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  • Under the Bus You Go

    Guest Post By: Kitty Barrow

    As a sales manager, we’ve all been there, haven’t we? We have all had team members who weren’t performing as they should. Then we hire a new team member, and we fear that the new team member will think the others are role models to follow. So, without really thinking of the consequences, we throw our current team members under the bus by telling the new person to not watch the others because their activity or results aren’t acceptable.

    Wow. How did that help?

    Imagine how confused you would be if you were hired to perform at a higher level than others while other people are left to do as little as they pleased. How would that be fair?

    In working with many sales managers and business owners, we have seen this pattern repeated often. Why? Typically it is because our client is trying to turn around their sales by bringing in new talent, but they aren’t in a place where they can let the other lower-performing team members find success elsewhere.

    This practice is wrong on many levels:

    First, it sends an immediate signal to the new team member that you (their new leader) can’t be trusted to have their back.

    Second, it lets the new team member know that “gossip” is accepted here.

    Third, it sows the seeds of distrust among team members. Any one of these is a problem. All three of these can be fatal for your organization.

    So what is a manager to do?

    Step 1:     Let everyone know the vision of your company. Where do you see everyone going and what do you see them achieving together? Present this to your team early and often. Get everyone excited about the part they play in the success of the team as a whole.

    Step 2:     Before bringing in new sales team members, sit down with your current team individually to discuss their personal and professional goals. Also, apologize if you haven’t been clear in your activity expectations in the past or you haven’t been doing your job as a leader to hold them accountable to doing the things that will help them reach their goals. Let them know that you plan to be a better leader for them because their personal success is important. Set out a reasonable plan for sales activity (referrals, dials, reaches, appointments set, appointments held) and begin tracking them (preferably using our CSF system that will do the math for you with quick and easy reports). Set up weekly one-on-one Personal Conferences (PCs) where you will review their numbers and help them improve in the areas where they need help to achieve their goals.

    Step 3:     Hire your new team member and repeat Step 2 (sans apology). No comparison needs to be made with the current team members. Everyone should be held to their own activity levels, which should be consistent for everyone.

    Step 4:     Prepare for the best and the worst. Best case scenario is that you continue to meet with all team members and work with them to perfect the skills they need in order to hit their activity numbers. You stay consistent with your help and accountability, and they continue to get better at achieving more than they had before. Worst case scenario is that your team members don’t step up to the plate. If they aren’t willing to work toward what is expected of them, then you will need to think about putting them on a Performance Recovery Program (PRP) —or Performance Improvement Program (PIP)—which includes a training program. If they aren’t successful on the PRP, then you will need to be prepared to help them find success with another division of your company or with another company.

    Step 5:     Stay consistent. The best sales leaders are consistently keeping the company vision in front of their team members while also connecting sales and activity numbers to t achieving personal and professional goals. Consistency in casting vision, accountability, and helping them to develop the skills they need to be successful will keep you from ever feeling the need to throw any of your team members under the bus. Instead, you will be lifting them high in recognition for how much they are achieving.

     

    Kitty Barrow is a Senior Partner and Executive Sales and Leadership Coach of Southwestern Consulting. She specializes in creating successful systems that are easily duplicated. Her motto is “Keep Things Simple for Stress-less Selling.” Kitty has trained thousands of sales professionals in companies such as Wells Fargo, MassMutual, New York Life, Xerox Global and Allstate


  • Impossible…Really?

    Guest Post By: Kitty Barrow

    How do you respond when people tell you that something you want to do is impossible?

    What if the WHOLE WORLD believed what you wanted to achieve was humanly impossible? Not just impossible, but, what if they said reaching your goal could put you in danger and maybe even lead to death?

    Untitled designWould you stop and find a new dream?

    What if you went to a big prospect or a big competition that you had prepared for years to be successful with and you blew it? Would you consider giving up and quitting?

    That is what Roger Bannister did. When he finished 4th in the 1952 Olympics, his dream of winning an Olympics Gold medal was gone. He considered himself a failure and spent 2 months considering if he should quit his sport forever.

    Then he and his coach set a new goal…for him to be the first man to run the mile in under 4 minutes. “Impossible” – right? Experts say that your heart might explode at those speeds!

    Do you think he then went out and suddenly ran that fast? Of course not, he did what all top professionals do…he trained hard. He worked hard. He made his life uncomfortable. He did things that were inconvenient and painful.

    Because this man didn’t listen to skeptics….Because this man decided to put aside his feelings of self-doubt and failure…Roger Bannister will be known forever as having accomplished one of the greatest sports moments ever.

    LET ME ASK YOU….what is your dream? What has God gifted you to do that you are letting yourself believe you can’t do? What excuses or rationalizations are you allowing yourself to believe about what is holding you back?

    Decide today…will I listen to the naysayers (even if the naysayer is between my ears) or will I live my dream and possibly make my mark in history.

    It’s funny sometimes how the choice is all YOURS and the first step is just believing in that.

     

    Kitty Barrow is a Senior Partner and Executive Sales and Leadership Coach of Southwestern Consulting. She specializes in creating successful systems that are easily duplicated. Her motto is “Keep Things Simple for Stress-less Selling.” Kitty has trained thousands of sales professionals in companies such as Wells Fargo, MassMutual, New York Life, Xerox Global and Allstate


  • 2 Steps Forward And 3 Steps Back Part 1

    Guest Post By: Kitty Barrow

    Depressed business woman

    Do you ever have little annoyances in your business that aren’t bad but they bring business to a halt? It is often worse because it’s something that is a little frustrating and you think it will go away but it keeps coming back over and over again?

    –          Maybe someone at the office is driving you mad?

    –          Or people aren’t doing things the way you know they need to be done?

    –          Or something or people are slipping through the cracks?

    –          Or maybe it’s that next ‘great idea’ that will be the next big thing that will revolutionize your world?

    If not, are your breathing? It happens to all of us!

    Usually what happens is that we live in this little world where small frustrations are the norm and we’ve just learned to ignore them.

    Before too long we find ourselves years later in almost the same place we were before, often frustrated and losing hope that anything will ever be different! Overwhelmed and/or annoyed is our new normal and we keep going!

    –          We’re stuck. We know it….but we don’t KNOW it. Instead of dealing with that harsh reality we’re either too busy to give it much deep thought often find ourselves saying, “when the kids get older”, “when my company does ‘this’”, “this is how it’s always been done and it just won’t change”, “I’ve tried that before and I know it won’t work”, “I’m doing good enough”, “the poor man just can’t get ahead”…

    –          Arrgghh!

    What is it for you? What right now, at work, is driving you nuts? Write it down because we’re about to have some fun!

    5 steps to EASY, Stress-LESS, getting things done:

    1.  Consider the impact of not getting it done.

    Yes, sit and think of just one of the things that keeps stressing you out and work and consider the IMPACT of not getting a resolution to this? Maybe at first, it doesn’t seem to matter. You haven’t done anything and business is still getting done. OR IS IT? Is business getting done or are you settling for MEDIOCRITY?

    Recently, I hadn’t taken the time to be fully understood by my amazing assistant as to what should be categorized a VERY important email, an IMPORTANT email and an email that can wait. Because of my lack of finding a minute to better discuss it with her, emails that were VERY important were getting marked as ‘not that important’ and I was losing SALES! Yet, because I was making a lot of other sales, meeting with her wasn’t a priority until I almost lost a BIG sale.

    What are you waiting to get ‘taken care of’ and what is the possible impact of you not getting it done?

    Stayed tuned for step #2…

     

    Kitty Barrow is a Senior Partner and Executive Sales and Leadership Coach of Southwestern Consulting. She specializes in creating successful systems that are easily duplicated. Her motto is “Keep Things Simple for Stress-less Selling.” Kitty has trained thousands of sales professionals in companies such as Wells Fargo, MassMutual, New York Life, Xerox Global and Allstate


  • You wouldn’t let your parents do it. Why do you do it?

    Guest Post By: Kitty Barrow

     

    Karen is a successful sales manager with a problem. Her leaders never seem to step up in their leadership roles. She wants to trust that they are doing their job but then when their teams aren’t performing, she finds herself needing to step in and work with her leader’s sales team members.

    What? Hold on a minute? How do you think this story ends?

    Well, it wasn’t ending well and it was causing endless frustration for Karen as well as wasting hours and hours of her time.

    Unfortunately, Karen is only one of many clients who face this issue and does not understand why I suggest that she stop leading over her leaders. But think about it. Any parent will tell you that they don’t appreciate their own parents stepping in and trying to parent the grandkids. There isn’t a parent I know who won’t quickly stand up and matter-of-factly ask their parents to ‘butt out’. ‘These are my kids and I will parent them how I see fit!’

    parents grandparents

    Can you relate? Or maybe you are a leader of a team and your immediate leader continues to step over you and lead your team. How does that make you feel?

    There are 3 main issues with this.

    First, when you lead over your leaders, it demoralizes them on the inside. By leading over them, you are telling them that you don’t think that they can do their job. When people don’t think that you believe in them, then they aren’t going to try as hard. Why should they, after all, won’t you be stepping in and doing the heavy lifting for them.

    The second issue is that you are sending a signal to the people of your leader that your leader isn’t really skilled enough to be your leader and then all respect flies out the window. The leadership power is washed away leaving your leader with a title but no one who really respects them. After all, if they aren’t getting their way, all they need to do is call you, right? You like how important you feel when you are able to step in and save the day, but instead of really helping, you are now hurting all 3 of you.

    I had one client who was learning how to be a better leader and went to apologize to one of their leaders for what they have been doing. The leader accepted their apology and explained that every time the leader went over his head to work with his team, he felt embarrassed. You can imagine the shock of my coaching client who had previously described that leader as an ‘arrogant know-it-all’. The guy wasn’t that bad but was simply reacting to the situation that my client caused.

    The third issue is that leading over your leaders is that it causes a ‘gossip triangle’. I have seen it become a time-consuming he-said-she-said that can waste hours, if not days, of everyone trying to solve disagreements and hurt feelings. Team members aren’t dumb. They quickly learn how to play the game that kids often learn to play ‘parent-vs-parent’. If the leaders aren’t showing a united front and letting the leaders lead only their direct reports, then they can be pitted against each other on a regular basis which will stagnate growth and cause division within the ranks.

    So what is the solution?

    First, if you find yourself guilty on all counts, then you need to have a private conversation with your leader. Begin with apologizing. Let them know that you didn’t realize what you have been doing and how you were inadvertently neutralizing them as a leader. When you start this conversation with an apology, I’ve never seen it end badly. It usually ends up as it did with my client Bob with the manager who he was leading also being vulnerable and admitting how embarrassed or helpless they have been feeling.

    Second, you make an agreement that all issues with their team members will be immediately directed to the leader and you will partner together, if needed, to solve the issue, but all leadership of that team member will come from the right person in the chain-of-command. This also means that you need to be willing to let go of some control. The leader might make some ‘bad’ decisions as they learn how to really be a leader. It’s okay. It’s their team. You’re going to be there to partner with them so help them avoid making too many bad leadership decisions but it’s going to happen and you need to be okay with it and trust your leader.

    The third thing that you do is meet with the leader on a weekly basis at a scheduled time to discuss their team members and help them to think through how to best resolve any issues. We do this by asking instead of telling. I find that most leaders (including myself) want to just tell people how to do things. This is fine if they are new to the company (or new to leadership) and learning the ropes. For an experienced leader, it is better to ask questions to help your leader think through how to solve the problems on their own. People who are convinced against their will are of the same opinion still. If, however, you ask questions and get them to come to the appropriate conclusions, then they are convincing themselves and internalizing the lessons.

    Tired of always thinking that you are the only one who knows how to do anything? Then that is a sign that you are leading over your leaders and it’s time to take a new approach.

    Try it and please let me know how it goes!

     

    Kitty Barrow is a Senior Partner and Executive Sales and Leadership Coach of Southwestern Consulting. She specializes in creating successful systems that are easily duplicated. Her motto is “Keep Things Simple for Stress-less Selling.” Kitty has trained thousands of sales professionals in companies such as Wells Fargo, MassMutual, New York Life, Xerox Global and Allstate


  • The Two Biggest Scheduling Mistakes That Ruin Productivity – Part 2

    Guest Post By: Kitty Barrow

    In my last post we talked about my client who was struggling with productivity and as a result, his sales were suffering. After analyzing his schedule I discovered that he was making two very common scheduling mistakes that were ruining his productivity. In the first blog, we covered his first mistake; his schedule wasn’t ‘real’.

    kbarrow

    In this post, we are going to talk about his second big mistake.

    He wasn’t setting aside time for ramping up or ramping down.

    Our brains like to do as little thinking as possible. When we make our brains do a lot of heavy thinking all day long, we find that we are typically EXHAUSTED at the end of every day.

    Ramp-up time is an amazing cure for exhaustion! It will also help you to come across as a well prepared professional.

    What is Ramp-up time?

    It is 30 minutes to an hour that you SCHEDULE into the beginning of your day. (I typically do my Ramp-up time beginning at 7 or 7:30 AM). During this time, you look at the appointments you have for the day and prepare for them mentally and physically.

    ♦ Prospecting time set?

    • Then you prepare the list of everyone you will call for the day (PERK if you go ahead and put them in the order that you would like to call them)

    ♦ Look at your appointments

    • Prepare any information you will need to have with you. Review your notes from the last meeting so you can plan out any information that will need to be top of mind.
    • Think of any questions you need answered and plan how you would like the end of the meeting to go.
    • Is there anyone who needs to be included or updated about this meeting?
    • Is there information that you still need from someone else in order to be prepared for this meeting?

    As a Coach, what I typically see instead are a lot of sales people and leaders who are running from event to event. They aren’t prepared because they haven’t taken the time to thoroughly think through their day. This can result in our prospects and team members thinking we don’t care about them or their business and we don’t truly know what we are doing.

    Are you wondering why your prospects/clients aren’t calling you back? Are you wondering why people are canceling meetings on you? Are you wondering why you lost a big deal that you thought was in the bag? Can you look back and know that you have been fully prepared and thus fully present for these people? Everyone wants to feel important. Are you showing your people that they are important by being completely prepared?

    What is Ramp-down time?

    It is the 30 minutes you take to clear off your ‘to-do’ list before you head out the door.

    ♦  During the day, when someone is trying to distract me, then I do 1 of 3 things:

    •  Start an email to the appropriate person and enter enough in the subject line so that I will remember what I wanted to email          them about. Hit ‘save’ and then minimize it
    • Jot down a note on my daily ‘to-do’ list
    • If it is something that I want to remember to discuss with someone who I have an appointment with on my Outlook calendar or cover/discuss at a meeting that is coming up in my Outlook calendar, then I open a calendar appointment NEXT to the appropriate appointment and make a note of what I want to remember to cover/discuss, hit save and close it. Now, when I am doing my ramp-up time, it will be easy for me to remember anything important for those meetings.

    ♦  For Ramp-down time, at the end of the day, I:

    • Open up my minimized emails one at a time, finish the email and send it
    • Handle what can be immediately handled off of my ‘to-do’ list
    • Anything that can’t be handled immediately, then I will find a place in my Outlook schedule when I will handle it, create a calendar appointment for it, save and close. (As my business Partner Sales Coach Dew likes to say, if it isn’t important enough to be in your calendar, then it isn’t important enough to do.

    Once your mind is prepared through Ramp-up time and cleared through Ramp-down time, you are equipped to handle your day and whatever it may throw at you. You are giving your brain a break because it isn’t working so hard to stay in ‘reaction’ mode all day. This means at the end of the day you are energized and ready to be present with your family and friends, thus enjoying your life a whole lot more.

    Don’t forget to go back and read about mistake number one if you haven’t already. Then try applying these two solutions to your schedule every week and let me know what kind of a difference it makes for you!

     

    Kitty Barrow is a Senior Partner and Executive Sales and Leadership Coach of Southwestern Consulting. She specializes in creating successful systems that are easily duplicated. Her motto is “Keep Things Simple for Stress-less Selling.” Kitty has trained thousands of sales professionals in companies such as Wells Fargo, MassMutual, New York Life, Xerox Global and Allstate


  • The Two Biggest Scheduling Mistakes That Ruin Productivity – Part 1

    Guest Post By: Kitty BarrowThe-Two-Biggest-Scheduling-Mistakes-That-Ruin-Productivity-Part-1

    Today I was working with an amazing coaching client who is a 23-year veteran salesman and sales leader. This client is in the top 10 in the world when it comes to personal and team production, but lately, he hasn’t had the time to make his prospecting dials. He mentioned he has been spending a lot of time working on his leadership skills and his team and every time he does this, his sales seem to suffer. This is a common complaint of Producing Sales Managers, isn’t it?

    My client had plenty of hours of ‘dial time’ written in the schedule that he preplanned, so I was curious why ‘dial time’ wasn’t happening.

    He also admitted that as different things came across his desk he would stop what he was doing to focus on those things, letting them distract him.

    After truly analyzing his schedule, I noticed two mistakes that many coaching clients make that can throw off our schedule, cause a lot of stress, and ruin our productivity if not corrected.

    What’s crazy is these two things are SO SIMPLE to correct, yet so EASY to forget.

    The solutions for these mistakes are simple, but I can’t stress enough how easy it is to overlook them. So, I am going to give each mistake its due diligence. We will only be covering the first mistake in this blog post, and I will share the second mistake in a later post.

    The first mistake my client was making is that his schedule wasn’t ‘real’.

    This happens often with people. They plan out their week so that it looks ‘perfect’ but there is little to no room for reality. There are always unforeseeable things that will happen during the week, but some things are often just missing from schedules. Things like:

    Drive time

    Many of my clients must be Star Trek fans and have a relationship with Scottie.

    Email time

    It’s always fun to pretend that we never have to answer emails.

    Emergencies

    Unless you sell pacemakers, there aren’t too many TRUE emergencies in business that can’t wait at least 2 hours to be handled. We all like to live in a dream world where everyone else in the office always solves their own problems and never need to come to us for help, that dream world has yet to exist.

    Paperwork

    While we should be delegating as much as possible to another personality type who really loves to do paperwork, we can’t pretend that we will never need to do any paperwork yet so many of my clients never have time built in their schedule for this.

    If you are planning out your schedule every week but you find yourself consistently unable to follow it, then it is time to really analyze your schedule. Compare your actual work week to your schedule and look for things that are throwing you off-schedule. Once you have located those troublesome tasks you need to plan for it in your next week’s schedule or you need to ‘eliminate, automate or delegate’* it to someone else. (*verbiage from Rory Vaden’s book, ‘Procrastinate on Purpose’)

    See, a simple fix. You have to make sure you are accounting for those maintenance tasks that are so essential to keeping all the wheels turning, without sacrificing the crucial production time. Planning for these tasks will allow your production to be free from distractions which in turn makes for a very productive day.

     

    Kitty Barrow is a Senior Partner and Executive Sales and Leadership Coach of Southwestern Consulting. She specializes in creating successful systems that are easily duplicated. Her motto is “Keep Things Simple for Stress-less Selling.” Kitty has trained thousands of sales professionals in companies such as Wells Fargo, MassMutual, New York Life, Xerox Global and Allstate


  • Four Keys to Success

    Guest Post By: Kitty Barrow

    Several years ago, my team and I wanted to re-create an event that was a huge success for other teams across the country. After our third attempt, with the same dismal results each time, I was ready to throw in the towel.

    The other teams that executed this event with such success must have had an advantage we didn’t. Was it their area, or maybe they just wielded some serious magic. Either way, there must be something beyond my control that made success with this event impossible for my team in my city.

    Four-Keys-To-SuccessDefeated, I confided in my National Sales Director that I was giving up and that these events just weren’t meant to be. He challenged me then, and his challenge has made a huge difference in how I see my ability to have success with every opportunity that has come my way.

    He said that, instead of giving up, I should evaluate what I have been doing through the ‘Four Keys to Success’ to see what piece was missing which in-turn was hindering my success.

    Four Keys to Success

    Before you attempt anything, you should begin with the end in mind.

    You need to define, ‘what does Success look like to me?’

    The example I will use today is the event my team and I were attempting to host.  Success to us meant that we had a certain number of clients and prospects attend our event and that from this event we generated a number of sales and bookings.

    THEN, you follow the 4 critical areas that lead to success:

    Desire

    • Do we have the real desire for the thing we have defined as ‘success’?
    • Did my team and I have the REAL DESIRE to have a great event and the results that would come from that event?

    Confidence

    • Do I think I can learn the skills it takes to achieve my ‘success’?
    • Do we think that we can learn the skills it would take to host a successful event? (of course, we would need to break down the skills needed before we can answer this decision)

    Skills

    • Do I think I can learn the skills it takes to achieve my ‘success’?
    • Do we think that we can learn the skills it would take to host a successful event? (of course, we would need to break down the skills needed before we can answer this decision)

    Activities

    • What are the right activities and the right number of activities to achieve my ‘success’?
    • Were my team members doing the right number of activities leading up to the event to ensure our successful outcome?

    This information was shared with me 7 years ago. It falls right in line with the Skill/Will Matrix that our company teaches Sales Leaders when they are helping their team members reach for success. When our team members:

    • Have a burning desire for a certain outcome
    • Have the internal confidence that they can learn the skills
    • Work on and perfect the skills needed
    • Do the needed activity enough times

    Then THEY WILL achieve their desired success.

    Whenever you aren’t achieving your desired success, look at these four critical areas and there will likely be something missing, something that is keeping you from success.

    What successful outcome are you currently working towards that has seemed out of reach? After analyzing the 4 critical areas, where is it that you can improve and then go after your dream again?

     

    Kitty Barrow is a Senior Partner and Executive Sales and Leadership Coach of Southwestern Consulting. She specializes in creating successful systems that are easily duplicated. Her motto is “Keep Things Simple for Stress-less Selling.” Kitty has trained thousands of sales professionals in companies such as Wells Fargo, MassMutual, New York Life, Xerox Global and Allstate


  • An Easy Fix To Help You Close More Sales

    Guest Post By: Kitty Barrow

    One of my coaching clients (we’ll call him Bob), was completely frustrated with his closing percentage. He was doing his 5-step Introduction as we had scripted it out. He was building trust and rapport a lot quicker. He was able to modify how he presented based on why they said they would buy in the Introduction.  Yet his closing percentage hadn’t increased much and he couldn’t figure out why.k1

     

    Because Bob is a great student of his game, he recorded his presentation for us to review. As we listened together, within 10 minutes we were able to figure out where he was losing the sale.

    Does this ever happen to you? Do you ever sit down with a prospect. You know they need your product/service. They say that they need your product/service. You still aren’t able to get them to move forward at the end of your conversation? Do they end it with things like, ‘let me think about it’ or ‘call me in 6 months’? When this happens, does it drive you nuts?!?

     

    Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 8.53.25 PMWhat we discovered when listening to Bob’s recording was that he was making one of the most COMMON mistakes of all sales people.

    What is that?

    When asking them about what they needed to ‘alter or change’ about their current situation, often they would speak of their pain. Then Bob responded like most sales people. He said, ‘Ok’ and moved on to the next question. ALL HE SAID was ‘Ok’ and moved on!!  Bob didn’t dig deeper into the pain of their current situation. Bob admitted that since they spoke of their pain, then he thought they understood their pain. Plus, he is a sales person and like most sales people, Bob wants people to like him.  He thought that if he got them to speak of their pain, then they wouldn’t like him.

     

    Here are 2 important rules that you MUST understand when asking your prospect about their pain:

    1. You must get them to talk more about how this pain is negatively affecting their life until they have some emotion tied to it.  They will NOT change their situation without the emotion.
    2. You did not cause their pain! You did not cause their pain so why would you think that digging into a pain that they have would cause them to not like you?!? If anything, once you help them realize how much it is costing them to stay in that situation and you offer a solution, you are going to be their savior. Think of it like being a ‘doctor of selling’. If you go in the doctor’s office and they ask, ‘where does it hurt?’, are you upset with the doctor that they want to know all about the pain and where and when and how? Of course you aren’t!

     

    The good news is that Bob was able to start digging into the pain revealed by his prospects and his closing percentage soared! Bob was making more money in LESS time. This is just one of the cool ways that we are able to help our Top Producers Edge Coaching Clients with their Time Management.

     

    k4

     

    A couple of questions that you can try the next time your prospect shares what they would like to alter/change with their current situation:

    • Mmmmmmm….. (just respond with a deep ‘mmmmmm’ letting them know that you feel their pain and they will often keep elaborating more)
    • Tell me more….
    • Is that frustrating?…..
    • Wow, what is the cost of that?….
    • How is that affecting you?….

    STAY HERE with your prospect until you are sure that they FEEL the frustration of their current situation before offering the remedy. And OF COURSE, the remedy is your product/service!

    After trying this out, please email or comment below with your results!

    Kitty Barrow is a Senior Partner and Executive Sales and Leadership Coach of Southwestern Consulting. She specializes in creating successful systems that are easily duplicated. Her motto is “Keep Things Simple for Stress-less Selling.” Kitty has trained thousands of sales professionals in companies such as Wells Fargo, MassMutual, New York Life, Xerox Global and Allstate


  • Are You a Manager or a Great Leader?

    Guest Post By: Kitty Barrow

     

    leadership1-248x300Favorite pieces of leadership advice when running a 1000+ team was “You can’t do for 1 what you can’t do for 100”

    Think about that. Think about your business and what you are doing for your team members today.

    Write out that list and now put on your thinking cap. What can you do to systematize this so that you aren’t running around putting out one fire at a time?

    Recently, I was working with one of my amazing coaching clients who is a future Area Manager with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Karli Spahr. She is growing to a 23 person team and has brought in 7 new people in a few short months in 9 different branches. In order to get people trained and successful, she is working on a systematic way to ensure they are all getting the right training in the right order and that they know where to look for help if she isn’t available. Here are a couple of issues that she is dealing with and how she decided to deal with them. I hope this helps you think of ways to deal with what is stealing your leadership time every day as well. Comment below with your ideas.

    Issue #1: New loan officers constantly coming to her with questions about different loans.

    Solution:

    1. Put together an onboarding system that includes a chart showing the entire loan intake process from start to finish and who will have the answers in different areas.

    2. Compile a list of the most commonly asked questions and add them to the training material.

    3. Partner with more experienced loan officers for certain types of questions.

    Issue #2: Loan Officers scheduling meetings for her to go with them to visit real estate agents at all different times during the week.

    Solution:

    1. Share her schedule with everyone the week before with the times she is available for going with people and they are to sign up first come first serve.

    2. Create a script and outline for how to meet with real estate agents and words to use. Train on this so that they learn how to do it for themselves.

    Issue #3: She plans her schedule every week, but she never gets to keep to it because people are always calling her and popping in to ask questions.

    Solution:

    1.Do a sales meeting where she teaches them what she has learned in coaching about time management and setting a weekly schedule.

    2. Share her schedule every Monday by 8 a.m. with her team.

    3. Let her team know that this is her schedule and when she is available and what they need to do if they have a question when she is not available and what constitutes an emergency that would be cause for interrupting her schedule.

    Since we have been coaching together, we have been working on a ton of issues just like this that bother sales leaders every single day. Why do that? So you, as the leader, can make the time to do the things that will have a significant impact in growing your business and your people. Instead, so many sales leaders spend their days running on the hamster wheel and wondering why they are frustrated and overwhelmed.

    It’s not hard to be a manager, but to be a Great Leader who runs a well-oiled organization that positively impacts your clients and the lives of your employees, it takes a lot of thought and preparation. So which are you today, a manager or a Great Leader? If you’re not a Great Leader, what are you going to do today to change that?

     

    Kitty Barrow is a Senior Partner and Executive Sales and Leadership Coach of Southwestern Consulting. She specializes in creating successful systems that are easily duplicated. Her motto is “Keep Things Simple for Stress-less Selling.” Kitty has trained thousands of sales professionals in companies such as Wells Fargo, MassMutual, New York Life, Xerox Global and Allstate.


  • What Is Stealing Your Time: How My Coaching Clients Get Up To 18 Hours Back In Their Schedule

    Guest Post By: Kitty Barrow

    “It’s hard to see the picture when you are in the frame” is never more true than when it comes to time management.

    kitty barrow frame

    (The following is an example in the insurance industry. The lesson applies in all industries.)

    Several of my insurance clients reported to me that they suffer from a BIG time waster.  They have clients who call or come by the office complaining about their rate increase. One client reported that it can be as small as a $5 increase yet they will consume hours of time.

    What’s the BIGGEST PROBLEM?  This seems SO NORMAL to them that they don’t even realize that it’s an issue!

    When dealing with things that ruin the schedule, I teach my clients to ask “What would Smokey the Bear do?” What does this mean?  Allow me to explain.

    kitty barrow time waste

     

    Smokey does not run around the forest chasing fires to put them out one at a time!  NO!  Smokey steps back and observes what is  CAUSING the forest fires and leads a campaign to STOP that!

    Let’s think like Smokey in business. Stop running around putting out single fires. Become like Smokey and handle the REAL issue.

    The clients reacted to the SHOCK of having their rates increase. A proactive solution is simply letting the clients know ahead of time of the rate increase.

    kitty barrow

    My first ‘Smokey’ client this year reported that he and his staff spent 10 – 20 hours every month speaking with clients about rate increases. After analysis, we decided that it would take 1 to 2 hours to call everyone who was having a rate increase BEFORE they received their notice in the mail. They found that when you let people know you are looking out for them they SAVED themselves 8 to 18 HOURS per month in LOST TIME! BONUS, they were also able to pivot this call into more products to better protect their clients!

    Eight to 18 hours SAVED by merely being proactive in their approach!

    What is stealing your time during the month?

    What is getting you off schedule?

    Businesswoman stood in front of three wall clocks

    Step outside the box and think like ‘Smokey’. What is causing this problem? Hint, most things that get us off schedule come from lack of preparation of your staff or clients. For example:

    • Rates might increase
    • They might need to work longer than expected
    • You might need to spend more time explaining exactly how a task should be done or the expected outcome
    • You might be answering your team’s questions instead of teaching them how to think for themselves
    • After a couple of months with your product, this might happen….etc.

    Please comment below about the issue that is stealing your time and give us your  ‘Smokey’ solution.

     

    Kitty Barrow is a Senior Partner and Executive Sales and Leadership Coach of Southwestern Consulting. She specializes in creating successful systems that are easily duplicated. Her motto is “Keep Things Simple for Stress-less Selling.” Kitty has trained thousands of sales professionals in companies such as Wells Fargo, MassMutual, New York Life, Xerox Global and Allstate