The Attitude of Sales Leaders
Today we’re going to talk about the attitude of sales leaders.
I invited Janet Havel, who I’ve known for a long time, to join us. She’s one of the most optimistic and strategically positive people I’ve ever met. Janet is joining us from Austin, TX, a market that has undoubtedly experienced a significant shift.
JEFF: When you see a significant market shift, you may notice an attitude shift that happens along with it. How do you protect that attitude? What do you do for yourself and the people you lead to ensure that you’re not going to allow yourself to be a mental victim of the market?
JANET: It starts at your sales rally. Regardless of what day of the week you have them, we have them here on Mondays, ensuring that when they come in, we’ve got the right atmosphere. It’s upbeat. We try to keep it as positive as possible.
That being said, I also pride myself on being radically transparent. As a sales leader, I think it’s essential that you’re talking to the sales folks and that you’re honest with them. “Hey, we see what’s going on. We know what’s happening in the market. But tell me, how are you doing? What’s going on?”
For years, you and I have always talked about, you know, our number one job is lead conversion. That is still true. But I think right now, lead retention or backlog retention is just as necessary because they’re getting beat up every day.
JEFF: There’s no question about it. That, too, is a function of attitude. The attitude that we bring to our customers. Can you talk a little bit about it from that angle? How do you see that idea, that attitude, energy, and vibe? It’s all adopted, whether positive or negative.
JANET: I think arming them with knowledge helps a ton. Sales folks sit in their models, often in a vacuum, feeling like they’re on an island. Arming them with knowledge, saying, “hey, here’s what we’re going to talk about this week.” We’ve been focusing on providing them with two headlines from reputable media sources that conflict with each other. So if buyer “A” comes in and they just so happens to read the good one, what do you talk through? Buyer “B” comes in, and they read the bad one, so we role-play a lot.
You’ve maybe heard something like this, “I’ve heard now’s a horrible time to buy.” We want to practice that in advance, so that’s precisely what we do. We role-play.
JEFF: You’re not just talking about what we will tell our buyers. You’re making them do it. It’s one of the things that I find interesting. A lot of salespeople frankly practice on their buyers. I think that’s a little rude, a little disrespectful.
JANET: I agree. And the same thing is true of my sales leader and me. We will practice together. If I get up in front of my team at a sales rally and I’m going to say this, or this is my takeaway of the week, how do I want to deliver it? What are the questions they’re going to ask me, or they could potentially ask me?
The same is true of our buyers. We owe it to them to be prepared. We owe it to our teams to be ready.
JEFF: We want our sales professionals to give this positivity to our customers. They have to get it from somewhere. They take their cue from the sales leaders.
As a sales leader, you’ve got to give positive energy all day. What are you doing to protect your mental energy and to make sure that you are in a suitable mental space, that your head is in the game so that by the time you’re talking to one of your salespeople, they can see that, they can feel it, and then they adopt that?
JANET: For me, it’s constantly being prepared. I like to be ready. I read a lot. I send my sales team your five-minute sales tips on Saturday morning. I think it’s an excellent way for them to start their weekend. I do the same thing, whether that’s a podcast, a book, sometimes it’s just music. Music kind of speaks to my soul.
As a sales leader, I can’t pour from an empty cup, so I sometimes have to protect it. And often, it’s spending time with my grandkids my husband, or just sitting on the back porch enjoying the quiet.
JEFF: What advice do you have for a salesperson struggling right now? The sales are few and far between. They’re battling to save deals they’ve already made. This is not what they signed up for when they joined the industry a short time ago.
Maybe they’ve never seen a down market. What advice do you have for a salesperson who is being challenged mentally right now?
JANET: I say ask for help. Don’t be afraid to raise your hand and say, I’ve never experienced this, whatever this is, whether it’s a backlog challenge, a conversion challenge, or a headline challenge. Reach out to the right person, the positive person, the one that’s going to bring you positive energy, and they’re going to provide actionable items, not just, hey, let’s see here and grab at each other.
So I think by asking for help from a peer, a sales leader, or a mentor, you can’t be afraid to sit out there on your island because you’re not going to grow and get better that way.
JEFF: It’s good advice. And I know that’s advice that you live out, Janet, because you and I have known each other for a long time. You are one of the people I reach out to if I need a little mental boost. It’s always good to have those people in your life. I’m not afraid to ask for help. I know you’re not, either.
Those are great words to live by. Janet Havel always good spending time with you. Thanks for all you do. Go out and change someone’s world!
I told you she was optimistic. She’s cheerful, and it’s adopted. You can’t hang around Janet without feeling a little bit. I hope that describes you, sales leader. I hope that tells you, frontline salesperson because that positive energy will carry us through even the darkest days.
Until next time, learn more to earn more!