September 2012

Wintripisms

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I’ve recently been accused, positively so, that I have many “Wintripisms.” Here are four of my favorites:

  • As a business owner or leader you get to choose what you do, as long as you don’t choose to do everything yourself.
  • Recurring problems teach you what you do not want to learn.
  • Just say no isn’t just for drugs. It’s also for low margin business, slow paying customers, and unresponsive and uncooperative people.
  • Get customers to talk themselves into buying as they always believe themselves. They only sometimes believe you.

So, which one of these was most meaningful to you? Let me know and, while you’re at it, take an action based upon the one that caught your attention.

Scott WintripWintripisms
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Nice Person Syndrome

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A year ago, I wrote about NPS – Nice Person Syndrome, a “condition” most managers have that causes inconsistent accountability. To help you assess if you have NPS, answer the following questions:

1. Are staff not held consistently accountable in your firm?

2. Do you come up with justifiable reasons when expectations are not met?

3. Are reprimands or terminations delayed or do not happen at all?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you have at least a mild form of NPS.  Don’t worry, it’s not terminal.

To succeed as a salesperson or recruiter, you have to be a nice enough person (or able to fake nice) to build relationships.  These same nice people end up as managers and, as managers, it does not feel nice to hold other people accountable.  That’s why virtually every manager has some degree of NPS.  The nicer you are as a person, the worse your NPS tends to be.

Sharon, a manager who read that post, took this to heart and immediately began watching for specific instances where her NPS showed up. “I was amazed how many times each week my NPS was running the show,” said Sharon. To combat this, she began some coaching with me and we discussed specific strategies to counter this issue. “The most important thing you shared was that I am not responsible for my first thought, but I am responsible for my next action. My first thought is often how much I dislike holding people accountable. My next action was to do it anyways because, if I don’t, I will be contributing to their failure.” Within three months of our work together, Sharon had improved the productivity of her team by more than 40%.

The important thing to recognize is that feeling discomfort at holding other people accountable is normal, with reprimands, layoffs, and firings feeling even worse.  Life is full of things we don’t like, yet we do them anyways.  Even though it may not feel good, holding others to a standard that will help them succeed is the right and compassionate thing to do.

Scott WintripNice Person Syndrome
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Shooting From the Hip

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Gunslingers in the Wild West often lived another day by quickly grabbing their Colt 45’s to put an end to a threat with a bullet. Another type of gun slinging is happening daily across the globe as salespeople shoot from the hip in meetings with prospects and clients, relying on memory alone for the questions used to gather important information. This often leads to poor marksmanship as details are inevitably missed as they focus too much on what they are going to ask next versus hearing every little nuance and detail being told. When suggested they use lists of questions to ensure they remain fully present, tenured salespeople often bristle, believing that relying on such an archaic convention is beneath their skill level.

Yes, you may be an accomplished and seasoned veteran, having won countless battles against some of the toughest customers. However, just like the gunslinger had to focus completely on their target in a gun battle, you must do the same if you’re going to develop an even deeper understanding of your customers and their needs. This means that you must do everything in your power to notice all of the particulars if you are to outdo and outperform your competition. Dividing your attention between your customer and your own brain as it searches for the next right thing to ask keeps you from being fully present, ensuring you will miss something. And that something could end up being the one detail that kills your chances to win that business. Although it may feel like one of the rudimentary basics, operating from a list of questions in every meeting allows you to hear and notice everything, keeping your chances of success alive and well.

Scott WintripShooting From the Hip
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Sales is No Longer a Numbers Game

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For decades, people have treated sales as a numbers game, yet, this old-school mindset no longer fits current realities. In this podcast, Scott shares the Quality Quantitative Method, the current best practice for achieving high performance and better results.

Scott WintripSales is No Longer a Numbers Game
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Will the Real Buyer Please Stand Up?

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Like a predator disguised as an ally, there are numerous people out there posing as buyers who will consume your time and energy, leaving you with zero ROI for your effort. Yet, salespeople keep going back to these same people, over and over again, engaging in the irrational belief that it will somehow be different, this time. Yes, procurement, vendor relations, HR, and other influencers and gatekeepers are part of the buying process and must be treated with respect. However, it is unethical to put these individuals in the unfair situation of having to think, act, and behave like the buyer, when they are not. The true economic buyer, who is the ultimate decision-maker, has the final say and must have a direct line of access to you, their consultant and adviser for making the best decision. Without that, it’s like that old game of telephone many of us played in primary school where a message was passed from person to person, ending up distorted, inaccurate, and biased by the perceptions of each listener.

How do you know you are dealing with the actual buyer? By finding and focusing on the person who will make the final decision with or without input from others. When you are interfacing with someone who has a choice as to what to do with feedback they receive from peers, subordinates, and superiors, you are dealing with a fully autonomous buyer. By building a solid relationship with that individual while effectively and respectfully interacting with influencers and gatekeepers, you and the customer will end up with better outcomes.

Scott WintripWill the Real Buyer Please Stand Up?
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Care and Feeding of Your Voice

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Whether you are a leader, salesperson, or even a customer sales rep, your voice is one of your primary business tools. Yet, many people take very poor care of this critical resource. In this podcast, Scott shares four simple steps for nurturing and developing your voice.

Scott WintripCare and Feeding of Your Voice
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The Power of Expectations

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Do expectations really make a difference? Robert Rosenthal, the first psychologist to systematically study this with teachers and children, found there were IQ gains in students in whom they expected this outcome. In addition, as noted on NPR.com:

“As Rosenthal did more research, he found that expectations effect teachers’ moment-to-moment interactions with the children they teach in a thousand almost invisible ways. Teachers give the students that they expect to succeed more time to answer questions, more specific feedback, and more approval: They consistently touch, nod and smile at those kids more.”

These same children grow up to be working adults, and one set of “teachers” in their lives are those charged with leading the organizations for which they work. Imagine what would happen in your company if you consistently expected higher performance, better productivity, and greater success from your entire workforce? Just as this improved the level of engagement of the teachers in Rosenthal’s research, what would happen if you increased your level of engagement? Even for those leaders who are already enrolled in mostly positive interactions with staff, what could just even a little more do for them and the outcomes they achieve? Isn’t it worth finding out?

Scott WintripThe Power of Expectations
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Seduced by Possibility

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Like Medusa turning a man to stone, many salespeople become frozen in place when they think they are about to land the “big one.” Poor sales production can often be tied to the lure of that one big account or a prospect that looks like the sure thing. Scott provides sage advice on how to overcome this issue.

Scott WintripSeduced by Possibility
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