Archimedes and Today’s Sales Leader

August 15, 2010

By Ken Eiken

“Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand, and I will move the world.”
- Archimedes 230 BC.

Archimedes is describing a basic tool that is used everywhere: the lever.  He proved mathematically that with a long enough lever, ANYONE can move the world.

For me, what Archimedes demonstrates is that tools amplify the strength of a single person to do incredible things!  Each of us uses tools to do our jobs better.  For example, I am typing this article on my computer which is correcting my spelling and grammatical errors while I write!

Now, when we talk about “sales tools”, what generally comes to mind are things that we buy or create to improve an individual’s sales performance.  Sales playbooks, customer “leave behinds” and CRM system are sales tools designed to amplify the results of a sales person.

However, there is another category of sales tool which we as sales leaders tend not to employ as effectively - coaching to develop members of our teams. There are a number of tools in this “coaching category”:

  • Annual Performance Goals
  • Regular One-on-Ones
  • Customer Visit Ride “Alongs”
  • Role Playing Exercises
  • Annual Performance Reviews

The names you use for these events may vary from what I’ve written here, and you may have other methods to develop your people.  If so, I’d love to hear about them!

My intention is to spend some time over the next few weeks facilitating discussion on how to use these various coaching tools. I hope this will become a dialogue among all of us sales leaders.  By working together we can raise the performance of all of our sales teams.

Remember, if nobody moves the lever, nothing happens!

This is one of a brief series of blog posts by sales coach Ken Eiken, addressed to sales leaders, that will appear here.

By Judith Copeland

This past weekend 7 football greats were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In an article in SIMobile, http://bit.ly/cIeK3b Ross Tucker wrote about what it was like to be a teammate with three of the inductees, Darrel Green, Bruce Smith, and the most recent inductee, Emmit Smith, the NFL’s leading rusher. Writing about Bruce Smith Tucker said,

“the last observation I had was how it always seemed like he always knew what the offense was trying to do to him and how to combat it. That last quality is the single most identifiable trait about all three former team mates.”

And what, you may ask, has this to do with sales people?

Great sales people also need to know their products and competition and know their customers. They need to be able to adapt their pitch on the fly to make the close.

In today’s tough economy this need for agility in your sales pitch is essential; it requires equal parts perspiration and aspiration. The pressure on sales people is high and unfortunately not every play you call will result in a sale. However, great sale people maintain their relationships with the big, small and occasional customers and even those prospects not yet on your team.

Some of the plays to make include: sending e-mails just to say hello and/or remind your customers of an upcoming special. If you are outside sales and think you won’t get an order from a certain customer, drop by anyway to check in on the company. You never know when their needs change. A handwritten note is always a nice surprise, or if you and your customers are LinkedIn, friends on Facebook or follow each other on Twitter or connected through other sites, give a tweet or retweet, recommend a book, share something they post or add a comment in a discussion they may start.

If you know of some cool bargains or great restaurants in their area pass it on. All types of helpful information will strengthen the bond between you and your customer. This ultimately will lead to everyone’s advantage. In a best case scenario, salesmen really work for the customer,  they and their “company” should be less interested in strictly meeting sales quotes and more interested in meeting customers’ needs. In the long run, this will yield more revenue rather than the short term focus on a single sale. Working for your customer gives you the competitive edge needed to tackle the competition.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: