Hustle is both an important concept but a very unfortunate word. To many, particularly prospects and customers, it has vey negative connotations.
Prospects and customers don’t want to feel “Hustled.” Usually they take this meaning as being manipulated, cheated, or fooled.
Sales people who do this are often labeled “Hustlers.”
But there is an important, positive aspect of Hustle or Hustling.
It’s really a sense of obsessive and relentless focus and goal attainment.
That’s where a lot of sales people (and managers) get Hustle wrong. They confuse Hustle with activity and busyness. They seem to think hustle is about volume and velocity. For example, how many calls can we make, how many meetings do we have, how busy are we?
Some mistake Hustle for how packed their calendar is with meetings–all scheduled back to back, with no time to move from one to the other. The think a packed agenda is a measure of Hustle–in fact, the worst case I’ve ever seen is a senior exec that scheduled 3 meetings simultaneously–he would bounce from conference room to conference room. You can guess how much he actually accomplished.
Multitasking is another false indicator of Hustle. We’ve all seen the data on how badly multitasking impacts results.
People who really Hustle look a lot different. They don’t measure success by activity–but by the right activities. They are relentless in understanding what it takes to achieve their goals. They are vicious in eliminating anything that detracts them from goal attainment. They don’t waste time, thought, or resources on things that don’t contribute to their ability to achieve.
They are calculated in what they do–which means they are always examining what they do, how they do it, how they can improve. As a result they are constantly learning, improving, tuning to produce better results, more effectively and efficiently. They understand the difference between effectiveness and efficiency and know effectiveness precedes efficiency.
People who Hustle tend to be driven internally. Quota is something the pass on the way to achieving their goals. They don’t let themselves be distracted by obstacles, or difficulties, but figure out how to get around them (or avoid them in the first place.).
They know they have to constantly learn and improve, because their own internal drive compels them to to this. While they celebrate their accomplishments, it’s only briefly, because they raise the bar on themselves, striving for more.
They recognize they won’t always succeed, so they learn from their failures, not seeking excuses or to assign blame, but to learn how to improve. They don’t rest on their laurels.
Do you hustle, or are you merely busy?
Often, I read and hear, “Sales people are inherently lazy…..” Perhaps, I’m looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, but I believe most sales people want to do the right things. The problem is, too often, they just don’t know what the right things are.
It’s hard to be lazy and be successful in selling, after all, selling is one of the toughest professions in business. Sales people face more “no’s” than “yes’s” everyday. They have to constantly focus on finding new deals, developing new relationships, working on current deals, coordinating resources both within their own companies and with their partners and customers.
I don’t think the majority of sales people are lazy. But I think there are things management let’s happen that create the perception of laziness. A few of these things are:
- Having the wrong people in the job in the first place. People who shouldn’t be sales people, who shouldn’t be sales people with a particular company tend struggle. They often don’t have the abilities to do the things that drive success. As a result they may be perceived as lazy and/or incompetent. This isn’t a sales person problem, it’s a sales management problem for hiring the wrong people in the first place.
- Not teaching/coaching people on what the right things are. If the sales people don’t know the best ways to prospect, if they don’t know the sweet spot, if they don’t know how to qualify, if they don’t know how to put together and execute strong deal strategies, if they don’t know how to understand what customers value and create differentiated value, if they don’t know how to help the customer move through their buying process to making a decision, they can be perceived as lazy. They are doing the things they know, not necessarily what drives the highest success. It’s management’s responsibility to provide the training, systems, processes, and tools to help sales people not only understand the right things to do, but to execute. It’s management’s responsibility to continue to coach people, making sure they understand the right things to do.
- Letting them take shortcuts or do things that are ineffective. Smart people will tend to look for short cuts. They have a natural tendency to look for the easy way to do things. In some sense, this is a great characteristic. If the shortcuts or the “easy” methods produce the outcomes we want, they can become best practice. But it’s when these things don’t produce the desired outcomes that cause them to be problems. We see it every day, people not following the sales process, not preparing adequately for the call, not taking the time to understand the customer problem. It’s management’s responsibility to watch for these things, to make sure they don’t become bad or unproductive habits, to correct them through coaching.
- Not clearly defining performance expectations and holding people accountable for meeting performance expectations. This is related to the previous point. Too many sales people don’t have clearly defined performance expectations and the appropriate metrics/goals. As a result, they don’t have a framework in which to evaluate what whether they are doing the right things. Again, it’s incumbent for management to define these expectations, coach people in how they can more effectively meet those expectations.
- Having unrealistic or too many expectations, or having a program du jour approach to selling. Too many organizations operate in a real or “psuedo” crisis mode. There are constant shifts in priorities. The things that were important yesterday are not longer important today, those that are important today will not be important tomorrow. People get confused, they don’t know what they should be doing because it’s constantly changing. Faced with this, people tend to hunker down, usually continuing to do what they have done, consequently appearing lazy because they aren’t responding to management’s whim.
- Having no understanding of why they are doing what they are being asked to do. We hire sales people who are supposedly smart, action oriented, and want to achieve. As self directed people, they need to understand the context and the why of what they are doing. They need to know how to connect the dots between what they are being asked to do and how it helps them achieve their goals. For example, “Why are you asking me to make 50 prospecting calls a day?” “Why are you asking me to spend my time on these tools?” They have to know how what they do contributes to the team’s goals, and the overall organizational goals. Sales people are no different than anyone else, they want to “belong” and if they don’t know how what they do helps the organization, they don’t understand why they should do it. As a result, they may not do the things they should be doing and appear lazy.
I’ll stop here, but there are many other examples of where sales people can be perceived as lazy.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some lazy sales people. But it’s less their issue than it is a management issue.
“Laziness” occurs in an organization because management lets it happen, or unwittingly cause it to happen. Engaged, motivated sales people who understand the right things to do, why they are the right things; who have the systems, tools, processes, programs, training, and ongoing coaching will never be lazy.
Laziness is not a sales person issue, it’s a management issue. Lazy sales organization exist because of bad management. The way you fix lazy sales organization is by fixing management.
I’m amused by all the articles and talk about personal branding. But, it’s always fashionable to develop new names for age-old concepts. To be fair, sometimes these label shifts bring these principles back to our attention.
To some degree, the concepts of personal branding and reputation are–or should be—synonymous.
I’m not sure in much of modern personal branding, they are. It seems much of the discussion focuses on building visibility and building broad networks. The trick in sustaining your personal brand isn’t in how big your network is or how visible you are, but rather in delivering on your brand promise.
Building a personal brand and delivering on your brand promise is what reputation is all about. Somehow, though, much of the discussion of personal branding seems very complicated and too social channel oriented.
To me, the concepts are very simple:
- You are recognized for having good ideas and sharing them.
- You are recognized for being knowledgeable–about your company and it’s offerings, about your customers, their markets, and their industries.
- You leverage that knowledge in a manner that is helpful, helping both yourself and others grow.
- You are trustworthy.
- You meet your commitments, whether it’s showing up on time, delivering on your promises, or anything else..
- You create value in every interchange–not just with customers and prospects, but with colleagues and within your community.
- You are looking to constantly learn and improve, as well as helping others learn and improve.
- You are driven, genuinely, to be helpful.
- You are open to differing points of view, listening and learning.
- You accept responsibility and accountability–no excuses.
- You learn from your mistakes and move on.
- You stand for something and have a value system consistent with those with whom you are building your personal brand.
- You have a growth oriented mindset.
Building your personal brand is the same as building your reputation. It’s not about your social media/networking activity. It’s not about whether you blog, tweet, post on Facebook or another channel. It’s not about building quantity in your network, but rather quality.
You build your brand every day in every interaction with everyone. Whether it is in your office, on the phone, waiting in the lobby of a customer, in meetings,
I tend to believe personal branding needs to be “local,” that is focused on your customers and prospects. If your territory is Southern California, you need to build your personal brand in Southern California. Building it in India or South Africa is meaningless and a waste of your time as well as those in the distant areas. It’s in those “local” networks that you have the greatest impact. (Realize “local” means where your personal focus and accountability is–which in some cases may be global.)
Personal branding isn’t new, it isn’t complicated, we all know it as our reputations.