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Driskill Business Development Group, Inc. | Kansas City, MO

Jeff Driskill

As a leader of a company, division, department, team or project, one of our most challenging tasks is to communicate effectively with our staff and team. How often does a leader share what they believe is a clear, defined message to learn later the outcome isn’t close to the expectations, yet, everyone involved indicated they clearly understood the goal? Is there someone on your team that you can easily speak to and them with you, and it’s as if you can finish each other’s thoughts? Are there others who it seems as if you’re never on the same page, and talking with them is typically difficult?

Take the extra time to hire great candidates that contribute their expertise to the team’s overall success.

It's March Madness time, which I enjoy, but not always for the same reasons other people do. Along with being a sports nut, having coached college and high school football for 25+ years, and coaching my sons in every sport they played, including basketball, I enjoy the college tournament because I'm in sales and own my own business. It's fun watching the teams execute their strategies, and then figure out how these strategies apply to my own profession. What stands out, season after season, is how predictable the plays are and how easily they can be countered.

Melody was feeling unmotivated.

Carlos, her sales manager, was pressuring her once again to improve her closing ratio … but as usual, he wasn’t giving her much guidance on how she should go about accomplishing this goal. Yes–her numbers were bad. Melody knew that. But after three months on the job, she was tired of being lectured about the numbers and didn’t feel supported in her efforts to turn things around. In fact, she wasn’t even sure she wanted to continue in sales.

Jane was struggling. Most of her deals weren’t moving forward, and her quarterly income target seemed well out of reach.

Jane’s manager Mario sent an email asking her to identify her top three qualified prospects; he also asked Jane to be ready to discuss each prospect with him. For her session with Mario, Jane brought in information on three companies with whom she had scheduled upcoming meetings: Acme, Betterway, and Century.

“These are my three most qualified prospects,” Jane said after exchanging pleasantries with Mario. “I’ve had discussions with each decision maker – here are all the notes I took – and I’ve got meetings set up on the calendar with each one.”

Mario smiled, and took a look at Jane’s notes. Then he asked, “I’m curious – what makes you think that the decision maker at Acme is a qualified prospect?”

“Well,” said Jane, “as you can see in my notes, he told me he’s actively exploring the possibility of setting up a new work station and placing an order with us. Those are the very words he used – ‘actively exploring.’”

“Got it. Does that make him qualified?”

After months of trying, Milt had finally obtained an appointment with Walt, the CEO of BigCorp. Milt was looking forward to meeting with Walt and asking all the questions he had carefully prepared in order to qualify this opportunity. He arrived at the appointment on time … but before he could even ask his first question, Walt barked: “OK, it’s a busy morning, and we’ve only got ten minutes. Show me whatcha got.”

The meeting went downhill from there.

Ask salespeople to list their least favorite selling activities, and you can count on “prospecting” being at the top of the list. And, the least favorite of all prospecting activities is unquestionably making cold calls.