If you want to improve, you must change.
Byline: Joanne Black
Why do so many salespeople refuse to learn new prospecting strategies and change sales tactics that don't work? Change is the only way to grow and excel, so why not follow the path to the highest commissions, fastest closes, best meetings and most powerful relationships?
Much of this reticence comes from the fact that change feels uncomfortable. Change is hard. Change makes us vulnerable. We no longer have a clearly defined path. We're not certain where our next steps will take us or exactly what to do when we get there.
Just as important, many sales leadersdon't know how to evaluate change, so they measure their reps on legacy activities -- even when they know that change is essential to deliver significantly improved results.
Change starts at the top
In his amazing article "Do You Lead from the Top or Within?" businessman Ali Soheil offers an insightful perspective on what it takes for leaders in various industries to keep up with the pace of change in today's quickly evolving business world. Put simply: To lead the effort for change in our organizations, we must first change how we lead.
"Only a small group of leaders truly understand and more importantly embrace good change management competencies. What most people talk about and label as change are in fact the antecedents not the change itself."
Let me use a real-life example. A good friend of mine decided on a goal of losing some weight and getting healthy. He renovated his basement and bought some expensive exercise equipment and a fantastic sound system to stay motivated. Six months later, I asked how his training was coming along. He confessed he hadn't done any.
This is a classic case of confusing the antecedent (obtaining the equipment) with the change itself. Change will not happen until behaviors change. Every antecedent is followed by encouraging or discouraging behaviors. In my friend's case, the discouraging behaviors stemmed from a tired body at the end of the day, a couch, a bag of chips and his favorite TV showa -- things he had no planto overcome.
As leaders, we make the same mistake every day. We get comfortable and declare a "win" too soon when all we've really done is introduce the antecedents. When you make changes which impact your customers or employees, you must take adequate time to understand the implications and plan for them. Otherwise you'll have wasted your time and resources.
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