EPISODE 231: Building Stronger, More Vital Sales Teams During Challenging Times with Organizational Communications Expert Steven Gaffney

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a replay of the Sales Game Changers Panel Webinar hosted by Fred Diamond, Host of the Sales Game Changers Podcast, on May 1, 2020. It featured The Honesty Guy, Steven Gaffney].

EPISODE 231: Building Stronger, More Vital Sales Teams During Challenging Times with Organizational Communications Expert Steven Gaffney

Watch the webinar here.

MAJOR TIP TO EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “In any crisis, there are 8 stages that people, teams and organizations go through but the best ones move from crisis reaction to crisis growth. One way to ensure this is to develop Consistently High Achieving Teams. These teams produce consistently high achieving performers.”

Fred Diamond: How are you doing today, Steven? I’m excited to talk to you about optimizing team performance.

Steven Gaffney: I’m doing great and I’m glad to be here with you doing this session. It all comes down to teams and teams are two or more people. You can use what we’re talking about whether it’s just with one person, a potential customer, if you’re leading a team, obviously but even I have got a lot of my clients and participants use this stuff at home which is really exciting. Let’s face it, right now there’s not a lot different between work and personal life, it’s just one life. You get to move from one room to the next and that might be a difference between the business and personal. Definitely there’s a lot of challenges today but there’s a lot of opportunities so I can jump right in if you want.

Fred Diamond: Quick question, before the pandemic you had started publishing some really interesting things on teams and now obviously you’re taking a deep look at how they apply to the pandemic. Just for the audience here before we move into the next slide, what got you interested in focusing a lot of your attention on optimizing team performance?

Steven Gaffney: For many years, and I still do, I’m known to be an expert on honest communication. When people hear honest communication they typically think about ethics, truth or lies but what I’ve found is the #1 problem – we’ll get into that later even more, if you forget everything else out of what we’re about to do, remember this. The #1 problem is not what people say, it’s what they don’t say and that’s where we’ve all thought, “Why didn’t they just tell me? Why didn’t my boss tell me? Why didn’t my peer tell me?” Or maybe as we’re leading teams you think there’s a problem with somebody who is a participant of the team and you find out they’re having some problems maybe even in their home life. “I didn’t even know we could have helped that person” or you lose a really great person and find out the real reason why they walked out the door.

The #1 problem by far is not what people say, it’s what they don’t say. What I found out after teaching this for many years is how to have the difficult conversation, how you get that unsaid said and how you say it in a way where the person doesn’t flip out on you. I had a client one day call me and say, “Listen, this stuff on honest communication is really great but can you facilitate and do some things with my teams? I have a series of teams, do kind of like a reboot.” As she went on to describe what she was looking for there was the sense of the idea that we turn the computer on again, off again and we get rid of the junk and we move forward. What I realized – and I started down that path – is that all relationships, all teams need a reboot. Let’s face it, you have a sales strategy going into this year, here’s what you found obviously at the start of the pandemic: put it in the trash, it’s useless even when you come out of this situation. People say ‘the new normalcy’ and I don’t even like that.

We are going to evolve, whatever it is we will evolve and you got to toss it out. The best way to do that is you’ve got to let go of the path. Fred, what hangs up the teams is the lack of honest communication, it’s what’s not getting said but specifically what we’re not saying is, “Look, we have to move forward, we cannot still blame the pandemic for a lack of sales, we have to seize the opportunity, the only people we can control is ourselves so what are we going to do about this?” Whether it’s before the pandemic, obviously but now during it, it’s really critical about teams, you’ve got to let things go, you’ve got to move forward. We don’t have time to entertain, “Oh, how I used to be, if we didn’t have this.” We also don’t even have time to entertain politics, I think, leave the politics to the politicians. People say, “It’s a waste of time, we’ve got to move forward.” Does that answer your question?

Fred Diamond: It does, yes.

Steven Gaffney: One thing I want to say and I want to stress, Fred, you mentioned it. I love interactions so in that question box, a comment or question they have or if somebody’s going, “I hope he covers X”, put it in there. One thing out of what I watched out of your LinkedIn profile and you posting it is people wanting to know about this getting the unsaid said, so I’ll get into that. Where I want to go first is I started to realize out of this pandemic that in any crisis there’s 8 stages that people go through and teams go through and organizations go through, but the best ones move from crisis reaction to crisis growth.

The first four stages everybody sees is pretty typical but I want to exemplify and talk about this because I still don’t think people are so aware of it. First stage is neglect and we all saw that. “It’s not a big deal, that’s happening over in another part of the world, it’s going to affect us but it’s not really going to affect us” and then suddenly a lot of people and organizations and definitely leaders became aware. Then there’s that frozen period, it might last a minute, it might last a day, it could last even weeks where you don’t even know what to do. Panic stage is interesting because people think they know what to do and they respond accordingly but it’s just out of panic. That’s when you saw the rush for the toilet paper and all this other stuff, people just panicked but where most organizations right now are, where I see this in most sales teams is in the firefight. It’s like they’re dealing with day in and day out, “What are we going to do? We have this, we’re lacking this.” They’re in the firefight stage but here’s the thing if we can move forward.

The key that your team needs to do is to move into these next four, these are the Game Changers, so to speak, that help and that is this. Stage 5 is freedom to innovate and I want to talk about this. Everybody says, “We need to innovate during this period” but what I think people are missing is this is the golden time to launch new products and services, not only to respond to what’s happening. What I’m talking about is there’s a great forgiveness, I call this the forgiveness opportunity period. In other words, you can go after an opportunity, you can go and innovate and if you mess up, people are way more forgiving now. Let’s face it, most organizations tout as being open to risk and open to innovation but most are risk adverse. This is the period, though where you can launch a service, Fred, you could, I could, we all do and we need to where if it doesn’t work, people are going to say, “Fred, how could you launch it?”

This is a great forgiveness period so we need to be in this stage. So, how do you go from stage 4 to stage 5? My immediate advice is share these 8 stages, talk about where you are as a team and the question is what do we need to do to get stage 5? Now, stage 5 is now we’re innovating, we’re thinking of new ideas and we see now new services. The key is you’ve got to pull the trigger on it, activate it good enough.

I was advising somebody yesterday and we came up with a great idea for his business, I said, “When are you going to get this innovated?” and he said, “I will have the plan done by Sunday.” That’s what I’m talking about, move out and then you modify through feedback, the feedback you get from customers. What we’re seeing with companies like Nike and whatever is they’re launching and responding based on feedback to the customer where we might have traditionally hired these consultants to do the focus groups and the analysis and all this other stuff. Launch it, get it moving, try it out and then acknowledging success. Stage 8 is important because without acknowledging success, people don’t always recognize what’s good that’s been happening so you see the mental challenge going on where we don’t even acknowledge the success.

Here’s the best part about stage 8, it fuels stage 5 so once you jump to stage 5 and you go down this, it’s going to be basically an innovation perpetual cycle. You’re going to keep doing this and then you will beat out the competition because here’s another important point. If you do not move into this stage, you are lacking because your competitors are absolutely doing this. It’s important to get your sales team motivated and in that, here’s the thing, have the challenging conversations with the other parts of the company. If they’re not giving you new services and products, you’ve got to respond to that. We are going to be left behind because I guarantee you, the competition is moving out on that. I want people to be aware of this, talk about it and we can open up any questions on that, Fred.

Fred Diamond: Steven, on stage number 5, I was talking to one of our members and again the Institute for Excellence in Sales, we serve sales leaders around the globe who run B to B and enterprise level sales teams. We were chatting about how his business is changing as well and they kept talking about how their goals have changed. They were, like a lot of people, on track for their best year ever in 2020. Now, because of the situation that we’re in, their offerings are not in demand like they were prior to March 9th, but the first 6-7 weeks it was like, “How do we get adjusted? Can we be empathetic to customers?” All of a sudden – which is the reason why we asked you to do today’s webcast – it shifted with his leadership team to, “Okay, we’re not going to reach our goals in 2020 selling what we were selling prior to March 9th, we now need to acknowledge that” which they did pretty quickly and now move into, “What do we need to be offering?”

In the Institute for Excellence in Sales we do a lot of live events, we do 50 live events per year. On March 12th we shifted into doing online and here’s the thing, I was thinking once things “get back to normal” we’ll do occasional webcasts and we’ll get back to doing live events. Well, it may never get back to what it was so how do these new innovations that we’re doing become part of what we’re going to be doing moving forward? Once again, if anybody has any questions or comments submit them via the questions panel. Steven, I’m excited about what you’re talking about here because we are at that point, everyone’s gotten used to working from home, everyone’s gotten used to looking at that green or white dot on their laptop, everyone’s gotten used to being in this room of the house and stopping what they’re doing.

Steven Gaffney: Not getting a haircut like me for months now [Laughs]

Fred Diamond: Alright, so take us to the next stage.

Steven Gaffney: Before we do this, I want to build on what you’re saying because I think it’s important. We need to be doing that and even if our customers aren’t, it’s our job to lead our customers. It’s amazing when I talk to salespeople, “The customer doesn’t have that mindset.” It’s our job to alter that but then it begs the question, “Why doesn’t it happen?” What I think is not happening is it’s because of our perspective, it’s our own limitations that we’re bringing or responding to. You can’t sell being fearful, you have to be able to move forward. It builds right into this whole powerless being which I’m going to describe but I want to give you some evidence around what we’re talking about, moving forward. I guarantee you, people are saying, “It’s going to wipe out a lot of the competition where companies aren’t as strong.”

I think there’s going to be all kinds of new companies coming up who are just ingenious. For example, I don’t know if you knew this but Apple and Microsoft started in the middle of the recession in the 1970s. Airbnb was started in the middle of the great recession of 2008-2009 and look what’s happened. Netflix made a major shift right after that great recession and that’s how we’re now growing to love the streaming. They moved out and they took a fledgling business and said, “Instead of doubling down on how we always do it, what’s new?” I’ll tell you, when they made that shift it wasn’t easy and #2, it wasn’t so popular meaning it wasn’t like everybody said, “Great idea, we’re going to move forward.” It took courage to move forward and one other thing, I just want to get people thinking because I don’t think people are aware of all these historical examples. Fortune Magazine, a magazine that’s geared for people who are of the wealthy, at least originally how that started, 1929.

In the beginning of the great recession you’re launching a magazine, it would seem like that wouldn’t work but there were people that wanted to have that vision moving forward. I’m saying there’s all kinds of phenomenal examples so what is your company doing, what are you doing as a sales team to make it easier for your customers? What are you doing to deal with that? That’s important.

Fred Diamond: One quick comment, it’s a time for leadership and you mentioned Apple before, I worked at Apple for 7 years of my career and I remember I had a conversation with the CEO, me and thee of my closest friends, his name was Michael Spindler. We were talking about, “We need to talk to the customer” and he said, “No, we need to know what the customer needs.” Right now this is an opportunity for not just the sales leaders, and we have a whole ton of sales leaders listening to today’s webcast, I’m really excited about the content we’re going to get you. It’s also the time for sales professionals, people on the team as well. I know we’re talking to leaders today but it’s also a time for you. If you’re a sales professional working on a team, it’s a time for you to show your leadership as well. Steven, let’s get deep into it.

Steven Gaffney: I want to build on that point too and here’s a technique. Whoever asks the questions controls the conversation. When you’re talking to a customer you want to ask them deep questions. “How are you doing? What’s the challenge for the business?” and then pivot and give them some advice, give them things moving forward but instead of being a reaction, it’s like we’re leading. Answer, pivot, answer, pivot. This deals with how we view ourselves. These next series of slides are another really critical point with leading and actually just moving out with success.

There’s basically three types of human beings I’ve found. There’s the powerless being, the powerless person. These are people who view, “I just feel powerless” and we saw that, we still see this. “You know, Fred, I can’t do that because of this, this and this, these are great sales things but how do I do this?” All the reasons why they can’t get done. We move to the next slide, then we start to shift over to conditional being. These are the human beings, these are the people that they’ll say, “I have power but it’s conditional on whether I get the loan from the government”, “It’s conditional on if there’s better leadership”, “It’s conditional on whether the customer is willing to hear what we have to say” but where we want to be is over to the right. These are powerful beings, these are the kinds of beings which we’re all trying to be when we are successful. We view life like there’s nothing that’s impossible to solve.

This is what I do with myself when I’m thinking of limitations and being conditional. I think to myself, “There’s almost 8 billion people on this planet, am I the only one or am I part of a group where there is no answer to the solution? I have to believe that there are sales organizations, there are companies that are thriving in this time period.” This is what I’ve said to other consultants, I don’t buy in that everybody just has to eke out this year. There are people who have shifted and are going to have their best year ever, their business is that way but how do you get that way and how do you sell? That is also the belief, it’s the power of the powerful being.

Why this is important is I found that when in conflict and crisis people shift to the left. People who were powerful suddenly became conditional and I hear this, people were granting, “There’s this obstacle and this obstacle” and then people who were conditional became powerless and people who were powerless became frozen. They’re not moving. The job of us managing a team and managing ourselves and being successful in sales is we have to keep in the state of powerful being, it’s our job to shift ourselves, our customers and definitely the people that are reporting to us into powerful beings. So, what do you do? I want to give people some easy techniques. First, this is what I would do, I would show this to your team and have this kind of conversation and say, “First, where are we?” awareness is key, you always hear this, you can’t make a change unless you’re aware of this.

Many people aren’t even thinking of it this clearly. Then you need to do the breakup and the breakup is you have to break up the pattern of what you’re doing. Let’s take ourselves, we all get down and sometimes we shift to being powerless or conditional and you can feel yourself, once you’re aware of this, get out of the seat. Like a client of mine, he goes out to the back porch, he shifts his office in that way and notices the beautiful surroundings that surround him. Turn on music that really lights you up or call a friend that really excites you and maybe tells a joke or makes you laugh. You’ve got to be in charge of this and the job of the leaders when you’re managing a team is to make sure everybody’s in that powerful being state.

The steps are awareness then the breakup, then make sure everybody’s surrounded by other powerful beings and when you have a powerless or conditional being, you have to weed them out. I don’t mean get rid of them as a member of the team but you’ve got to coach them separately and if you need help on how to coach them separately just call me, I can give even more things but you’ve got to make sure. Did you ever notice when you’re part of a great team you just want to do even better? It’s like that, but have you ever been around team members who are complaining and even if you’re excited, it just brings you down, it makes you shift to the left. Our job as leaders is to shift to the right and to keep people on the right. Then the fourth step is to make three simple steps. Don’t make a big strategy, who knows what’s going to happen in two weeks? Create three simple steps.

What I would do as a leader, what people want to do is first where are we at? Then break things up, how are we going to break up how we’re currently interacting with our customers? What do we need to do? How do we help them break out of that stage? What can we do? Sometimes it’s the art of a question, sometimes it’s, “Tell me what’s the best thing that’s happened to you over the week.” Little things like that, then that’s what we can do for our customers, is be the voice of powerful, “We can get this solved” and then create three simple action steps. Do that and even if you don’t get to the rest of the content you will see a shift in sales and you will be more successful and what’s critical is the team will be more successful.

Fred Diamond: One of our members and I were talking two weeks ago, his company sells to the entertainment space, arenas, movie theaters, things like that and obviously they’re closed right now. Hopefully they’ll open up soon but it’s not going to be the same for months so what are you now doing? First couple weeks you were empathetic because you wanted to show the commitment of the relationship but now, 6-7 weeks into this thing you’d better acknowledge that what once was is no longer the case. Now you need to move forward knowing your marketplace, your audience and showing leadership with the powerful team you built to bring solutions to them or find a new market. Either bring new solutions to the existing one or find new places for what you sell or something completely different, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Steven Gaffney: I want to talk about the five characteristics of a consistently high achieving team. First of all – people may disagree – I don’t like high performing teams. First of all, the problem with performing, it can be confused with hard work and as we all know as being sales leaders and even salespeople is you don’t want to be judged on how hard you’re working and it really doesn’t matter, it’s about the results. What I found out is I wanted to shift people’s thinking to achieving, so high achieving team and the reason why I call it consistent is because you don’t want to have just a great week, you want to have a great year. What we’re talking about is how to build what I call a CHAT, it’s a Consistently High Achieving Team and there’s five characteristics.

You can test to see how you’re doing in this, where is your team currently at? First of all, are they even a team? As I learned from Alan Weiss, teams win and get challenged together, committees win and lose it separately. A good example of a committee is the Red Skins and look, I love the Red Skins, I really love the Red Skins but you’ll notice at least last year, it was always somebody else’s defense or offence or, “We’re missing this player” or blah, blah, blah. It was not, “We won or lost together.”

Second, is your team thinking of the team first and position second? Are they coming at it with, “I’m doing a great job, it’s other people who are not” or am I saying, “Look, I’m part of this team and I think fo the team first and position second.” Here’s the critical point, great teams produce great performers, not the other way around. Great performers don’t produce great teams, it’s the great team culture that produces great performance. Here’s why this is important, is because people have missed out why as a salesperson would I want to be part of a team? I get it, I’ve got to report but what we find out is if you surrender, so to speak, and you’re about the team, you’ll actually be better at your job. Why? Because we all have blind spots and we all can hear great ideas from each other but we’re not going to hear those great ideas if we’re in a silo, even mentally in a silo alone. The job of the sales leader is to get people thinking the team first, position second. No daylight is about the idea that you have to have the confidential conversations and people shouldn’t be able to tell differences from the outside. In fact, there shouldn’t be daylight between two members of your sales team, we’re acting as one. Never satisfied, that’s really important. If we’re not progressing we’re regressing so that’s about never being satisfied and then of course succeeds results. Those are the characteristics and that’s what you also might want to show your team. Where are we at with this? I know I’m going super-fast but those are the characteristics. Thoughts, reactions, Fred? Any questions?

Fred Diamond: We have a couple questions coming in from the audience here and once again, if you have a question or a comment on anything Steven’s talking about, submit it through your question panel. This is a basic question here, someone’s asking, “How should I be communicating to my team right now? How often?” Obviously it’s via online right now, everything’s online, nobody’s meeting in person. How often do you suggest leaders have these types of conversations right now? Again, it’s May 1st, hopefully towards the end of the pandemic but it’s right in the middle of the pandemic. What’s your suggestions on interaction as a leader to your team right now?

Steven Gaffney: Great question. Fred, can you move to the next slide? I want to talk about something. We’re going to start down this journey, there’s actually 12 essential elements of a consistently high achieving team, I’m not trying to hide from people what the other 6 are, what I’m trying to do is focus on the 6 that are the most important during this time period. Can you jump to #5? Okay, this is the answer to their question. You have to have a consistent communication business rhythm. What I’ve noticed about the best organizations, and these are all for my clients because I taught them this but you can do this now, every day. The three types of meeting you must have, a daily headline meeting, a weekly and a strategic, let me explain all three.

A daily headline meeting is where every day you touch base with the team, it should be under 15 minutes and it’s the headlines. It could also be great successes, it is not a discussion, debate, ‘let’s talk about how to better approach a customer’. It’s basically where people can check and think about when you turn on the evening news, I do it all the time but I don’t watch the whole evening news. In fact, in one minute I get all the headlines and sometimes I stay as long as 10 but the point is I get all the major headlines but it doesn’t report everything that’s happening, it’s not a talk show. I get the headlines but this is also a great way to stay in touch and for people to hear each other’s voices, but it’s also a great way to say, “Today, folks, here’s the tip of the day” or, “I just want to acknowledge Mr. Smith that just sold something to a client, we need to highlight that.”

Have people check in and what you do when you do this consistently is people feel connected and that’s very important because what often happens when we’re working in an office, we do this by accident but we don’t tend to do this virtually. I’ve been teaching this no matter what because even if you’re in an office it’s just really great and by phone you can do it, it’d be great to have everybody’s picture up but you don’t have to. The weekly is about every weekend, obviously and in your weekly meeting, half of that should be discussion. If you’re just going around and having reports and people are talking, you’re missing the greatest part of the meeting which is exchanging of ideas.

Strategic is where you’re having a meeting about a meaty issue, it might be, “Look, we need to really have a better plan to tackle this new market segment” or, “We’re going to launch this new service” or, “We really need some focused attention on this customer, it’s really being challenged so I need everybody’s head together around that.” It’s focused on a major issue. The answer to the question of the person who wrote that is at least have the daily, they’ll implement this and as a leader it’s non-negotiable. Don’t say, “Is everybody open to it?” Because they’re never going to be open to adding a meeting but do it for two weeks and see if it doesn’t make a huge difference because here’s what I found out with my clients, it’s made a huge difference. Fred, does that answer it?

Fred Diamond: Sure, we have another question here. Again, if you have a question submit it via the question panel. The question is kind of long, I understand what they’re asking here. Basically the question is you mentioned in the beginning, Steven, that you’re also a team with your customers. You talked about leading a sales team, how do you lead today and how do you be a team member? Someone suggested here, what are you seeing today from conversations? Let’s use your example before. My company does X type of software and the customer is not listening right now because they have challenges with their industry. What are some of your suggestions on leading the customer? Meaning how should I begin to engage that conversation? In some cases, I’m looking at some of the guests we have on today’s webcast, I know that they’re leaders in their space, I know some of them are emerging leaders where they’re not quite there yet. For the ones who aren’t quite there yet, what would be some of your suggestions on ways to lead your customer to where you want them to be?

Steven Gaffney: Really important is the following three steps. There are many steps but I’m all big on tactics. The first thing is to deeply listen to your customer, ask them questions but don’t just stay with ‘how are you dealing with the crisis’ and ‘how’s business’, ask them questions like what are your challenges and things like that going forward. Here’s the best question I love to say to my customers because it gets them really thinking. If I gave you a magic wand and you could get help in any one thing regardless if I can help you, regardless if my company can help you, what do you want help in? They key is to take them out of the frame of, “I’m talking to Fred so he has an institute, this is things that he might be able to answer.”

Our job is to help our customers even if we’re going to make recommendations so one of the best ways is obviously the challenges and things like that, but ask them really good questions. My favorite is, “If I gave you a magic wand and you could get help in any one thing, regardless if I can help you, what would it be?” That frees up the conversation. I remember how a client of mine said, “Look, I just need more hours in a day” and then it allowed me to say, “What’s bogging your day down?” Then I was able to offer tips and we ended up doing the whole session on how to save time in the day for the more important things. I’ve also made recommendations and referrals but first, deeply listen. Then shift and somewhere in that, come to the table with three ideas and I often say to my customers, “Whether or not you’ll hire me to do this, these are three things I’m seeing in the industry that you want to make sure happens.” For example, I would say right now great companies are making the impossible possible.

What do you perceive as a challenge and don’t accept that as a challenge, how do we reverse that? Then I’ll talk them through that. Then the third thing is always say what’s the next step? The next step could simply be, “Fred, these are great, let’s talk next week.” I always love to ask my customers this, “When do you want to talk next?” I don’t like saying when to talk next, I always want to gage how interested they are because it’s good feedback to me. “When will it make sense for us to talk?” Often it’s obvious out of the conversation but deeply listen, offer three insightful ideas, often the ones that they’re not thinking about that they should think about and then say, “What’s the next step?”

Fred Diamond: Another question came in here and once again, if anybody has any questions for Steven, submit them via the panel. We’re going to go to about 45 minutes after the hour, Steve, FYI. A question comes in here and this has come up on a bunch of the webcasts that we’ve done. We know where everybody is right now, we know everybody’s at home – unless you’re an essential worker, for the most part. Almost everybody is working from their home so we know that most people, even if they’re senior executives, they’re probably in their home or a yacht or something. Specifically, they’re at their home. One thing that comes up all the time at the Institute for Excellence in Sales is the boldness. How do you get a meeting, how do you make a meeting happen? You’re one of the experts in the world on honesty, on just getting the unsaid said, making the impossible possible. What would be your suggestions today if I’m a leader of a team and I have a team that I’m going to be directing to go to the customer with the things that you just said. We know people are home, what do you suggest? Pick up the phone? Usually we’re very nice about, “I’d like to speak with you next Thursday”, we go through the assistant, we have a cordial process, next thing we know we have a call scheduled two months from now. What do you suggest, pick up the phone, call them on the weekend? We know where they are. How do you do that today?

Steven Gaffney: First of all, I would interact as if they were at the office because they are at the office, their home office. We need to respect that so I’ll send an email to a client at any time, day, night, weekend or whatever but I would absolutely not call a client on the weekend. I don’t care whether they say they can, I want to respect that. Now, if there was a burning thing we had to talk about for a particular situation, I might send an email or whatever and I know we are close to some clients but absolutely what I would do is treat them like in the office. What I would do is exactly how the office would be, I would call them, I might email them and say, “I’d like to talk to you at 2:00 o’clock today” but I think the biggest thing that stops us from all this, Fred, somebody said the first sale starts with yourself. I really believe that salespeople and sales leaders right now, it’s their head space, it’s about powerless, conditional or powerful so they’re squirmish about calling.

Think about people, “I don’t know if I should call on whatever.” If you believe that you have a service or a new service or something that could really help a client now, I almost think it’s unethical not to let your customer know, even if you see best practices out there that aren’t necessarily about an immediate sale with you. You owe it to your customers to say this, it’s almost unethical. If you get your headspace into that, you’ll want to pick up the phone, you’ll want to email. I think I would do it exactly how I’d normally do it, be unstoppable and if I find myself as a leader being squirmish, it’s really in my mind, I have to turn that around. Then the vehicle becomes obvious, I want to call, email appropriately and then of course some people that might be appropriate to text but that obviously would depend on the situation. Does that answer it?

Fred Diamond: It does.

Steven Gaffney: Okay, let me just make sure we hit the six essentials and then whatever questions afterwards. I want to make sure we deliver on each one of them so I’m going to go super-fast, folks. Six essentials of making a consistently high achieving team. First, know your PGS, Purpose, Goals and Strategy. The big takeaway out of that is people don’t always think, “I know I need to be part of a team but what value is it to be part of a team?” Have some joint goals, you can create an exciting goal to tackle over the next month, you could say to your team, “This is what we’re going to do for the next two weeks, just focus on this.” It could be exciting, or something like that but know your PGS. Let’s move to the next one, the next one is about everyone shares to get the unsaid said.

The biggest problem is what people don’t say to each other so your job is to get that unsaid said. Five techniques – know I’m going to go fast – first, be clear on what’s non-negotiable. As a leader you want to say to people, “It’s not okay to have things in your head and not share them” but the big thing is call on people. When you’re on a call and especially the virtual way and somebody’s not sharing, call on them. They may be first a little bit taken back but they won’t be if you provide emotional safety. Emotional safety, Fred, is where if you’ve ever had somebody say to you, “Listen, you can tell me anything” and then you give them some honesty back and they flip out. [Laughs] Like, “Oh, I’m not going there.”

So, if you were to ask a customer as a leader, if you were to ask your employees, “What could I do better as a leader? What do you need from me?” and then somebody says something that I don’t like and get defensive, you’ll shut down everything. Reward honesty, people often don’t think of that next technique, acknowledge, reward. How many of us don’t even fill out surveys because we know it doesn’t make a difference? In fact, I fly United and I think United’s new slogan should be, “At United, we just don’t care. We’re honest, we just don’t care.” I get a survey from them, I even filled it out, it doesn’t make a big difference. Then the fifth one is be vulnerable, as a leader share your vulnerability and invite getting that unsaid said. I know now we have now almost no time, I wanted to make sure out of the six I at least gave you the tips on #2. Time remaining? Because otherwise I can touch on the others, you tell me, Fred.

Fred Diamond: Keep going.

Steven Gaffney: Notice-Imagine is the distinction between fact and opinion. It sounds obvious but we suffer from confirmation bias, we see what we want to see. How we can solve this is if they send us an email, I’ll send you an article on that that has it in detail and you can share with others all about that distinction. I also have an e-course on that but we can get to that. The key is that article. Be Them is about getting out of our world into being them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked with executives, leaders and they’re not being their employees. Imagine you’re running a sales team and your team is trying to figure things out, be them and get that unsaid said. “Look, I’ve got to imagine it’s tough but what if we did this, this and this?”

Be them in your communication, not us but be them. Consistent, we already hit #5 and that wraps up with #6 and then moving it good enough. We talked about that earlier but I’ve got to tell you, as a company, as a leader, you need to move with velocity now. Don’t let things slide, you’ve got to say to people, “How long is it going to take?” and they’ll say, “Oh…” “No, we’re going to move out Monday.” One of the best ways to get people moving is you just move out, just say, “We’re moving, we’re launching this service come Tuesday even if it’s not the best prepared.” This way maybe the operation people move fast.

Then what I want to let people know is a real quick thing and then we can take whatever question remains. If you want that article on Notice-Imagine, there’s also a chapter out of my book, you don’t have to buy the book but I want you to get the chapter on how to discover what people really want. They’re really great questions that provoke people and get your customers and employees about finding out what they really want. The e-course I have on Notice-Imagine that will really move the needle on getting people into fact based and really moving people out is available and I’ll say this, I’ll give it to anybody for free as long as they give us a referral. It could be a referral to themselves, anybody that can hire us, they give us that referral or even themselves and I’ll make it accessible, that e-course, to everybody on your team.

Transcribed by Mariana Badillo

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