Bring up the word accountability and you will immediately hear this huge sucking sound. Even just hint at the word, and watch – poof – all the energy gets sucked right out. I mean I get it, considering the meaning we give to accountability. no wonder no one really likes the word. The whole ideas conjures up paperwork, spreadsheets, boring meetings and someone yelling at you to do it better – right?
Accountability is not the most magnetic of words. But personally, I love accountability! In fact. I think it is about the sexiest and most powerful word in sales. Yes you heard me, I used powerful, sexy and sales all in one sentence. But, I think I am one of the few that sees it that way. I have the feeling that when I talk about accountability all my audience is hearing is Charlie Brown’s teacher – Wha, Wha, Wha! They tune out, shut down and just wait for it to be over.
Okay I get it, given the way we position and use accountability it is not the sexiest of words. However, if you shift your paradigm and broaden your mind, you will find that accountability holds the true keys to sales success.
To take your sales and your sales team next level – learn to love accountability and inspire your team to love it, too. You need to understand that the secrets to decreasing stress and increasing profits lie in your ability to learn from your own weekly behaviors and results. Accountability is not about identifying who is doing something wrong. It is about discovering what someone is doing right. Then use that information to enhance your own sales results, help others expand their skills, and move your organization to the next level.
So how do you make accountability sexy? Here are three sales strategies to maximize results:
Behaviors Vs Numbers
Focus on the sales behaviors vs the sales results. If you hold yourself accountable only to see the result, you miss the most important part of the story. Think about it, if you had an amazing month, closed more deals than you ever have, wouldn’t you like to know why? Don’t you want to know who you called on, how many clients you called on, what you talked about, and what the heck you did that was so brilliant you became a closing ninja?
The reverse is true, too. If you have a bad week, a really bad week – come on we all have them…Those weeks where feel like we work our backside off, yet you cannot close a deal. Even your mother turned you down. Don’t you want to know why? Don’t you want to understand why you were busy but not productive?
Tracking behaviors vs numbers (the end result) gives you, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story. The first step in making accountability sexy is to focus on behaviors, not results. Just reviewing where you spent your time, how you spent it and with whom can do more than any coach. It will help you understand what is working with your sales strategy and what is falling flat. The better you get at the behaviors, the stronger your results.
Learn vs. Report
Ever been in one of those hopelessly boring meetings? You know the ones. You go around the room and everyone shares how many deals they closed that month. It is an endless monotonous chorus of numbers – 2, 5, 0 and then there’s always one jerk – yeah that guy. He ruins the whole bell curve and reports a number like 12 – 12 deals he closed! Making the rest of us look like total, lazy losers.
Well, if that is what accountability looks and feels like, no wonder we hate it. Stop making accountability about reporting the numbers. Start using it as an opportunity to learn. Listen, your team can turn a spreadsheet into you with the number of deals they close. Heck, even your brother-in-law can do that.
So, start putting your meetings and call huddles to better use. Have someone share a win, have someone share a loss and then team coach the opportunities. Everybody weighs in on what they learn from the win, and have your team brainstorm about how to recover from a loss. If you use accountability as a way to make sure people are doing what you tell them to do, then you are focused on discipline not on growth. If you use it as an opportunity to learn, then team development and closed deals are the results you will get.
Celebrate vs. Reprimand
Progress is forward movement – right? What you focus on expands – correct? So, focus on celebrating progress rather than reprimanding non-compliance. All too often when we hold people accountable, we are so focused on what they are not doing, that we forget to focus on what they ARE doing. If you want people to feel good about being held accountable, turning in their spreadsheets and putting notes into their CRM (Customer Relationship Management System), then find more ways to celebrate their progress than ways to discipline their lack of it.
So there you have it, everything you need to know to make accountability full-on, powerful and just about the sexiest sales strategy you have ever used. This is game-changer! If you shift your paradigm as a sales leader to position accountability as positive, then your team will respond. Imagine you have a sales team that is as passionate as you are about turning behaviors into results and being held accountable. Now that is SEXY!