Nigeria - Africa’s Largest Emerging Economy – Best Practice Sales

Posted by Chris Mott on Thu, Mar 01, 2012 @ 15:03 PM


Last week I had a life-changing experience while training the sales and management team of a Nigerian firm in the banking sector. Led by an African man who, following his education in the US, had a dream of benefiting the average Nigerian. 

If you want to buy a car in the US, there are plenty of options for financing. Owning a car for us is like drinking water. Getting to work, the grocery store or soccer practice requires this. In Nigeria, a country of 150 million people, access to credit has always been a problem. My CEO's dream was to find ways to help the banks manage their risk better and, as a result, lend more of their capital by creating the country’s first credit bureau. 

My client and I have been working together for five years focusing on recruiting, sales management, sales process and skills. Unlike many CEO’s, he made his first investment in the sales force immediately after he raised his first significant round of financing. Most companies can’t make this claim.

Prior to the training, we re-evaluated the salespeople and sales managers. This makes complete sense, yet many CEO’s want to train their salespeople without knowing what kind of training they need and without helping the trainees to better understand their challenges in advance of training.

As always, there was some resistance. For example, in Nigeria there is a certain deference given to people in authority. The result is that salespeople don’t ask as many direct probing questions as needed. How many of your salespeople demonstrate this problem?

It’s not enough to tell people what to do. You have to show them, discuss mental limitations to successful execution and practice a lot. 

Creating a best practices sales organization requires a comprehensive assessment of the people, systems and processes. It means having a written, documented, staged and criteria-based sales process that everyone understands, agrees with and executes against. It requires management’s daily coaching, debriefing and lots of role-play with the salespeople and sales leaders.  Clearly defined metrics and metrics accountability,  emphasizing daily sales behavior, are also necessary.

So what was my experience? My Nigerian students quickly stepped out of their comfort zone, pushing back when they didn’t agree and found ways to quickly utilize the training. By Wednesday, everyone could recount several situations where they had applied the learning and achieved better outcomes.

Perhaps being a citizen of a country with an emerging economy, including all of its associated challenges, makes people more passionate about improvement. Maybe they value being a great employee more or perhaps I was just fortunate to work with a great CEO who was involved in the training all week, applied the lessons himself and worked with his team.

Unfortunately, some CEO’s and sales leaders want to delegate to their staff and give up the opportunity to learn alongside their people and demonstrate the importance and urgency of personal development.

There is much I learned from my experience in Nigeria, not the least of which is that people face the same challenges everywhere.  What really matters is how we face these challenges and with what degree of commitment and passion for achieving our very best.

Topics: banking, best sales leadership training, Bravery in sales situations, Changing_Behavior

Having the Right Sales and Sales Management Mindset

Posted by Chris Mott on Mon, Aug 16, 2010 @ 13:08 PM

It’s been a while since I have posted to my blog so what has my problem been?

I’ve made the act of posting bigger than it is. Said another way I haven’t been thinking like a blogger.

Here’s a crazy analogy from kindergarten. My teacher wanted us to feel special about ourselves and her solution was "IALAC" meaning "I am lovable and capable". The point was this, if you believe you are or can become something you are much more likely to achieve that goal, so I have decided that I am a blogger.

How does this apply to sales and sales management? Here are a few examples.

  • I am effective and valuable in the role of sales coach.
  • I can and do hold my salespeople accountable for daily selling behavior.
  • Our sales team must learn a valuable lesson from every mistake we make.
  • Mini failures are a necessary part of growth.
  • My prospects perceive value in me when I ask them tough relevant questions
  • When a prospect stops returning my phone calls something has changed and I need to find out what that is
  • The only person thinking about next steps after a “think it over” is me
  • Senior level people find spending time with me valuable

What mindset or title do you need to give yourself, your staff and or your salespeople?

I am a blogger!

Topics: Changing_Behavior, Good to Great, economic crisis, attitude problems

Sales Culture on Steroids

Posted by Chris Mott on Wed, Apr 28, 2010 @ 13:04 PM

Complacency is an insidious thing.   It is corrosive by nature and can be very contagious.  We all suffer from it to varying degrees and unfortunately complacency often rears it's ugly head at the very moments when it has the greatest impact on us.  Whether it is complacency about relationships, health, co-workers or our clients, the effects of our complacency undermine our success, happiness and state of mind.

Today I read an article Everyone is a Salesperson by a peer sales development expert in Cleveland. Basically it tells a couple stories, stories about Sales Culture and the people (our employees and clients) who bring the culture to life.

The stories are about having fun, allowing people to do what they love, commitment, outlook, personal responsibility and risk taking.  Remember, the definition of risk is a willingness to give up something you already possess for the possibility of getting something better. The key phrase being "something you already have".  So if you don't have anything there can never be any risk.

I suggest (be careful not to say "no" just because it's a suggestion) you read it and then ask yourself some questions. Be honest, you might have an epiphany!

Here's the article Everyone is a Salesperson

  • What did you read that you know should be happening more at your company?
  • How do the people and personalities impact your "sales culture"?
  • How much of your time is spent on nurturing and directing your sales culture?


Topics: Changing_Behavior, over achieve, enjoys selling, fear of failure

Sales Progress - Sales Momentum - Sales Improvement

Posted by Chris Mott on Wed, Apr 14, 2010 @ 09:04 AM

I was at the gym Monday "starting over again" after a week away. As always I saw a woman I know working with her personal trainer. Twice a week she's there huffing and puffing. Several months ago I asked what motivated her. She answered "I'm going to be fifty and I want to be healthy."  

How many of you fit that description?

In between sets of overhead presses and squats I congratulated her on her commitment and progress. Without hesitation Joe the trainer said; don't lose sight of the objective, progress, momentum and improvement. He couldn't have said anything more appropriate or profound.

Whether you're the sales manager or someone else is, do not forget Joe's words. It's all about sales progress, sales momentum and sales improvement. Which of your salespeople or perhaps yourself needs to hear these words today, tomorrow and the next day?

While you're thinking about Joe and his sage advice watch this video if you haven't seen it already Beating the Little Hater.

Topics: sales management functions, Changing_Behavior, effective sales coaching, Sales Accountability

Sales Management Blind Spots – Do I have to change also?

Posted by Chris Mott on Mon, Aug 24, 2009 @ 13:08 PM

Recently I spoke to a CEO who was frustrated by the performance of one division in his company.  He concluded he needed to hire a new sales team. He could articulate the compelling reasons for change and the negative impact this non-performance was having on the business.

When I asked him what the current sales leader's role would be in the future, as well as his own (CEO's) role in managing the new staff, he became defensive. He understood that the current sales leader was a big part of the problem and was very frustrated by this, but his willingness to make changes and his approach to solving the problem was another story.

Are you a leader who doesn't like the nitty gritty of sales management? Are you hoping your salespeople will be successful entirely on their own? Are you expecting a different outcome without changing how you lead and manage?

If so what are you really saying?  Perhaps it sounds like this. "All I want is to hire someone who knows exactly what to do with all the right contacts, that doesn't need or want help and will overachieve on their own".

When was the last time you hired anyone like that and how quickly after you hired them did they fail or start their own company?

Topics: recruiting, sales management, Management, Changing_Behavior

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