One of my former coachees, Cathy, contacted me when she was invited to speak to a group of her peers—all sales people. She’d been the year’s top producer and was asked to talk about what she’d done to achieve such superior results. Cathy felt a bit embarrassed about being asked, thinking she’d not done anything particularly different from what her colleagues had. Perhaps the rest of the group hadn’t been as disciplined? What could she tell them they didn’t already know?
The presentation was to be in one of the tallest office buildings in the city. Cathy had all morning to dedicate to this exercise and she was in her own territory. My recommendation was to offer a challenge.
I suggested she begin her presentation by noting to her colleagues,
“You know what we all have to do. It’s about discipline and it’s about making the call, getting over the reluctance to get out there and take action.
Cathy took my suggestion and next she said this: I’ve actually taken the time to do some analysis. We’ve got 80 floors in this building and 50 in the building across the street. There are 67 companies total in both buildings and 23 of us. So here’s what we’re going to do. Your job in the next hour and fifteen minutes is to call on the three companies on your list. All you have to do is introduce the HRs leaders at each company to our firm, let them know we’re open for business and if they have a need, we’d love to help. If they indicate an openness to a follow-up discussion, get their contact information and I’ll call them back within 24 hours.
Once you’ve visited each of the companies on your list, come back ready to share your stories and we’ll have a recap.”
They all looked a little shocked but they went ahead and followed the instructions.
Later, Cathy was told it was the best sales presentation they’d seen in years, and yet, even with the recognition of the great meeting she’d led, she still felt as if she really hadn’t done anything to have inspired others.
I reminded her, “You did just what you needed to do. You inspired your associates by telling them exactly what to do and getting them to take action. They all came back excited and with stories to share: tactics that worked, others, not so much; results which were good, others which left room for improvement BUT they all learned and learned by doing it!”
Not to mention, Cathy, too, did what she needed to do. Her follow-up garnered sixteen appointments and six engagements over the following three months. The team still talks about Cathy’s ability to get results!
I have used this approach since, in all kinds of settings – penetrating specific niches, markets and regions – in several countries. What I have learned, is that better results come from purposeful action. Give it a try!