Discipline is sexy; motivation isn’t
Are under-performers holding back your sales team? Logan Wedgwood explains how the right discipline and structures can help the whole team succeed. What if an over-reliance on inspirational speakers is the reason your salespeople are failing? Motivation is often bandied around as what salespeople need. That kick in the ass, or coaching and mentoring. Inspirational […]
Are under-performers holding back your sales team? Logan Wedgwood explains how the right discipline and structures can help the whole team succeed.
What if an over-reliance on inspirational speakers is the reason your salespeople are failing?
Motivation is often bandied around as what salespeople need. That kick in the ass, or coaching and mentoring. Inspirational words and support.
But what if that isn’t true?
Is a lack of motivation just an excuse for under-performance or laziness? What if what is really needed is discipline?
You see, in my work as a consultant, all of the most successful salespeople I work with are disciplined, not motivated. The under-performers are the ones asking for motivation. The high performers show up and do what needs to be done, regardless of whether they feel motivated or not.
Disciplined salespeople have morning routines, health routines, family routines, downtime routines. They have processes around calendar management and customer management. They are consistent. They are well-managed personally as well as professional. They stick to schedules. They are on time.
Importantly, they know what is happening. And they are making things happen.
When I work with under-performing sales teams, I am not coming in to be a motivational speaker. I’m not there to get people excited. I’m not there to make people feel better. I’m there to assess their sales structure; the structure of the team, the structure of the activity, the structure that each individual follows, the structure of their sales meetings.
Structure is important because it enables discipline. Usually under-performance occurs because one of the aforementioned structures isn’t working, and people aren’t working in a disciplined fashion as a result.
It’s that simple. Truly.
Here are some basic examples.
How far in advance are the forward bookings in each person’s calendar?
Does every individual have a morning routine that they stick to with consistency?
Does each day start with a plan that outlines well-defined activities and priorities?
Do meetings have agendas and defined roles, and successfully facilitate the transfer of knowledge?
Do people know what they need to deliver on within their team?
Does everyone know what success looks like for themselves every single day?
Do you have underperformers in your team?
Very basic disciplines sway the odds in favour of sales growth. It seems too simple, and it is. Sales isn’t rocket science; it is a process of focusing on the activities that are going to lead to the right outcomes (incomes) and doing so with consistency (discipline).
If you aren’t sure whether or not you have under-performance in your team, observe the following behaviours:
- Do people turn up and plan their day or do they just check their emails and respond? If they start by checking their emails, they aren’t in control of their priorities – someone else is.
- Do meetings keep running over time or become emotional ‘talk-fests’? If so, your meetings are broken.
- Are people talking about outcomes or activities? If they are talking about outcomes, they aren’t focused on the activities in advance of the outcomes.
- Do people appear well managed or disorganized? If they appear disorganized, they probably are.
- Are calendars 80 percent booked weeks in advance? If not, you are missing opportunities through inefficiency.
- Do people follow a process or make it up as they go? If they make it up as they go, they are lowering their strike rate to 50/50 at best.
Depending on your answers above, you may need more discipline in your team. So, put down your pompoms and start creating the structure that will support your people to succeed.
Logan Wedgwood is CEO of strategy execution advisory firm Advisory.Works and a regular NZBusiness contributor.