Have you ever been to a baseball field to see your children play at a very young age? At 6-8 years old the kids are learning, the parents are screaming, and everyone is taking things very seriously.
Today, I’m attending baseball games again as a grandfather, and after 20 years with 90 baseball games a year as a coach, traveling to different ballparks, getting mad at refs, and watching parents totally lose it, I’m much more relaxed. Nothing seems to be life or death when it comes to 6-8 year-olds who are just learning to hold their bats right.
Last week, I bought some popcorn before the game, and, while I was waiting in the line, I looked to the left and saw a large sign. It read:
Reminders From Your Child:
I’m a kid
It’s just a game
My coach is a volunteer
The officials are humans
No college scholarships will be handed out today
Thank you and have fun!
Now, that’s a great poster. I wonder if we could put together a similar one from new reps for great sales coaches?
A Different Kind of Leader Makes a Huge Impact
At the University of Tennessee, football has been in the pits for several years and through several coaches … until the current coach although the jury is still out. Last year’s team just quit on the coaches, and you could see it on the field. This year, the same players were playing their hearts out no matter whether they were behind or ahead.
When you heard them talk about why, you heard things like, “The coaches have made it fun. We’re playing together!”
Where did that come from? And, the numbers kept going up. Points were being scored at a rate not seen for years. The defense was playing above the recruited level of the player, and many of the players that were not motivated the previous year were extremely motivated. Why?
When the coach Josh Heupel is in a news conference being asked questions about specific players, he will not remark about their injuries or their bad plays. He talks only good about them and what he sees in them that’s positive.
When a newscaster tries to get him to pit one quarterback against another on his team as they compete for the position, he never says who is best or anything negative about any of them … ever.
This year’s players believed and talked about how much more they can accomplish. They say they’re just getting started, and losing motivates them to get better. They won’t quit. What’s going on? How did the culture change so fast? The answer is in the leadership. It’s totally different.
So, I thought it would be fun to put up our own “Reminders from A New Rep” poster:
The 10 Reminders To Help a New Sales Rep Grow (written by the reps)
- I’m a person. I’m not perfect. (For those of you who have kids … neither are they)
- I’m different from the other reps. (Do you want to know about what motivates them? competition or income?)
- I’m new here. I’m learning. (What is most important for them to learn next?)
- My sales coach is my teacher, mentor and leader. (Do you see yourself as a teacher, a mentor, or a boss? It makes all the difference in how you approach someone.)
- With help, counsel and encouragement, I can get better. (How much encouragement do you give them? Do you go on calls with them?)
- My job and the rewards I receive do not define me. My character and reputation for honesty, hard work, responsible effort, and service does. (Each rep is more than a trinket, a trip or a number, but I’ve seen parents define their children by their batting average. Do you value reps based on their sales numbers or closing %’s?
- My leader is a person too – an imperfect one. (Are you humble, able to admit mistakes, and able to share how you struggled at something before getting better?)
- My sales leader serves me. I serve the customers. (Do you see each rep as your customer? Do you know their needs, wants, and the problems they need help with?)
- The customers are humans. (If you see customers as a means to an end, you’ll see reps and children that way, too.)
- Thank you, let’s have fun with the process of growth and the celebrations of improvement and achievement.
To Sum It Up
Do you look for ways to point out a person’s real progress, their good character traits, and what you see is good in them? Do you stop for celebrations?
A friend of mine once told me that fun was ‘feeling unusually nice instead of depressed.”
Yes, sales reps are human, and they will quit because of the attitudes of their leaders towards them. Football players and children will do the same. As long as they are with you, let your people know that you believe they have what it takes.
These 10 Reminders will make all the difference at home, on the ball field, or on a sales team. Most of them point to a different kind of leader rather than a different skill set. Change how you approach your reps. Guard your mouth and what you say. It may make all the difference to your team and those closest to you.