Stop Un-Creativity. Spark Innovation. Create Breakthrough Sales Strategy. (2 of 5)
“I either grow revenues, or I’m gone.” Darin needs an innovative plan for fixing a sales strategy that works during the disruption he and the sales team were facing.
He calls late on a Friday afternoon…
“I need some innovative sales strategy ideas – I’m hoping you can help. We were having a difficult time increasing revenues prior to COVID. Last year made everything even tougher.
“I’m the president, and the owners are expecting to see the business grow. And…I haven’t been able to make it happen…for 5 years. Their patience has run out – even with COVID. They’re frustrated. Now, I’m facing an ultimatum! I either grow revenues, or I’m gone.”
Darin doesn’t hesitate a nanosecond when I ask him to describe the problem. He rattles off his list of concerns. “It’s those Millennial and new Next-Gen sales reps. They should be selling more, but they’re not. They’re UNcontrollable, UNmanageable, and UNpredictable!”
How often do you feel this way?
Darin, as well as many other leaders, are concerned when they look at their financials. They know that they (and their teams) are stuck. And they don’t know how to get UN-stuck. This is what I call the UN-productive path of a Sales UN-culture. It happens when the sales systems, processes, and staffing don’t support a pathway to sales success.
In the Sales UN-culture, leaders are complaining, “There’s little motivation or energy to tackle real client issues. My salespeople are UN-creative!”
What might happen when you embrace creative innovative leadership development strategies that tap the God-given talents of those around you?
Should-Thinking Blocks your Ability to Coach
Darin seems defiantly confident that he has identified his sales growth problem. “Those Millennial sales reps are to blame!”
I feel compelled to ask another question, “Darin, what might you do to have a positive impact?”
And, more specifically,
“What might you do to have a positive impact on the sales force?
“What might happen if you zero in on how you might get a motivated and manageable team?
“What might you do to help them grow their sales acumen and capacity?”
Again, Darin’s response is quick and irritated, “I’ve tried that. I’ve tried everything. Nothing works. They should be selling more. They’re UNcontrollable, UNmanageable, and UNpredictable!”
Darin is still trapped on a pathway littered with “should-thinking” obstacles. He isn’t allowing himself to consider the power of might…
What tell-tale signs are you seeing that your teams are also trapped in the Sales UN-culture?
Watch this video clip on an Innovation Mindset: How to Increase Sales With One Tiny, Yet Powerful Word
Formulate a Sales Strategy to Achieve your Business Goals
Creating and articulating a compelling vision for the future, as we discussed in our last article, is a vital role and responsibility of a leader. This vision pulls everyone forward. It keeps their eyes laser-focused on the future, and their feet moving in the right direction.
Strategy Formulation is the second role and responsibility of a leader. As a leader, you get to lead the team in creating the strategies that set the pathway for achieving the BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals). Without new strategies, new frameworks, and new paradigms, the business will flounder.
What might you do to set direction and give hope that the grand vision is attainable?
How to Increase Sales: Ask 1 Powerful Question
In this series, we’re talking about a question that can propel you to be radically relevant to your customers and compellingly competitive in your industry.
Here’s the question…
“What might you do to make a positive difference?”
Let’s explore the second word in this power-packed question –
It’s a small word.
Yet, it’s packed with creative power.
The word invites you to search for new, innovative ways to tackle the obstacles of the Sales UN-culture that’s causing your teams to stay on a stuck pathway. Let’s get started in making another Bold Leadership Decision.
What might be blocking your strategy to create innovation in your sales organization?
Bold Leadership Development Improves Your Sales Strategies
As a Strategy Formulator, consider using these 3 action steps to ignite the Innovation Mindset in your Millennial salespeople.
1. Learn from Top Innovators for Increased Business Growth
By giving yourself permission to talk about, and to “dream” about what you “might” do, you become radically relevant, compellingly competitive, and wildly successful!
The Harvard Business Review, in The Secret Phrase Top Innovators Use, points out the impact of this word. Using the “might” approach ensures that would-be innovators are asking the right questions and using the best wording.
What’s the secret behind this tiny word?
Top innovators say that when we substitute “should” with the word might, we are invited to put on our “thinking caps.”
Neuroscientists say that it stimulates our neuro-pathways. They light up. They make new connections. They forge new pathways.
Let’s look at the difference of these questions:
OLD: “Your sales pipeline looks weak. Shouldn’t you be working to improve it?”
NEW: “Your pipeline looks weak. What might you do to strengthen it?
Notice…there’s an invitation to consider different options!
OLD: “You have a lot of prospects in your pipeline. Shouldn’t you try to clean those up?
NEW: You have a lot of prospects in your pipeline. What might you do to move them to either a yes or no in the next 30 days?”
With a small tweak in the wording you use, you can dramatically impact your salespeople’s results.
2. Say “Yes,” to new Sales Growth Insights
Let’s get back to Darin’s story…
After our conversation on the Friday, I get another call, early Monday morning…
“Danita, I’ve been thinking about what you said all weekend. I hardly had any sleep. You might be right. Let’s meet.”
Over the next two years, their profit doubled. Then, they doubled again over the next two years. And, doubled again over the next two years.
What caused the shift?
Instead of formulating a strategy to improve sales results, Darin was stuck in should-thinking. He was convinced that his Millennial salespeople were to blame for the poor results. When he decided to adopt a new Leadership Development mindset, and consider options, he started sparking the innovation that fuels the results his team needed to not only reach but exceed their sales growth targets.
Darin went from “should” thinking to “might” thinking. Rather than staying stuck in the UN-productive Sales UN-culture (“They should be selling more, but they’re not”), Darin made a bold lesdership decision. He chose to ask, “What might I do to make a positive impact on the sales capacity of my sales reps?”
3. Ask “Might” Questions at your Sales Strategy Meeting
Asking the right questions unlocks your salespeople’s ability to see new options. They’re starting to see how they might deal with some of the massive, seemingly insurmountable obstacles that block their success.
When you attend Sales Strategy Meetings with each of your sales leaders, ask these “might” questions to spark their creativity:
- What might you do to speed up closings?
- What might need to happen to improve conversion ratios and close rates?
- What might you do differently to stop losing business to the competition?
And, for your sales managers:
- What might you do to address mediocrity, under-achievement, and complacency on the sales team?
- What might you do to improve the accuracy of the pipeline forecast?
I invite you to test out the word “might” as well as these questions during upcoming coaching conversations. You may find that it strengthens the Innovative Mindset you need from your sales teams.
What will you be asking your salespeople to stimulate creative, innovative sales behavior?
Watch this 2nd video clip on an Innovation Mindset: How to Achieve Sales Growth with this One Power-Packed Word
Innovation Unlocks New Sales Opportunities
Yes, like Darin and many other leaders you may also be stuck in the Sales UN-culture. The good news is, you don’t have to stay stuck!
By formulating strategies that focus on what you and your team “might” do, you will make a positive impact on the future success of your business.
Will you stay stuck on the unproductive path of the UN-culture and say, “My salespeople are UN-creative!”
Or, will you make a bold leadership decision and choose to ask, “How might I coach my salespeople to become innovative in seeking new ways to solve their problems?”
Just like Darin, you can discover that the words you use in your coaching conversations have power. The questions you ask at sales strategy meetings can either keep you stuck on the barren road of UN-creativity, or you can walk on a path of UN-expected growth!
This is your time to say to all your salespeople, “What might you do to overcome your challenges and exceed your sales growth goals?”
I invite you to embrace creative innovative strategies that tap the God-given talents of those around you so that you and your teams are energized and your abilities expand.
Your leadership matters greatly during a difficult season.
Stay tuned for the next post in this series, Ownership Mindset, to discover how “I,” the third word in our powerful sentence, inspires your salespeople to deal with the challenges that’s blocking their sales growth results.
To read all the articles in this series, 5 Bold Leadership Decisions to Get You on a Sales Growth Track, click on each word:
Sales Growth Lesson: Leverage the power of “might” – that’s where new ideas, products, and markets are born.
Sales Growth Question: Where might you start sprinkling in the word “might” in your coaching conversations?”