Time To Look Inside?


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I’m just back from my yearly trip to Ireland where I facilitate a series of workshops on building a competitive sales approach as part of the highly-respected International Selling Programme.  The program, the only one of its kind anywhere, is sponsored in part by Enterprise Ireland and delivered by the Dublin Institute of Technology where I am an Adjunct Professor of Sales and Sales Management. During the course of two-and-a-half weeks, I work with a total of 125 Irish sales VPs, directors, and their CEOs.

The program is in its fourth year.  I was also fortunate to have contributed to its predecessor, SalesSTAR, which went from 2003 through 2007.  That was for technology CEOs and their VPs of sales.

Here is what I love about this program.  Almost without exception, the participants, including the Managing Directors and CEOs, are hungry to learn, open to new ideas, intelligent, motivated, and willing to take a serious look at themselves.  The want the truth.

How apropos was this sign I spotted on the side of a store in Letterfrack in the Connemara, in the western part of Ireland.  I saw the sign and I thought about all the sales leaders and salespeople I’ve interviewed over the years who spend too much time looking outside themselves—at excuses, other peoples’ or departments’ shortcomings, product and service issues, the economy, and anything else they could blame their lack of performance on.  They dream about a better day, a silver bullet, a quick fix, a better product, fewer competitors, an easier time.

Awakening is the word that best describes what to many of the participants in these two-day workshops experience. I don’t want to get philosophical, spiritual, or metaphysical here.  What I’m talking about is many of the participants of the program getting deeper in their understanding that they are the ones who determine their own destiny with respect to building an international selling capability within their companies, and that any limitations are theirs and theirs alone.

The Irish economy is of course the elephant in the room in every session.  What I tell the participants is this:   “There are deals going down.  There is money being spent.  Yes, the pie has shrunk.  Now it’s your job for your company to win a bigger piece of a smaller pie.”

Because professional selling as we know it (in the U.S. and as exported to other parts of the world by American companies) is less than a decade old in Ireland, we talk about who these sales and business leaders need to be and how they need to change their way of thinking for their companies to compete more effectively.

What I really love is that they get it.  And the sales performance improvement results of the program’s participants year after year bears that out.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Stein
Dave specializes in helping his clients win critical B2B sales opportunities as well as helping them hire the best sales talent.Dave is co-author of Beyond the Sales Process. He wrote the best-selling How Winners Sell in 2004.


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