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Anthony M. Hegarty

Insight Driven Senior Level Sales Leader

A Sales Leadership Philosophy for the New Workforce

The Basis for Change: It once was the Glengarry Glen Ross sales environment. A great movie by the way and I am sure we have all worked for the Alec Baldwin character one time in our sales careers (I certainly have and more than once unfortunately). I do acknowledge that at one time there was a “place” for that type of “leadership.” Also, think back to the leadership style of General George S. Patton uniquely brought to life by George C. Scott in the movie Patton.

In both situations, and likely many sales leadership situations today, the focus is on “igniting the fire below” the sales person (or soldier) to achieve improved results. Largely focused on the assumption that the sales person should know what is needed and should accept that if they do not perform there will be repercussions, most likely termination. And it is solely their responsibility (read fault).And I am sure that worked in WW2 and I saw it work in the early 80’s in certain sales environments. There is a great line from Crimson Tide (another great film) with Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman. It is a high intensity scene towards the end of the movie and they are talking about horses as they wait to receive a message as to whether they should or should not launch nuclear missiles – if you have seen the movie you know the scene – “A Simple matter of voltage!” Well, news flash! It isn’t a matter of voltage, particularly if you are a Sales Professional!

Very few sales people are “cattle-prodded” to success – I am no expert on horses but expect the same is true for them too. We all understand the purpose of most “fire below” practices – in short it is a thinly veiled message of “get out or I will throw you out!” And this approach is even less likely to be effective with the new workforce. Slapping and cattle prods just don’t deliver the results today.

So, what does deliver today? I am not so naïve as to believe there is only one way but something I have used to great success in the recent past is D.R.E.A.M.E.R. If interested read on – if not the batteries on your cattle prod need recharging – just kidding of course! So, DREAMER – what is it? Just a way of leading people and specifically sales professionals -so here we go:

Premise: “You may say I’m a dreamer………” – John Lennon. John Lennon was mocked by many at the time he released that song. How many would mock today?

So, What Is This DREAMER thing anyway: A way in which to encourage, enable, empower and develop sales professionals to new, higher levels of performance over sustained periods time. To "light the fire within salespeople" and inspire them. When people are inspired by their work, colleagues, or leaders they invariably out-perform the competition.

Dialog:

  • A rich, two-way dialog between a sales leader and sales professional, focused in learning and leveraging that learning
  • Less prescription and more diagnosis to uncover mutually beneficial outcomes

Recognition:

  • Recognition is often more influential than monetary reward when it comes to employee engagement, performance and retention
  • With few exceptions people like to hear or read they have done a good job as much as they like to be paid for that same good job

Enablement:

  • Deliver a constantly evolving set of the appropriate sales tools to help your team succeed in an increasingly competitive sales environment
  • Sales training should be an ongoing strategic initiative not a one time or annual event

Accountability:

  • Accountability is not something that should be threatened by the sales leader, rather it should be expected and welcomed by the sales professional.
  • With accountability comes responsibility and success – if you hire right they will gladly accept and deliver

Motivation:

  • A cattle prod does nothing to motivate nor build the sustainable behavior sales leaders and business leaders seek to grow their businesses
  • Light the fire “within” and enjoy the burn

Empowerment:

  • Continuing the “horse theme” – give them the “reins” along with the points mentioned above and you will see ownership, dedication, loyalty and unsurpassed success
  • Do not underestimate the resource you have at your disposal – they may know something you do not – go figure

Reward:

  • A comprehensive reward system that aligns strategic goals, sales activity and results will always deliver
  • In short, pay people for what they deliver, and with a smile on your face 

If after reading this you would like further clarification and detail please use the Contact Tony page of this website.