"Great companies have high cultures of accountability"
~ Steve Ballmer.
What is the primary reason a salesperson doesn't make it in any company? What is the final straw that leads supervisors, managers and bosses to speak those fateful words "Got A Minute?". Is it that they can't follow a proven process? Is it because they won't prospect? Is it because of attitude or attendance problems? Or is it because they simply couldn't bring in the revenue for whatever reason? All of these are frequently stated "reasons" for having that final "Got A Minute" talk.
But perhaps there is a bigger reason?
Many years ago, before the internet, email and social media we knew very little of the salesman who sold us something over the telephone. You couldn't check him out on facebook or linked in. We had no idea who this voice on the end of the phone was and yet we bought stuff from him - both business and consumer stuff. During those dark, dark, days I managed a few motley characters at the height of the "one call, one close" era. It was an interesting experience to say the least. I was the sales manager to a man named "Jack". Jack was a biker. Six foot three and three hundred pounds of beef, muscle and tattoos. He was a frightening bull of a man ~ with a chip on his shoulder the size of Mount Rushmore. Jack was an angry man. He saw every adverse circumstance or poor result in his life as someone elses fault. The customer, the system, the commission structure or ~ whatever ~ was always "the reason". I gave Jack my best shot for a long time but finally it got to the point where I said "Jack ~ Got A Minute". Now most people would just say "It's not working out" and leave it at that. But me? No ~ I've got to save the world. So it went something like this ~
"Jack. Somewhere along the line you are going to have to really accept responsibility and be a man. Sometime, if you want to stop this cycle and start moving forward you are going to have to recognize that what you get out of life comes from being accountable for your results, your destiny, and your relationships rather than always looking at others and blaming. Blaming is for children Jack - If you want to change this anytime in the future - If you want to really be a man - You're going to have to grow up and accept total responsibility for your results."
Jack didn't say a word - He just picked up his check and left.
But the next morning was really scary. It was 5am and I drove up to the darkened office to open the building. Sitting astride his Harley Davidson in the blackness was Jack - He was waiting for me and blocking the door. "Ok Dan" I thought to myself - "Here is a good old fashioned ass kicking coming your way." I got out of the car and walked, as nonchalantly as I could muster, to where Jack sat. He looked me straight in the eye and said "No-one has ever talked to me like that before". There was a pause that seemed like eternity, then he added..."Thank You", shook my hand, and rode off into the darkness.
What's the main reason a salesperson doesn't make it?
They don't take personal accountability. ~ "Got A Minute?"