- How can a variety of strengths power the drive or motivation that successful salespeople need?
- What is the connection between strengths and a salesperson's confidence and swagger?
- How can a sales team draw on its collective strengths to serve its clients and increase sales?
Dean Jones, a Global Talent Development Architect and Senior Learning Expert at Gallup, was our guest on a recent Called to Coach. In Part 1 of a 3-part series on sales, Dean discussed the characteristics of successful salespeople -- including drive or motivation, confidence or swagger, the ability to influence others, and organizing and managing one's work. What is the "engine" that drives high sales performance? The good news is that salespeople can find success in these areas through applying a variety of CliftonStrengths. Dean also discussed the 3 primary types of sales -- product, solution and consultative -- and provided insights on how to coach salespeople in each one.
Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series -- Season 9, Episode 8. This is Part 1 of a 3-part series on sales.
When you're coaching salespeople ... to be successful, we really have to go back to the fact that any strengths can get us there, if there's good self-awareness and good application.Dean Jones, 46:58
With all kinds of sales ... you need to have some kind of drive or some kind of motivation. ... So as I'm looking at [salespeople's] strengths, I want to know, where's the engine?Dean Jones, 23:52
If you're a good coach, and you understand sales, you can coach people effectively. And there's an immediate return on investment from the coaching work that you do.Dean Jones, 52:58
Jim Collison 0:00
I am Jim Collison, and live from our virtual studios around the world -- or at least today here in the United States -- this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on March 5, 2021.
Jim Collison 0:20
Called to Coach is a resource for those who want to help others discover and use their strengths. We have Gallup experts and independent strengths coaches share tactics, insights and strategies to help coaches maximize the talent of individuals, teams and organizations around the world. If you're listening live, we'd love to have you join us in our chat room on the live page. There's a link to it right above me, and that'll take you to the YouTube instance. Sign in with your Google account and join us in chat. If you're listening after the fact, and Dean, many do this now. It used to be nobody. And now everybody sends us emails every day: firstname.lastname@example.org if you got any questions. And of course, we're there to answer them for you. Make sure you subscribe to us on your favorite podcast app or on YouTube, and hit that Like button if you're on YouTube; that always helps. Dean Jones is our host today. Dean is a Global Talent Development Architect and a Senior Learning Expert for Gallup. He's also the chair of Gallup's Diversity Council, and Dean, that sounds like you're super busy all the time. Welcome to Called to Coach!
Dean Jones 1:10
Thanks. Thanks for having me again today. I'm excited to be here.
Jim Collison 1:13
Good to have you back, good to have you back. And you are busy. But you've carved out some time for us today. We're going to spend a little time talking about salespeople and the sales process and talents in sales. And I think, I'm really glad -- you called me a couple weeks ago and said, "Hey, would this be a topic, a great topic?" And I was like, "Yes." Because we see a lot of this in our Facebook groups, people asking about, you know, strengths-based selling. And so you've got 3 parts scheduled for us. You want to give us a little kickoff to it, as far as what you're hoping to cover over the next, the next couple of these?
Dean Jones 1:46
Yeah, it was pretty, honestly, it was pretty interesting, I was thinking the other day about what to cover next, right, as as we do, right. And sometimes I'm kind of listening to what's in Facebook and our Facebook groups and things like that. But I was just thinking about what, what are the areas where I feel like I've got something to share? And I, really over the majority of my career, I've been in sales and in marketing. And really, for the last 13 years, I've really focused on, as my work has been in learning. But it's been, a lot of the work I've done is in developing salespeople and business development people and consultants. And there's just, particularly at Gallup's, you know the, developing those folks through a strengths-based lens, I think, is one of the most powerful ways to be able to really get up under people's talent, and to have them succeed. So in thinking about it, I was thinking about that this would be a good topic -- coaching sales performance would be a good topic for a series. You know, the, as you said, I think we've got 3 parts here, right. The first part, I think, is just really looking at this kind of world of sales.
Jim Collison 2:58
Why, why sales performance? As we think generally about it, what, what is it about the performance aspect of this that makes this tie in so well?
Dean Jones 3:06
Yeah, no, that's great. I think that, so it's an interesting thing, I think, when you think about coaching sales. And, and when I talk to coaches, I talk to a lot of coaches who aspire to coach leaders a lot, right. And it's, there's a sort of aspirational. I really think that coaches ought to be aspiring to coach salespeople, right? And, and I'll tell you why. I think that one is that sales is an area where performance is quantified. So it's easy to be able to see, Is somebody succeeding or not succeeding? So it's, it's an area where you can really see, gosh, you coach somebody, and their performance improves, and, and it's easily measured, right.
Dean Jones 3:49
So it's also an area where, because of that, organizations are more inclined to invest in salespeople and invest in sales performance. They know that there's going to be a direct impact on the viability of an organization. So they're more inclined to be able to say, Hey, this is an area where we're going to invest, and we know that an investment is going to have a clear and measurable return. I also think, and this is a, this is a little, kind of a little deeper, a little bit below that, but sales effectiveness is really rooted in human performance. So when somebody's got great sales success, that's really, their sales success is really the sum of a set of kind of powerful and effective human interactions.
Dean Jones 4:33
So if you coach -- you're coaching human beings to interact in a, in a, in a more effective way with other human beings. And the more you, the more they're effective, that they are effective, the more likely you're going to have high levels of sales effectiveness. So I'm, sorry, I don't know that I was very articulate when I said that. But you get the point, right. It's really what we're doing is coaching human beings, right. It's a way of making human beings more effective that has a tangible and meaningful impact on the bottom line.
Dean Jones 5:07
I always think that the, the way -- and I said this -- is, is one of the things since being at Gallup is one of the most powerful ways I think to coach salespeople is with strengths. So I've seen a lot of people over the years coach salespeople in different ways, and sometimes it's very process-oriented, and I think that there's some value to that. There's, there's lots of different ways that you can, you can, you can focus on making salespeople more effective, right. Strengths, I think helps people. One is, is that I think it, because it, at the end of the day, you want to bolster the confidence of salespeople, because strengths is such a positive and powerful way of really unpacking who you are as a human being. And it's constructive, right, rather than negative; it's positive rather than negative. I think that really makes a difference.
Dean Jones 5:55
The kind of dimensions of sales development, when you're, when you're coaching salespeople of strengths-based development, first is that piece where they can, they, salespeople understand their own strengths. So they develop greater self-awareness; they have a better understanding of their talents and strengths; they can apply themselves in a way that increases and enhances their performance. The other dimension of it is as applied to their clients. And I think a lot of times when people talk about strengths-based selling, I think they're talking about this one, where salespeople are using strengths as a way to understand their customers and their clients through the lens of strengths -- to be more insightful about them, to be more effective at working with them, like that.
Dean Jones 6:36
I think the first place to start always is helping salespeople to understand their own talents and strengths. So I think the first piece of it is always, Do I know who I am as, as a person? Do I have self-awareness around that? And can I use my talents and strengths to be able to, to succeed inside this kind of process, or inside this kind of, this area, right, inside this function? That's the place that I always think is most meaningful.
Dean Jones 7:06
You know, I, I think the second, you know, with strengths-based selling, when people try to use strengths to unpack stuff around their clients or to work with their clients, I think there's some value there. The problem is, is sometimes it kind of veers into a little bit of trickery or chicanery or manipulation, or -- you know what I mean? I think sometimes people think it's like some way I'm like going to, you know, I'm going to know something about them, them, and I'm going to use it against them or some kind of crazy black magic or something. Right.
Jim Collison 7:35
There's a fine line between influence and manipulation, though, right?
Dean Jones 7:39
Yeah, yeah. You know, and I'm fully on the side of influence and fully against the side of manipulation, right. So I think, so I think in this area, sorry, you can tell that I'm a morning person, I'm not a morning person here.
Jim Collison 7:55
You're doing great.
Dean Jones 7:55
We were laughing about that this morning. You can tell, you know, so I think the piece that is really valuable here is using strengths-based development to help salespeople at their, at their core, develop great self-awareness, so they know who they are. A lot of times in sales, and I know we're getting into this, but a lot of times in sales, there's the, particularly you see sales managers or sales leaders that have "a type" that they think everybody should be. So you get, like, you get sales managers that think everybody needs to be hypercompetitive. Right? So, and the challenge with it is, is that for the ones that are, that lead with a lot of Competition, right, or lead with, you know, that that, that really works for them, but it doesn't work for everybody else. And so really helping salespeople to understand, Hey, what are my talents and strengths? And how do I apply them in a really meaningful way? I think is really great.
Jim Collison 8:50
Dean, I've been really privileged to be in on the last couple years with you, as we've interviewed a lot of our sales folks at Gallup. And so I get to see it from behind the scenes and hear the success stories. And I think one of the, just to your point, one of the things I've taken out of that is just the different, the different talents that lead to sales.
Jim Collison 9:10
So we may have some that come through heavy Relationship Building. We have others that are, it's just the facts. We have others that, that, that work it more from a, from a, you know, almost from a webinar standpoint -- a very high level, give you, constantly be giving you some information. So there's all these different ways to approach it. And I think, maybe what we've seen on TV over the last, I don't know, 5, 6 years, has just been proliferation of examples that maybe hark back to a day, a day gone by, right. The way sales used to be, we've seen some changes, right? I mean, sales is a little different today than it was. What and why? Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Dean Jones 9:53
Yeah, I think you know, so, to your point, I think people have this im -- when you say "sales," it, it often has a very negative connotation to people. It doesn't for people that are sales professionals and who work in sales and have that as a skill. But for a lot of people, it has a negative connotation. I think that's a lot formed by, to your point, TV, bad TV, bad movies. Too many episodes of watching Boi -- do you know, two minutes too many times watching "Boiler Room" or, you know, crazy movies about selling, right?
Dean Jones 10:24
And, the, the, and really, sales has changed, right? And the, really the seminal event that changed sales or transformed sales was the rise of the internet. And anybody that kind of works in this field knows, Hey, that kind of changed the game roughly 20 years ago, right? Prior to that time, a lot of sales was about, How do you shape perceptions and convince the buyer that your product or your service was superior? Right? So it's sort of an oversimplification, but this is fundamentally true, right? It was really about, you know, there was this disparity of, you know, of information, right? Sometimes that the, the buyer had more information than the seller; sometimes the seller had more information than the buyer. And it was a little like this transaction between the two, right? Is, is, is, is who's got, who's got the right information to make the most informed choice, right.
Dean Jones 11:19
And I, one of the things that's fundamentally happened is, is with the internet, all that information is out there. So what you see is, is that buyers can go to, go and do all kinds of research on an organization. They know everything about the organization. They know everything about the product. They can read reviews online. They can talk to, talk, you know, talk to people who are using the product. They can, they can, you know, even read, you know, messages from former employees of the company on, on Glassdoor, right.
Dean Jones 11:53
So, with the advent of the internet, information became really readily available, and the buying process started to be transformed. But what, what, what, what fundamentally happened is is, all those approaches that were used in sales, prior to that point, started to become really outdated. You know, things like sort of old sales techniques like overcoming objections, right, started to be, kind of seemed kind of quaint or outdated or annoying, you know, outright annoying, right? And the, what, what, it's really become a cliché, but the selling process really became a buying process.
Dean Jones 12:31
And by the way, there's lots of great books that are written on this, to talk about how this process really now is more of a buying process. So the role of somebody who's a salesperson really shifted from somebody that's trying to influence or convince, or, you know, could sort of control somebody or position the product or service in a particular way. Their, their role really transformed, right.
Dean Jones 12:56
So the focus really now for salespeople is really, How do I, how am I of service to the buyer? How am I, how do I underst -- how do I help really understand the customer or understand them as well or better than they understand themselves? How do I, how can I be responsive and facilitate this process of buying? Right? How do I build strong relationships, so that trusted relationships and provide them expertise that makes that process more valuable or optimizes that process for the person who's doing the buying? Right?
Dean Jones 13:31
So there's this shift, if you will, there's the shift in from, in the, the salesperson really providing a different kind of role. It's, you know, so it's, it's sort of an interesting thing. So some of those old kind of sales techniques that salespeople that, that, that started long, long ago learned, those really have become outdated. And really, it's about now helping salespeople to use their talents and strengths to be able to, to use their talents and strengths to really be able to help the buyer and kind of facilitate this kind of buying process, right? Make sense?
Jim Collison 14:12
Yeah, no, it does indeed. When we think, and I'm kind of excited for it; I, sometimes I feel even myself I am, I think sales has gotten disseminated or broken up into pieces. So you don't have just a salesperson anymore beating the street, knocking on doors, although that still happens in a lot of businesses. But it's, it's been broken up and kind of, at least the way I see it, what we do at Gallup is it's kind of broken across groups, or even different people. We all have sales responsibilities of some kind, but that, that sales responsibility is not necessarily the hard-core close. Right? I think that sometimes we think, that's maybe another misconception that we've seen in sales is that it comes down to the hard-core, "What's it gonna take to get you into this today?" Different type close, right, where, where now those, the close looks a little bit different.
Dean Jones 15:04
Yeah. And, and to your point, I mean, it's so funny because now I think when you encounter that, that feels, it feels sort of anachronistic, right? It feels sort of like, like, Why are you doing this? Right? Like, Where did this come from? Nobody does that anymore. You know, and when you try to do it, it feels like, it's just sort of annoying. It's like, No, no, you know, you're, you're the, it's the environment has so fundamentally shifted that it's like, No, no, you're here to be able to support my buying process. Why are you, why are you operating in that way? Right?
Jim Collison 15:37
Yeah, right. Well, we've seen the advent of like a Tesla model where there's not really salespeople, right? The proposition's put on the web. Here it is; this is the price, where that had always been a very negotiation-heavy process. I can't tell you how many people say, "I hate buying a car." Because it's so awful. Right? And that, that may be a good example of a shift, right, that's happening in that? Right? It's becoming more -- for the purpose of today's conversation, Dean, are we really talking B2B B2C, business to business, business to consumer? What are your thoughts on that?
Dean Jones 16:11
Yeah, I think, here's the thing. I think, let's go back to your, to your, your car-buying model. Because I think, you know, one of the last bastions of, of kind of that high-pressure, high-influence, you know, as you said, negotiation-heavy kind of sales, is buying a car. And it's interesting, during the pandemic, one of the, one of the big things that shifted around that was, one of the big things that shifted around that was the, was that it was no longer, like, all of a sudden, people weren't going into dealerships. We didn't, we didn't, we didn't do that; didn't need to do that negotiating. All of a sudden, that went online, right?
Dean Jones 16:49
So all of a sudden, it was sort of the, so all that kind of went out. And for a long time, people thought, Hey, look, you can't really buy a car without going through that kind of stuff. And to your point, Tesla showed that it's possible, but a lot of, lot of car companies now shifted to that kind of model. So you see that, you know, it's, it's everywhere.
Dean Jones 17:12
Today, I think we want to focus on B2B sales. And so we know there's different kinds of sales, to answer your question. There's business-to-consumer sales and there's business-to-business sales. I think that, for most of the, for most of the organizations that our coaches are going to be working with, they're going to be employed by, they're going to be employing B2B sales, right. And I think it's knowing these types of sales, the type of sale that's employed, by the, by the, by the person or the team that you're coaching, helps you to be more effective in being able to do that.
Dean Jones 17:43
When we think about, you know, sometimes people think of sales as sort of monolithic. When we think of the different types of sales, there's, there's 3 primary types of sales that we look at, or that we think about, right. And it's really along a continuum. On the one hand, there's product sales, right? That's generally kind of the kind of sales where I'm, I'm selling a standard product or service to a specific individual or a decision-maker in an organization.
Dean Jones 18:10
The other end is kind of consultative sales, right? Where I'm, I'm there, and I'm, I'm helping the client really define the problem, determine the solution, and maybe creating a product or a service designed for their specific needs. And in the, in the middle really is solution sales. That's where I'm selling a set of products to an organization that's configured to solve a problem or address a need that the client has identified. So let me kind of talk about each one of these just a little bit. And then I want to talk a little bit about the talent and strengths that is, that is needed around this.
Dean Jones 18:44
So product sales, you know, is, this this product sales is really where there are as a salesperson, I've got a standard product or service that I'm selling to an individual or a decision-maker in an organization. So a lot of what that's about is about matching, right? So am I, I'm not necessarily going to configure that product in any way. There may be some options associated with it. But there's a nominal number of options. This is really sort of standard. So that's sort of a standard product or service that I'm selling to somebody. So I'm looking to see, Hey, is it a match? Do the needs that you've got match the product or service that I've got, right?
Dean Jones 19:25
The next, in that middle, is kind of solution sales. And that takes a little bit more configuring, a little more thinking, you know, and you could hear, as I go through these, you could start to hear kind of the talents and strengths that are required to be successful in each vein, right? So in solution sales, I'm taking a set of products and kind of configuring them in a way that's designed to solve a problem or address a need that the client has identified. So I'm taking them together, and part of my success there is my success in being able to take those components, put them together and to be able to address that need or solve that problem really readily.
Dean Jones 20:06
The, the third area is this consultative sales piece. And that's where there may be no product going in. You know what I mean? Really, where it really starts is, is, it may be that in this kind of pure consultative sales, I'm going in and working with the client to be able to identify, What is really the problem or issue, right? I always think about it as sort of an upstream process, right? So as you move from product sales to solution sales to consultative sales, I'm moving upstream in terms of getting closer to the client, and getting closer to where the identification of the problem is or the identification of the need is, right?
Dean Jones 20:48
So typically, with consultative sales, I'm a partner to the, to the person who's buying. I'm a partner to the key, to that key contact. And I'm helping them think through, What's the problem? What's the need? What's the solution? With consultative, or with solution sales, that problem or need has been identified. And so I'm really looking at, given this problem or need that's been identified, how do we put together or configure a set of components that really address that? And part of the, my success in being able to do that is, Do I have all the right components? Are they configured in the right way like that? And then with product sales, the problem or need has been identified. In some cases, the, the kind of what's the solution or what's the product that's going to solve the problem has been identified. So in product sales, it's a lot of, Does this product fit the bill, right? Is this product the right one that fits the bill? So it's a lot of, Hey, just convincing or matching that needs to happen around that? Right. And so, yeah, go ahead.
Jim Collison 21:50
No, I, you finish your thought, Dean.
Dean Jones 21:52
No, I just I, as you look at that, part of it is, as you coach salespeople, you got to kind of know where they are along that continuum, right? So because those kinds of sales are very different. In product sales, it tends to be fast-moving, tends to be very transaction-oriented. So there's lots of, and a lot of the focus in product sales is, is, How do we keep this moving? How do we, how many transactions are we conducting?
Dean Jones 22:20
Consultative sales, on the other hand, tends to be very slow-moving, right? It's a lot of relationship-building and needs-assessing. Typically, consultative solutions is happening, consultative sales is happening with larger organizations. So oftentimes, there's a lot of consensus-building that's happening with the customer or the client around what the need is, what the problem is, how it gets addressed. So it's fundamentally kind of different along there.
Dean Jones 22:46
So as you're coaching salespeople, and as you're thinking, you're working with salespeople, it's important to know kind of where do they fall on that continuum? And what are the needs that are going to kind of make them successful along that? That make sense, Jim?
Jim Collison 22:58
Yeah, and there might be, I think, even a self-evaluation of this: Where am I in that process as a coach? Like, what kind of coaching am I providing? And that doesn't mean, right, you have to provide just one style of coaching, right? You may be coaching individuals all along the continuum. And then you may want to self-assess and say, Where am I best? Like, where do I, what kind of services do I provide where I am best? So as we think about those talents and those themes associated with this, are there, are there certain ones that kind of are similar across the, this, this continuum?
Dean Jones 23:32
Yeah, when we look across all sales, there are certain things that, there's certain kinds of talents and strengths that we know that you need to have. And, and this is where it gets a little dicey because I think you have to think about what are the unique strengths that each person has? And how will they, how will they use those in order to be successful here?
Dean Jones 23:52
You know, one of the things you need across the board with all kinds of sales is you need to have some kind of drive or some kind of motivation, right? There needs to be some kind of drive, some kind of intensity, something that, that where you, where you want to solve problems for people, or you want to -- the thing that kind of keeps you moving forward.
Dean Jones 24:11
You know, part of sales is you start from zero every day. So part of the, just the nature of sales is, is that you don't come in every day, and it's already happening, right? You come to every work, you come to work every day, and your job is get, make it happen, get it going, like that. So you're, that's part of what you're, that's part of the game, right? So you have to have that, that drive or that motivation is an important piece.
Dean Jones 24:41
One of the things when I'm coaching salespeople that I'm always looking for is where's the engine, right? So as I'm looking at their strengths, I want to know, like, where's the engine, right? So the engine might be their high Achiever. It might be that they're high Competition, right. It might be that they're high Significance. Right? Is there an ego drive there? Is there a Competition drive there? Is there a results drive? You know, like, I'm looking for, hey, might be high Responsibility. Right? So what's the, I'm looking for what's the engine? What's the motivation going to come from around this? And I think that's a really important piece is to think about, like, where, where's this drive going to come from?
Dean Jones 25:20
The other thing, and, that's, that is consistent across the board is this sense of confidence, right? You always want some, some, you always want salespeople across the board to be able to have some swagger. You know, because they've, and where are they putting their ego, right? So I'm always looking at, like, stylistically, where are they going to get their swagger from? Right? Where's the confidence going to come from?
Dean Jones 25:48
So some, some salespeople are blessed with high Self-Assurance, right? And it comes from that. But some, you know, are, you know, are blessed with high Learner and Input, right. So they're, they get their swagger from being able to understand and learn about the client very, very quickly, to be able to assimilate a lot of information and be able to put it together really well, and develop kind of their expertise around it. Some, some, for some salespeople, they get their swagger from their Responsibility, right? I'm somebody that follows through; I'm somebody that's highly responsive. I'll never let you down. Right?
Dean Jones 26:26
So I think that it can come from different ways, right? It can come from different places. It might come from your Relationship themes, right. I'm somebody that builds really deep, trusted relationships; I'm high Relator, right? I'm, I'm somebody that's able to go, to go build those kind of deep, trusted relationships with a client. So, but there's got to be some place that you get your swagger from, where you get your confidence from. So I'm always looking at that piece, right?
Dean Jones 26:55
The other piece that's out there, I think, that's really important is, is, is where are the places that you influence people? So how do you influence? And, you know, I think I've, I've, I've talked about this before, but classically, we look at, at the Influencing themes. But again, you know, as, as anybody knows that when we're coaching people across the 4 Domains, you can use any of those domains to really influence people. You can influence the people through being deeply related to them. You can influence people through your thinking. You can influence the people through your Execution themes. But I'm also looking at how are you influencing? Right? What are the things that you're doing to be able to shape that and influence that?
Dean Jones 27:39
And the last piece that I think is a really an important piece is how am I able to set up, organize and manage my work? So because in a lot of ways, salespeople are kind of like, every salesperson is like a mini-entrepreneur, right? They got to run their own business. They got their own portfolio. They got to run their own business. So you have to have, in some way, shape or form, you've got to have some way that you can set up, organize and manage your work in a way that makes you successful.
Dean Jones 28:08
So, and again, different people do that different ways. Some, there are some, you know, classically, salespeople are often characterized as disorganized, or, you know, they're people people rather than paper people. And so part of it is being able to, part of it is being able to set up and organize and manage your work in a way that you're successful in being able to do that. So in some cases, it is literally that you've got some structure outside of yourself; you've got a system that really works for you. Or you've got a partner that really, that helps you to be able to do that. Or you're somebody that is, you've got, because you've got a lot of Thinking themes, you're somebody that's very strategic in the way that you do that, right. So you've got, you've got some kind of process or you've got some sort of strategy around that. So, but in some way, you've got to have something, you've got to have something that allows you to be able to do that. So just --
Jim Collison 29:03
Dean, would you clarify something for me on that? So Lisa says she's having trouble with the word "swagger." She says, I know what you mean by "swagger"; it implies ego for me. But I think you can sell from a place of humility as well. So can you, would you talk a little bit about that?
Dean Jones 29:17
Yeah, I think, here's the thing. It sounds funny, but I think this is sometimes where the world of coaches and the world of sales doesn't overlap. You know what I mean? Like, yeah, I think 100%, Lisa, you can, you can sell from a place of humility. And in fact, you know, for years -- I did some work years ago with Microsoft. Microsoft used to train their salespeople to be what they described as "humble experts," right. Now, part of this was in part in a reaction to the fact that at the time, Microsoft had a real, had a reputation for being arrogant, right? They were at the top of the heap and, you know, you know. So they were training their salespeople to be humble experts.
Dean Jones 30:01
I do think, though, you've got to get, you know, there's a place that all of us put our ego, right. And our ego might be into being of service; our ego might be into our track record of success; our ego might be into our competence in a particular area or our responsiveness, right. And you've got to help, with salespeople sometimes, you know, I think, you know, a lot of coaches I know pride themselves on the fact that they're really of service to people. And they're really up under people's talents, and that they're in the background, right? We got to remember that for most salespeople, we, we want them to be in the foreground; we want them to be center stage. And part of, I think, being successful working with salespeople is that you're not trying to denigrate their ego; you're not trying to undercut their ego or have them be different. That you actually embrace that ego.
Dean Jones 30:58
By the way, I find this with leaders, with coaching leaders a lot. It's that you, you know, anybody who's highly accomplished and highly successful has a big ego. Right? And, and you just have to find it. Academics, right? Celebrities, leaders and executives, right, and great salespeople. And it's, if you try to cut into the ego or undercut the ego, at the end of the day, you don't support the person. So you got to include the ego and actually get up under the ego, right? And you got to, you got to, you got to be able to work with that, because that's part of what makes them successful. Right? In some cases, you're helping them to manage their ego in a way that doesn't get in their way or in other people's way. But you don't, you're not, you don't want to and you shouldn't just try to dismantle that. Right. You know, there's nothing wrong with having a healthy ego. You know?
Jim Collison 31:52
I think of Satya Nadella, who's, we keep mentioning Microsoft -- this is not sponsored by Microsoft in any way -- but a very, a leader who, a leader and a salesperson who comes from a very, comes from a very engineering background and comes at it from, as being the expert. And so he, you know, his, his style -- he's very humble, by the way, when you, if you meet him, get a chance to talk to him, he's just the most pleasant guy in the world to talk to -- but very confident and very sure in what he's doing with this. He's gonna get, we're gonna get a chance to hear him. I'm looking forward to this a lot. We're gonna get a chance to hear him at our summit this June 8 and 9, so I'm looking forward to having him as the keynote.
Jim Collison 32:32
But I think that's a great example of it doesn't have to be -- his predecessor, his first two predecessors, were over-the-top aggressive. He comes in, in being more humble, to Lisa's point, more humble, more confident. You know, that, it's that confident that just exudes from him of "This is the right solution. This is what needs to be done." So as we look at each of those areas, Dean, as we think of sales and solutions and consultative, anything that's different in there? Or do you want to highlight, you want to highlight maybe where those areas might be a little bit different? Or talk us through that.
Dean Jones 33:06
Yeah, let's, let's, before we do that, I want to, I just want to go back and recap. Because I want to, I want to just, I want to, I want to go backwards to go forward here a little bit, OK. So I think, with this, I think you want to be looking at, so some of the things I said were kind of consistencies, right. That you want to be looking -- across all sales, right. And, by the way, I love this conversation about ego. Lisa, that was a great question, it was a super smart question. And, because I think that's one we could talk about all day, right.
Dean Jones 33:34
But so some consistent things that, that I'm always looking for when I'm coaching salespeople or when I'm working with salespeople. One is, where's, where's the motivation or drive gonna come from? Right? So where, what's gonna create that kind of drive and intensity? What's the, I always call it the engine? You know, I'm always looking for, in their profile, I was coaching, I was coaching a guy who's, yesterday who's very, very accomplished, right. Enormously successful, right. And what you see is, is what I saw with him yesterday is multiple areas that, that make him, that give him drive and success. Right.
Dean Jones 34:07
The second thing I was looking for is where's that confidence going to come from? Right. And I think sometimes, and Lisa, this goes back to your ego question, it's not, it's not arrogance; I think sometimes we mix up ego and arrogance, right? But where are we going to, where's that confidence gonna come from? Where's that Self-Assurance gonna come from that's gonna make them successful and have them hold their own, in, in this, right.
Dean Jones 34:34
The other area is how are they going to influence? You know, I think I've told this story before; I worked with a group of leaders in a, in an architectural and engineering firm. They were really worried that, when they looked at their team grid, that there were nobody, nobody among their leadership team had had very many Influencing themes. And, but they, literally to a person, they all had high Responsibility, right. And the more I understood about the way they work with their clients, that that was really how they influence people was by being highly responsive, by being incredibly loyal, by being highly responsible, right, about the work that they did. So it doesn't mean, like Influencing is and again, anybody who's coached on the domains knows this, right, it's figuring out what, what are those themes I use to be able to influence others?
Dean Jones 35:25
And then finally, that ability to kind of set up and organize your work, right? And then as you said, Jim, as we start to then kind of delve into those different areas, we start to think about how are they unique, right? So in product sales, you're coaching somebody in product sales, as I said before, a lot of product sales is sort of about matching. Right? How do I, can I listen quickly? Like, can I listen and build rapport quickly so that I, one is I've got, I've established a relationship and trust with that person quickly, right? Knowing that in product sales, there's lots of transactions, and those transactions are going to move fast, right?
Dean Jones 36:05
So part of what I got to be able to do is make quick connections. I've got to be able to be somebody who can establish a relationship and build trust quickly, right? Am I somebody then that can also listen to needs and assess needs quickly? So, and I always think part of that is just that I know my customer well, and I also know my product well. So I'm listening for, where's that match? Where are those connection points, right? Have I got those connection points? So that ability to kind of think through that and think through that quickly, to be able to do that.
Dean Jones 36:41
There's also got to be a certain amount of persistence, or insulation that somebody has. That they can get, they can get, they can continue to move forward even when they get lots of "No"s, right. That they're deter -- they've got, again, they've got that kind of determination, or that kind of motivation that will allow them to persist. You know, it's kind of like, I'm not a sports guy as you know, but it's kind of like in baseball, like a good batting average is something like .333 or something like that, right? You'll correct my bad sports analogy.
Jim Collison 37:11
No, you're right on, Dean. You're right on.
Dean Jones 37:12
Yeah, you know, and which means basically that you hit the ball a third of the time, right? You know, and, and in sales, it's kind of the same way, right? And particularly in product sales, you're gonna have a lot of transactions, but you're gonna, you're going to lose a lot of stuff; you're gonna have a lot of stuff that just is gonna disappear, right? It's just gonna go away. The buyer decides, Hey, I'm not gonna buy this now or ever, like, you know. So you got to have the drive that be able to be able to do that. So you've got to have, in product sales, it's really about how do I use my themes? How do I use, where are my Executing themes that are going to help me to be able to manage this quickly? Where are my Relationship themes? How am I going to go in and build that rapport around that? How am I going to use my Thinking themes, both to get up to speed on the product but also on the client and to think about those connection points, right? So, you know, how am I using my strengths to be able to do that, you know?
Dean Jones 38:06
The, in solution sales, the focus of a lot of solution sales, it kind of shifts a little bit. Because it's not just about a product, it's typically about a suite of products and how are we configuring those products in order to be able to solve a problem or meet a need? The, it starts really with, in solution sales, that I can, again, build rapport and build trust. But I, but I've got to be somebody that can do that in a way that, that the client, or the customer feels comfortable being able to talk to me about what's not working. A lot of times in solution sales, you know, you start out, you're talking to somebody and you're building rapport.
Dean Jones 38:46
You know, in product sales, they're saying, "Hey, I need, I need X, do you have X?" Right? And so it's more about an expressed need in product sales, right? Sometimes you can listen beyond the need to be able to say, Hey, how am I going to do this? In solution sales, you really got to understand the problem and the need, and you got to have enough trust with somebody that you got to have a, enough trust with somebody that it, that they're willing to kind of talk about what's not working, you know, you know. In, in real life, in relationships, we don't lead with necessarily what's not working; most of us lead with what's working, right. You know what I mean? And so, you know, we tend to run from the people that start that, you know, that all they do is complain, right?
Dean Jones 39:32
But in this case, we're, really what we want is we want to build a kind of trusted relationship that, that we can, that, that the client or the customer feels comfortable being able to tell us what's not working, and in fact, tells us enough that we can look even beyond that to be able to say, Hey, what's behind the problem? Or what's behind the need? Right? So that we can really understand that, so we've got this deep understanding of what that problem or what that need is, so we can then take that and formulate a solution that's really going to be successful.
Dean Jones 40:04
So you can hear -- and this is not in any way to diminish product sales, because good, you know, good product salespeople are unbelievable, right? And, you know, it takes huge, to be really an all-star in that area takes huge talent, right? But in solution sales, it's more about, I need a deeper level of relationship. Because I got to get to a deeper kind of sense of what's happening there; I need the, my client or customer to be willing to kind of confess more to me.
Dean Jones 40:36
I also need a little more thinking, because I got to think about, I got to do the translation to be able to say, How am I going to translate this need or this problem? How am I going to translate that into a solution that's really going to work? And part of what, where we look, and this is, you know, I often talk to our consultants about this, right? The caliber of a good solution is that when you put all the pieces together, it's got that kind of Gestalt effect, where the whole is bigger than the sum of the parts, right? Where, when you put all the parts together, and Boom! it's like, you got something that's really, really magical there, right?
Dean Jones 41:09
Then over in the consultative area, the, it's, it's, you know, the, the kind of need or the kind of talent is really about building those kind of deep, trusted adviser kinds of relationships, you know. Do I have those kind of relationships where people are willing to confide in me? And do I have their trust? And a lot of times that gets founded by a level of deep expertise? Do I know this industry really well? Or do I know this company really well? Or do I know this function really well? Right? Have I got some deep expertise that makes me then a trusted adviser? Have I been in this kind of role before, right, such that I'm a trusted adviser?
Dean Jones 41:49
And you're building that level of trust, such that when, that you can be a thinking partner to the customer or the client. You're somebody that, you may not walk in and know what the problem is or what the issue is, but that's part of the process is to be, is to have that kind of trust and that kind of trusted relationship that, that we're going to kind of define that together. And, and it's, and then together, we're going to look, we're going to define what the problem is. And then we're going to look to see, once that's defined, what kind of solution is the right kind of solution? We also know that typically, in this kind of consultative sales things, part of it is being able to, it's not only to be able to build strong relationships with the client or customers, but it's also being able to orchestrate a team to be able to implement that, you know, so to be able to do that in that, in that particular way, right.
Jim Collison 42:46
Dean, on that, on that team dynamic, can you just talk a little bit about the importance -- like the team adds a 3-dimensional aspect to this, because now we're going beyond the individual and you're, you're putting individuals together who are now responsible for a sales process? And, and so, as we think about coaching individuals, that's one thing. Are there other, as you think about coaching teams, are there other areas we should be particularly paying attention to when we think about the theme dynamics now that are happening as these sales themes, these talents begin to mix? You see a lot of that in the work that you're doing.
Dean Jones 43:22
Yeah, I think, so I think, I think I'm getting out of here. But Jim, you can steer me a little bit, but the, you know, typically, somebody that is a great sales leader doesn't necessarily always, doesn't always have necessarily manager talent or, or that kind of orchestration talent. But part of it is, is they've got to have some talent to be able to lead the team to be able to be successful in terms of doing that, right. They've got to, because typically, these solutions have a high degree of complexity. And lots of people need to be able to work together to be able to do that in a way that really, that is really successful. So it requires some kind of leadership talent, some kind of orchestration talent, some kind of manager talent. Did I get at your question there?
Jim Collison 44:08
Well, let me, yeah, but OK, but let me rephrase in the term, as we're thinking about now, you know, we've got these 4 Domains that we're talking about. So from the perspective of domains, someone who might use their talents in this, oftentimes coaches try to go to the domain level to simplify it. One, is that smart? And two, what do we need to watch out for? What do we need to be aware of when we're thinking about these sales talents in, in the domain perspective?
Dean Jones 44:36
Yeah, I think that, so yeah, no, that's, that's good. I think it's, I think, using the domains, I think using the domains is useful, right? To be able to start to simplify it to your point and to be able to start to, to think about, OK, how am I going to address each one of these areas? I think you've got to, it's a good place to start. The individual talents and strengths inside each one are going to tell us more about the, the kind of character of what they do. So we're asking, as we're coaching somebody, we're asking somebody, How will I build relationships here? How will I exert some influence? What thinking will be required? What thinking will be valuable? What are the kind of Execution strengths that will help me here? So we're thinking about inside each one of those, how each of those are going to come, are going to come to bear.
Dean Jones 45:28
And I've given some examples, as we've gone through this, where, you know, we typical, you know, we want to be thinking, we want to be looking at all the talents and strengths across all 4 Domains when we're thinking about those things, right? So for instance, you know, as I'm building relationships, I might be building, I might not have a lot of Relationship themes. But I'm building those relationships through my Thinking and through my Execution themes and maybe even through my Influencing themes. Those are how those relationships are getting built. Right. But I'm thinking about, How do I do all four of those things inside the sales domain? Does that make sense?
Jim Collison 46:02
I think so. Let me follow it up with one other question Lisa's kind of alluding to in the chat room? As we talk about this, oftentimes the danger in it is, we begin to think a salesperson has a specific, there's like a best Top 5. And so all of a sudden, we think, oh, if I can just hire based on Top 5 -- I don't even want to talk about it anymore, because it's super dangerous. Can you talk a little bit about that? I mean, how do we approach that danger zone, when we think about trying to zero in on a, on a best Top 5 for a salesperson?
Dean Jones 46:36
Yeah, I just think it's foolish. You know, it's, I just think it's foolish, you know. Certainly we can assess talent to be at a lower level and look to say, OK, how do we match talents, just like we, you know, like, you know, we've done in other areas, but we can assess, hey, relatively speaking, is somebody a talent fit? Right. But when you're coaching salespeople, really, and coaching salespeople to be successful, we really have to go back to the fact that any strengths can get us there, if there's good self-awareness and good application, right? Let me say that again, because I think it's important, right? Any strength can take us there, as long as there's good self-awareness and good application. Right?
Dean Jones 47:21
So, and -- what do I mean by good self-awareness? I understand what my own talents are -- so I'm leaning into my own talents -- and I know also how to regulate them so they don't get in my way and don't get in the way of my clients. Right. I've also, to that point, got to be able to condition my environment well enough that I can, and conditioning my environment, that I'm able to set up my environment so it supports my approach, right? Sometimes, you know, if I'm in an environment, if I'm on a sales team where, and you know, and I'm a thoughtful, thoughtful guy, and in my sales team, all they want is hard-charging, competitive knuckleheads, right, right? I've got to be able to condition my environment so there's space for me to express my talents in a way that works for me, right. And sometimes that's the work of the coach. Right?
Dean Jones 48:11
I also have to be able to regulate my talents so they don't get in my way or other people's way, right? If I lead with a ton of Deliberative, and I'm in product sales, which is fast-moving, that's going to get in my way if I don't know that about myself, right? If I do know that about myself, it can enhance then the relationships that I have with my clients, right? Because I've added a dimension, all that deliberate, that thinking and that caution, all that will help enhance my relationship with my client if I'm using that, and I know that about myself, right? So I got to be able to manage that in a way that's really effective. Right? And then I've got to, I've got to then bring myself to bear on that. So to your point, it's not about hey, you know, salespeople, a salesperson equals X, Y and Z Top 5, you know, let's find the matches here. Right? It's about how am I using that in a way that's appropriate to this function of sales? And then appropriate to the type of sales that I'm doing? Does that make sense?
Jim Collison 49:15
Yeah, yeah. We've got just a few minutes left, and I want to throw a few questions at you and then like give you a few minutes to wrap it up as well. So Dan asks this great question. He says, When we identify what drives a salesperson, are we asking about rewards and recognition and what matters most to them? Anything contributing to that drive in sales? Are we also bringing that in as part of this?
Dean Jones 49:37
Yeah, absolutely. So absolutely. You know, it's, it's sort of a cliché that oftentimes great salespeople are motivated by money, right? But not universally, right. So we know that money is a component of it, and money is a component of it and there are a lot of great salespeople that are motivated by money. But there's a lot of, lot of great salespeople that are motivated by other things as well. They're, the recognition or being center stage or being important; being able to be instrumental in something; being able to be acknowledged and, and rewarded around that. That's, you know, my instinct on that, on that question -- I forgot who asked that question --
Jim Collison 50:16
Dan -- Dan asked it.
Dean Jones 50:18
OK. Yeah, Dan, I think the, the piece on that is that's part of just good management. Right. So as you're thinking about, you know, you know, being, really understanding what motivates something, someone, what's going to engage them in order to be able to be successful. And it's a component of, particularly of managing salespeople, right. So hopefully that's helpful, right?
Jim Collison 50:40
Yeah. And, and Cassie wants to know, Can we get quotes by Dean Jones on gear? Is that possible? I need some of these coffee mugs for people. So Dean, can we get, can we get that done? As we -- we'll try it. As we bring this in for a landing, the other Dan asks, In many organizations, salespeople have intermediate processes: prospecting, qualifying, renewals. Will this series cover the value of strengths in those processes? And maybe you can talk this forward and then kind of wrap this up?
Dean Jones 51:09
Yeah. So I want to, I want to, so yes, Dan, absolutely. So one of the things I want to talk about in the course of this series -- and we're still kind of formulating how we're going to do this -- we're going to look, I think, one of the things we're going to look at is the life cycle of a sale. So we know that there's different stages of a sale, and thinking about how do I, to your point, how do I use my, how do I use my talents and strengths around prospecting? How do I use my talents and strengths around kind of configuring the opportunity? How do I do it around that kind of evaluation process that everybody goes through? How do I do that to kind of close the deal? And then how do I do that to kind of manage the relationship with the client on an ongoing basis?
Dean Jones 51:46
So we're going to talk about some of those in the course of this series, so that we can talk about how do you how do you help somebody? How do you coach somebody? I want to -- next time, I want to dive in a little bit more to how do you look at a profile? And start to, and start to tease out some of the, some of the stuff where you're coaching people around being able to express themselves in that way.
Jim Collison 52:07
Dean, you want to put a bow on this one, kind of just wrap it for us?
Dean Jones 52:10
Yeah, sorry. I feel like I got a rough start today. But I hope that, so I hope this has been kind of useful. I think that part of it is that I wanted to make sure that we started out by kind of getting in the world of sales, right? And really getting into what, what does sales look like now and what's really important around that. And I, again, the reason I think this is important is because it's an area for organizations that particularly, you know, as every organization right now is focused on growth, that people are more inclined to invest in, in the success of their salespeople and the effectiveness of their salespeople.
Dean Jones 52:47
So I think for coaches, this is an area that's a, that's an area that's ripe for the work that you do, right? Because I think you, what's great about it is that you can go into an organization and if you're a good coach, and you understand sales, you can coach people effectively. And there's an immediate return on investment from your, from the coaching work that you do. Right. I also, I, you know, it sounds funny, I was talking to my husband about this last night. But you know, I just love salespeople, right. I always have, you know what I mean? And I think, you know, and I think part of it is that I, you know, I love the work that they do; I love the courage that, that many of them have; I love the ego piece of it. I think there's a lot, I think there's a lot, a lot to love there. I also, and I love the, that piece where you can help them, you can help develop them so that they can be successful and make a, make a really big impact for the organization they're in. So I think, I think there's a lot of cool things you can do in this area if it's something that you're, you're called to do. You know.
Jim Collison 53:51
Dean, I think you should have a little more swagger at times yourself. She says, Lisa says, This was a great start. I can't tell you're not a morning person. So, in sales, don't telegraph, don't telegraph something they don't know. There we go. Well, Dean, thanks. I'm looking forward to the series. A reminder on the series. We've, normally we have Dean on with us every other month. But because we wanted to kind of do this multipart series, we've moved Dean to every month while we're doing this. Make sure you're following us on Eventbrite for that. So go to gallup.eventbrite -- B-R-I-T-E on that -- gallup.eventbrite.com. Create an account and follow us there. You'll get a notification from me -- well, from Eventbrite -- every time I schedule a new event. And every, every one that we do is out there, available here on the Called to Coach channel, so we're gonna have you do that as well.
Jim Collison 54:39
Don't forget to take advantage of all the resources we have available on Gallup Access as well. We keep adding things to the resources section in there. You might want to log in -- if it's been a while, might want to log in and check it out. Go to gallup.com/cliftonstrengths. Use the Login button in the upper right-hand corner. Lots of resources, lots of great learning for you there as well. If you're interested in coaching, master coaching or you want to become a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, we've got the ability for you to do that as well. You can contact us -- send us an email: email@example.com. We'll get somebody to get right back to you to help get that set up. And then don't forget the 2021 -- I alluded to this a little bit earlier -- the 2021 virtual Gallup at Work Summit is coming up, and you might want to sign up for it soon. June 8, and 9 of 2021. You can register at gallupatwork -- all one word -- gallupatwork.com. And you can join us there. Certified Coaches have a special price, and if you don't have that, it's in our newsletters. Or contact me and I can get that out to you as well. Join us on any social platform by searching "CliftonStrengths," and thanks for joining us today. appreciate you guys being out. If you're in the live show, hang tight for one second; I have an announcement for you. But with that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.
Dean Jones' Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Activator, Focus, Woo, Strategic and Relator.