Friday, December 29, 2017

Interview with Bill Belichick

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In my last post, I mentioned an interview that Suzy Welch of CNBC conducted with Bill Belichick.  Whether you love or hate Bill and the Patriots, you have to watch this interview.  It speaks to all of us as salespeople and sales managers.  A good listen for the end of the year.
Click here to watch the interview

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Leadership Rules from Bill Belichick

This post is taken from Suzy Welch's Exclusive CNBC interview in April 2017.

"Ask Bill Belichick if he's one of the winningest coaches in NFL history because he's a football genius, and he makes a face that's familiar to anyone who has ever seen him annoyed. Which is, basically, everyone.
Roughly translated, the face says, "You're killing me here."
But then, after a sigh, because, after all, he's agreed to talk about his life and career in a wide-ranging interview with CNBC, Belichick offers: "I think I know a little about coaching. I think I know a little about leadership.
"You think?
"Love the Patriots or hate them, Belichick's 209-78 record for New England says it all. Football teams do not lead themselves, and they certainly do not lead themselves to five Super Bowl victories.
So, according to Belichick, what exactly is the "little" he knows about leadership? His answer, it turns out, could fill a book, but here are the top five principles that emerged over nearly two hours of conversation.
Maddie Meyer | Getty Images
1. Leadership means building a team that's exhaustively prepared, but able to adjust in an instant
"The only sign we have in the locker room is from 'The Art of War.' 'Every battle is won before it is fought,'" says Belichick, who started breaking down films of opposing teams when he was 7 years old and hanging out with his dad, Steve, an assistant coach at Annapolis.
"You [have to] know what the opponents can do, what their strengths and weaknesses are ... [and] what to do in every situation," he says.
That ability — to adapt on a dime — is why Belichick says he spends so much time building teamwork, from having the team train with Navy SEALs, to organizing trivia nights, where, incidentally, all social media is banned.
Watch the full interview: Bill Belichick on leadership, winning, and Tom Brady not being a 'great natural athlete'
"Nobody is against [social media] more than I am. I can't stand it," Belichick says. "I think it's important for us, as a team, to know each other. Know our teammates and our coaches. To interact with them is more important than to be 'liked' by whoever on Chatrun." (In the same conversation, he also derided "InstaFace" in all seriousness.)
Jim Rogash | Getty Images
2. Leadership means having the discipline to deploy your "dependables"
You know your star performers? The ones who can dazzle and amaze, except when they don't? They're definitely appealing, Belichick admits.
But over the years, he's learned they're not his type. He'd rather stick with his tried-and-true people — call them his "dependables."
"There have been times when I've put too much responsibility on people. ... They might have been the most talented, or the people you hoped would do the right or best thing, and they didn't come through," Belichick says.
Big mistake.
When it comes to getting things done, especially critical things, forget the high flyers: "You have to go with the person who you have the most confidence in, the most consistent," Belichick says. "And if it doesn't work, it doesn't work, but I'm going down with that person."
Jim Rogash | Getty Images
3. Leadership means being the boss
Belichick says this principle first came to him when he was just 23, addressing the Colts as a special teams coach. Two players, one of them a talented starter, spent the beginning of the meeting giggling and chatting. Inside, Belichick recalls, he was seething: "I'm not afraid of these guys. It's either [them] or me. We can't run a team like this."
Finally, he let loose. "Look, either you shut up or you get out of here. That's it."
It worked.
And it was an aha moment that has guided him since. "I don't care if they're a star player," he says. "I don't care who they are. You have to set the tone."
Kevin C. Cox | Getty Images
4. Leadership means caring about everything going on in the lives of your people
Maybe the previous rule would make you think otherwise, but Belichick strongly believes you must see your team not just as players, per se, but as people who have full, three-dimensional, and often messy lives.
"There are a lot of things that affect what happens on the field that occur off the field," he says. Players "have wives and girlfriends. And they have babies. And they have personal situations. They have parents that are sick. All of it runs in together."
See also: 4 career lessons Bill Belichick wants millennials to know (including his own kids)
Work and life, in other words, are inseparable, and it's incumbent on leaders to help their people sort through it. "The more you and the organization can help take care of personal situations," he says, "the smoother the ship runs on the football end."
Boston Globe | Getty Images
5. Leadership means never resting on your laurels
Ask Belichick if he's still celebrating the stunning come-from-behind Super Bowl victory in February and you get another "You're killing me here" look.
"We're onto 2017. No one cares about 2016 anymore," he says. "You can't look back. We don't talk about last year. We don't talk about next week. We talk about today, and we talk about the next game. That's all we can really control."
See also: Bill Belichick plays word-association game with 'Deflategate,' 'Aaron Hernandez' and 'the media'
In other words, it's OK to celebrate a big win — but get it over with fast.
Oh, come on, not even a little parading the championship rings around the house? Belichick pauses — and smiles. (Yes, he smiles.)
"I'm not a jewelry guy," he says.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Rejected! Continued

Frederick the Great of Prussia (Germany) mid 1700s
Frederick the Great was the legendary King of Prussia (Germany) in the mid and late 1700's.  He famously declared: "It's not a disgrace to be defeated. It's a disgrace to be surprised."
You have lost an order and you're now analyzing why it was lost. There is absolutely no reason to be dishonest with yourself.  Were your sales calls well made, well prepared, and well argued?  Honestly?  So here are some facts:
According to Steve W. Martin in a recent survey of 230 buyers

1. Buyers rate two-thirds of business to business salespeople as being average or poor
2. Just 18% of salespeople are classified by buyers as trusted advisors whom they respect
3. Only 31% of salespeople can talk effectively with senior executives
4. 54% of salespeople clearly explain how their solution positively impacts a customer’s business

So what's the problem?  According to Martin:

5. Buyers sense the salesperson’s agenda to make the sale and can feel pressured ["Transaction Man will do anything for the order"]
6. Salespeople give a canned pitch and don’t listen to buyer requirements
7. Differences in communication style and personality can alienate buyers
8. Salespeople don’t adapt their approach to differing gender perspectives
9. Salespeople want to develop relationships but buyers are too busy

A poorly prepared sales call in which the salesperson can't answer the customer's questions, can't respond the competitive issues, and doesn't know how their product applies to the customer's needs leads to certain defeat.  The salesperson has been surprised by poor preparation, has not prepared himself for the battle. This can be prevented three ways: preparation, preparation, and preparation.  Know your product, know your competitors' products and know your customer.
We will be going into great depth on this subject in future posts.  There is a lot to be gained from analyzing the lost sale.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Every salesperson faces rejection, sometimes many times a day or week depending on what type of product you’re selling.  I remember to this day, forty years later, losing a bid on a major project.  This was a project that was going to earn me the respect of my boss and my peers.  This project was a game changer and would put me over the top on my quota.  Back in those days, if you had to call someone, you did it from your car window over a pay phone.  I called the customer and asked who had won the bid and found out it was not me.  I was shocked.  I had done everything right.  I had a product that was unique and solved the customer’s problem.  I lost to a competitor who could not touch the quality of my product.  I sat in my car for an hour, unable to adjust to this loss—to my loss.  It was a huge project and everyone was looking at it and waiting for me to get the order.  Now I had to tell everyone that I didn’t get it.
Rejection is such a personal thing for a salesperson.  It’s never the product that’s rejected.  It’s us.  The customer didn’t like ME.  I did something wrong.  What makes a salesperson great is their personal involvement in the sale.  What makes a salesperson successful is their personal involvement in the sale. But once the decision is made, once you’ve done everything possible, everything within your power, and you lose the sale, it has to stop being personal.  It now must become analytical.
I have written in prior posts about the “Debrief” process.  Sit down with someone you respect and go over the process and try to figure out what you did that you could have done better.
I have a firm belief that the salesperson who has the relationship with the buyer wins the order.  The issue is what exactly the relationship is.  The most difficult situation is when the seller (not you)  and the buyer are personal friends.  That’s a hard relationship to overcome.  Superior quality and lower price may help, but often the buyer just tells his friend your deal and if the other seller can meet your deal, you lose.  More and more, personal relationships do not trump a better product at a better price, but there are situations when it does and be prepared for rejection.  The opposite of that situation is, of course, when you have the personal relationship with the buyer.  The real danger here is taking that relationship for granted. FIRST COMMANDMENT OF SALES: NEVER ASSUME YOU HAVE THE ORDER, NO MATTER HOW CLOSE YOU ARE TO THE BUYER. The second most difficult situation is when the buyer has already bought your competitor’s products but has no personal relationship with the other salesperson.  We will discuss this in the next post.