In the 1993 film, Groundhog Day, Bill Murray plays Phil Connors, an arrogant Pittsburg TV weatherman who, during an assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, PA, finds himself caught in a time loop, repeating the same day over and over again. Eventually, he uses the experience of the recurring day to improve himself. He begins to re-examine his life and priorities.
In sales (or if you’re a sales leader), you may evolve into being caught up in your own little time loop. Are you repeating the same day, week, month, even YEAR over and over again, smug in your twisted belief that you’re fine—that nothing needs to change or improve about yourself?
Over the 35 years I have been in sales and sales management, I’ve had the opportunity to observe thousands of sales professionals up close. There is the rare breed—the 20% that we often reference—that are always trying to improve themselves, always looking for an edge. They seek out and engage in the 4 critical types of coaching and mentorship that we recommend:
- Hierarchal (your direct report or upline)
- Peer-to-Peer (the best and brightest co-workers)
- External Professional Coach (group or individual programs)
- Life’s Board of Directors (mentors to help with your biggest life decisions)
Then there’s the 80% that we reference, the rest of the pack. These folks rarely engage in high-level mentorship using any of the 4 potential sources listed above. They often feel that if they were trained initially and they’ve had some moderate success at some point, then there’s little more to learn. They insulate themselves and often become what we call, “lone-wolf” sales people. Sales managers and leaders can even fall into this trap. I’ve actually heard them say, “Look, I have 10 years of experience at this.”
My question back to them is…
“Do you really have 10 years of experience, or do you have 1 year of experience, repeated 10 times over—doing the same things, not growing, morphing or evolving?”
One thing I learned from my parents (and a lesson I also learned when venturing into commission sales) is that if you aren’t improving yourself each day, then your days are wasted. In our professional sales careers we can easily agree that if we aren’t constantly trying to improve our Competencies, Attitudes and Pipeline practices each day, we are probably moving backwards. In fact, if you think you are simply standing pat in your career, you are sadly mistaken.
I believe that neutrality is a myth.
You are either continuously getting better at what you do, or you’re falling behind the rest of the younger, smarter, better looking people that your company or organization is attracting and hiring.
I hear oldsters complain about technology and change all of the time—how it’s so hard to keep pace. In fact, oldsters complain about everything. They pine for “The good old days,” 10, 15, 20 years back when the industry was different.
Well guess what…those days are gone and they’re not coming back so get with the program, evolve, catch up or die.
So, in honor of Groundhog Day (the movie), I will urge you to strip away your pretenses and your ego for a moment and ask yourself a few key questions:
This week’s checklist – (I know you love these! LOL!)
- What thought processes (and influences/influencers) are helping me or holding me back?
- What am I reading?
- What industry professionals am I following? (And why?)
- Who am I associating with?
- What type of coaching am I seeking out?
- Which harmful Attitudes do I need to shed?
- What productive thought processes do I need to adopt?
- Have I become stale, stagnate or fallen behind in my knowledge base of my sales process in general, or any of these specific areas?
- Products, services or inventory
- Prospecting and marketing ideas, processes and strategies
- Presentational platforms (the way you communicate with prospects)
- Closing skills
- Referral and networking systems
- Has my Pipeline faltered?
- Am I consciously nurturing it daily?
- What resources do I need to employ in order to fill it?
- What top 3 Actions/Attitudes are most essential for my success in 2015?
- #1 ____________________________________________________
- #2 ____________________________________________________
- #3 ____________________________________________________
Okay…I think you have enough to work on and I think you get the point.
You may not be crashing and burning in your sales or leadership career, but if you’re not tearing the cover off the ball, you may have let your guard down and stopped doing some of the things that have gotten you to where you are at.
You may have fallen behind the pack a half step, stopped growing professionally and need to wake up from your own personal Groundhog day.
Important Note: Joe Buzzello is launching the very first CAP Leadership Platform on February 18th. This is an exclusive 13-week program that requires only a small investment on your part, but will transform the way you think about leading salespeople. Joe’s CAP Leadership Platform will also give you access to multiple personal coaching sessions with him. Program access is limited to only the first 32 qualified registrants. For a one-page sheet with full details please send an email request to: email@example.com
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