Are You A Player, Or A Coach?

Are You A Player, Or A Coach?

March brings March Madness. March Madness is the college basketball tournament where the 64 teams battle to find out who is the best college basketball team of the season.

While you are watching your team this year, I would like you to learn a lesson that every basketball coach has had to learn. The easiest way to learn this lesson is to do a little analysis. I would like you to count the number of times where the game is tight, one team is on the free-throw line, and the coach makes a substitution – himself.

Yes, count the number of times the coach doesn’t trust the player he has been coaching all season and puts himself on the line to make that winning shot.

I can already tell you the number: zero.

During a game, the coach can rant, rave, coach, and cajole but he cannot play the game. He has to trust that the athletes that he has coached all season will take his instruction, remember the skills that they have practiced, and execute those plays as they were taught.

This doesn’t happen in sales. It is almost commonplace for the coach (the sales manager) to step in and drive the conversation. He puts his athlete, whom he has been coaching perhaps for years, on the bench. 

So, let’s explore what would happen if suddenly you were required to stay on the sidelines while you watched your salespeople sell and it was impossible for you to take over the sale.

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Drive Revenue During A Crisis

Drive Revenue During A Crisis

The global pandemic has caused crisis after crisis to hit US companies. These crises include:

  • global supply chain problems affecting worldwide shipping
  • increased prices due to the shortage of components or subassemblies
  • labor shortages

To assist our clients, Sean O’Shaughnessey and Kevin Lawson teamed up to create the following webinar. The webinar originally aired on January 13, 2022.

The following is a transcript of the webinar video above. It has been sparsely edited to increase its readability, but many of the idioms and poor spoken grammar have been left in place. The transcription was automatically generated by Sonix.ai and, as capable as that product is, there are times when words are missed or sentence structure was incorrectly interpreted. We have tried to catch all of these software misses, but we are confident that some still remain. The below text is provided for those that would rather read than watch a video.

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In-person vs. virtual selling: How modern sales teams can operate after COVID

In-person vs. virtual selling: How modern sales teams can operate after COVID

The average cost of a face-to-face sales call is reportedly $250 – $500. With virtual sales calls, you can talk to your prospects for a much lower price. Virtual sales calls are an easy and inexpensive way to start building relationships and generating leads.

Virtual sales calls have become more and more popular in the past few years, especially during and now after the global pandemic. The most apparent advantage of virtual sales calls is that they can be conducted from anywhere and anytime. This means that companies can save office space while still conducting meaningful business conversations with customers and prospects. Salespeople can save time by using virtual sales calls to get on the radar of potential buyers or secure new leads.

Another advantage is the cost savings of not having a physical presence at an event or trade show. Virtual sales calls also offer a level of confidentiality. 

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Curiosity Kills the Quota

I recently spoke to Robert Gillette, the host of the podcast Reclaiming Sales. It was a great conversation! We discussed many things that will benefit beginning sales professionals. Specifically, we discussed:

  1. Get to know your prospects better, understand how they make and lose money.
  2. Get curious, and stay that way… even when you’ve heard your 100th prospect tell you the same thing.
  3. Build your belief, it will keep you company when times get tough.

You can listen to our conversation by subscribing to Robert’s podcast here. You can also subscribe by going to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and many more that are listed here.

The following is a transcription of our conversation for those that prefer to read rather than listen. The transcription is as close as possible to the spoken word but effort was made to try to make it a little more readable with fairly grammar correct phrasing, sentence structure, and paragraph structure. Where the commentary overrode grammar or the use of synonyms, the spoken word was chosen.


Announcer 0:30  

You’re listening to Reclaiming Sales because you don’t need to sell your soul to be successful with your host and fellow salesman, Robert Gillette.

Robert Gillette 0:41  

Robert Gillette
Reclaiming Sales Podcast Host

Hey everybody, welcome back to the show. My name obviously is Robert Gillette, and I have a new friend of mine. I know everybody I meet on the show, I say my new friend, but it’s true so far—a gentleman named Sean O’Shaughnessey. Honestly, the reason why you’re on the show, to be totally honest, is he, you engage with me, you commented on the things that I post, and you send me messages. And you know, when you’re doing a podcast, it’s like screaming into the void. And so when the void reaches back out and gives you feedback, it’s incredibly helpful. I’m used to performing on stage, in general, so I just wanted to have you on the show, first of all, to get your perspective on what we’ve been talking about so far. But, still, you also have some pretty deep claws into this whole sales game as well, and you have some perspectives that I just want to explore and see what we can uncover over the next 20 minutes or so. But before we get onto that, Sean, why don’t you, I guess before you take off your sales guy hat, what do you sell and who do you sell it to.

Sean O’Shaughnessey 1:42  

I am the CEO of a company called New Sales Expert. I sell sales management to companies with bad sales management or don’t know how to have sales management.

Robert Gillette 1:56  

Okay, and we don’t have a lot of, you know, people on the show who aren’t salespeople. But I guess my first question to you before we move too far into this is. Do you think it’s harder to sell to salespeople or to sell to non-salespeople? Is it hard to sell to people who sell for a living?

Sean O’Shaughnessey 2:16  

Sean O’Shaughnessey
CEO and President
New Sales Expert, LLC

So it’s I think it’s easier to sell to salespeople because we like to hear a good pitch. I actually sell, though, to the CEO that is frustrated because he doesn’t know how to manage a sales force. So that’s actually whom I sell to. And that’s the problem I solve.

Robert Gillette 2:32  

Okay, so you’re actually selling to a CEO or someone at that C suite level.

Sean O’Shaughnessey 2:37  

Correct. I’m usually selling to the founder of the company. And he is in a situation where he can’t figure out how to manage salespeople, how to recruit salespeople, and how to make salespeople better. So that’s what I do for him or her.

Robert Gillette 2:51  

Unfortunately, mostly him, but we’re working on that diversity by brute force. We’re doing it as a country anyways. 

So let’s, let’s roll this back to the beginning of your career, how did you get into sales. And why did you stick with it all those years?

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Top Sales People Want To Work On The Best Teams

Top Sales People Want To Work On The Best Teams

I recently met with one of my clients to discuss the company’s sales team. They had ten salespeople on their team.

Five of the salespeople had brought in about 40-45% of the company’s revenue, and two others also brought in about 40-45% of his revenue. A bigger problem, though, was the remaining three that only brought in 10-15%. Those three were dragging down the team.

The biggest problem that the President was starting to realize was that the top two performers were becoming disgruntled and would probably leave the company. As I did my initial interviews with these two, they confided in me they had become frustrated that every time the company needed more revenue, the challenge was given to them to bring it in the door.

To keep their spirits up, I told them that these challenges were an honor. Like in basketball, you have your best players on the floor when the score is tied, with a minute left in the 4th quarter. One of them replied, “But if the 7th man would have made his four free throws, two layups, and grabbed those two defensive rebounds in the 3rd quarter, the score wouldn’t be tied at the end.”

Great people want to be surrounded by great people. Top athletes want to play on the same team as other top athletes. Top salespeople want to work in the same company as other top salespeople.

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