You may know that I have been a member of a Vistage Trusted Advisor group for over five years. I consider it my graduate business school. While I have a Juris Doctor, I am not a Master of Business Administration. Because of Vistage, though, I feel I’m actually in a business school of sorts becoming a better owner, consultant, trainer, and coach. Maybe even a better person.

At a recent meeting, our chair Larry Hart reminded us about the five reasons for being a member. While the below list contains universal capabilities, it applies especially to salespeople. We want to be heroes. We also tend to get bogged down in the immediate at the expense of the long-term.  We forget then to do what it takes to grow.

So, here are the five Vistage capabilities that sellers need to work on for professional and personal growth:
1) Make Better Decisions
Do you have other people to turn to ensure you are making good decisions in your sales processes? Your executive teammates, your manager, your spouse or significant other, maybe other loved ones may be good sources for those head-scratching what-to-do-next times in your opportunities. Seek out others who you trust. Their guidance might be worthwhile or could confirm your plan giving you more confidence.

2) Be Accountable
Who is holding you accountable to your objectives? If you don’t know, find someone. Fast. Sure, it can be annoying, but in those lulls of laziness or periods of attention deficit, you need someone to ask the hard questions about whether you are doing what you said you would to reach your goals. Are you meeting enough people? Are you recapping your sales conversations? Did you stick to your prospecting schedule? Did you get that proposal out? Who holds you accountable?

3) Keep Growing
Are you constantly seeking personal growth? We are the sum of our knowledge and experiences. If you want to become a trusted advisor for your market, open your mind to new ideas and experiences and then bring that collected wisdom into your sales efforts. Learn a new skill. And READ. READ. READ.

4) Seek Connections
How do you combat isolation? Whether you have a home office, an open desk at a loft-office or a real office in an office building, there will be times you feel isolated like you are going it alone. Yet, we all have colleagues from past jobs, neighborhood or apartment acquaintances, even non-work friends who we seldom see. Send these folks a LinkedIn connection request if you haven’t already and ask them to meet you for coffee. Ask about their personal and professional lives. You are not prying. Rather, you are connecting. Seek out your community. Establish a tribe. Share your hopes and dreams and even your vulnerabilities. The more comfortable you are connecting with your personal contacts, the better you’ll get at making professional connections while prospecting and working your opportunities.

5) Manage Change
And finally, change is inevitable. How do you handle your cheese moving? When life throws you a curveball, do you have people to turn to for support and advice? If you are impulsive, who slows you down? If change throws you into a funk, who kicks you in the butt to get you going after the next great thing?  When change happens, you have your story of what happened, but others may have a different perspective.  Seek those out. As Billy Joel might sing, they may be right.

SalesReformSchool: Food for Thought

I am addicted to the Notes app on my laptop and iPhone. I dump everything there. This week, though, I’m giving Evernote a test drive to see if it does a better job being my virtual junk drawer. While going through some “Notes” I came upon a five-word note I typed (scribbled?) in early November. A quick Google search shows it’s from Cinderella:

Have courage and be nice.

Hmmm… Working on it. Are you?

SalesReformSchool: Extracurricular

I’ve discovered SoundCloud mashups for workout music. Yes, there’s an app for that. Click here for my current favorite.

Good Selling!
Adam signature

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Through SalesReformSchool, I am available to you for Sales Process Design, Sales Messaging Creation, On-boarding/In-boarding Sales Team Workshops, Keynote Addresses, Facilitation, Group or One-on-One Coaching, Pipeline Reviews and other Sales Management Consulting.