Post Interview Check-List

November 17, 2020

You got the job….YOU GOT THE JOB! Now what?!

You’ve used your network to get the job. Maybe there’s a little bit of imposter syndrome creeping in, but you slam the door in its face. You’ve called, slacked, and texted everyone your thank you’s, and excitedly shared the new job with friends and family. The new gig starts in a week. So now what? Where do you begin? Planning doesn’t mean a 30,60,90 day thesis. It means setting yourself up for learning and efficiency. It means meeting your new teammates 1:1, and asking more questions than you’re comfortable with. Let’s lay out a plan for the week before and week after your start date.

As in my previous newsletter, The Pre-Interview Checklist, Mindset stays number one. Don’t lose your confidence. You got the job, you can do the job. There’s a reason you were chosen, you have the missing puzzle piece they are looking for. Keep your thoughts in check.

The Week Before Your First Day

Set yourself up for success

This week is about preparation for the new job, new schedule, and new daily routine. Even if you have no idea what your day to day will look like yet, begin prepping your space for your new normal. Treat this week like the week before a big competition. You’re running checks on all systems, internally (within yourself), and externally (your work space and daily flow). You’re going to be practicing maneuvers, running drills, and acting as if the competition has already started.

1. Prepare your work space

Get new supplies and equip yourself with things you know you’ll need for success. If you haven’t thought about what you need to be successful, STOP READING NOW, and make the list. Seriously, clean out the clutter you’ve kept from your last job that has accumulated during the job search. You’ll need a fresh space for your best work.

2. Learn about the industry

I don’t care if you’ve been in it for 30 years, there is something new out there that you don’t know. Find it. You did your initial research for your interview, now dig in and learn the history of the industry. What trends have been seen? What is everyone saying about it? Follow other companies in the industry. Learn from everyone in it with you.

3. Ask your supervisor for your schedule and any materials you could have ahead of time

Just ask. Self-advocate. They could give you a folder with all the training materials you’ll be working with. If they can’t, don’t worry about it, you showed initiative by asking.

4. Connect with your new team and others in the company on LinkedIn

You’ve already looked at company and leadership posts to learn about the culture before your interview. Now go connect with everyone and say hello! Let them know how excited you are to be there. It will give your team time to “meet” you via your LinkedIn content before your first day.

The Week After Your First Day

YORO “You Only Ramp Once”It will take time for you to be successful in your new role, don’t rush it.

You only get to onboard and ramp-up  once. Don’t ruin it by “becoming an expert” in two weeks. Hands down the biggest mistake I see new hires make is rushing their onboarding and ramp-up. You won’t be an expert, everyone will see it, and you’ll probably piss off your new co-workers and make your supervisor question if you were right fit. During this first week and beyond, embody my 11 year old, ask as many questions as you can. You’re the new kid at this school, observe the way things work. You get one shot, don’t blow it.

1. Meet your team, then meet people in other departments.

Your team will tell you about how they function and how the company runs. Folks in other departments are brilliant resources. They will share information about processes, giving you the whole picture. The best way to sell is understanding the whole schbang. If you can, ask for 1:1s to get to know folks as people first, co-workers second. Give them space to tell their onboarding story, how they got to the company, ask questions, then shut-up. As a sales person you already know the prospect will share if you stop talking. This is the time to be a sponge.

2. Ask more questions.

Questions to your team like : If you could go back to your first week here, what would you have done differently? What am I forgetting to ask out? What was one thing you wished you would have known when you started? What is the hardest thing for you in your current role?

Questions to your supervisor like: What is/are the most important thing(s) I should be focused on during my first month? What are red flags you’re going to be looking for? What are green flags? What’s your preferred style and method of communication?

3. Begin to lay out your routine and schedule.

Do you like time blocking? Do you write lists? However you are your most efficient self, implement it. If it’s not working CHANGE IT. There are millions of ways to be efficient with your time. Need some new idea, check this out

Enjoy the new gig! Take it slow, let others teach you. Learn the current process for doing something before you bring your new ideas to the table. The best way to start is to be as prepared as you can ahead of time. The best way to build rapport is to be a student in your new environment.

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How to Get an Intro

November 10, 2020

References and Intros 

Everyone wants them, few know the difference. Even fewer know how to get them.

A less than stellar question was asked at Thursday Night Sales about how to get people to introduce you to others. I say that because this question gets asked at least once every show we do, and it seems like the answer is just not sinking in. The question was about references, but we couldn’t tell if he was talking about introductions or a job reference. It was frustrating because of its lack of clarity and redundancy.

So what’s the difference? They are used interchangeably a lot, but they’re distinct. A reference is when someone goes to bat on your behalf to open [or close] a conversation about a potential job, by leveraging their clout within their network. This involves the person giving the reference feedback on your work ethic, skills, and abilities. While I’ve told people to come to me even if you don’t know me, the reference is clearly easier if I do know you.

[Want to get to know me better? Try Surf and Sales and Patreon]

An introduction is when someone goes to bat on your behalf to open a conversation about what you do with a party who might find use in your solution, again, by leveraging their clout within their network. Introductions are easiest when you cultivate a network that also sells into your ICP, and you make friends with people who have been working your ICP for longer than you have. (Add value by being an SDR to your networking partners and spend time giving a shit about what they like and become their friend.)

References = new jobs. 

Introductions = qualified leads to closed deals.

Why does knowing the difference matter? It matters because the approach and the considerations are different between the two of them. For a successful reference or intro you need to understand how to craft the message, who you’re using as a contact, who your contact is reaching out to and what your desired end result is. You’ll approach answering the questions above, in different ways. Just like researching prospects, research your person and who you’re asking them to contact. Make sure it’s a good fit.

It also matters because you’ve been in a position before where you KNEW if you had someone on the inside you could have had a decent shot at the job or winning someone’s business. But, you didn’t know how the hell to ask someone, you probably talked yourself out of it, and the opportunity drifted by. Don’t be that person again. Take ownership of your desired outcomes, cultivate the network you need to achieve them, then take action.

How to ask for a reference

Have all of your information pulled together ahead of time. Even someone who knows you well, probably doesn’t know your sales metrics, or have a copy of your resume. Update everything, and have it ready to go. Your goal is to make it as easy as possible for your contact to promote you as the best free agent available today.

Factors to consider:

1) What’s the relationship of your contact to the company you want?
2) Are you actually qualified for the job you’re asking for?
3) Timing – Is the company currently hiring for the position?
4) Have a why, and be prepared to share that with your contact.
5) Now that you know, don’t apply for a job again. Use your network to get you the job you want.

How to ask for an introduction

Write the introduction for your contact as if you are them. State what value the solution brings, what the solution is, and why the connection is a good fit. Your contact and your prospect are busy, so make this as easy as possible for them. Pay attention to the level of decision maker they are reaching out to and craft your intro to match. Your contact will amend things if they want it to be even more in their voice. Provide your one pager, and a few open dates/time to talk.

Factors to consider:

1) Who is the intro going to?
2) What’s the relationship of my contact to the other person?
3) Do you have enough rapport with your contact to ask?
Build out and cultivate your partners. Diversify your top of the funnel prospect streams. A steadily growing network, that produces a few quality intros a month, will multiply down your pipeline into closed deals. Both references and intros utilize someone else’s network to provide an opportunity to you. When was the last time you looked at the people in your network and assessed their potential value to your professional future? Oh you haven’t? You’ve been accepting or adding every Tom, Dick and Henrietta? Cut that out. Make your network work for you. FYI, I’m part of your network. Put us to work.

If you’re looking for a job, reach out. Several of my clients are hiring for a variety of revenue producing roles. Come prepared, put in the effort, and we can figure something out.


Surf and Sales Presents: Bonfire Sessions

SURVIVE WORK FROM HOME DURING THE HOLIDAYS

How do we support our employees? How do we support ourselves and our families?

  • Executives who are parents (both sides of life duty).
  • Managing employees who are parents.
  • Being a working parent.
  • Coping with stress, family, and mental health.

Sales professionals – you are more than a number!

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Mental Health

November 03, 2020

We have to do better and lead the leaders. Look at these real-life nightmares from the sales floor.

I’ve talked about mental health and therapy many times. Let’s talk about it more. Let’s normalize Mental Health. It DESERVES to be capitalized because it’s a thing.

Michelle Wilkinson, licensed therapist in Austin, TX joined us for Tequila Tuesday this past week and defined Mental Health as, “emotional, psychological well being, your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, your ability to deal with stress, your coping skills……Mental Health spans across your lifetime. Same as your physical health, you know you gotta exercise, you gotta eat well, all of those things apply to your mental health as well”

What’s your definition of Mental Health? What does it mean to you and what does it not mean? To start to address something it needs to be defined by what it is and what it isn’t. Many of us go through life rationalizing thoughts and actions because we refuse to tell ourselves the truth of a situation. Personal transparency is hard. You want it at work, but you don’t hold those standards for yourself. Admitting that you need help is hard. Believing that you can be a better version of yourself by acknowledging that you have shit to work on is hard. Create a dynamic definition of Mental Health for yourself. Hint: It’s NOT using some diagnosis or lack of, to become a victim.

Okay, you’re ready. You’re open to learning more about yourself from a professional who will help guide you. It’s pretty daunting to stare down a list of hundreds of therapists, so daunting that many people end the process before it begins. Many therapists will do free consultations to find out if it’s a good fit. Treat this as a discovery call because it literally is a discovery call. Plan out questions, look at their background, I feel like I shouldn’t have to tell you how to do this. Finding the right fit is important. I have a friend who went through 4 different therapists before finding the right fit, she didn’t have to…she just didn’t ask the important questions upfront.

Struggling to find good questions? Check this out.

Therapy is WORK and it could feel pretty crappy for a while. It’s acquiring skills and modes of thinking that allow you participate in life without being overwhelmed by situations or thoughts. It will be uncomfortable, but you’re in sales (or not), and that feeling isn’t new. Embrace it. You’ve acquired thick skin over years and even a callus or two, and now you gotta pull it off, dealing with everything you covered up. I’ve been there, it sucks. Unlike your day job there’s no end goal and no Mental Health metrics to meet/beat. It’s you against you and speaking from experience, you can be your own worst enemy. Get out of your own way to do the work. Like sales though, there is hitting your targets (practicing what your therapist told you to try), there are KPIs (ex: doing 10min of mindfulness for 30 days), there is a process.

Understand that showing up for you, also is showing up for your family, your partner, your kids, your co-workers…. Everyone else in your life will benefit because you decided to take ownership of you. When deeply held beliefs and processes change, people around you have space to be themselves rather than react or worry about what you’re doing or saying. A sense of peace exists when your choices no longer negatively affect others and you have a handle on dealing with stressors.

The only way to fail is to do nothing. The commitment is showing up for yourself everyday. Showing up can look like 10 minutes of guided meditation, taking a walk daily, getting off technology to write out your goals, or meeting with your therapist, addressing something hard with a coworker, friend, or partner you’ve been putting off, or practicing a new way of thinking. Folks, the list is endless, write it.

You can’t be the best version of you without taking personal steps towards better Mental Health. We all know what it feels like to try and work when our personal life is suffering. A bad call or a lost deal then seems to pummel us like rouge fucking waves, and we feel like there’s no way back to the surface.

It’s your choice to find the leash of your board and pull yourself back up.(hint: it’s attached to you already, stop panicking) This isn’t some “pick yourself up by the bootstraps” bullshit. This is taking ownership of your own life and understanding that no one else is responsible for your Mental Health except for you. Finding a therapist to work with who resonates with you, will unlock your potential, at the price of strengthening relationships, building confidence, and giving you tools to handle any situation.

Ready?

Psychology Today is a great resource to find a therapist in your area.

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Becoming A Manager Series – Part 5: You’re a manager, now what…

October 27, 2020

You’re a manager, now what…

Congratulations! …. Now you actually have to do this.

It’s one thing to prepare and interview for the role, it’s another thing entirely to perform the role as a manager. Don’t get me wrong, all of your planning, attention and study of the process is going to be integral in your success, but you also have to implement that knowledge. You will need to pass your knowledge to your reps, instill confidence in your leadership and get your people to perform. Today,  I’ll give you some tips that will help you build a foundation of success and keep it going long term.

Know your people and help them hit their goals.

First things first. It is extremely important to get to know your people. Set one-on-ones with everyone on your team week one to get to know them, what’s important to them, what are their goals (motivation), and set expectations on how they will expect to be coached.

If someone on your team has a weak set of goals or no goals at all, help them see their potential and inspire them to push their limitations of what is possible. Tie your coaching action items directly to how it will help the accomplish their personal goals.

If you can give your team members guidance and feedback that are producing results, they will keep listening to you with little exception. Make it about them. Make it about their motivations and celebrate with them when they hit their goals and benchmarks. Then help them reset and keep pushing them to improve themselves. Build their career and bank account and you will develop a strong relationship and a strong foundation of respect.

Aim small, miss small

You have a lot of talent and knowledge about sales, otherwise you would not be in this position. That said, you can’t expect people who are at a lower level of proficiency to understand, implement and habituate loads of complex  ideas and processes all at once. Don’t overload your people. Instead focus on small improvements that make the biggest difference and build on them week by week.

Use the KPI’s during one-on-ones with your team members to guide which improvements should be made and only give them one or two things (MAX) to work on each week to improve their performance. Make sure you don’t just tell them to do it and send them off to their own devices. If you tell one of your reps that you want to hear stronger expectations when they’re setting a demo, then you need to go listen to their sets and make sure they are implementing your coaching. If they are not implementing the coaching, let them know you are listening and sit next to them and coach them.

The goal is to instill good habits so that even on their worst days, they are still leaning on the best habits to help themselves stay consistent.

Don’t just tell them to do something either. People are much more likely to perform tasks if they understand the reasoning for doing that task. If you tell someone to go dig a hole, they will only dig so long. If you tell someone to go dig a hole because there is a box of diamonds 8-12 feet down, they’ll dig.

Trust your data

You should be using your data as a guide always. The KPIs and metrics being captured are invaluable indicators for your team and should guide your individual coaching sessions, morning huddle education, your lunch and learns, and training. This should tell you the areas each member on your team stands to improve the most individually and as a team.

Your data should be the map you use to help you hit your quotas and really excel. It will tell you who to call and when It will help you develop best practices that make your team the most money. Again, if you give your team guidance that works, they will listen to you and follow you.

Being a manager is not an easy job and you’re going to have highs and lows just like you did in sales, but I promise if you stay with it and you make it about the people you work with,  this will be endlessly fulfilling and lucrative.

Good luck out there.

Join me tonight for Tequila Tuesday [if you like] for a special conversation on “Normalizing Mental Health” at 7pm central

How to Keep a Sales Team Motivated – Mailshake

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