Do you want to be a great leader? Include great mentors and coaches in your life. Having mentors and coaches that can sharpen your leadership skills is imperative in your growth. I had two great coaches, Pete Fasulo and Russell (Russ) Remy, early in my sales career. Their titles may have been trainers, but they were truly two of my best coaches, my Diamond Cutters. The lessons they taught me helped me as a manager and a leader.
Pete Fasulo was my very first sales coach. When I started my two-weeks of training as a telemarketer at Sprint, I had no idea what telecommunications entailed. Pete bounced into the training room with so much energy and a big smile on his face. He immediately captivated us, his trainees. He skillfully took a subject that is technical and at times boring and made it exciting to learn. Pete also taught us how to be successful at selling a product over the phone.
Here are a few pointers I got from Pete:
- Telemarketing sales is an art – Be polite, be confident not rude.
- Put a smile on your face – People can hear you smiling on the phone. I kept a mirror at my desk to remind me to smile before I dialed.
- Give them value – You’ve got to give them a reason to listen to you or they will hang up the phone.
- Learn to listen well – By listening to your potential client you will hear her objections; then, respond to each objection with your product knowledge.
- Don’t take it personal – If someone says no or hangs up the phone, shake it off. It is not a personal matter. Move to the next call. The more “No’s” you get, the closer you get to a “Yes.”
Pete’s instructions to us, helped me to realize that although sales is a numbers game (there is no magic in sales) being personable, being emphatic towards the client, belief in myself and the products and services I sell are parts of being a successful sales person. The first day I stepped onto the sales floor, I made a sale using Pete’s methods. In fact, his tutelage allowed me to be successful enough to get a promotion with a higher salary into another department!
While Pete was a bundle of energy, Russell Remy was a easy going trainer that had a quick sense of humor that disarmed you. Russ was my trainer when I started at MCI as a Customer Support Consultant. My duties included providing customer service to existing clients and up-selling them more products and services. I met with these clients mostly on a face to face basis. This required different skills than being a telemarketer.
Russ shared with the group the importance of learning good body language. Your body language says more than you thing. Good body language starts with how we behave in the sitting area while waiting to meet with the client. Russ demonstrated the proper way to shake hands with our clients. He videotaped our interaction with mock clients and then had us review the videos. Russ instructed us on what we did correctly and what we needed to improve upon. He also showed us how to read our clients’ body language.
Russ taught us about the products and services that we needed to master in order to be effective at our jobs. Russ included the LEAR (Listen, Explore, Acknowledge and Respond) method as a part of the training program.
This is what Russ taught us about the LEAR method:
- Listen – Don’t just walk into the client’s office and start speaking. Let him tell you about the company, his role in the company and the goals that he has to meet.
- Explore – Learn to ask probing questions and genuinely listen to your client. Ask permission to write the answers down before you start to write.
- Acknowledge – Let her know that you hear her. Repeat what she tells you. This will give her the opportunity to clarify any misunderstanding at this point.
- Respond – This is the time that you would share how your company’s products and/or services that meet the requirements of your client.
These are just a few of the beneficial information that helped me in my leadership roles. I believe one of the best take aways I got from Russ is to FOLLOW UP! While you are with the client ask for the next appointment. Strike while the iron is hot. When you get back to the office, follow up with an email – give a recap of the meeting. Often time, your client will welcome this. Not many people use follow up as a tool to help them gain and retain customers. This will give you a great edge against your competitors.
By adhering to Russ’s guidance, I went out and upgraded quite a number of my clients on a new product the company was offering. I did so well that I won a contest I didn’t even know the company was conducting. My mother called me at work wondering why MCI sent me a big SONY television. I asked my manager about it. She said I was the top Customer Service Consultant for the quarter. The TV was one of my rewards.
To say that I appreciate the lessons Pete Fasulo and Russell Remy taught me is beyond words. These coaches imprinted their knowledge and talents on me. After the training sessions ended, they continued to be accessible for me to ask questions. They were always pleasant and patient with me. In this week of Thanksgiving, I am truly thankful that they were a part of my development as a leader. Thank you Pete and Russell for being two of my best Diamond Cutters!
As mentioned above, great leaders need to include great mentors and coaches in their lives. If you have great mentors or coaches, appreciate them. Learn from them. Most importantly apply the lessons they teach you.
If you don’t have a mentor or coach, learn about finding great ones. Pick up a copy of my book Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters.
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Until next time, keep Living a Diamond Life with much gratitude on Invincible Monday!