Every year, over a thousand of the world’s top sales, leadership, and management professionals gather at a great resort location for the Sandler Annual Sales & Leadership Summit, where we network, share ideas, celebrate each other’s successes, and participate in sessions led by top Sandler training professionals. The 2019 Sandler Summit, which took place at the Rosen Centre in Orlando, Florida, was the best-attended Summit yet, both in-person and online. We covered a lot of ground, but I’d like to share with you two takeaways, in particular, from this year’s Summit.
THE BIG TAKEAWAY FOR SALESPEOPLE
One of the major takeaways for salespeople from this Summit concerned the neglected art of disqualifying opportunities that don’t fit. One of our critical jobs as sales professionals is to “go for the no.” As a classic Sandler Selling Rule states, you don’t win by getting a yes. You learn to win by getting a “no!”
“Yes” is exciting. “Yes” is what motivates us as salespeople. Who doesn’t like to get a “yes?” But there some very important reasons we should go for the no – and should focus our efforts on disqualifying the prospect as we move through the sales cycle. First and foremost, we don’t want to spend unnecessary time with people who haven’t got a problem we can solve, or haven’t got the budget to work with us, or aren’t willing to share their decision-making process. If any one of those things is missing, we need to move on.
In addition, going for the “no” makes us psychologically stronger. It points us in the right direction by building the muscles of self-acceptance and self-reliance. When we make the conscious choice to take someone out of the sales funnel, we’re reminding ourselves that the word “no” is not a personal judgment on us – it’s just an instance of there not being a perfect fit between what we do and what someone else does. Also, getting a “no” usually teaches us something. Each time we identify something specific that doesn’t fit, we get a little bit better at identifying what does fit.
THE BIG TAKEAWAY FOR SALES LEADERS
A similarly important takeaway for leaders at the Summit focused on identifying the typical leadership blind spots that hold back our organizations from achieving optimal success. These blind spots are problems that create major headaches – headaches that most leaders find themselves battling at one point or another, without realizing the underlying cause. For instance, we may have unacceptably high turnover on the sales team, but we may not realize that the cause of this is the lack of a clear, viable process for hiring and interviewing, or the lack of a consistent onboarding plan. When we step back, we realize that not having these processes in place is a major operational gap – one that creates problems that hold back our organizations and prevent us from taking our business to the next level.
Whether we lead a department or an entire company, we need to be committed to constantly improving the critical systems and processes within our organization. The tricky thing about blind spots is that we may believe we’ve identified and addressed them – but as our organization grows, they can pop right back up again, like a dandelion weed whose seeds gets blown in from the yard next door. We need to be continually on guard and pull out the weeds as they appear. (By the way, you can learn more about the leadership blind spots here in this book.)
We covered these subjects and much, much more at the 2019 Summit – more than I could possibly mention in this post. We’ve received loads of positive feedback – and many, many people told us this was our best Summit yet.