Like many boys, I played in dirt a lot when I was young. Guess that was a harbinger of things to come 'cuz I love dirt. Not enough to be a farmer, you see, but enough so that I want to deal with sticky problems. More importantly, I am attracted to people who have messy problems. Sales management problems. Selling problems. Communication problems. I love helping people who are dealing with those sticky, dirty business problems that plague us each day.
Many of you may have seen a change from me in the last few weeks. I've been much more "far forward" (to pull a publishing layout term) regarding my views and thoughts. I've created more content in the past two weeks on Twitter than I have in my previous years combined (and I've been on that platform since 1998!). ;-)
And, I'm using this blogging platform here more frequently too. (Let's not forget my hall-of-fame monthly newsletter, Selling.2.YES, soon heading in to its second year of publishing reaching a global audience!) All of my increased activity is thanks to a wonderful and smart, smart, smart social marketer named Jeanne Sachs (@jlsachs and here on LinkedIn). Jeanne taught me a few tricks and helped me utilize tools - including my brain - in ways that are necessary for success as a sole-proprietor. Jeanne's smart (did I mention that?), and I'm now back in charge of my voice.
Bottom line, I eat what I kill. Wouldn't have it any other way. I work in the dirt.
During my big coming out party on social media of late, I've been reminded there are many folks out there who are fantastically smart and do wonderful things. And I'm in awe of their achievements. Mostly I'm in awe of how sharp folks are in framing their talents, skills, and accomplishments. And promoting themselves. Many of them post beautiful poster headers on LinkedIn or Twitter of them in front of throngs of people, delivering content and inspirations that are, no doubt, provocative and valuable.
I can do that too.
But I love working in the dirt. Got a problem? Know someone in your org with a problem? I'm available.
How 'bout just for today we refer to me as Dr. Dirt. Love that!
Impossible, you say? I would have said the same thing awhile ago but I've been chipping away at this and will share my plan. (I'm not saying I've cracked the code, but it'd be great to have something against which to measure progress and growth other than the baseline revenue tracks we chart: "hey Cindy, did ya hit your number this quarter? By how much??")
Just as I have general rules of engagement for how I conduct skill development exercises (must be fun, relevant to the challenge/problem, regular/consistent, accountable, and measurable), I have thought of how I need to set up the Lightbulb Popping Formula....just made that up moments ago but let's see if it, and the acronym LPF stick. (Sounds good so far, of course I reserve all rights to it, and the right to change it, and the rights to what I change it to.)
How 'bout this to start:
1. the Pop has to be enduring. Rep learns a new technique, starts using it, KEEPS using it for...hmmm, how 'bout a month? Gets good results. (Of course, said rep wouldn't keep doing it if he/she wasn't getting good results.) 1 point for that but only if the technique is utilized over a sustained period.
2. the Pop has to be aligned with the behaviors the company establishes. This means, of course, that sales management has to define those good behaviors in order to credit them. 1 point for that.
3. the Pop has to truly be something new that the rep is doing. Can't credit reps for things they know. I don't like the invitation for ambiguity here any more than you do, but again, we gotta start somewhere on this.
4. Benchmarking: it only makes sense for an organization if you are rating everything inside of the company, and, against a point scheme that is assigned for each skill development session. So you'd say something like this, "...today we're going to study obstacle handling, and because that particular skill is so important, there are THREE points in play today to measure progress." At the end of the session, you grade everyone and keep your tally running for the measuring period - no less than a month, no more than a quarter.
Mind racing right now? Mine too. It introduces some sticky things to consider, but it's worth the conversation, no?
Michael Hess is the Founder/Principal of Core 6 Management Advisors. Drawing on almost 3 decades of experience in Sales and Management, Michael shares his thoughts and opinions here for you.