Category Archives: John Waid

The 3 Values of Great Leaders

Are You a V.I.P. Leader?

By John Waid

John Waid-the best leaders

Leadership is an overused word. There are a lot of managers in companies, but very few leaders. Even the ones that call themselves leaders possess attributes that leave much to be desired. Great leaders have a few qualities that make them special and make the companies they lead extraordinary for people and profits.

So what is the definition of leadership? Great leaders are not the people that you’re forced to follow; they are the ones that you want to follow. Great leaders are humble, care more about others than themselves and know that it’s not about the leader, it’s about the followers. Most of the best leaders have a dream and turn that dream into reality with others.

So what’s in the DNA of great leaders and what values do they stand for? What makes them V.I.P.’s?

Best leaders know that if they do not put their people before profits they will make fewer profits; and so they are loved by their people, not feared. Click To Tweet

Values: Value Lies in The Values

The great leaders know that they are responsible for establishing the culture of the company. As a matter of fact, the great leaders know that culture is their number one responsibility and work on it daily.

Let’s say that you take over a company that has been in business for 100 years, is currently about to go bankrupt, and has almost 100,000 people? What do you do first?

Most people would analyze the strategy and probably change it. What happens if the 100,000 people do not believe in the new strategy? Will you be successful?

Others would change the strategy and when that didn’t work, they would focus on restructuring. Maybe a Chapter 11 will be their saving grace. But if that doesn’t work? Then, of course it was not the leader’s fault; it was because the people did not execute the strategy and then did not work well in the new structure.

The best leaders would analyze what the company was doing well when it was successful and see how they could replicate it. Most companies had a founder and beliefs that people followed that made the company successful. The best leaders work on the values and behaviors of the people and make sure they worked on the culture first. Because without the people knowing and living the values that you stand for you may be doomed on getting people to follow you.

So the best leaders work on culture first and have unique values that they all know and they train on; and it is at the core of how they hire, fire, and promote.

So what are some things you can do today that would make you a better leader?

  1.  Select or pare down your values to one to three values (no more than that) that are unique to what makes you successful.
  2. Define how these values should be lived down to details like “Our people smile with teeth.”
  3. Hire, fire and promote for these behaviors and make sure to hire people who already believe in them as they are more likely to do what you are going to ask them to do anyway. Emphasize and train the specific behaviors in detail. Success or failure in companies is all about people and how they behave.

Leaders should work on Why—Culture First through values and daily behaviors, How—Structure second through coaches and paying attention to how to serve the customers, and What—Strategy third through managers. Identify your sustainable competitive advantages and when they will be executed to produce results and profits. The best leaders are also master communicators.

Inspiration: Inspire on Purpose

Great leaders make sure that everyone knows, is inspired by, and lives the purpose of why they are there. Many of the great leaders talk about the purpose of the company often and make sure that everyone cares about why they are there in the first place.

People in companies don’t get frustrated necessarily by what they do, they get burned-out because they don’t know why they do it or don’t like who they are doing it for. Purpose-driven companies continually outperform companies that lack purpose.

Do you have a purpose, other than making money for why your company exists? Define this transcendent or noble purpose by:

  1.  Talk about why you are in business. What is the ultimate outcome if you do great work? Who will it benefit?
  2. Decide what your purpose will be—some made up examples are “We Believe in Better Living”, “We Help People Be Better”, “We Inspire, Inspiration”
  3. Communicate a inspire people to live the purpose daily.

Leaders can inspire on purpose if they have a purpose. Make sure that you develop a purpose that others are willing to follow voluntarily.

People: Be in the People Business

The best leaders realize that if you do not put people before profits you will make fewer profits. The leaders that connect with the frontline and have the support of the people that make the money are the ones that people are willing to follow voluntarily.

There are leaders that care about the money, others about the customers, and still others that care about people (starting with the employees). The best leaders care deeply about their employees and put them first, knowing that if the employees live the purpose and values (culture) then they will be great to customers and produce more profits.

The best leaders are loved by their people, not feared. They care about each one of them even more than they care about themselves. They know that they are the examples for how they want others to behave. The best ones eat in the employee cafeteria, spend time with the front line, and value them. These leaders are especially adept at communicating with actions before words.

Some ways to focus on people first are:

  1. No matter what industry you are in, you should become an expert in people; because if you think about it, you are in the people business. First, you need to understand your people and need to serve them so they can serve the customer. Most companies are strong in technical skills and weak in people skills.
  2. Train on people skills and benchmark internally and externally against the best in the business.
  3. Make your headquarters “the people headquarters” and make sure you focus on hiring for purpose and values. Make sure your leaders are humble and believe they are and know how to be in the people business.

Want to be the best leader? Become a V.I.P. leader who focuses on Values, Inspiration, and Purpose and you too will be a V.I.P for your employees, customers and the bottom line.

John Waid is the founder of C-3 Corporate Culture Consulting, a keynote speaker and author of the forthcoming book, Inspiring Isabella—A Little Story for Leaders About Culture-Driven Leaders. With a specialty and passion for corporate culture, sales and global business, John believes culture is the engine that drives companies to better results, higher morale, and increased profitability. An active speaker, trainer and subject matter expert, John Waid holds an enduring belief that corporate culture is the key to success for companies. For more information on John Waid, please visit: www.CorporateCultureConsulting.com.

How Human Are You?

Prioritizing People over Profits

By John Waid

John WaidHow human are you? At work do you care more about profits or people? In sales, are you and the company more interested in making quota than taking care of the customer?

If you’re being honest, business today is about profits over people and quotas over customers. So what is missing in people that keeps them from striking a balance to make companies and sales more human? Have we lost our humanity? If so, how do we regain it?

The intense pressure in companies for short term gains leads to a focus on profits over people. That focus on profits leads to selecting people that will generate them. Managers generate profits in the short term so they’re placed in leadership positions. These results-oriented managers squeeze the people to generate profits which can lead to the dehumanization of organizations. Be more conscious that you are human for a reason and remember that this very humanity is at the core of what makes your company and salesforce great. Click To Tweet

It’s estimated that 95 percent of businesses would experience huge advantages by injecting some humanity in their operations. Take for example a company that was doing really well with its employees and profits and decided it needed to undergo a higher rate of growth. The top decision makers installed a tyrannical micro manager to lead the business with a finance person as second in charge. The decisions the company made started to change. They started to cut benefits like Christmas parties, incentive trips and began to see people as numbers in a spreadsheet instead of creators of value. This led to the best people leaving, and instead of viewing this as a warning sign they saw it as a great gift as they could replace these people with others that were younger and cheaper. People became expendable. What has this change for the sake of growth caused? The company is now half the size it was in profits, earnings and people, with previously valued employees departing in droves. This company went from great to mediocre by bleeding out the humanity. The lesson learned should be that if you remove the humanity out of a company the humanity will leave, literally; and by the way, so will the profits.

Here are a few practical ways to bring the humanity and profits into balance.

  1. Live the people-first mentality. Understand that no matter what business you are in you are really in the people business. Focus on employees first, customers second and profits third for more profits.
  2. Focus on the values and behaviors (culture) of your people and hire and fire for it. Select people for attitude and train for aptitude. Become a Culture-Driven Company.
  3. Remember that business success is all about people and how they behave. Provide a transcendent purpose (other than money) and let this and your culture drive you. Your employees will serve your customers and your customers will buy more.

How human are salespeople? There is a classic joke that goes like this, “How can you tell when a salesperson is lying? His/her lips are moving.” Salespeople have gained one of the most inhuman reputations out there. The barrage of unsolicited phone calls these days continues to erode the reputation of the sales profession. One of the Noble Prize Winners of 2018 in Economics did not answer the phone call from the Nobel Committee that called to congratulate him because he thought it was a sales call and did not want to answer it.

To some, salespeople are viewed as not just inhuman, but subhuman. To make this worse, most of the sales training that salespeople receive is based on processes that make the whole thing feel “robotic.” So where has the trust and humanity gone? By squeezing salespeople with sky high quotas that force them to do everything under the sun (including even unethical things) that further erodes their reputation. Wouldn’t it be nice for the entire sales industry to undergo a transformation based on humanity, and for customers to once more see sales associates as friends not foes?

In order for this to occur, salespeople should be trained based on values and behaviors (a sales culture) that makes them pay attention to being human beings first and of helping people to buy (not sell) second. Stop the sales process trainings that further erase the humanity out of an already highly dehumanized profession. On top of that, you should train the sales managers to also coach and lead their Culture-Driven salesforce. The leaders of a salesforce at a large company decided it would be a good idea to yell and scream at their salespeople to meet objectives that were set way too high. The lack of humanity in the managers led to the best people leaving the company. The politics also started to get out of control as less qualified people were promoted to fill the spaces of the excellent salespeople which had left. Today, this company is suffering from a profit and morale problem that will not be solved until they retrain or fire the inhuman managers, bring back the humanity, and focus on people first and profits second.

Here are some tips for salesforces to become more human and also produce more growth and profits.

  1. Sales managers (who are already good at holding people accountable) should also focus on leading and coaching. Focus on creating a sales culture vs. just sales processes and strategies which do not necessarily create best practice habits. Become a Culture-Driven Salesforce to instill best practice habits in your salesforce.
  2. Focus on coaching your salespeople and encouraging them with specific praise and dramatically minimize the urge to just talk quotas. Focus on efforts to get better results. The more you praise effort and result, the less you will have to reprimand.
  3. Salespeople are humans. Treat them that way and emphasize that they treat their customers that way. Customers want to buy from salespeople they like and care about them. Respect, trust, support, fun and other values should be emphasized and practiced.

So how human are you? Be honest and see if you too have lost humanity and need to bring life back in to balance your business and salesforce. Become more conscious that you are human for a reason and remember that this very humanity is at the core of what makes your company and salesforce great. Start focusing on culture as much as you do on strategy, structure and processes for better results with people and profits.

John Waid is the founder of C-3 Corporate Culture Consulting, a keynote speaker and author of the book, Reinventing Ralph. With a specialty and passion for corporate culture, sales and global business, John believes culture is the engine that drives companies to better results, higher morale, and increased profitability. An active speaker, trainer and subject matter expert, John Waid holds an enduring belief that corporate culture is the key to success for companies. For more information on John Waid, please visit: www.CorporateCultureConsulting.com.

Sales Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast

By John Waid

How to Create a Sales Culture for Increased Profits, Faster Revenue Growth, and Better Salesforce Retention

John Waid-sales cultureDon’t you wish your salesforce sold twice as much as your competitors, your business was extremely profitable and your salespeople and customers loved you? Is this even possible? Chik-fil-A produces twice as much revenue as any other fast food chain and they are closed on Sundays. An investment in Southwest Airlines in the early 1970’s of $10,000 dollars was worth close to 12 million dollars in 2000—the highest return of almost any company in a thirty year period—and it’s a low cost airline in a very competitive industry. Zappos shoes went from start-up to being bought by Amazon in ten years for more than 1 billion dollars. These companies all have one at least one thing in common.

When sales managers are asked what makes for a great salesforce they’ll often cite characteristics like great products and services, excellent strategies, sound processes and systems, and being in the right place at the right time. Although these elements are important, there is one secret that the really successful sales leaders have.

When the founder of Chik-fil-A was asked why they were so successful, he mentioned that the company’s success comes from its people. Regardless of your particular industry, once you establish the mindset that you are in the “People Business” then it almost does not matter what you sell. The mindset of the great salesforces starts with focusing on the salespeople and their attitudes and behaviors.

Below are three mindsets you can work on with your sales leaders to move towards having much better employee and customer loyalty and amazing financial results.

The company’s success comes from its people. Click To Tweet

Salespeople First, Customers Second, Money Third

Let’s face it: we are driven in companies to push the salesforce for results, and in many cases, financial results. This focus on money first leads us to then focus on customers (where the money comes from) and then as a distant third, fourth, fifth or more, we spend some resources on the salespeople.

This order is actually leading to less profits, upset customers and high employee turnover. What would happen if we changed the order in which we focus on these three elements to employees first, customers second and money third?

Richard Anderson, the former CEO of Delta Airlines, realized that if his company was to survive (he helped bring two airlines, Delta and Northwest out of bankruptcy) it was going to be because of the people. During his tenure at Delta he focused his time and communication on employees (who he thought of as all selling the Delta brand) and making sure they followed the company founder’s values and behaviors. To do this, Richard found an employee manual from the 1940’s and rewrote it into what became the driving principles at Delta. This led to a rebirth in a sales and service culture which led to record profits.

If you want to be truly successful, change the order in your mindset to focus on salespeople/employees first; this drives customer satisfaction and as a result more profits.

Sales Culture First, Structure Second, Strategy Third

For at least the last century the focus has been on sales/company strategy, creating a structure to support it and finally (as an after-thought many times) creating a generic culture. What has this led to?

As companies focused on getting things done, too many strategies) were completed which did not fulfill the key element of strategy, which is to create a sustainable competitive advantage. While sales managers pushed to get things done, they created structures to support this frantic activity. After the strategy and structure were created (with little employee involvement) sales managers wondered why employees did not want to execute the strategy and why restructuring the salesforce was not working.

Make your sales culture the focus of your efforts and then the structures and strategies to support that culture. This will lead to highly productive and happy salespeople who customers love and buy more from. A good culture to start out with is one based on the C.A.P. values of Curiosity, Accountability and People Skills.

Sales Leaders First, Coaching Second and Managing Third

A leader focuses on salespeople and sales culture, a coach on sales processes and a manager on sales strategies and results. It is important as a sales leader to focus on all three of these areas, in the order mentioned, as people first need to be inspired and have a culture to live, then be in a structure that grows and then be held accountable for producing great results.

There are currently too many sales managers, a few sales coaches and hardly any sales leaders. This heavy emphasis on managing the salesforce with quotas and a “Beatings will continue until morale improves attitude” is leading to salespeople who sell because they have to, customers that buy because they have to, and profits that come in below expectations because everyone is being forced to do something sometimes against their will.

When you lead first, coach second and manage third you will have a salesforce that likes and is successful at selling, treats customers well and produces great results.

A secret to having a great salesforce is to hire and promote well and this is again done with an emphasis on hiring people that fit your culture, growing them with coaching and training and holding them accountable to reach the high levels they are capable of.

Remember: Sales culture eats sales strategy for breakfast, and ensure that you adopt a culture-driven selling mindset.

John Waid is the founder of C-3 Corporate Culture Consulting, a keynote speaker and author of the book, Reinventing Ralph. With a specialty and passion for corporate culture, sales and global business, John believes culture is the engine that drives companies to better results, higher morale, and increased profitability. An active speaker, trainer and subject matter expert, John Waid holds an enduring belief that corporate culture is the key to success for companies. For more information on John Waid, please visit: www.CorporateCultureConsulting.com.

The Three Values of Great Salespeople

Put on Your C.A.P. and Evolve as a Leader in Sales

 By John Waid

John Waid-values of salespeopleDon’t you wish you felt like someone wasn’t trying to merely sell you something and instead was really on your side and wanted you to be happy with what your purchase? Wouldn’t a world with less pushy salespeople be nice? The best salespeople don’t simply adhere to acronyms like ABC—Always Be Closing—or the X-step processes that remove the humanity from sales interactions. The majority of selling is not technique, but plain old people skills.

When people are asked what makes for a great salesperson they’ll often cite characteristics like listening, asking great questions, caring more about the buyer than themselves, building rapport and being liked as people, handling objections well and shutting up. These are all behaviors that can be found in the three values every great salesperson must possess.

Let’s dispel the myth of what selling is. Most salespeople will tell you that they sold something and yet, if you think about it, they did not sell anything without someone buying. Selling is not the action, so really, salespeople could be called facilitators of buying. “To sell” sounds aggressive and can put the customer in a defensive position, and the inherent “tricks of the sales trade” often leave buyers with a sour taste in their mouths. There is a better methodology that goes to the core of why we sell in the first place—and it’s one that is not financially-driven. Believing in and selling a product or service that can improve an aspect of a buyer’s life should be the primary motivator for salespeople. It’s much better than selling just to hit a sales target or benchmark.

Once you establish a purpose aside from financial gain, there are three distinct values and some adjoining behaviors that drive the best salespeople. The acronym CAP is easy to remember and you will see that after we talk about all three, you or great salespeople you see will have on this CAP every day.A positive mental attitude and deciding to like everyone for something is something that is not only great in sales, but also in life. Click To Tweet

What is the first value? Are you curious? The first value is Curiosity.

Curiosity is the value that drives the best to want to know what is behind the reason why people are buying something. Why do some salespeople create rabid fans around buying their products and services when others do not? It’s because these salespeople add value.

Let’s pretend you have a paperclip company that sells plastic paperclips in ten colors and three sizes. Let’s also say that these paperclips are three-times more expensive. The first salesperson, Jim, goes to call on clients and pushes the paperclips. He has yet to meet his numbers. The second salesperson, Jenny, goes in asking questions to the business owners like, “How important is organization to you?” “How and why could organization help your business be even better?” “Why is being innovative in business important?” Jenny has resolved to selling an organization system and innovation in what most would see as simple clips that really do not warrant spending three-times more money on. Jenny is excellent at asking great open-ended questions and listening for the last drop to uncover value for the client in her products, whereas Jim is simply pushing paperclips.

Developing an attitude of curiosity to help build value for the customer along with the two key behaviors of great open questions and listening can lead you to enjoy selling like Jenny much more than Jim.

The second value is the one that makes you do all the right things and not cut corners: Accountability.

Accountability is an attitude that exudes success. Think about how much better you could have done in school if you had prepared before each quiz or exam, finished reading and taking notes on every textbook and gone to every class and asked for help when you did not know something. You might have gone to a better school and possibly had an easier life. Have you ever tried to build a piece of furniture without first reading the instructions? How long did it take you to build the furniture and how painful was it?

The best salespeople prepare in writing and are meticulous about preparing their territory plans, target accounts, their positive mental attitude, materials, open questions, objection handling, etc. There is a great story about a sales manager that went out on a field ride with one of his sales reps. As they were on the road the manager asked the rep if he had a catalog of the products. The rep said it was in the back seat. The manager then started on the first page and asked if he had a sample of that product with him. The answer was no, so the manager ripped out the page and threw it out the window saying, “I guess we won’t be selling that product today”. He threw the whole catalog out the window after going through this exercise several times. The lesson learned here is that preparation is 90 percent of success and if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

The third value is a love for people through great People skills.

Is it more important that you like the customer or that the customer likes you? Before you rush to answer the question, think about it a bit. How is the customer going to like you if you do not like them? Having a positive mental attitude and deciding to like everyone for something is something that is not only great in sales, but also in life. We spend much of our time interacting with people and if we do not do this well it can cause a lot of heartache. Many of the most successful salespeople create rapport and learn to mirror the behaviors of others for better understanding of them and themselves. The ability to create likeability is the first step in creating “trustability”. Helping people to buy is not easy when they do not like you.

So there you have it. These three values and the adjoining behaviors are key to sales and even make for a better life. Put on your sales C.A.P. daily and you’ll begin to see a boost in relationships, a boost in your numbers, and a boost in your satisfaction as a salesperson.

John Waid is the founder of C-3 Corporate Culture Consulting, a keynote speaker and author of the book, Reinventing Ralph. With a specialty and passion for corporate culture, sales and global business, John believes culture is the engine that drives companies to better results, higher morale, and increased profitability. An active speaker, trainer and subject matter expert, John Waid holds an enduring belief that corporate culture is the key to success for companies. For more information on John Waid, please visit: www.CorporateCultureConsulting.com.