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Nicci’s Call: Digging for the REAL Problem

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By Nicola Bonfanti - Talent Dynamics for Sales

I’ve been talking to some Sales Directors recently and they all expressed frustration with the same problem – their sales people take their prospects at face value!

A One-Sided Relationship

With sales people anxious to get their next sale, they are making the sales relationship too one-sided in favour of the buyers. So if a buyer says meet me at 9am on Monday morning in Amsterdam, instead of negotiating a mutually convenient time, the sales person will fly out on Sunday night without having organised enough other appointments in the area. When a simple exploration of other mutually convenient times would make the trip much more beneficial for the sales person with no negative impact on the client.

Or the buyer will say we need to save money on our training services, the sales person will work on slashing their prices rather than find out what the outcomes required are from their training and how effective their current methods have been.

What the buyer is really saying is we want a better return on our training, so understand our needs better and give us a programme that delivers on that.

Dig Deep!

Inexperienced sales people or sales people under pressure are too busy chasing the sale rather than really digging deep and exploring the real needs of the client. That means they are missing bigger opportunities.

We can learn a lot from the Deal Maker in this area. The Deal Maker is great at asking questions, listening and coming up with solutions that grow value for everyone they connect with.

1. Deal Makers will ask more questions…

…than most to establish how best to provide that value, coach out of the client what is really important to them and not accept their first answer on face value. That way they are likely to uncover a bigger problem or the real underlying problem and can provide a solution for that.

For example,

A client asked me to provide a quote for sales presentation skills. When questioning about the need for it now, what were the issues they wanted resolved, etc. it was revealed there was a deeper problem with the sales force, the operations team and the marketing department.

The sales presentation was just the tip of the iceberg. So the training requirement grew from a 2-day course to a few months of working together on tailored programmes.

2. Deal Makers will  listen more than talk

“When you talk you are only repeating what you already know; But when you listen, you may learn something new.” – Dalai Lama

3. Deal Makers think about the best outcome for all parties

The win-win scenario, even if it is as simple as negotiating a mutually convenient time and place to meet.

If the sales relationship is a 2-way dialogue which works for both parties it is likely to be more efficient and effective for both sides.

For example,

If you are required to put in a tender for some work but see that the tender doesn’t take into account some areas you feel are important. Rather than take the tender on face value and dutifully comply, as all the other sales people are likely to do, raise the issues you see are missing and address how you would resolve those.

The salesperson will earn the respect of the prospect and the prospect is likely to get a better, more informed service.

Explore the Problem

“The customer is always right” was first said by Henry Selfridge in 1909 to expound excellent customer service in his department store. Instead of starting with an assumption that one party is always right, explore the problem in more depth to discover not who is right but what is wrong and how you can resolve it.

Nicci Bonfanti will be leading one of the Break- Out sessions at the Trust Conference on September 11th.


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Change and Challenges – Amanda’s Story

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By Osmaan Sharif

Recently there was a big change in the management team over at Citizen M Glasgow.

The new hotel manager, Amanda, had been a participant on one of my previous Talent Dynamics workshops here at Rapid Transformation, and approached me about doing some work with her new team.

Hitting the Ground Running

Her challenge was for the team to quickly build trust, understanding, and effective ways of communicating with each other.  She wanted them to hit the ground running, especially when it came to the special projects that each manager would now have individual responsibility for.

It was refreshing to work with a team that’s led by someone who’s putting Talent Dynamics to work.  Amanda had already been using all the knowledge and skills that she’d learnt at her previous workshop, by being mindful to recruit a team that spanned the eight profiles, as well as assigning individual projects according to profile strengths and preferences. 

Putting the Pieces Together

Now she wanted the team to gain an understanding and appreciation of each other’s strengths, and to work out how to excel together.  During their Step One (Full Day) Programme, we looked at the challenges the managers faced and how they could improve the way that they tackled them.

For example, we looked at how they could improve communication by understanding the differences in how people from each profile tend to act, communicate and think.  We took some of their pressing challenges and listened to all the different perspectives from each manager, noticing how they view things differently and what benefits that had for the team when it came to finding solutions.

Team Harmony

By the end of the workshop, all the managers recognised that they were part of a well-constructed team.  They were more appreciative of each other, and not only did they recognise that collaboration was key to the success of their hotel; they had the tools in place to make that collaboration a natural way of working for them.

As a result, they all understand why they’re each leading different projects, and how they can help each other to make them a success.  And Amanda didn’t come away empty handed.  Even though she’d been on a workshop before, she learnt more about how to best communicate with and support each individual member of her team.  She told me:

“It was a real awakening for the attendees to see how they each support one another based on their profiles. We came away from the day with real goals and areas for focus and having learned a lot. Since the training day, we have refreshed individual tasks based on profiles and the team harmony is better than ever. I can also use the training day as a starting point for developing each manager.”

Copy and Photo courtesy of Sam Dounis


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DT’s Tower: The Delegation Game

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You might have noticed over the last few months I have been interested in getting ‘stuff’ (technical term) done more efficiently and effectively.

Very Lordly! I have looked at both qualitative and quantitative data, identified the areas that need improvement (and got a blog post out of each one) and put it into practice.

Despite all this (and an improvement in productivity) I still have a lot to do…

…which means I’m going to have to (deep breath) delegate.

Its not that I hate delegating.  I can understand that tasks can be performed best by people who are good at them and if they enjoy them so much the better as this will get them into flow.

I’m just not very good at it :(

(cue violin music)

Can’t Delegate, Won’t Delegate

Its not that I’m a ‘micro manager’, a label that gets applied to Lords quite a bit with their desire to control, natural caution, organisation and focus on the detail.  I’m more than happy for people to use their initiative and focus on the result.

Where I get unstuck is that I struggle with the people side of the delegation game.  I recently retook my profile test and I want to share the graph with you.  You might see what I mean…

Do not adjust your screen… I really DO have 0% in Blaze energy, the people and communication side of the Talent Dynamics square.  I’ll try and break down what goes on in my head (you have been warned).

  1. Delegation is not something that naturally pops onto my radar.  Unlike a Supporter I never consider “who would enjoy this and get a great result”.  The task or tasks are what sticks with me as objective things that need to be done.
  2. With my Lordly ways I break down the task automatically into many different aspects that inform what needs to be done.  This trips me up whenever I need to communicate the task as I overcomplicate it.
  3. Objectivity is useful but not when delegating.  I have the knack sometimes of sucking all the fun or excitement out of a task.  People aren’t often excited by the task I share which obviously affects motivation.
  4. Being introverted, rather than delegate first, I delegate last as it really drains me of energy.  What this means is that I lose a valuable portion of time when ‘stuff’ (technical term remember) could be done but it isn’t happening as I haven’t shared it.
  5. When time is pressing the Lord in me takes control, I have all the information, I know what needs to be done, I am in the best place to get the task complete.  This can very quickly turn into a vicious circle of “won’t delegate = can’t delegate”

What can a Lord do?

I welcome your suggestions to help with the Delegation Game.  The obvious answer and the best is to get a Supporter to do it.  They live for this.  However, that isn’t an option right now.

The approach I am taking is looking at delegation as a process (moving me into Flow).  I am an avid fan of flowcharts and when looking into delegation I found this.

So I am clearly at step 1.  I am doing and I realise that I need to delegate.

From my point of view however, there is an element of complexity.  In order to hand over the task I need to identify what tasks need to be delegated, what goes into the task and who is best suited.  I can handle the objective skills but I’m going to need to have to move out of flow a little in order to see if people are interested in doing the work (rather than just sending an email with instructions).

Its going to be … interesting.  Until the end of the process I will be working out of flow BUT once the process is complete I should have more time to focus on those areas which require my Lord strengths.  In addition I will be helping move other members of my team into flow by playing to their strengths

I am going to have to work really hard to put the delegation front and centre, doing it first before ANYTHING else :)

 


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Which Profile makes the best Leader?

An interesting question that gets posed on a regular basis…

Someone had to take the lead...

Last week, I was sent an article, describing the difference between Leadership and Management. A typical school of thought, that when analysed, suggests that Dynamo/Blaze profiles are the kinds of people we should be seeking as ‘leaders’.  It also described  a typical view of a ‘manager’, (having made them sound a lot less valuable) The way they described the Manager, exemplified the Steel and Tempo profiles.

Now, I understand why these schools of thought exist…  People can find the strategists , the Visionaries, the out of the box thinkers, the enigmatic, warm and people focused profiles more attractive… That’s one of their natural talents, these profiles tend to shine more, just by being the way they are. However, when you consider that the wealthiest man on the planet right now, Warren Buffett, is an Accumulator Profile. An introvert by nature. Systemized, planned, thorough and precise and he leads the business,  it kind of questions that ‘School of Leadership’ thought…

I was debriefing a Star Profile the other day, who up until 6 months ago, was hailed as the visionary leader in his business.  Quite literally, he was seen as a Star leader amongst others. His strong passion, vision, ability to excite and inspire others with new and bold projects, was exactly what was needed - until the financial crisis occurred, when his greatest talents became his biggest challenge. The business focused on cost cutting, restructure, detail and precision. He said he couldnt have felt more out of flow if he had tried and was aware that his ’Talents’ were now being viewed as poor performance by the business.

A Lord profile I discussed this with, told me of how, until discovering her profile and value she rarely took the lead, always feeling in the shadow of the more extroverted profiles. However, when finally able to work in a team, that understood the profiles and knew her value, they recognised that it was crucial she took the lead on a project that required Clarity, Detail, Systems and information.  The project was an enormous success, the level of productivity was excellent and for the first time the team felt they had really grounded and succesfully completed a project. For the first time, she realised she was a Leader. Now, she knows there is a time and place where she is required to step up and that she too can ‘shine’

You see, there is no best profile to be a Leader. All 8 Profiles have tremendous Leadership qualities and abilities. True, they go about the delivery of that Leadership in a very different way and thats what makes them so valuable to your business.

Knowing that there is a time or situation, that is most appropriate for a particular profile to take the lead is really important

Here are the Leadership attributes and strengths from the different energies. It may help you as you determine who should be taking the lead on what and why its important to place value on all of them.

  • Dynamo Profiles – Task focused. Great at Initiation and getting things started. New projects. Action takers.
  • Blaze Profiles – People focused. Great at motiviating the team to action. Encourages strong collaboration and working to strengths.
  • Tempo Profiles – Activity focused. Great at consultation and connection. They ensure projects are delivered within timescales and to dependencies.
  • Steel Profiles – Data focused. Great at calculation of information and attention to detail. Ensures that clarity exists and completion occurs.

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