How to Get the Best ROI from Sales Training w/ Norman Behar [Episode 318]

Among the many topics that Norman and I discuss are some of the new ways millennials prefer to access sales training, what to look for when selecting a training vendor, creating a culture of accountability, and the skills a sales manager needs besides those of a top sales rep.

Joining me on this episode of Accelerate! is Norman Behar, CEO and Managing Director of the Sales Readiness Group, and co-author of the new book, The High-Impact Sales Manager: A No-Nonsense Practical Guide to Improve Your Team’s Sales Performance.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Norman tells how his company meets the needs of millennials by offering learning virtually, online, in live sessions, e-learning, and workshops.

Norm shares the behavior change goals of all sales training.

How managers need to assess the individual training needs of sales reps.

The value of using assessment tools in addition to in-person assessments.

Norman shares how to investigate training companies, and how their approaches would apply to your sales team.

Andy puts it on the manager’s plate to verify that the training vendor has relevant offerings for their staff, so the sales reps don’t ‘tune-out.’

Norman discusses the value of having team members teach one another and how a culture of accountability starts to develop.

Norman shares the number one action sales managers can take to improve the sales performance of their team.

What are the 3 primary goals of sales management training?

Andy and Norman discuss the art of sales and the science of sales. Both aspects are needed; numbers are ineffective without relationship.

Senior Management should hire sales managers based not on their past performance as competitive closers, but on traits such as mentoring, willingness to learn, and attributing credit to others.

MORE ABOUT NORMAN BEHAR

What’s your most powerful sales attribute?

Authenticity — giving people the right answer, not necessarily what they want to hear; and really looking for good alignment.

Who is your sales role model?

Zig Ziglar.

What’s one book that every salesperson should read?

Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your LIfe, by Spencer Johnson, M.D.

What music is on your playlist right now?

A lot of Adele.

Episode Transcript:

Andy Paul 0:56

It’s time to accelerate! Hi, I’m your host, Andy Paul. Join me as I host conversations with the leading experts in sales, marketing, sales automation, sales process, leadership, management, training, coaching, any resource that I believe to help you accelerate the growth of your sales, your business and most importantly, you. 

 

Hello, and welcome to Accelerate! I am excited to talk with my guest today. Joining me is Norman Behar, CEO and Managing Director of the Sales Readiness Group and co-author of a new book, The High-Impact Sales Manager: A No Nonsense Practical Guide to Improve Your Team’s Sales Performance. So Norman, welcome to Accelerate.

 

Norman Behar 1:37

Andy, thank you. Thank you for having me join you today.

 

Andy Paul 1:40

All right, my pleasure. So take a minute and fill out that sparse introduction I gave.

 

Norman Behar 1:45

Well, I appreciate the introduction. So like you, I have a passion for sales. I’ve been in sales for a long time and have worked at various levels, whether it’s an individual contributor, manager, senior management. And at Sales Readiness Group, we really look to improve the effectiveness of sales organizations. 

 

And we look at it a couple of different ways. But as you mentioned, we just released a new book, The High Impact Sales Manager, and we’re really taking a close look at the impact that sales managers can have to empower their teams. So at a high level, we work with sales organizations to improve sales effectiveness, whether that’s selling skills, negotiation skills, or sales management skills. And I’m passionate about sales and love conversations like this.

 

Andy Paul 2:29

Oh, good. Well, that’s great. That’s perfect, perfect setup for us. So when you started the company, what was the need out there that you saw that wasn’t being filled?

 

Norman Behar 2:39

I think there was a lot of programs that were rooted in methodologies that had been around for a long period of time. And not everything has changed in selling. In fact, there are many things that are time honored principles like building relationships, becoming a trusted advisor, identifying needs. 

 

But I think just the way that it was being approached in the market and the way that millennials learned for a transformation in the way that training was delivered. And so we really thought that we could repurpose the learning experience in a way that it could be delivered virtually via online, live sessions, e-learning, workshops, and really create a better blended learning experience that was really focused on skills. 

 

So a lot of programs historically had been built around methodologies, many very good methodologies. But arguably, today’s workforce is moving a lot faster, and people change roles. And so the one thing that really sticks with them is skill. So we decided that we would take a skills based approach, whether that’s for, as I mentioned, sales, negotiation, or management, and then really deliver the training in a way that was highly relevant to the learner and would be best retained by global sales organizations.

 

Andy Paul 3:52

So I guess the question I have out of that is are skills portable or are behaviors portable?

 

Norman Behar 3:59

Well, I think that the skills manifest themselves in behaviors. So identifying needs might be a skill area. Questioning, active listening, probing for opportunities would be the behaviors. So I would see the skills as being one level above the behaviors. But it’s the behaviors, I think you’re right, are portable. But they also make the skill portable, because it’s the behaviors that support the skill.

 

Andy Paul 4:26

Okay, so I get the sense from some of the blogs you’ve written and so on that you acknowledge this perception from a lot of managers that sales training is marginally useful, or they get a marginal return out of it in many cases. So why does this perception exist? I mean, what’s happened to allow it to continue to persist?

 

Norman Behar 4:53

I think that the perception exists because there’s a certain amount of truthfulness to the perception. I think there’s a lot of money spent on training programs. And we still see it today where we are contacted by prospective customers who are very interested in running training events. This idea that I’m going to do a national sales meeting, and I’m going to build in a skills workshop or some kind of training workshop or maybe even a motivational speaker as part of it is kind of a substitute for training. 

 

And we’re not saying that that’s not part of the training experience. But the training really wasn’t well thought out in terms of the overall behavior change. So to your point on behaviors before, what we’re really trying to do is affect behaviors change. So when you think about developing those types of programs, you have to look at it more programmatically than from an event standpoint– So are they really key stakeholder buy in? What will people do better as a result of the training? What’s going to happen in advance of the classroom experience? Is there going to be an opportunity for skills application in the workshop? And then what’s going to be the methodology for skills adoption? 

 

And that also ties nicely to the manager’s ongoing role. If the training is something that’s run by a training department and the managers are divorced from that, there’s no reason to think the skills are going to stick. Whereas if the managers are actively coaching those skills and behaviors, the effectiveness of the training goes up dramatically.

 

Andy Paul 6:17

Yeah, I mean, Jason Jordan pointed out in his book, Cracking the Sales Management Code, that investment and sales management training yields a higher return than that you get on sales.

 

Norman Behar 6:28

Right. And we’re not saying that you should forego one versus the other, but we do think that– 

 

Andy Paul 6:32

It’s just how you allocate your budget, right?

 

Norman Behar 6:33

You allocate your budget. And I think it also makes sense that the sales managers, in addition to going through a management training, really benefit greatly by going through the sales training with their teams. They can get a good sense for what skills people are very good at, where there’s room for improvement. And that allows them to fine tune how they manage those people and maybe, more importantly, how they coach those individuals.

 

Andy Paul 6:56

Well, let’s spend a couple minutes and think about this from the perspective of somebody listening to this who’s a sales manager or a senior level manager feeling there’s a need at some level for sales training in their organization. Walk through the process. How do they assess what they need? How do they specify it and hire the correct training resource or implement the right program, instead of event driven, being more programmatic about it. Maybe walk through some steps from your buyer’s perspective. What’s the first step in terms of specifying and assessing your needs?

 

Norman Behar 7:31

I think, as you said, it begins with needs assessment. And when we think about the key skills that most sales professionals need, it could be measurement of their current proficiency and how important that particular skill is. So if you think about base skills, you would think about prospecting, call planning, identifying needs, presenting value, managing objections, negotiation, presentation skills, closing skills. Those would be the skills. 

 

And I think it’s really important to look at what skills are important for each role. So if it’s a large organization, they may have multiple sales roles. They may have their hunters and their farmers in separate groups. They may have inside sales. They may have channel sales. And so I think the first thing to do is figure out what skills really align with each of the roles and then to do an assessment as to where the skill gaps are that align with that particular role. And then really investigate training options that address those particular skill gaps. 

 

So maybe in a larger, more complex organization, you may have three or four different training paths that align with different selling roles. And then by conducting the assessment, you can start to really figure out where those performance gaps are and then work on a program that addresses those skill gaps.

 

Andy Paul 8:55

Yeah, I think one of the things you talked about before that I think is really important is it’s almost like you have to go back. And you’re listening to this and you’re thinking, okay, sales training, the first step is really defining the roles of the salespeople. Because I think so often companies get a little sloppy with that in terms of the expectations, the skill levels required, the experience, and so on, behaviors required. And go through and define that, redefine it again. They may think they have it well defined, but redefine it again. And on top of that, do you recommend a certain assessment tool to use to assess capabilities?

 

Norman Behar 9:33

We do have a needs analysis that we use, and we use it frequently, both for the manager role and for the selling roles. And to your point, in terms of this sloppiness that exists, I think it may be just a lack of awareness. I don’t think that organizations are intentionally sloppy. But I’m thinking about a national sales meeting I attended recently. And just in preparing for that, the diversity of the roles that were represented were different corporate divisions, different sales cycles, some more transactional, some more complex, inside sales teams, channel sales teams. 

 

So I think that one piece of advice I would offer is one size doesn’t fit all. And then once you figure out what are the skills that align with each role, then it’s appropriate to use the skill gaps. And we’re pretty proud of our own tool for doing that. But I would say we don’t have a monopoly on that. There are many other great tools on the market for assessing skill gaps.

 

Andy Paul 10:34

Yeah, and my point was use a tool, whether it’s yours or anybody else’s. But use a tool. Just don’t rely on your anecdotal understanding of the situation to specify what you’re gonna need from a training standpoint.

 

Norman Behar 10:48

The other piece I would add to that, Andy, is really thinking about the outcome. So one of the other areas about a lot of sales training programs is they really don’t get measured. But then saying, if in fact we’ve identified these skill gaps and we’ve improved, how do we actually know that we’ve improved? So how are we going to actually measure the behavior change associated with the skill? And then how are we going to measure the business results? 

 

So if you think about a level three measurement, we want to make sure that actually people have improved in those specific behaviors. And if we think about a level four measurement, we may want to see about faster wrap up times for new hires, higher win rates, less discounting. So I think it’s important to almost reverse engineer and say if we get better, what’s going to be the business impact? Because if you’re not prepared to measure the business impact, you may be in that category of training companies or senior managers who have spent on sales training without being able to really realize whether they have in fact seen a return on investment.

 

Andy Paul 11:52

Yeah, and I agree 100%. When you go into looking at it like a big program and you’re going to put specifications together, having outcomes in there is absolutely critical. So having defined that, and they’ve done their assessment and defined outcomes, then how do they go about finding the right fit for them in terms of a company to help deliver and what the program should look like? Because I think too many people, still to this day surprisingly, are so event driven with their sales training, right? It’s episodic. They think it’s a box to check on a checklist that hey, we did that this year. We trained salespeople. How do you recommend that they go about that in terms of finding that right fit?

 

Norman Behar 12:35

I think they really need to look at probably several different of what I would call highly regarded training companies, and then really look at the approach and the specific skills that they identify. And say first of all, do I believe that the approach that this company takes resonates with what we’re looking for from an approach standpoint. So if someone went to our website and they would see our approach, they would get a sense for what’s going to happen before, during, and after the training to really make sure that skills adoption takes place. Let’s say philosophically, at least from what I’m reading, white paper downloads, does this approach make sense? 

 

And then I think it’s really important to take a much deeper dive, make a connection with the company, actually get the chance to see how they’re approaching skills and behavior change. And do a deeper inspection of the actual training experience, including the materials, how that’s going to be delivered. And also maybe do some research on experience in similar industries. And ideally, before making a final selection, speak with other clients who’ve been through that process before.

 

Andy Paul 13:52

I think one of the key things that I know from experience in talking to clients or evaluating sales training programs is that yes, as you mentioned before, some of these come really as training to a methodology as opposed to training that might be customized to their particular needs or whatever. So how do you make that choice? Because that seems like a big investment to make to say, okay, we’re gonna just turn everything around, turn our methodology around completely and adopt this new methodology. And it seems like it has the risk of being very disruptive.

 

Norman Behar 14:26

I think it becomes a more complex initiative. I think it’s probably easier to drive behavior change by focusing on certain skill areas. I mean, the most common skill area we see where there’s– I’ll give a skill areas where we see a deficiency. We still rarely see effective call planning by most sales professionals. There’s so much information you can gather in advance of actually making a sales call. You could be quite knowledgeable. You could have a very focused call objective. 

 

The other area is really needs identification. I think that so many salespeople are interested in presenting their solutions that they’re really not thinking about how do the solutions that I’m presenting actually align with a customer’s need, and either remove a pain point or put the customer in a much better place than they would have been without that. On the issue of methodology, there definitely is a rule for methodology change if the methodology supports a specific sales role. And I found where methodology training does make some more sense is on very complex sales. 

 

So when we look at some of our advanced offerings, they do become a little bit more of a methodology based on something like advanced negotiation techniques. But I’d say 80% of the sales roles we see would be better supported through skills, development and behavior change.

 

Andy Paul 15:51

Okay. Well, let’s talk about individual sales professionals. So one thing that I don’t think enough emphasis is placed upon is how the sales reps themselves should prepare for going into training. It’s like they just show up. It’s like they’re not given any coaching about how to engage with the training program itself to get the maximum out of it.

 

Norman Behar 16:11

Yeah, I think part of that – while we could certainly look at the accountability of the salesperson – really depends on making sure, from your training professionals and your managers, that the training is highly relevant. So I think when salespeople in many cases are assigned to training. So it’s not something they’re necessarily doing of their own volition. And even though we’re training sales professionals, they aren’t really convinced of the benefit associated with it. 

 

So they go into the sales training a little bit jaded. I think that can be overcome by really highlighting and previewing, and we do this in our programs, what the training program is about, what the desired outcomes are, and how they’re going to benefit. 

 

The second issue is really to not have off the shelf training. If the salespeople are smart, and if they sense that the training is industry neutral and not really customized for them, they’re going to tune out, because it’s not necessarily as relevant. So one of the things we do and I think a lot of the great training companies do is really make the training highly relevant. 

 

They do intake interviews, they talk to sales top performers. They start to build customized exercises, customized role plays, and really focus even on, cosmetically, a look and feel that aligns with the sales organization and then beyond the superficial really gets to relevant application exercises and role plays that are real world nature that provide value. 

 

Andy Paul 17:54

To me, I put this on the plate of the management team to make sure that they are doing these things, that the vendor they choose that they work with provides this type of customization so that they don’t get the tune out happening. Because man, I’ve been in sales trainings for decades now and it’s fairly uniform. If it’s off the shelf standard stuff, people’s eyes start glazing over.

 

Norman Behar 18:18

And I think we have a report that’s available for download on our website and also a blog post on this topic, a shorter version of long term things to look at in selecting a training provider. And it gets to some of these best practices we’ve talked about and really goes a little bit more into detail on some of the things you should consider in evaluating those companies and making that decision.

 

Andy Paul 18:44

Well, one thing that’s a part of this that really fascinates me, and I’ve talked about this a lot with previous guests, it’s around this topic of how much responsibility do reps have for their own development. Outside the role of the vendor or the employer providing training– It seems to me one of the frustrations I see and I feel is that too much passivity on the part of sales professionals to say yeah, I’m gonna wait for whatever training I get from the company and are not actively involved in reading books or blogs or listening to podcasts, be it as it may, invest some of their own time and sweat into this self improvement.

 

Norman Behar 19:30

So fortunately, I actually see the trend in that area moving in a positive direction. I think that with social media and accessibility and podcasts like yours and blog posts, that information is much more available and being pushed to sales professionals by their managers and by other third party sources. So I think the information is more accessible and easier to digest today. 

 

As an example, we do a lot of informational complimentary videos under the brand of SRG Insights. And you, of course, have your podcast. So I think the information is more available. I think part of it is a mindset issue. Does that person consider it a job or a profession? Those that consider it a profession are really looking to hone their skills and move up potentially into management or potentially into just more advanced sales roles and a better job.

 

Andy Paul 20:25

More complex sales, right.

 

Norman Behar 20:27

They really do take ownership, and they really eat it up. I have a friend who chose not to go into management. And now he’s a top executive in sales as a contributor. He manages strategic accounts for a very large Fortune 500 company. And he is always working and reading. He’s on a lot of airplane flights, both domestically and internationally. And he always has something new in his briefcase or something new on his computer. 

 

So I think it’s up to the manager to start having the distinction. Do you look at this as a job, in which case I’m going to evaluate your performance. Or do you look at this as, really, a profession? And I think that’s why, like everyone else, we sometimes use the term sales rep. But we try in our training and more often in our blog posts to really start referring to them as sales professionals, because that’s the audience we’re interested in.

 

Andy Paul 21:15

I like that distinction. That’s a good distinction. I like that, between a sales rep and a sales professional. I like to be optimistic in general about things like that. And I take your word for it that you see positivity in the direction of the trend. I just see it from the perspective of people that provide content and familiar with it’s still only really reaching, when you look at the penetration rates, a pretty small fraction of the sales population out there. So it’s like, okay, what’s the key to get them stimulated, to cross that chasm from a rep to a professional?

 

Norman Behar 21:54

Andy, I think the managers also have some accountability there. If the managers are running regular sales meetings, and most managersI know do run regular sales meetings. They don’t need something formal. They could also use informal training. And so great managers can distribute articles, they can distribute blog posts. And then they can ask one of their sales professionals to lead that conversation the following week. 

 

So in addition to the self motivation of the sales professional, the manager can actually start to create some of that accountability by saying, I saw this really interesting article on overcoming objections. I’ll send it out to the team. And then hey, Norman, why don’t you lead that discussion this coming Monday at our sales meeting? 

 

And so there are informal ways today– or here’s an interesting video. I want everyone to watch, and we’re going to have a discussion on it. Tell me whether you agree and how you think it applies to our business. So I think the best managers are not just viewing the numbers and doing pipeline reviews, but they’re also building in a piece of skills development and incorporating that into the rhythm of their management. And that’s very easy to do with blog posts like yours or video episodes or even articles that are available for distribution.

 

Andy Paul 23:03

Yeah, I started a program this year with some clients. They didn’t really have a sales training budget. They’re very small entities, but they want to do some development for their reps. So we put together a little curriculum for them of books. And they read a book a month with reading guides that we put together. But what they do that’s unique is the manager gives them 15 minutes a day out of the sales day to read. 

 

So they’re not saying, hey, take the book home and read it. They’re saying, it’s important enough, we’re gonna do it during work hours. And it’s really interesting, the changes I’ve seen in these small sales teams, that have never been exposed to this type of material when the company says, this is important. Let’s all sit down and read it together. It’s one way to approach it that I think is a way for people to gain knowledge they weren’t doing otherwise.

 

Norman Behar 23:53

Yeah, I think so. And I think what I might add to that is the accountability by actually having the salespeople take some ownership for that by asking them to lead the discussions or come prepared back and send me three things that you picked up. So actually pushing more of the accountability to the salesperson as opposed to just getting the information out there. 

 

If I go on a sales call, I’m always thinking about if this is successful, what actions will the customer take? So if I’m sending this out to my salespeople, what action do I expect them to take, and by when? And what we start to do is create a culture of accountability within the sales organization.

 

Andy Paul 24:29

Yeah, very much so. In the few minutes we have left in this segment, let’s talk about your new book, The High Impact Sales Manager. It seems to feel that there have been a lot of really good books written about sales management in the last year or so. In your mind, why does there seem to be this focus now on sales management, this new focus on it?

 

Norman Behar 24:48

I think it’s been an area that’s been overlooked in most leadership and development organizations. I think that when we look at larger organizations, they typically have leadership programs or coaching programs for their managers and then they have sales training programs. But the leadership and coaching programs that a lot of organizations have are really designed for functional leaders. 

 

But the role of a sales leader is different. Not a lot of your functional leaders have to manage a sales pipeline, have to actually manage salespeople, have to actually coach on selling skills. So if I’m running a function like research and development or I’m running a function like finance, it’s a very different set of skills that I need as a leader, particularly a frontline sales manager. 

 

So I think that there’s been a strong realization of this gap. I think there’s also been a lot of strong support for sales coaching. That’s the number one action a manager can take to improve overall performance is to coach their salespeople. So I think there’s more awareness. And based on this awareness, companies like ours and others are really working on programs that are geared towards managers. 

 

And what we often find, Andy, is that managers get stuck in a daily grind. They come to work, they deal with some personnel issues, they deal with some customer issues. They start to prepare reports for upper management. They attend meetings. And then by the time they get that done, the week’s over and then it comes back again the following week. 

 

So we are trying to get these managers through these programs to really transcend that daily grind and think about, okay, am I hiring the best salespeople and holding them accountable, back to that thought of accountability? Am I managing performance, and I’m really looking at the underlying behaviors that drive results? Do I have the tools that I need to produce an accurate forecast? Can I personalize my coachings so it’s relevant to each person? And can I motivate and inspire my team? 

 

So the purpose of our book is to really help managers transcend the daily grind and get better in each of those areas. And I think that’s not necessarily 100% unique to us. But I do think that’s why you’re seeing more, generally, in the area of sales management.

 

Andy Paul 27:09

But interesting, you’re also seeing this push from some directions that it’s all about the science of selling. And the art, which I would say is what oftentimes falls under what the coaching deals with with the manager of the rep. In some cases, it seems to actively being shunted aside. Even though I agree with you 100%, a lot more are talking about the need for more directed coaching, as opposed to passive non-directive coaching. So I was at a conference in February where one of the speakers got up and was just disparaging this whole idea of one on one meetings with your direct reports.

 

Norman Behar 27:50

So I fundamentally disagree with that. I think there is an art and a science to management. I think some areas like science would be in areas like preparing forecasts. I think that’s based on having a clean pipeline, having clean stages, exit criteria associated with each , rules associated with velocity. And that would get into the science side. But when I think about deal coaching and actually looking at the actual deals in the pipeline, I think it’s much more of an art. 

 

So sitting down one on one, if you’re looking at a strategic deal with one of your reps, it’s not generic in nature, it’s not one size fits all. You need to actually understand what are the customer’s business needs? And does your sales rep really understand that? What’s the unique value that we bring to that customer, again, that’s unique to that opportunity? Who are the decision makers, and do we have relationships with them? Who’s our competition? How are they going to try and beat us? And ultimately, why will we win? 

 

So that gets much more into what you were saying in terms of the art of selling. As does the one on one coaching, and going out on calls, and observing people in action, and then being able to have a really thoughtful conversation. So we see areas where science is important, particularly with CRM systems and being able to analyze and produce reports. So effective managers should be very good at the science of sales management. But I would actually argue that it’s the art of sales management that can have a bigger impact on overall performance.

 

Andy Paul 29:22

I agree 100%, if not more so. So you have a chapter in your new book titled “Where Do Sales Managers Come From?” Where do they come from?

 

Norman Behar 29:31

Well, in well over half of the cases, in probably 60+% of the cases, they come up from the sales ranks. And it’s really interesting, because in many cases they were a top performer. And the thought of a senior leader, maybe a VP or SVP of sales, is hey, boy, if I promote Andy to sales manager – he’s done a great job selling. He has great relationships with his customers. This is going to translate to success across his team. 

 

But the skills that you need as a sales rep are actually not necessarily the exact same skills you need – in fact, they’re quite different – for being an effective manager. So an effective manager has to be good both at selling and managing. They need to be good at selling, getting back to the point of the art of selling, so that they can do a high quality job of coaching their team. 

 

But then when you get to the science of sales management, they actually need to learn how to coach and develop a coaching methodology. They need to learn how to monitor and manage performance. They need to learn skills around recruiting and hiring. So when you think about the basics of sales management, how am I going to recruit and hire the best people? They didn’t do that as a sales rep. How am I going to coach my team? They didn’t do that as a sales rep. How am I going to manage performance and prepare sales forecasts? Again, they were only responsible for their own forecast as an individual contributor. How am I going to lead and inspire the team? That wasn’t part of their role either. 

 

So it is a very different role. And we do find, in many cases, that great salespeople or even average salespeople can become great managers. But that’s one of the reasons we’ve invested heavily in developing programs that help sales reps make that transition. And I think those that don’t necessarily get training resort to what they used to do with selling. So they just see their job as a manager to help people sell. And they end up directing people or telling people what to do, which they quickly discover, as a manager, is not a very effective way to manage.

 

Andy Paul 31:44

So how does senior management determine which are the right candidates to bring up to make as managers?

 

Norman Behar 31:54

I think they have to really look at what drives that person. Is this someone who has a really big ego and just really loves the hunt and is really effective with customers? And it’s about their performance. That’s a person that probably isn’t right for management. Because management is about success through others, and this person is really motivated by their own success. 

 

So if they think that this is the kind of person, and many star salespeople that fall in this category need to take center stage, they are really hurting the organization in a couple ways. One is they move them to manager, he or she is not going to be very effective as a manager. And second, they’re going to have a drop off in sales. Because the person they replaced them with arguably may not be as good. 

 

So I think you have to really look at are there people on my sales team that have been really good mentors. You could tell in sales meetings that they participate and are interested in helping others. They don’t have an oversized ego and would be willing to attribute the success to others. 

 

So you start to look for some of these personal qualities in people. Are they willing to learn? Are they open minded? Are they well received by others? And those would be the people that would be most receptive to a new role and actually can learn the skills to be successful as a manager.

 

Andy Paul 33:10

Okay. So Norman, we’re moving into the last segment of the show. I’ve got some standard questions I ask all my guests. And the first one is a hypothetical scenario. And in this scenario, you, Norman, have just been hired as the VP of sales at a company whose sales have stalled out. And the CEO is anxious to get things unstuck and back on track. And I know you can’t turn around things in a day. But your first week on the job, what two things could you do that could have the biggest impact?

 

Norman Behar 33:38

I would want to talk to every person on the sales team and get their perspective on the industry and marketplace, and really demonstrate great listening skills, and get to know the team maybe even a little bit more on a personal basis, what motivates them. So I’d want to start to understand the industry, the competitive landscape, and the dynamics. And start to also forge a relationship without making any judgments, just listening and being in observation mode, asking good questions. 

 

So that would be one of the actions I would take. The other would be to really do some analysis, which gets to the part of our conversation we had before about the science of sales management. And really take a look at is it that we’re stagnant in terms of the number of calls that we’re making? Is it that we have lower win rates? Is it that we’re ending up discounting more than we used to? 

 

I really start just through analysis to really understand what are two or three of the major drivers that have led to stalling revenues. So again, I’d probably do one part which would really be on rapport building and building an understanding of the marketplace and my people. And the other really analyzing what’s happening from a sales performance standpoint, and what two or three things will need to change in order to get back to a growth trajectory.

 

Andy Paul 35:00

Okay, great, good answer. So some rapid fire questions. You can give me one word answers or you can elaborate if you wish. The first one is when you, Norman, are out selling your services, what’s your most powerful sales attribute?

 

Norman Behar 35:12

I think authenticity. I’ve been at this long enough where I really want to make sure that we’re giving people the right answer, not necessarily what they want to hear, and really looking for good alignment.

 

Andy Paul 35:24

Who’s your sales role model?

 

Norman Behar 35:29

I’m still a big Zig Ziglar fan. I’m kind of dating myself a little bit.

 

Andy Paul 35:33

No, he’s still very relevant. All right, Zig Ziglar. Other than your own, one book that every salesperson should read?

 

Norman Behar 35:50

Who Moved My Cheese?

 

Andy Paul 35:51

Okay. Jack Canfield. All right, good answer. So last question. This is the tough one of the day. What music’s on your playlist right now?

 

Norman Behar 36:01

I listen to a lot of Adele.

 

Andy Paul 36:04

A lot of Adele. Nothing wrong with that. Have you had the chance to see her in concert?

 

Norman Behar 36:08

I haven’t. My family members have gone on more than one occasion. But I haven’t been fortunate enough to join them.

 

Andy Paul 36:14

Yeah, that’d be a good concert to see. Well, thanks for joining me. Tell people how they can find out more about you and Sales Readiness Group.

 

Norman Behar 36:22

So please visit us at SalesReadinessGroup.com. Our management team bios are on the site, our approach is on the site. You can look at our curriculum. We try and provide as much information as possible. Also, lots of white papers blogs that people can download. So very simple, SalesReadinessGroup.com, and hopefully you’ll have a chance to visit and check us out.

 

Andy Paul 36:45

All right, sounds good. Thank you again. And remember, friends, make it a part of your day every day to deliberately learn something new to help you accelerate your success. And one easy way to do that is make this podcast, Accelerate, part of your daily routine. 

 

Whether you listen on your commute, in the gym, or make it part of your morning sales meeting, that way you won’t miss any of my conversations with top business experts like my guest today, Norman Behar, who shared his expertise about how to accelerate the growth of your sales. So thanks for joining me. Until next time, this is Andy Paul. Good selling, everyone.