This is the second segment of the conversation I had with Bill.
In Part 2, Bill and I talk about:
- The 4 step process of measuring performance
- Creating a coaching culture
- Success comes from being uncomfortable
- Tapping into WHY you want to be successful
William Eckstrom is the President and founder of the EcSell Institute. Bill has spent his entire career in the sales arena; the first 14 years in personal production and then 13 in various sales leadership roles. His management career began in 2000 as a District Manager for a medical equipment company and was promoted to U.S. Director of Sales in 2003. In 2004, Bill was lured away to become Senior Vice President of Business Development for a publicly traded healthcare organization. In 2008, he founded the EcSell Institute to fill a void he witnessed and personally experienced in the sales leadership profession.
Bill presented a TEDx Talk to an audience of over 1,700 at the University of Nevada, Reno where he shared life-altering, personal and professional development ideas through the introduction of the “Growth Rings.” Since the release of the Talk, it received 100,00 views in just one week and now has over 3,000,000 views.
Most recently Bill helped co-author The Coaching Effect: What great leaders do to increase sales, enhance performance, and sustain growth which became an Amazon-Best Selling book in it’s first week of launching.
As a result of his experiences, his company’s findings, and his public speaking skills, Bill’s work as a keynote speaker is highly regarded throughout North America. While his audiences call him “profoundly authentic”, “highly entertaining” and much more, Bill is most proud of the fact his material is based on EcSell’s science and research—he does not present motivational fluff. He has presented to hundreds of groups ranging in size from 25-2,500 on topics found on his personal website, billeckstrom.com.
Lincoln, Nebraska is home for Bill and his wife. Together they have three children, Will Jr, Claire and Maddie. Philanthropically, Bill prefers a very hands-on approach as evidenced by his current involvement and passion–working and training their Yellow Labrador, Aspen, for therapy dog work. Soon he and his four legged companion will be visiting children in hospitals and senior citizens in nursing home settings. Bill also has a strong need to be in the outdoors and finds time each year to spend in field and stream with his children and close friends.
E184 – Transcript
Jason: Welcome back to the sales experience podcast. Welcome back to another segment of the guest conversation that I had with Bill Eckstrom. We are having lots of fun. Make sure to check out yesterday’s episode, which was part 1 of 4. This one’s going to be part two. We’re just going to keep the conversation rolling about coaching and leadership and here you go.
Bill: We try and get leadership teams to understand that knowing this is not an evaluation process, it’s an improvement process and so it’s the communication of how organizations go about. This is everything Jason.
Jason: What do you mean in improvement process versus evaluation?
Bill: Because the way it should be done is first of all the measure, right? There’s kind of a four step process that should be. Number one is to measure. In other words, measure first and foremost, you need to quantify how much coaching is occurring and how well the coaching is occurring. So that’s number one and when you do that, that provides everybody the opportunity then to get better. Think about it. If you’re doing a salespeople, if you quantified how much the working and how well the working that gives the coach the ability to help that person improve and grow the next year. Wouldn’t you agree? We need to do the exact same thing in a sales coaching role. Help them understand how much coaching they’re doing and how they’re doing it well and was that in place. That provides a gap between where they are and where they want to be. So then you can provide improvement tools and understanding of what they’re doing well, what they’re not doing well and how to close that gap. So that’s how it needs to be looked at. Instead of sales leaders saying, Hey, I feel like a big brother watching over me, they need to look at and say, Hey, it’s an opportunity for me to grow.
Jason: And how do you make that shift or how have you seen it in your research and all your experience? Because I’ve seen that a lot happens a lot, let’s say with me as a consultant and then also me as a VP of sales and marketing and organizations. I’ll usually be brought in in either of those roles as some kind of layer between an owner and a sales manager. And then the sales manager starts to freak out because there’s accountability and there’s expectations and there’s some coaching and leadership now where there was, like you said, the autonomy of the sales manager just running the sales team.
Bill: So are you asking Jason, how do we create PA?
Jason: I guess it’s a question. The first part is probably, you know, based on the company culture, having the right person who’s open to taking feedback, you know, those fundamental traits that would make it possible. You know, that’s probably the right answer to that because if it’s not the right fit and somebody isn’t open and doesn’t want to grow and it doesn’t matter what you do, you’ve got to have that kind of that foundation first, right?
Bill: Yeah. Well there’s no question part of it, part of it is cultural, but what we really want to do is help leaders, coaches understand that they can create their own culture. You know, it’s a, think about this, if you’ve got in our research shows 40% of people in coaching roles today in sales leadership roles today are not willing, in spite of having information on things they can do to improve, they are not willing or just refuse to change their existing activities and behaviors to get better team results, 40% so 4 out of 10 are not going to do it. 3 out of 10 Jason, 30 well actually 31% in sales coaching roles either inhibit performance or provide no discretionary effort. And when I use that term, discretionary effort, here’s what I mean, cause I’ve used it a couple times. Now, if a sales coach doesn’t come into work, right, salespeople still show up and sell stuff because that’s their job.
Bill: That makes sense, right? If a manager goes on vacation, their salespeople don’t all leave and not come into work right now of course everybody jokes and says, I’m not sure what they do or don’t, but we all know that to be true. So salespeople will still sell without a leader in place. How much more will they sell? So what’s that leader in place? If they sell 10 million without a manager, they better sell 12 or 14 million with the manager. That gap or that Delta is what we refer to as a discretionary effort, a coach drives. So that’s really what we’re looking for. Now I’ve got to get back to your question. I can’t remember what it was.
Jason: So you talked about the, well and that’s interesting you talk about before we get back to that, the value of the manager as a coach and what they, you know, could be getting the team to be doing extra and doing more. You know, and a lot of managers just think, well if I’m not around, they’re not going to do anything. Some of that I think is a culture built by that sales manager coach who’s basically created a team that relies on that person and isn’t working for their own benefits and is kind of controlled by this person. But back to the question is that, you know, okay, so we know that managers, you know, they should be coaching, we should, we want to quantify, we want to help them and shift them to where they could be doing in the activities. And the type of the managing coaching they should be doing is how do you get them there? You know, again, they have to be open to it, but like how do you make that shift?
Bill: Yeah. You know, it’s interesting everything to answer that question without getting sidetracked because I love going down.
Bill: It begins with the why and I think Simon Sinek in his Ted talk really did a nice job of saying it. Listen, why are we even considering making this shift? Not to be self-promotional by any means, but I did a TEDx talk on, it’s called white comfort will ruin your life. And in there I describe the difference between order and complexity and order being comfort. It’s doing the same thing, getting predictable outcomes. And that’s what leads to comfort. But anytime you change an input that makes outcomes unpredictable and that leads to discomfort, the gap being growth only occurs in a state of discomfort. So instead of us trying to just go into say a leadership team and saying, Hey, you’re going to go now, you’re now going to go do A, B, and C and D. because if you do that, more sales will be made by your salespeople that that’s not enough.
Bill: There has to be a background of understanding why better coaching should be involved. Why does the organization even moving in this direction? What is the impact of you doing this versus not doing this? And really kind of self analyzing saying, if I don’t do this now all of a sudden, a year later we hired Jason to come in and we’re going to have our, we’re going to teach our sales people a new sales methodology that will be more effective. We’ll get more stuff sold. Hey salespeople, I want you to now implement these things that Jason teaching you. Oh, okay, coach, tell me about how you implemented the coaching stuff. So it’s a behavioral leading by example. And if a manager/coach is not willing to do things differently with their people to get different results, they can’t ever expect that of their sales people.
Jason: And it has to come from that why, right? Like there has to be reason why, not just at the personal level, like, Hey coach, here’s why it’s important to you here. Sales person. Here’s why this is important to you. What’s your why? What do you want to achieve? How would this help you with your own personal life? Or you know, what you care about or what’s important to you. But also as an organizational why? Like here’s the purpose, the mission, here’s what we’re driven by. Our core values. Like that same stuff that Simon Sinek says, especially in his book was start with why is, you know, those three circles that you know, and it’s about why this change is occurring and how it fits into the direction the company needs to go and the bigger purpose behind it, right? Like, it’s not just about throwing a new sales process, a new sales system, a new coaching method at somebody. But it’s like why are we doing this and how will this impact us and our customers.
Bill: Exactly. And that trickles down to it and everybody’s why is unique and that’s one of the hardest parts about coaching Jason is a coach needs to understand the needs of his or her sales people. Exactly like a great salesperson needs to understand the needs of his or her clients or prospects. And one of the biggest mistakes we see in coaching is somebody moves, goes from a producer role to a coaching role and all of a sudden it’s like, Hey go do it the way I did it and it doesn’t work that way
Jason: And not just go do it like I did it, but the, Oh how do I say it. The self centered kind of egotistical focus, which is also be motivated for the same reasons that I was when I was a salesperson. Right. Assuming that you’re motivated by money because I’m a top producer and I’m motivated by money cause I like buying new stuff or uh, you know, I have a family, I have a house, you know, whatever it is. They just assume that everybody will have the same purpose, the same reason, the same why that gets them out of bed. And that’s the same thing that drives him. I was like go close more deals so that you can make you know, $100,000. Well that’s not everybody’s motivation that the money might be the scorecard, but you know, what motivates them? Why are they in sales? Why do they want to be successful?
Jason: What’s like, I always say like what’s on their vision board? Like what would they put on their vision board that makes them feel like they want to move forward? And so, you know, a lot of sales managers, like some really good ones that I’ve seen that understand the personal aspect. They know every single person on a team, whether it’s 20 or 40 people, they know every single person’s reason. Their why, what drives them, how they like to be coached, how they don’t like to be coached, what they like to be recognized for in meetings. The ones that if you recognize them in a meeting and you have a team meeting and you say, Hey, Jim did a great job, Jim will actually stop doing well because Jim doesn’t like public acknowledgement and doesn’t do it for that and will actually stop selling because he doesn’t want to be called out again.
Jason: Even if it was a positive thing and then Carol, if you don’t call out Carol, Carol will stop selling because all she wants is gold stars and accolades and the money’s great, but what she wants is that acknowledgement and none of it’s right or wrong. It’s just you have to be able to coach all of them.
Jason: Alright. That’s it for part two. Thank you so much for listening. Make sure to subscribe to the podcast wherever you find it. It’s on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, Spotify, Google play. You can also go to the cutterconsultinggroup.com website. Click on podcasts and you can find this episode and all the other episodes available there with transcripts, you’ll also find all of Bill’s links. So if you want to get in touch with Bill or follow him or hit him up online, or check out his Ted talk, all of those links will be there. And as always, keep in mind that everything in life is sales and people remember the experience you gave them.