Moving From A Culture of Efficiency to A Culture of Effectiveness

  • Acting and improv skills are similar to soft skills in sales— leading with empathy and understanding your audience and your customer is paramount.
  • Sales leaders need to build a strong sales culture and eliminate mediocrity, which starts with the willingness to invite, embrace, and accept feedback.
  • Synchronous conversations are making a comeback. Whether you get coffee with a prospect in your own town or fly to your prospect’s city to close a deal, face-to-face interactions are invaluable.
  • Sales isn’t an easy profession, and leaders should be honest and transparent with their teams about the work required to close deals.
  • Efficiency does not equal effectiveness. Sales technology should focus on making people better, not just faster.
  • Sales organizations need to adapt to changes in the market and rethink what’s working and what’s not.

In this podcast, Mike Cabot and Jeb Blount discuss the challenges of sales in the current climate, including the impact of technology and the need for emotional intelligence when dealing with analytical stakeholders. They also emphasize the importance of celebrating small victories and providing feedback to improve performance.

Sales Is Like Acting— Empathy Is Essential

As a child, Mike Cabot and his sister starred in a local cable television show for seven years. Later on, Cabot gained acting experience both in theater and through featuring in commercials.

In his sales career, he has been able to leverage the improv skills he learned from acting at an early age to connect, engage in deep listening, and show empathy to prospects and clients.

The job of a sales professional isn’t just to sell a product or service, it’s to help people. And in order to truly help people, great sales professionals have to be great empathizers.

The same can be said for actors. To tell a story convincingly, an actor must take on the character’s persona. She must step into their shoes and see the world through their eyes. Otherwise, it’s not authentic.

Empathy is a critical skill for sales professionals, and acting is an excellent way to hone this skill by putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.

This is what sets the best salespeople apart. They can quickly and easily see the world through someone else’s eyes and adjust their messaging, style, and strategy accordingly.

The Show Must Go On

Often, people make excuses for why they can’t sell, such as a lack of leads or poor marketing. As sales professionals, we must deliver for the audience in front of us, no matter what. Embracing this idea is crucial in building a strong sales culture.

Mastering the same soft skills that improv actors use is critical because you must listen not only with your ears, but also with your eyes and intuition. On stage, if you weren’t paying attention, you wouldn’t know how to respond when something gets thrown back at you.

Dealing With Analytical Stakeholders

Buyers use emotions to make decisions. Tap into their emotions and stories to meet their needs.

Engaging with analytical stakeholders in sales requires a thoughtful and empathetic approach. Understanding the different levels and roles within the stakeholder groups is crucial, as each individual has unique concerns and priorities.

While these stakeholders are analytical by nature, it’s important to recognize that emotions play a significant role in their decision-making process.

By tapping into their emotional needs and sharing relevant stories, sales professionals can connect with them on a deeper level and demonstrate how their product or service can help solve their problems.

Building trust and showing the value of saving time or avoiding negative outcomes are key strategies for engaging with these stakeholders.

Salespeople often encounter challenges when engaging with analytical stakeholders. The lack of immediate emotional response from these stakeholders can sometimes make salespeople feel insecure and lead them to overcompensate by talking too much.

Developing emotional control and patience becomes essential in these situations. Sales professionals should maintain faith in their approach, asking the right questions, and genuinely trying to help.

Over time, as trust is built and the salesperson demonstrates the ability to address the stakeholder’s concerns, these analytical stakeholders can become strong allies, paving the way for successful sales interactions. Mastering the art of engaging with analyzers opens doors to success in various sales scenarios.

Celebrate The Small Victories

Recognizing and celebrating small wins in sales is crucial for both individual salespeople and sales teams. It starts with transparency and setting realistic expectations, acknowledging that success requires effort. While closing deals is important, it’s equally vital to track other metrics like account outreach and pipeline generation.

By highlighting these milestones, individuals are encouraged to keep going and find motivation in the journey. Celebrating every win, no matter how small, creates a positive and supportive environment, fostering desired behaviors and instilling a sense of accomplishment throughout the sales process.

Viewing sales as a series of building blocks and acknowledging the value of each step taken before closing a deal reinforces the idea that consistent effort leads to success. By celebrating incremental achievements and focusing on building a strong foundation, sales professionals can stay motivated, sustain momentum, and achieve greater success.

Feedback Is How We Grow

Feedback plays a crucial role in personal and professional growth, regardless of one’s position within the organization. It’s a two-way street where both sales leaders and their sales team can benefit from open and candid communication.

Offering feedback allows leaders to provide guidance and constructive criticism, while accepting feedback demonstrates a willingness to learn and improve. Feedback is valuable, no matter one’s position or authority.

By creating an environment where feedback is encouraged, leaders can foster a culture of continuous improvement and learning, which benefits the entire organization in the long run.

“Before And After” Coaching Routine

Another effective practice in sales leadership is the “before and after routine”. This coaching routine involves setting objectives and targets before a sales call, discussing the strengths and successes afterward, and then openly discussing areas for improvement.

By starting with the positives and creating a safe space for team members to voice their opinions, leaders can encourage collaborative conversation where everyone’s input is valued, regardless of their age or experience level.

In the end, feedback is a vital component of growth and development in the sales profession. Both sales leaders and team members can benefit from actively seeking and providing feedback.

By embracing feedback and incorporating it into routine coaching and reflection processes, sales organizations can create a culture of continuous improvement, collaboration, and success.

The innovative Sales Gravy University sales training platform gives on the go individuals and entire teams easy, affordable access to the world’s top sales trainers in both live and on-demand courses. Now you can learn how to win in sales anywhere, anytime, and on any device. 

About the author

Jeb Blount

Jeb Blount is one of the most sought-after and transformative speakers in the world…

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