NY Times distills wisdom from CEOs – implications for sales?

Sales Best Practices

In yesterday’s NY Times Business Section, there was an article entitled “Distilling the Wisdom on CEOs“, adapted from Adam Bryant’s book – The Corner Office. In the book, he asks CEOS what it takes to get ahead in an organization. It’s a very interesting read. After interviewing 70 CEOs and other leaders, there was good news – the traits identified were not genetic! Rather they can be developed – making the person a better employee, manager, and leader.

Five qualities were identified by the CEOs: Passionate curiosity, Battle-hardened confidence, Team smarts, A simple mind-set and Fearlessness. The book certainly provides insights for sales management, but we were also struck by how many of the lessons can apply to sales reps. For example, Steve Ballmer – CEO of Microsoft – talks about how internal Microsoft presentations speakers spend an inordinant amount of time chronicling how a decision was arrived at before the actual decision was shared! Ballmer has changed that model – insisting that the conclusion become the focus – being shared first.  Sales presentations too often follow the “older Microsoft model” – compelling they are not! Second, sales reps must have team smarts – especially given the importance of team selling in major sales.  What struck us as interesting here is when working as a team – it’s critical for sales reps to not only understand how to work as a team – they must also to develop what Bryant calls “peripheral vision” – a sense of how people react to one another on the team – only then can you effectively leverage the power of team selling.

Check out other posts on sales effectiveness at the Sales Training Connection.

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About Janet Spirer

For more than 30 years Dr. Richard Ruff and Dr. Janet Spirer - the founders of Sales Horizons - have worked with the Fortune 1000 - such as UPS, Canon USA, Smith & Nephew, Boston Scientific, Owens & Minor, Textron - to design and develop sales training programs. Janet has followed two different, yet complimentary paths. First, as a B-School Professor she taught marketing, sales, and business strategy courses. She also managed a consulting practice focusing on sales productivity and marketing – working with a variety of clients ranging from Xerox to IBM. She translated those experiences into a book – “Parlez-Vous Business” – that helps sales people develop the business savvy to sell successfully. Since co-founding Sales Momentum® in 2000 with Richard Dr. Spirer received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, an M.P.A. from The University of Texas at Austin, and a B.A. in Economics from Brooklyn College. She holds the appointment of Professor Emeritus at Marymount University.
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