One of the most inspiring things about working in the channel is the sheer volume of top talent that surrounds us. I’m talking amazing talent.
Hardworking men and women, across the full-service spectrum, that hit it hard every day for their customers and partners.
Steve Gerhardt of D&M Enterprise Group and Dan Passacantilli of Blue Front Technology Group are two of those people. And you’re in for a treat today because I recently brought them back to the podcast.
Steve and Dan are exceptional sellers in the channel. During our chat, they shared some insights into what it takes to succeed in sales. They also dished on why they both count on an executive coach to help push them ahead.
Here’s what they had to share:
Get Buy-in For the Sacrifices
Any entrepreneur or small-business owner understands that building a business takes sacrifice. And more often than not those sacrifices are made to our personal lives.
But what does sacrifice look like? Sacrifice can mean different things to everyone. For some it’s missed games or dinners; for others, it’s simply having no downtime.
Whatever the form, personal sacrifices are an unfortunate reality of the sales success game. But the rewards can be great.
The secret is getting everyone impacted by those sacrifices onboard. And getting that buy-in means showing the payoff of those sacrifices.
For Steve, that’s meant teaching his daughter that it’s ultimately his customers who pay for their family vacations. Which is why he must answer every customer phone call, even while on vacation.
For Danny, that means getting buy-in from his wife to work longer hours so they can maintain the sort of lifestyle they’re accustomed to.
Takeaway: Every entrepreneur or business owner needs a personal support network to succeed. Their support is critical during challenging times. And their presence makes the celebrations all the sweeter.
You Can’t Be a Subject Matter Expert on Everything
Henry Ford famously revolutionized industry when he applied the old economic theory of labor specialization to his assembly lines. Under this approach, individual workers each took on a single manufacturing task that led to greater skill expertise and thereby greater efficiency in executing that task.
While the sales game is arguably more complicated than assembling widgets, the benefits of specialization in the channel has great applicability.
Being in an industry that’s anchored in technology, we’re accustomed to change. And that’s because technology is constantly changing (frighteningly so).
For salespeople, these changes present a constant cat-and-mouse game. You know the type: a technology is released, you scramble to get on top of it and just when you do, an update is released.
As a result, becoming an expert in any one area is becoming increasingly difficult–let alone becoming an expert in all technologies and solutions.
Steve’s and Danny’s approach to this is to double down on two or three specific service areas. Pour your energy into learning everything about those areas. This focused approach will help you better adapt to changes when they come.
Takeaway: Like Ford’s factory worker, the more specialized you are, the more efficient you’ll become in doing your job.
Everyone Needs a Mentor
A few weeks back I sat down with Tony Palmucci. Tony is a leading executive coach and a trusted mentor to many top performers here in the channel—Steve and Danny included.
Both men have worked with Tony for some time now and credit him for helping to drive their businesses forward. In fact, both can’t imagine being able to do what they do without Tony in their corner. And they recommend that anyone wanting to succeed should hire a coach as well.
So, what makes a great coach?
For both Danny and Steve, it comes down to great listening skills. Like an athletic coach, an executive coach must be able to observe the subtle nuances in the challenges hindering his trainee.
An athletic coach can observe these nuances by sight—an issue with form or other physical issues. For the executive coach, however, picking up on these nuances means being able to deeply listen to a trainee’s story. But further, it means being able to take what they’ve heard and offer changes that will help their trainee outmaneuver those nuances.
Takeaway: No one is born with the complete toolkit for success. Consider an executive coach another essential business tool that you need to get ahead.
For more of Danny and Steve’s takeaways, as well as the accounts they dream of landing, head on over to the podcast.