Tuesday, February 28, 2006

To the Sales Professional, What is your Prime Motivator? And How important is it to you?

By Kevin Barrett

A Professional Sales Technique that will make all the difference.

A friend of mine wrote a very interesting and informative article on “Networking”… One of the responses to her article was by a gentlemen that suggested that the “Motivation behind Networking” is also of importance.

This caused me to reflect on the impact and importance for a Sales Professional.

The prime “Motivator” for our networking and for that matter Sales, is very important. I relate this to a “Purpose”, when I am working with companies. A “Purpose”, is your reason for being….

That will most likely be different for each person on this net.

My over all “Purpose”, my reason for being…. Not just for myself but also my company, Is in just a few words:

“To make a positive difference”

That one statement carries through everything I do…. It is my prime “Mover”…..

When working with companies, over the last 20 years I have observed a refinement with companies to further define themselves as a company… this is particularly important for “Start-up” Companies.

We all have that a Business Plan is important, and we have all heard that we need to have a 5 year plan… we have heard words like, “Mission Statements”, “Value Statements”, “Vision” and “Action Plans”… extolled as the “ways and means” for achieving success in business.

In the late 90’s I was involved in a “Change Management” program with the largest insurance companies in Australia. The Program was called “Working from the Inside Out”….

One of the topic’s to be covered, was related to the perceived ineffectiveness of “Business Plans” … These companies had business plans, but they did not think that they were really of any value.

They had put in 5 year plans and because of revolutionary changes in that industry that took place, they found that everything changed… and they were left scrambling…..

A lot of finger pointing in many different directions… The real motivation behind this program, was that “Management wanted to change their employees, so that they would obtain different results.”

The true is you can not change the outside very much with out getting in deep and at the core of things. Hence, the name of the Program.. “Working from the Inside, Out”..

For this desired change to take place a change in “Management” had to take place….

We have all heard and seen the “Pyramid” style structure for “Organizational Charts”, CEO (one) at the Top and individual employees (Many) at the bottom…

What I did, is take that “Organizational Chart” and turn it upside down….

The CEO the (One) holding up the rest of the Organization… the response… Impossible, to achieve… even the mythical Atlas, was not able to hold the world on his shoulders….

My response was.. Let’s take a “Holistic” approach to the structure, much as Deming advocated, in his Total Quality Management program and empower the top the many to be able to function as an integrated unit. This would take much of the weight of the CEO and in effect permit “Atlas to hold up the world”.

You must remember, that this company was hemorrhaging. They were using words like, we have to kill the competition, we have cut out the dead beats, we are at war…. We must win at all cost. Their new “Marketing Campaign” was like a “War Campaign”.

My comment to one of the “Senior Executives” at the time was, and I really don’t remember where I had heard this before, but it came to me as an answer to his “Motivation” for wanting this “Change Management” program… I guess, in a nut shell, they wanted to “Train the Troops” to do battle.

My comment, “I recall seeing a young girl in a war torn setting. The village had just been bombed out, smoke was still, rising from the ruins and devastation. A reporter on the ground was asking this young girl, what she wanted to BE, when she grew up?”

This young child’s response?..... “I want to be alive”

I asked the “Senior Executive” if he wanted to “Do Battle” or have is “Company alive” and well…..

To be alive and well, they needed to change how they were doing things…

One of the reasons that their 5 year plan had not “Seen” the change in their industry coming was because they did not take a large enough View…… They were looking too locally and not Globally….

So… I changed the Business Planning Model, from their current planning model, which was:

Mission Statement
Action Plan

We included several new areas and their planning process became:

Global View (or Purpose)
Vision or Business Overview

Mission Statement
Action Plan

We started at the top…. And worked down…….

We also found that there needed to be something to link this purpose or global view with the “Vision” and this is called the “Values”.

These Values and Beliefs are important for making change. It is just as important for companies. Once this was in alignment with our “Purpose”, things started to move forward, move forward at a fast pace.

There are many companies that are following this the Visionary Model, (which does not include the Global View or Purpose perspective)

James Collins and Jerry Porras, wrote a book called “Built to Last” were they studied Visionary Companies and tracked their success over the last 100 years. Exceptionally good reading…. These companies had different values, but they all had a “Strong Governing Value”, that impacted their actions and decisions… In effect… in influenced every step of the planning process.

I believe that when companies begin to take an even large starting view (Global Impact and Purpose) and link their “Values” with this model, we will see even greater success at all levels of business, large and small business ventures…

The statistics with companies failing in the first 3 years in business is not improving much….

Back to the original, point of this thread, related to “Networking”…. And integrating Christophe, suggestion that the “Why we network”, is of importance….

I would suggest we explore each of our individual “Purpose Statement” and it will provide some very interesting insights as to ourselves and our businesses…

Be careful however, it could change your “Success Ratio” significantly for the better.

How good are we at handling “Change”? and “What impact do we want to make?”

Kevin Barrett