I’m asked all the time “What skills do you teach?” I used to try to answer that question directly, because I thought I had to.
The best way to answer that question is to look at what people say they’ve learned; and it might not be what most people think about when they think about “training”.
I got this note below from a salesperson who went through my workshop recently. I feel Mike gets to the heart of what it’s all about, in such a beautifully authentic way. And it’s not just about the power of Storyleaders.
He identifies something that he learned about himself, and that’s maybe the most important thing people learn in our workshops:
Date: Friday, April 25 at 4:22 PM
Subject: Thank you!
I am sure you’ve been getting a lot these types of emails as you’ve rolled out the workshops, but I wanted you to know that I thought the program was truly great. I would not say I was skeptical going in – mainly because I had very little idea of what to expect. That said – I definitely did not anticipate what I experienced.
To be totally honest, I have not felt like myself since joining the team. I love the company, the product, and everyone I have gotten to know, but there has been something about myself that I was not ok with and I was having a hell of a time figuring it out. It dawned on me during the workshop that I have been trying too hard to be like what I thought was an effective sales person.
I came into the company very aware that I was one of the younger and less experienced sales people on the Enterprise team and I put a ton of pressure on myself, not just to make my number but to beat everyone else. As that did not happen, I questioned myself and tried to change what I was doing – how I presented, what I presented, what messaging I used with people, demo content, how I handled objections (literally everything). I devolved further and further away from just being myself, trying to help people. I am sure now that I was not being as effective as I can be.
This week really did change things for me. It was like a reset button and I have a clarity of purpose that had eroded away. I actually had a meeting this morning and Jeremy commented after that I seemed like a different guy. I really can’t thank you enough for making this “training” happen.
The problem our industry has is that we’ve matrix’d out all the so-called skills we think a salesperson needs to have in order to be successful. Its bull**** and it comes from an old, outdated way of thinking.
The more I’ve got to know the real movers and shakers; those who put their handprints on the world, those who affect and impact people’s lives in a profound way, it comes from somewhere else — something that doesn’t show up as a skill on the Sales Trainers’ curriculum or a Training Dept’s skills matrix. It comes from within, and that carries a lot more power.
We’re a social species in a social business, and I wonder how evolved (or not) we are at being social (definition: “of or relating to society”).
And I’m not just wondering about the profession of sales…
Turn on the news and listen to how ‘they’ relate to us, listen how ‘they’ relate to each other. Listen to how we all have been conditioned to “sell” and relate ourselves to the communities we’re trying to sell to; whether it’s selling an idea, a service, or trying to get people to follow us.
This is hard stuff. Its messy. And back to, “What skills?” If all we do is ask that question, we’re missing what it is that makes those rare people so elusive. It’s a wildly insufficient question that leads to a wildly insufficient answer.
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