June 2009 Newsletter

I don't know about you, but for my family and me, things get pretty hectic at this time of year.  From work as usual, to kid activities, yard work, home improvement projects, and of course, summer socializing, it's clear that no way will I get to everything I'd like to do. I need to fall back on the 80/20 rule.

For those of you interested in history, the 80/20 rule dates back to 1906. That's when Pareto created a mathematical formula to describe unequal distribution of wealth in his country. Afterward others observed similar phenomena in their areas of expertise and it became a universal principle.

What it means
The 80/20 rule means that in anything a few (20 percent) are vital and many (80 percent) are trivial. In Pareto's case it meant 20 percent of the people owned 80 percent of the wealth.

As for me—and my experience suggests I am right on this—I fit right into the 80/20 rule when it comes to my summer activities. Only 20 percent are vital, and, as hard as it is, I should let the rest go.  You can apply the 80/20 rule to almost anything, from the science of management to the physical world.

It also applies to sales organizations. Research shows that more than half of people in professional sales lack the basic attributes required for success—attributes that world-class salespeople possess naturally or develop through training or single-minded focus. Of the remaining half, 50 percent have the potential for success but currently sell the wrong products or services. That leaves about 25 percent to sell about 80 percent of the world's products and services.

You can see from this why it's so important for sales organizations to recognize the attributes of world-class salespeople.

If you can identify what makes a world-class salesperson, you can hire more of them. You'll know when salespeople on your team need training and support, and you'll understand how to help them.

Here, to help you in this identification process, are ten attributes world-class salespeople share:

  1. They possess an irrepressibly positive attitude.
    Their glasses are half full; every cloud has a silver lining. Knock them down nine times, they stand up nine times. 
    Do your salespeople live in a partly cloudy or partly sunny world?
  2. They understand sales as a numbers game.
    Failed calls, deals "gone south" or first contact refusals don't deter them. They simply focus more clearly on the next call.
    Do your salespeople know the value of their calls?
  3. They live to prospect.
    World-class sales people prospect all the time, especially when things go well. Prospecting obsesses them. They never stop. 
    Is prospecting 24/7/365 in your organization?
  4. Sales drive them.
    These people live for the chase. They have unceasing energy; nothing slows or stops them until they successfully close a deal. 
    Are your sales people in top gear?
  5. They love competition.
    Top sales people are really poor losers. They dislike second place. Deep down they need to win and losses just strengthen their resolve. They can't be kept in second place for long. 
    Is your team too good at losing?
  6. The next step obsesses them.
    World-class sales people aim for the next step—the next commitment level that will instill in their customer the trust and confidence needed for a "yes!"
            Are your sales people driving their cases forward at least one step with every              customer or prospect contact?
  7. They consider themselves and their products world class.
    Top sales people evangelize. Quiet confidence oozes from them. Unbridled enthusiasm for their company, its products and services gushes from them.
    Have your people reached the mountaintop?
  8. They pre-qualify prospects before investing time and energy.
    Besides understanding their products, world-class sales people know their prospective customers. They rarely waste time with someone who is not a genuine prospect.
    Do your sales people look before they leap?
  9. They expect to hear "no!"
    These champions are confident that they have considered every possible "no" situation that might arise. They understand how to address these objections in a way that builds confidence and trust in their prospective customers. 
    Are your front people always ready to handle key objections?
  10. They sell through customer knowledge.
    Top salespeople continually try to learn more about their customers and their customers' needs. They know the way to sales is through partnership and problem solving. 
             How much do your salespeople know about their customers and prospective customers?

So there you have it: a list of attributes you can use as a guide when hiring salespeople. If you measure your sales people using this list, you can move your team into the 20 percent zone. Then just watch your sales soar.

Tips: Ten Steps to Help You Flourish in This Economy

The economy has caused big trouble for some organizations.

Others, meanwhile, have flourished. Their products or services continue in demand. In fact, the rest of the world envies them, asking, "Can we start selling what they sell?"

But that's the wrong question. It's not what they sell but how they succeed.  How do organizations flourish in this economy?

By studying hundreds of America's best companies, Profile's International has learned that these organizations achieve success through productive people. These companies make success look easy because their management of people is part of a well-executed plan.

According to Profiles International, America's most productive companies are…

P Particular and purposeful in hiring.
R Rigorous in matching roles and responsibilities to goals.
O Organized with effective frontline managers.
D Determined to recruit top performers.
U Understanding of the importance of new technology.
C Clear about goals.
T Transparent in communicating with employees.
I Innovative in improving and fine-tuning what they already do well.
V Visionary about the future.
E Energetic and encouraging.

If you want to know more about top-performing organizations including the companies Profiles included in its survey, visit www.americasmostproductive.com.

Your Solution Toolbox: Managing the Bumps and Bruises of Work Life

Measuring What Matters
Just as you need a first aid kit to take care of the scrapes and scratches that occur in your workplace, you need a productivity kit to manage the bumps and bruises your workforce encounters that curtail your organization's success. 

Here's just such a productivity kit from Profiles International:

Use the PXT to determine job fit, a key indicator of how well an employee will perform and how long he will stay on the job. The PXT uses a job match pattern that you develop by examining employees who are most and least successful in a given position. Their scores provide benchmarks for new job candidates in the same position. PXT can also help determine the best candidates for internal promotions.

Profiles Team Analysis™
Use the Profiles Team Analysis™ to eliminate conflict, build cooperation, improve communication and assure team results. The information for this analysis, comes from data collected through the Profiles Performance Indicator™ and highlights each team member's attributes, reveals group strengths and alerts the leader to potential problems.

Profiles Workforce Compatibility™
Use PWC to help manager and employee work together more smoothly. PWC measures seven characteristics that define employee-manager relationships giving each a report. The manager's report details the differences between the two on each characteristic and gives a "best practices" working style for both. It also gives ideas and detailed instructions for managing the employee. The employee's report shows the worker his or her similarities to and differences from the boss and includes ideas for creating a smoother working relationship.

CheckPoiont 360º™
Use this assessment to grow effective leaders, build your talent bench, guide leaders through career transitions, develop top talent and use leadership development to enact key changes in your business. CheckPoint 360º™ helps you determine a manager's capability in areas such as communication, leadership, adaptability, relationship-building skills, task management, productivity, development of others and self-development.

Use SkillBuilder™ to strengthen the following skills: listening, processing information, communicating effectively, building relationships, thinking creatively, working as a team and more.

Profiles Performance Indicator™
Use Profiles Performance Indicator™ to help understand how to motivate employees successfully.

HR Consulting

For many organizations, the next step is to seek professional assistance to find out how to:

  • Understand your workers' strengths, weaknesses and interests
  • Match people to job demands
  • Increase employee performance throughout your organization 
Let’s Talk! We offer a no obligation consultation to informally assess your current policies, procedures, and practices. This may help determine what’s missing in your current programs to meet the above recommendations.

Call 952-322-3330 or send an email to mgorski@mgassessments.com.

Finally check out MG assessments on the Web at www.mgassessments.com, and for timely HR information, See my blog: Updated regularly, it focuses on the hottest HR issues.

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