the guiding skill they need to influence an individual to make a decision.

“People buy off feelings and so you want your salespeople to be experts at feeling and understanding human emotion”

All sales solutions solve a problem and with any challenge comes emotion. If you solve a problem as a salesperson but don’t understand the emotion, you’ll probably lose the deal. The feelings and emotions attached to the problem drive the outcome more than the problem itself.

“Again, machines can solve problems; humans solve the emotions and feelings that come bundled with the problem”

Coach-ability and open-mindedness.

The Sales Director that missed out on hiring me was focused on the fixed results I’d already achieved. The thing is that the best salespeople can be coached and are open-minded. These two skills are fundamental for the following reasons:

– Industry changes quickly so a fixed mindset will ignore these changes
– Salespeople that know everything hold business back
– The problem a salesperson can solve is often missed if they’re not open-minded enough to see it
– The problem can be solved using the wrong solution if the salesperson has a fixed mindset

Experience can sometimes be the worst attribute.

Some of the worst candidates I’ve ever interviewed come with five or more years’ experience. This is because experience can often lead a salesperson to adopt a fixed mindset. Too much experience can cause a candidate to want to do things the way they’ve always been done.

Taking someone who’s got no experience can be a blessing in disguise.

A famous example of this is the founders of Airbnb. They had no experience in the hotel industry which is how they were naive enough and bold enough to use skills from other industries like tech to completely rethink the industry.

Maybe the salespeople you’re hiring with years of experience are the problem.

The answer is there is no perfect sales candidate.

I know what you’re thinking: “Damn it Tim! Why do you keep speaking so much truth?”

Just like there is no easy way to predict which startup will become the next billion-dollar unicorn -there are so many factors to consider and sometimes you’ve got to take a chance and stop thinking you know it all.

None of us have all the answers and your predisposed bias of the past is holding you back from hiring perfectly good candidates.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Success Advice

How to Be a Selfless Leader in Your Business

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Leaders are required to make decisions daily that impact the success of the business and its bottom line. Understanding leadership training key terms can offer insight into core values and principles associated with leading people. Leadership training prepares leaders to recognize a variety of leadership styles prevalent in many organizations, the significance of communication, team building, and establishing a vision.

The following 6 key terms are important to building foundational skills in leadership:

1. Leadership style

Leadership style is the process of exploring the methods leaders use to approach guiding human capital in the workplace or on organized projects. It can encompass persuasive presentation skills that inspires trust, integrity, character, positive role modeling and other behaviors useful when working towards a goal.

2. Vision planning

According to leadership experts, a vision is an idealized picture or snapshot of the future, and vision planning is the ability to communicate core values and articulate a sense of direction by implementing a plan as it pertains to this vision. Organizational vision encompasses a strategic plan that generates motivational impact and leads employees to a specific outcome or shared desired goal.

“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” – John Maxwell

3. Team building

Team building is the method a leader chooses to empower a group of people using motivational strategies and guidance to accomplish a specific task. Effective team building must encompass an understanding of organizational culture and the dynamics of teamwork in order to exceed shared goals and objectives.

4. Communication

Communication is the ability to impart and exchange information through the process of listening, writing and speaking. Successful leaders understand that enhancing communication skills not only makes them more effective as leaders, but boosts the company’s success as well.

5. Performance evaluation

An important aspect of leadership training is determining whether the steps taken towards a goal are working. One of the many roles of a successful leader is to appraise or assess the effectiveness of both individual and collective workplace skills and strategies to achieve stated goals.

“A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better.” – Jim Rohn

6. Decision making

The term decision making is the process of choosing from several ideas or choices. It’s the practice of targeted determinations that can offer creative problem solving solutions. This is a vital skill in developing potential leaders because it strengthens the use of critical thinking and resourcefulness to make choices on behalf of the company.

How to be a selfless leader in your business organization

Many leaders try to play it safe when leading their business. In other words, they don’t really lead. They are afraid of taking risks and possibly making some people unhappy. It’s important to note that when you own a business, you may make decisions that won’t make everyone happy. Ideally, your culture will be set up so that what you do is transparent and enables people to speak up and share their concerns.

At the same time, people in an organization want their leaders to lead and part of that involves the leader making a passionate commitment to the direction the business needs to go in. When there isn’t clear leadership in a business, then the business is like a ship that is moving in a circle. It’s going nowhere.

A leader must always make it clear that what they are doing is actually serving the best interests of the business as opposed to their own best interests. If people in the organization think that a leader is abusing their position, it can create a toxic situation in the business bringing it down as people leave or sabotage the business.

A leader must be selfless, focused on what will truly benefit the business and the people in it. They must be willing to share the spotlight, instead of taking all the credit and must recognize the value of trusting the talents of the people they work with.

Recently, I was talking with a client of mine. He was having some personnel issues, and I suggested he carefully evaluate the talents of each person involved. After doing that, he made some changes in roles, and the people involved were much happier because they were doing the work that capitalized on their talents.

Throughout this process he was transparent and he made it clear that the changes he was making were for the benefit of the company. Each person involved saw that because the leader was honest and focused on the success of the business. He wasn’t making changes to make it easier for him, but rather making changes that would really help the business succeed. That’s the kind of leadership that is needed when a business undergoes changes or needs to focus on a specific direction.

What does being a selfless leader mean to you? How do you focus on the welfare of your business and show that to the people involved in the business? Share with us below!

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Success Advice

Things You Need to Know to Succeed as a Life Coach

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Becoming a life coach is one of the biggest choices you will ever make. Your choice in this field will change how you treat your spouse, how you empathize with others, and how you manage your business.

When I decided to make life coaching my goal, I had many steps to take before I reached the finish line and I wasn’t quite sure how to motivate myself to get there. I know that I am not the only one who struggles with staying motivated. That’s why I’m sharing with you the secrets that helped me make my dreams a reality.

Dan Sullivan is the founder of The Strategic Coach, a company that helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Dan is often considered to be the number one entrepreneurship coach on the planet. If there is anyone who can motivate you to make your dreams a reality and go for gold – it’s him.

Here are the 2 life-changing ideas I learned about becoming a life coach:

1. Keep Selling Yourself

Don’t sell yourself short – but keep selling yourself on your future. Dan Sullivan suggests that the reason why we, as entrepreneurs, can’t focus on achieving our goals is that we haven’t actually sold ourselves on our project or endeavor. I believe this wholeheartedly. We may have listed our pros and cons, we have an ideal outcome, and we may even have a backup plan – but we haven’t truly committed to our goal.

In order to properly take advantage of an opportunity, we must be focused. There is no doubt that we live in a new age of multi-tasking. We watch videos while we respond to e-mails, we’re glued to our phones when we’re out on dates with our spouses – we even have the option to have two multi-tasking windows open on our smart devices so that we can do different things at the same time.

But studies show multitasking accomplishes less in the long-run. Multitasking reduces both our performance and efficiency. Dan suggests instead of trying to do everything at once, sell yourself on three tasks a day. The next day, sell yourself on three more. This will help you to have more focus and drive on what you are doing. You will accomplish more and feel better about fulfilling your goals.

2. The 3 Wins are Everything

Dan suggests that positive focus is everything when it comes to succeeding in business. That’s why he developed “The 3 Wins” mindset. After the day is done and you’re getting ready for bed, focus on three wins you had. By focusing on the three things you did right, you practice gratitude in your personal life. You set goals, reach them, and then celebrate them – no matter how small! This can help you have a more positive mindset going forward.

Dan Sullivan explains, “I would look at tomorrow… and I’d say, ‘Well these are gonna be my three biggest wins for tomorrow’. So, I would go to bed feeling good about the day, excited about the next day, and I would get up the next morning excited. So, then I would go out that day and try to have to three wins, but often times what happened is that I had wins that were bigger than the three I imagined the night before.”

The feeling of accomplishment is addictive. Not only does it feel great to get work done and accomplish our goals, but it encourages us to keep working hard in life. We work hard to grow our business, to maintain a healthy marriage, and to give our clients our best. By focusing on The 3 Wins, we view each day as a new opportunity to stay motivated and achieve something great.

How to Succeed in Becoming a Life Coach

Along with these life-changing ideas, here are some other great tips for anyone who is thinking of becoming a life coach.

1. Rapport is Essential

When you are becoming a life coach, you learn that your ability to have a rapport with your clients is just as important as the chemistry you felt with your spouse when you first started dating. Are you good at striking up a conversation? Do you have a knack for getting people to trust you or open up about their problems? If so, then you will be a natural at building your entrepreneurial business because your ability to connect with your clients is important.

2. Ask the Important Questions

As a life coach, it’s your job to ask the hard questions. This means that you must be intuitive about your client and really get to know and understand their thoughts and intentions. Only then can you help them reach their life goals.

3. Get Comfortable with Silence

Silence between two people can be the most uncomfortable, awkward, cringe-worthy experience, but as a life coach, it’s your job to let it happen anyway. When there is silence, your client will be eager to fill the void, which often leads them to show vulnerability and really work through their issues.

4. Don’t Take Things Personally

Your clients are not always going to gel with you. This may cause them to leave your services. Don’t take it personally. Alternatively, you may have a great rapport with your client, but that doesn’t always mean that they will take your advice. This can be frustrating for you, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to continue building trust between you and your client.

You can make becoming a life coach a reality. Stay motivated by selling yourself on new ideas and strategies every day. It’s also beneficial to remind yourself of your three wins and always strive to keep growing and getting better. By becoming a life coach, you show people that you care, have an excellent rapport, and aren’t afraid of the hard questions – or the silence!

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Success Advice

Consistency Is the Hidden Power to Your Success

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It’s often difficult to start a new habit or change an old behavior. There are enough books and courses online that will teach you about planning your day, planning your night, organizing your home, filtering through paperwork, and on and on it goes.

In the midst of a lot of busywork, though, there lies what I believe is a hidden secret to anyone’s success. Getting into detail about this secret, though, calls for a little reflection on your part. Look at the people you admire, whether alive or dead. Reading about their successes and failures teaches powerful lessons for life.

People will talk about “getting into a groove” and how it feels good. Writing, for me, comes a lot better when I am in a groove or in the flow. Words and phrases come quite easily because I’m sitting down to have a written conversation with you. By the way, it also helps to have a lot of experience as a writer in the back pocket too.

The Answer Lies Within The Question

What’s the secret?” you keep asking. Look at what you are doing in your life today. In business, are you moving forward or stagnant? Connecting with new leads or looking to keep the wolves at bay by taking anything offered? Are you making time to actually do the work while also having some fun?

When you look at the values and practices of successful businesses and entrepreneurs, the one thing that is obvious is that they have developed a level of consistency in their actions. Did it happen overnight after having an awakening experience? Probably not. It was a lot of little things, done over a period of time, and it produced success.

Consistency in business, relationships, friendships, health, wellness, spirituality…you name it. Staying consistent with your actions will lead to results. Here’s a quick caveat: Make sure these consistent habits and behaviors are healthy and nurturing. It does matter in business that you develop a pattern of consistency which reflects a deep level of appreciation for people in your business or on your team.

“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” – Dwayne The Rock Johnson

Time and time again, studies have shown how actually being consistent in showing employees appreciation and gratitude can raise the level of work much higher. If you consistently show up as a little tyrant and liar, then you’re going to get burned. If you consistently show up as someone who reflects humility, gratitude and thankfulness for what is going on in your business and life, then you’ll get more of it.

Like attracts like. It’s just that simple. Consistency is one of the most powerful practices and forces that you can add into your business and life.

Here are three specific suggestions that can help you develop a strong core of consistency today:

1. Start out small

Let’s use a restaurant analogy real quick. You walk into a place and you’re hungry. You look at the menu and see a full-course meal that has everything you love in it. Therefore, you order it. The platter comes and you go, “Oh man, that’s a lot of food.” Eat the whole platter in one sitting and you might have a bellyache later on.

If you looked at the platter, took a little bit and ate that, then you’d have some leftovers. You start out small on the meal, not stuff your face with all the food at once. Same concept with consistency. Start out small on what you want to achieve. Just make a little beginning and follow that path.

2. Take your time

What’s the hurry here? Consistency doesn’t pick up right away if you do a total deep dive into it. You have to take your time and go at your own pace. Look, peeking at what Mr. X or Mrs. L is doing will not help you one bit. Patience and persistence are two little powerful motors to help consistency become a part of your life. Even then, though, you have to take your time. Your time, not someone else’s.

“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, it’s what we do consistently.” – Tony Robbins

3. Appreciate the journey

While you are on the road to consistency, there are going to be bumps along the way. Just know that going forward. There are two ways to look at this: get frustrated and angry and simply say “nope, this consistency thing isn’t worth it”; or, just continue on the path and appreciate all the stops along the way. Developing a practice of appreciation and gratitude can also play roles in you trusting that level of consistency to appear in your life.

Consistency does equal success. How you define success might be as simple as getting up in the morning and feeling grateful you have a roof over your head, food to eat, and clothes to wear. It might be closing the biggest business deal in your life. It might be looking at your children and knowing they are healthy, well, and happy. It also might be that you survived going through hell in life and made it through just fine.

All it takes is a few consistent actions to change the way you show up in this world. We all need people and examples that remind us about the little secret of consistency. Take your mind off of your phone and out of your laptop sometimes. Look around. You can find these types of success stories all around. They reflect their own results of the power of consistency. Tap into this power today and change your world, along with others too.

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Success Advice

4 Ways You Can Develop Indispensable People as a Business Owner

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In a world where more artificial intelligence, robots and automation are taking over, good employees are beginning to feel less and less indispensable. However, they don’t need to be because robots and AI cannot replace human common sense and authentic, heartfelt engagement. That being said, more and more employers are looking for good employees who want to become great leaders within the organization and are willing to make the investment.

Here are 4 ways organizations can develop indispensable employees:

1. Invest in training & personal development

Personal development is definitely the responsibility of an employee and their own willingness to improve themselves overall. But when you combine that with an employer who is looking to keep quality talent and who sees the tremendous value in assisting their employees growth, the results are incredible.

Statistics show as one of the top three non-financial motivators, 76% of employees want opportunities for career growth. They also show that corporate training has grown to over $70 billion in the United States alone. Companies that do make the investment in their employee’s learning and development tend to lead the way and sustain longevity.

They also become the most sought after places to work for. When you help grow your employees, your employees will help grow your business.

“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” – Richard Branson

2. Empower them with decision-making abilities

You will find that many companies try to create a “think like an owner” mentality throughout their organizations. While this is a great strategy to implement, it cannot be fully accomplished when an employee does not have the appropriate decision making capabilities.

Companies that empower their employees to make the proper decisions (within reason and to a certain extent), become more effective and efficient as a whole. They are able to provide support to both their internal and external customers without having to wait for longer than needed timeframes to get responses.

Empowering employees through training and mentoring is one of the best practices a company can make. The more power an employee has to make certain decisions, the more sense of ownership is displayed and taken, making it a win-win for everyone.

3. Keep them informed and up to date

A wise man once said, “knowledge is power” so if you want your organization to be a powerful force in your industry, your employees need to be informed. Companies that have an effective system in place to keep employees informed and up to date usually have a higher rate of productivity and success.

Most communication within organizations is only shared within their respective departments where the information is pertinent. But imagine how much more would be able to get done if everyone was aware of what was going on company wide (again to a certain extent). That’s why interdepartmental communication is vital and in order for that to happen, employees need to be kept abreast.

For example, have you ever spoken to different people at a company and have gotten different information? That’ because they are not on the same page or haven’t been informed properly.

If an employee knew “generally speaking” about the happenings in other departments, they may be able to assist the customer base more effectively and avoid unnecessary transfers.

A good way to start this practice of being informed would be to share the company’s wins and losses, successes and failures, and any other significant changes the company may have made. When this happens, everyone is made aware and everyone is on the same page.

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins

4. Develop a true culture of open communication

Honest and open communication is important in the workplace because it affects the ability of everyone being able to work together (as a team). Many employees don’t engage more frequently when asked to because of fear of being ridiculed and even losing their jobs. Why is it that most employees feel more comfortable expressing themselves during normal team meetings but are more reserved in meetings where upper leaders are present?

Could it be that clear lines of open communication have not been established? Studies show that companies who operate in an open forum style atmosphere have higher levels of employee engagement. Engaged employees are more likely to stay with an organization and in return you have less turnovers.

Creating a culture of true and honest communication also develops confidence in the upper leadership team amongst employees. When the leaders of an organization displays proper and safe two-way communication, it also helps the employees feel like their making a difference and their opinions matter.

Implementing these tips will not only help you to develop indispensable employees but will also increase engagement and sustainability. It will also help you to develop an indispensable team to help take your organization to the next level.

How does your boss encourage you to become better? If you’re the boss, how do you encourage your employees to be more productive? Share your thoughts below!

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