The 4th of July is right around the corner. It’s the time of year where we can celebrate the history of the United States, giving praise to our founding fathers for their bravery and foresight.
It’s also the time of year where sales teams and sales managers recognize the half-way point of the year. Six months to achieve quota.
In preparation for third and fourth quarter, take time to review history lessons from America’s birthday. The lessons will make a difference in your sales results.
Lesson #1: Conviction and commitment
Our first president, George Washington, was also a commander in chief during the Revolutionary War. Like most wars, this was a brutal war that lasted eight years. George Washington’s commitment to the cause of freedom was tested. There were harsh winters. His army was outnumbered by the British army and he suffered the betrayal of close staff members.
He had many reasons to quit the fight and give up. Despite great challenges, George Washington and his troops persevered because they had a unified goal: freedom and independence.
The lesson from history books for salespeople is to ask yourself the tough questions. How committed are you to achieving your sales goals? It’s easy to give excuses. “The competition has more brand recognition, more feet on the street and lower pricing.” These excuses lead to blame instead of looking at your own sales efforts and skills.
Imagine the outcome of the Revolutionary War if our forefathers only concentrated on what they didn’t have versus what they did have? Experts ranging from self-help to neuroscientists to spiritual leaders will all agree on this common principle: focus on what you want and can control. You can always control conviction and commitment.
Lesson #2: Celebrate
The 4th of July is the day of the year where people, of all political parties, celebrate this great country. How often is your company celebrating their greatness? Most sales organizations are run by driven sales managers comprised by equally driven salespeople. Sales meetings focus on achieving next quarter’s goals and troubleshooting problems --- all very important to staying in business and satisfying customers. What often is missing, is taking time to celebrate the victories.
Ed Oakley, author of Leadership Made Simple, teaches his clients to start meetings with this question: What are we doing right? It’s a simple question that creates powerful results. It can move a culture from finger pointing to arms raised in victory.
Lesson #3: Step Back in Time
The 4th of July is a wonderful time of year to review and listen to the stories of the ordinary men and women who built this extraordinary country. Their tales of bravery and courage are a symbol of what can be done by people who believe in a cause.
Companies are well served when they keep the history and stories of their company alive. New salespeople don’t know the early stories of the owner working out of his/her garage. They assume the new office building is the way things have always been.
A vice-president of sales began his career with a company that went from start-up to IPO. He always made sure the President of the company invested an hour with the new hires to tell the ‘story’ of the company. He made sure new hires understood that ordinary people built an extraordinary company.
What is your company story? What were the early battles of survival? Why was the company started? Storytelling has been used for years to make sure great events are remembered. Make sure your organization is sharing its history, its story.
It’s the 4th of July and it’s half-way through the year. Examine your commitment, celebrate your victories, and keep your company’s history alive. Remind your sales team that ordinary people build extraordinary companies.