The Six D’s of Destruction: How to Recognize and Avoid Sales Burnout

The Six D’s of Destruction: How to Recognize and Avoid Sales Burnout
by Kris Katseanes – May 2014

What happened to all the excitement?

We all seek to hire highly competent, highly energized, hard-working individuals who invest everything they have in the effort of growing a career in sports.  We strive to find individuals who have excelled in life, and are eager to translate that pattern of success to the sales floor for our team.

Yet, some of these same individuals have come to me after a few months on the job and share something like this, “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  I’ve always succeeded in everything I’ve done, but this is really difficult and I don’t know if it’s for me.”  What changed with this person over just a few months? What happened to the person who was so confident (borderline arrogant), excited beyond measure, determined, and capable/willing to take on the world?

Recognizing destructive emotional patterns

Assuming that we set a proper expectation and are managing well, the easy answer then becomes that they are burned out by the long hours, the monotony of the calling and solicitation exercises, or the feeling of being enamored with ‘working in sports’ has faded.  I believe that there is definitely a little of each of those sentiments sprinkled in throughout.  But, I also believe that a negative emotional pattern in our human nature is most often the culprit.  This negative emotional pattern was something I came across recently.  An ecclesiastical leader by the name of Kevin Pearson coined it the “Destructive D’s.”  His application was a bit different, but the core principles apply to what we do every day.

1. Doubt. Doubt is defined as a lack of confidence in self and/or ability. Doubt starts to creep in.  Anyone who has been on a sports sales floor is going to experience this.  There is too much rejection involved in what we do for it not to ever be a factor.  The key is recognizing that it grows and leads to…

2. Discouragement.  Discouragement arises from missing expectations or goals.  The goals and numbers we ask for are always on the stretched side as that’s the world we live in.  The red flag we need to watch for is if missing goals or numbers causes discouragement, resulting in the sales representative:

  •  lowering expectations,
  • decreasing effort, or
  • displaying a weakening desire to stay in the job/industry.

Someone who becomes discouraged at a high level, then experiences….

3. Distraction. The sales rep that gets to this point begins to lose focus on two things:

  • what s/he needs to be effective &
  • the ultimate goal of succeeding in the sports industry.

They also lose focus of why we want to be excellent, succeed, and move up the management ladder: The opportunity to influence this industry and to help others in their careers.

One important thing to note is that both discouragement and distraction can become habits.  We should be looking for these traits in the hiring process as much as possible, and also be very mindful of those tendencies early on in a sales representative’s efforts. Whether habitual or circumstantial, distracted sales reps then begin losing their…

4. Diligence. The distracted sales representative gravitates toward time wasting activities and excuses to avoid the extra effort needed to become successful.   The biggest concern is if  this spreads or affects the productivity and attitudes of other reps.  This is where a rep starts to bring others on your team down with them. Obviously, not doing one’s job results in….

5. Disappointment. The sales rep without diligence will miss goals and expectations, ultimately leading to disappointing performance and reviews. While not surprising to supervisors, the end result for reps at this stage if often…

6. Disbelief. The emotional disappointment grows to the level that they actually start believing that they can’t do the job, or that it’s too hard and too demanding.  The sales rep that only months before had the world by the horns, now has internalized the emotions to the point they can no longer do what is asked.

Solution: Catch it early

The key as managers is to understand that the first “Destructive D” will happen to everyone.

Coaching, encouraging, and training to ensure we curb the second and third from setting in is absolutely critical.  Once it reaches the fourth level of losing diligence it is very difficult to restore what you once had. A new setting or a new role may help, but chances are the behavioral pattern is too far down the road and ingrained in the mindset/routine of that sales representative. 

In thinking about all of the successful sales industry leaders I know well, they all have in common the ability to recognize and squash “Destructive D” number one before it progresses further.   We should work as managers to recognize doubt and discouragement and find ways to foster courage and confidence among newer sales representatives. Part of that training can simply be to show reps this article (or explain the 6 D’s to them) and give them the freedom to ask for help when they believe they may be experiencing any destructive symptoms.

One of the best cures is really preventative: We must recognize the early symptoms to mitigate turnover and increase team chemistry and production.


 

Cover photo courtesy of Molair

 

 

Women Leaders In the Business of Sports

Women Leaders In the Business of Sports
by Hannah Bouziden – April 2014

Baylor University welcomes Paige Farragut, Tami Walker, and Amy Pratt to the Sports Sponsorship & Sales (S3) Club’s Women In Sports panel on April 14th. The event will take place at 6:30 p.m. at Baylor University in the Cashion Academic Center, Room 203. The panel will discuss the opportunities and challenges that women face in the sports industry. Each of these leaders in the business of sports serves on the Baylor S3 Advisory Board.

[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Go to the post-event article to read the panelists’ advice on maternity leave, sexual harassment, and breaking the glass ceiling.[/dropshadowbox]

Meet the Panel

Paige Farragut
Paige Farragut

 

Paige Farragut currently serves as Senior Vice President, Ticket Sales & Service for the  Texas Rangers Baseball Club. Previously, Farragut worked within the Rangers’ ticket and suite sales operations. Prior to working at the Texas Rangers Baseball Club, she worked for the Dallas Stars as a season ticket account executive. Farragut is a graduate of Texas State University.

 

 

 

Tami Walker
Tami Walker

 

Tami Walker currently leads US Fuels brand management for Phillips 66. Prior to this Walker served as a Global Marketing Strategist for Shell Oil Company. Walker also previously worked with Pennzoil Quaker State, SpencerHall, The Coca Cola Company, and the Kellogg Company. Walker received her undergraduate degree from Baylor University and then went on to receive her MBA from the University of Texas.

 

 

 

Amy Pratt
Amy Pratt

 

Amy Pratt currently serves as Vice President, Events and Tours for the sports, entertainment, and media company, Legends. Pratt has also served as director of sales and manager of AT&T Stadium while working for Legends. Previously, she served as a sales consultant for the Dallas Cowboys. Prior to working for the Dallas Cowboys she worked in corporate and group sales for the Phoenix Coyotes. Pratt is a graduate of the University of South Carolina.

 

 

 

All Welcome

The public is invited to attend the panel discussion. Later this month, a summary article in the S3 Report will highlight insights from the three panelists. If you have more questions, please follow up with program leaders Dr. Kirk Wakefield or Dr. Darryl Lehnus.

Sales Managers: 6 Keys to Becoming a Great(er) Leader

Sales Managers: 6 Keys to Becoming a Great(er) Leader
by Dionna Widder – March 2014

To be great(er) leaders, we must first master the craft of management, work on building upon our skills and talent, and develop trusting relationships with our employees and your managers.

The Great Blondin became famous for being the first person to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Not just once, but eight times over two years. He walked blindfolded, on stilts, and even with a wheelbarrow.  He failed to build relationships with his audience therefore no one trusted him enough to volunteer to jump in his wheelbarrow to be pushed to cross the falls, except for his manager, who he carried across the falls on his back. 

If we want to be better leaders, we must do these six things.

Be self-aware

An easy exercise to evaluate yourself is to write out five things you do well and five things you can do better as a manager.  It is also important to draw awareness through feedback from reps. Would this kind of feedback surprise you?

  • “I want (my manager) to stop only training on how to sell over the phone”
  • “Start talking to us as professionals, not children”
  • “Stop canceling one-on-one meetings and not reschedule them”
  • “Start developing me on how to sell B2B”
  • “Stop being unapproachable”
  • “Stop socializing with select people in our department, it make me feel left out”
Carrie Kmetzo
Carrie Kmetzo

When areas of improvement are clearly identified, develop solutions. Carrie Kmetzo (Director, Ticket Sales & Service, Tulsa Shock) realized team building and personal connections with managers and reps would improve retention of reps. They created “Bachelor Brackets” on who would win in The Bachelor and hosted paintball games with reps to create fun engagement activities to build the connection.

Use outside resources to gain knowledge

Consider these sources: Books (join or start a book club), blogs, e-newsletters, associations, industry publications, participate in conference calls, webinars, leadership organizations (e.g., Toastmasters), and online search (Don’t know it? Google it.  Don’t know how? YouTube it. ).

Mike Fuhrman
Mike Fuhrman

Mike Fuhrman (Inside Sales Manager, Minnesota Timberwolves) has been proactive at using outside resources and scheduling in time to participate in his company’s book club, being an active member of Toastmasters, and he participates in local chamber events.

Learn from your environment

Samantha Hicks
Samantha Hicks

Learn from others’ experiences. Be a sponge. As Samantha Hicks (Director, Ticket Sales & Service, Indiana Fever) shares, “I learn from the different styles of each of my superiors. I take note of how they communicate with me and with others in the room.”

Brian Norman
Brian Norman

Brian Norman (Sales Manager, Philadelphia 76ers) suggests having heads of the other departments in your organization be guest speakers periodically to expand the knowledge base of reps outside of sales and to help spur career motivation of sales reps.

Develop relationships & have mentors

Self-development doesn’t have to always be done by yourself.  We need to involve others who are willing to provide constructive feedback, give you advice, and share insight from their personal experiences. Find at least one mentor of each of these four types: superior, lateral, internal, and external.

Utilize your manager to learn and grow

Michael Brown
Michael Brown

If you want training, go to your manager and ask for it and be specific what you want to learn and recommend how they can help you learn it. Michael Brown (Inside Sales Manager, Memphis Grizzlies) visits regularly with his vice-president (for “challenges”), asking what he needs to know to develop his skill set and make a bigger contribution to the department. Michael requests for the opportunity to sit in on upper level sales meetings in the office,  and shadow him at games when possible.

Erin Leigh
Erin Leigh

Erin Leigh (Manager of Inside Sales, Brooklyn Nets) recommends offering comprehensive solutions when executives present problems faced by the team. Erin provided a solution– when the sales team started to lose their edge–to develop a comprehensive training program that she now leads for all sellers in the department.

Have a plan

Plans have goals, action steps, timeline (frequency), and how you’ll measure success.

List out the five things you want to do better. Define the actions you will take to accomplish each developmental goal. Establish a timeline and frequency in which you will execute each action. Define how you will measure your personal growth.

Ready to get started? Download this planning sheet and get with it. Now.

The Seven Choices of Exceptional Leaders

The Seven Choices of Exceptional Leaders
by Dan Rockwell – September 2013

1. Choose to be known for what’s in your heart.

Intelligence and skill matter most when they express your heart. Leaders who bypass their hearts end up cold.

2. Choose small now.

Don’t wait for dramatic. Don’t despise small steps that produce small results. Do something small rather than nothing at all.

Small beginnings that express your heart
take you further than no beginnings.

3. Choose to develop people.

Your future is others. Without people the greatest program, project, or initiative dies.

[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”400px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]

Who precedes what.

Begin with their current state.

Identify a strength.

Put it to use.

Fix weaknesses that limit strengths.[/dropshadowbox]

Wishing people were different is a self-protective excuse for keeping things the same.

Spend time with “dumb” people who are willing to learn; forget smart people who won’t. Those who refuse to grow must go!

4. Choose to help others do most of the things you do.

Work yourself out of jobs. Develop people who develop people, create programs, and solve problems. The reason you’re buried is you haven’t lifted others.

5. Choose imperfect now over perfect later.

[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]

Jeff Ianello
Jeff Ianello

“You can only be successful if the people that work for you are successful. Identify a core philosophy that guides all. Then surrender responsibility so that those who work for you can do their jobs and more can get done.”[/dropshadowbox]Launch – Fix – Re-launch – Repeat. Apologies to all the gasping perfectionists.

Dreams of perfection are nightmares to progress. The inability to identify “launch and grow” opportunities is one reason you’re stuck. For the record, I’m not suggesting a “let’s try this” approach with patients having heart surgery.

6. Choose to fuel fires.

Lousy leaders spend their time putting out fires – solving problems and fixing things. See #4.

Walk around with a gas tank on your back. Pour gas on every flicker of passion you see. It won’t be long before the passions you fuel will consume the problems you fear.

7. Choose to narrow your focus.

The greatest courage is the courage to say, “No,” to things that matter less.

Which choice is most important? Why?

What other choices do exceptional leaders make?

The Six Choices of New Leaders

The Six Choices of New Leaders
by Lynn Wittenburg – September 2013

People just starting to climb the ladder in this business often ask: How do I become a leader? I do not have ALL the answers, but here are six tips that will help.

1. Learn to follow

Say what? I asked you to tell me how to be a leader and you say to learn to follow? Yep, that’s right. You can’t lead until you know how to follow. And the best leaders are constantly following. Trust me, you don’t have all the answers. And solutions can come from anywhere in the ranks or from outside sources such as books, mentors, etc.

He who has never learned to obey can not be a good commander – Aristotle

There are 3 essentials to leadership: humility, clarity & courage – Fuchan Yuan

2. Be a part of the solution (not the problem)

Trust me, there will be plenty of your co-workers complaining about all the problems with whatever organization you happen to work for.  An easy way to set yourself apart is to think of solutions rather than join in the bickering.  First, your superiors will notice, but more importantly, it’s just a better way to live life. Don’t get caught up in the negativity. Have a vision & problem solve.

Where there is no vision, the people perish – Proverbs 29:18

3. Lead by example

People do not want to be told what to do. They want to be shown. It’s OK to get in the trenches.

Not the cry, but the flight of a wild duck, leads the flock to fly and follow – Chinese Proverb

4. Surround yourself with the best

Don’t micromanage. It’s OK to hire people smarter than you. For me to be the best, I want to hire the best. There will be many things my people can do better than I can and that’s great. Give people rope. There are other solutions than just the one in your head.

The best executive is the one who has enough sense to pick good men to do what he wants, and the self restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it – Theodore Roosevelt

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity – General George Patton

5. Stand up for what matters

Pick your battles. This is probably the hardest thing to learn. When I was younger, I battled for everything. I thought it had to be my way or it would be wrong. The key to leadership is fighting for the important stuff, not every stuff.

In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock – Thomas Jefferson

6. Believe in your vision & act

One of my favorite sayings from Mark Twain is “No one told them it was impossible, so they did it.”

There are so many naysayers in our world and everyday life. People will tell you your plan can’t get done. They will point out all the reasons why you will fail. And this is where you can set yourself apart as a leader. Believe in your plan. But, most importantly, ACT on it.  And allow others to act. As a leader, I truly believe half of my job is to just say YES.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has – Margaret Mead


Picture courtesy of ExpoundInteractive.

 

Dealing with frustration in sales

Dealing with frustration in sales
by Dan Rockwell – August 2013

The way you deal with today’s frustration reflects the leader or the salesperson you’ll become tomorrow.

Frustration is an alarm clock; a spotlight pointing: a match burned too long.

Frustration is a gift that says pay attention.

Don’t get frustrated with frustration. Frustration is feedback on decisions and relationships.

Frustration’s goal

The singular message of frustration is change.

  1. Usually it’s you.
  2. Sometimes it’s others.
  3. Perhaps it’s processes and procedures.

Repeated frustration

Frustrations that return want attention like neglected children.

Ignoring frustration makes frustration mad.

Successful people choose responses. The weak react.

Choose

[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]

Ben Milsom
Ben Milsom

“Frustration, like nerves, can either benefit or tear down. I tell our salespeople that the only person frustration hurts is yourself–it’s all internal, not external. The opportunity is still there to find out what others need or want and to find solutions.”tampa_bay_buccaneers[/dropshadowbox]Choose who to be:

  1. Welcoming. Open up don’t close down. “Come in, let’s talk.”
  2. Calm. Cool down don’t heat up. Nothing says confidence more than calmness during frustration.
  3. Able. Assume a do-something posture.

Bonus: Optimistic. Express optimism while acknowledging realities.

Choose what to do:

  1. Acknowledge don’t ignore. “That’s frustrating,” is better than, “It’s not that bad.”
  2. Run toward not away. Deal with it now or you’ll deal with it later. Curiosity coupled with courage expands leadership and productivity.
  3. Stay focused not distracted. Frustrations that distract from the big picture grow larger than they are.

Bonus: Involve others. Don’t act alone. “What can ‘we’ do,” is better than, “What can ‘I’ do.”

Three warnings

  1. Frustration in one area tends to bleed into others.
  2. Don’t let short-term frustrations make long-term decisions.
  3. Frustration’s biggest danger is its ability to create imbalance.

Rudyard Kipling wrote:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it …

How do you deal with frustration?

 

S3 Leadership Spotlight: Dave Nottoli @GM

S3 Leadership Spotlight: Dave Nottoli @GM
Dave Nottoli
Dave Nottoli
by Blake Cargill – July 2013

Dave Notolli, Regional Sales and Marketing Manager at General Motors, has worked for GM for over 30 years. A graduate of Purdue University, Notolli has enjoyed the automotive business from the moment he became a part of it. The automotive business has a unique, challenging aspect to it because of the competition and fast paced environment.

Managing the Escalade brand

Pinned as the first brand manager of GM, Notolli was given the difficult task of promoting the Escalade in the early 1990’s. This proved to be a challenging time for Notolli as he learned different roles and responsibilities.

The goal was to establish Escalade as its own brand. In order to do this, Nottoli said, “I had to try to change the mentality of the company and think of each car line as an individual brand.” Notolli was extremely successful, and the Escalade remains as a leader in the premium SUV category today.

Sponsorships fuel global expansion

Manchester United 2014 Jersey
Manchester United 2014 Jersey

Internationally, GM signed a record deal (Reuters estimates the seven-year deal at between $60-70 million a year) as title sponsor of Manchester United. Chevrolet is looking to make a huge push internationally, as its jersey sponsorship with ManU begins in 2014.

Chevrolet is the fastest growing brand in the world right now. Nottoli stated, “It is very important to be a global brand and get global recognition given where markets are growing.”

Regarded as one of the most popular and recognizable soccer teams in the world, Manchester United reaches over 650 million fans worldwide.  This new sponsorship is an excellent gateway into growth and sustainability worldwide.

Digital marketing

What marketing methods seem to be working best now for GM? Notolli pointed towards two fundamental changes related to digital marketing:

cadillac music festival

  1. Product: Equipping cars with technology and digital components to reach a younger crowd.
  2. Promotion: GM’s most successful dealerships effectively use digital marketing and promotions and individual GM brands activate through sports & entertainment sponsorships integrated with social media (see Cadillac inset).

Leadership qualities

Notolli believes team goals always take priority over individual goals. This philosophy contributes to the development of teamwork and collaboration within the GM organization. However, Nottoli believes first and foremost, “We must show integrity in everything we do, being honest and open.”

Nottoli is known for his consistent ethical and moral values as a leader. Ken Mussmann, Chevrolet Field Manager adds, “There are three things about Dave that come to mind when I think about his leadership: First, he is trustworthy. Second, he has an intimate knowledge of the business. And, third, he really cares about the people that work for and with him.”

Stephen Flynn, Chevrolet Marketing Manager believes, “Dave’s work ethic and decision making are always based on his moral compass. Do the right thing, be honest with others, and act with total integrity.”

Differentiating GM from its many competitors is not an easy task. Nottoli regards having great products, customer service, and marketing as the three contributors to making GM stand out among the crowd.  Nottoli believes in his product. He put it best when he said, “What’s good for GM is good for America.”

The five powers of permission

The five powers of permission
by Dan Rockwell – January 2013

Old style leaders are about giving permission to supplicants. Their followers seek permission. It’s an “I/you” rather than “we” dynamic. Leaders have power and followers must ask.[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”300px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]”Asking softens a tough request so the other person hears it. Asking signals you want help. Using a ‘we’ approach builds momentum within a sales team.”

Night Train VeeckNight Train Veeck
Group Sales Executive
Chicago White Sox

 

[/dropshadowbox]

I/you leadership is disengaging and dis-empowering.

Successful leaders do more than give permission, they get it. Permission answers the question, “Is it ok with you if we talk about something?”

Five Powers of Permission:

1.     “May I …” builds trust.

2.    Would it be ok if …” shares power.

3.    Do you mind if …” equalizes social status.

4.    Could we discuss…” prevents stagnation. Permission moves the agenda forward when topics are awkward.

5.    “Is it ok with you, if…” engages.

Permission opens doors, protects relationships, and prevents stagnation.

Ask permission to:

1.    Bring up uncomfortable topics. Set a date for the conversation.

2.    Explore progress.

3.    Correct. “May I …”

4.    Challenge.

5.    Give feedback.

6.    Say what you see. “Is it ok if I share something I see …”

Four responses to NO:

When permission isn’t granted? Ask:

1.    How business-critical is the topic?

2.    Is there a deeper issue to address?

3.    Can you let it go?

4.    Must you address it, regardless?

When topics are mission critical, say, “We need to talk about this soon.”

Just a courtesy:

Isn’t asking permission just social courtesy? Yes, sometimes it is. But, social courtesies smooth and protect. Perhaps you prefer to be discourteous and abrasive?

Four reasons leaders don’t ask permission:

1.    Arrogance. It’s too humbling to ask and too easy to tell.

2.    Fear of seeming weak.

3.    Fear of losing power.

4.    Authoritarian rather than relational leadership styles.

Discussion with your sales team

“Managers seen as always being negative aren’t followed,” explains Gregg Bennett, Director, Center for Sport Management Research and Education at Texas A&M University.  “In general, people want to be around positive individuals in everyday life and the work environment.”

Gregg Bennett
Gregg Bennett
  • What does permission-leadership look like in your world?
  • What are the pros and cons of permission-leadership?

 


Special thanks to Chris Radley for the cover photo.